Budgeting After Baby
Babies cost a lot of money! Diapers, formula, clothes and baby gear can take a huge chunk out of your monthly budget. Some families find the cost of child care or reducing to a single income makes the adjustment even more difficult than expected. Here are some tips to cut down on spending.
Trimming Your Baby Budget
To save on diapers, consider switching to cloth. Modern cloth diapers are easy to use and come in cute designs. The initial cost is typically $10-20 per diaper, but they can be reused for years.
If cloth diapers aren’t for your family, you still can find ways to save money on disposable diapers. Check manufacturer websites for high dollar coupons and combine with store sales. Generic diapers are another great way to save and they are typically comparable to name brand.
Breastfeeding is not always an option for families for a variety of reasons, and formula is pricey. Coupons and rebates are readily available from manufacturers. Go to the manufacturer's website and sign up for additional coupons and have friends and family do the same. You also can ask your obstetrician and pediatrician for free formula samples.
Car seat, stroller, high chair, bouncer, swing and more—for someone so small, a baby seems to require a lot of gear. And each item seems to cost a hundred dollars or more. Buying a new car seat that meets current safety standards is wise, but you can purchase all the other items gently used and sell them again later when your family no longer needs them.
Babies grow fast! It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on several cute baby outfits when your child outgrows them only a few weeks later. Consider buying gently used clothing and asking friends for hand-me-downs. If you want new items, buy less than you think you will need because your baby will use them for only a short time.
To save money on child care, you have to get creative. Ideas include having a family or friend watch the baby at a lower rate, trading babysitting with another family or alternating shifts with your partner to reduce time in child care. Some companies offer flexible spending plans to pay for child care with pre-tax money.
Trimming Other Areas
The key to saving money on adult clothing is to shop for versatile pieces that can be worn many different ways. A solid color top can be worn with jeans, slacks or a skirt and paired with a scarf, necklace, jacket or worn alone for a variety of looks. Once you have your key pieces, only buy clothing when you really need something.
Several strategies can help cut costs in this area. Purchasing groceries with coupons or on sale or buying generic brands can save money. Also, consider making items from scratch and eating out less to help trim your food budget. A quick Google search will provide you with several $5 meal ideas.
Just because a new baby is in the house doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying entertainment, but you might need to approach a night out in a new way. You do not need to forego movies, concerts or area attractions but do check deal sites to see whether there are any options available to you. Doing this requires planning ahead to make sure the expenditure fits into the budget and that you have child care covered, if necessary. Also consider whether items like cable or streaming subscriptions are necessary. Choose to pay for the entertainment you use and enjoy.
Our homes are filled with items we rarely use. Consider selling these items to put extra cash in your hand that can be used for all those new baby expenses. Have a garage sale, utilize consignment sales or sell items in online marketplaces.
Look at the family budget and evaluate where you easily can trim expenses. Do you belong to a gym, have club memberships, subscriptions or other monthly bills for services you don’t use enough to justify the expense? Discuss with your partner whether some of these items can be cut to free up the money for other expenses.
A simple way to save money is to do things yourself. Cleaning and lawn services are nice but expensive. Taking care of it yourself is free. Instead of paying someone to repair or remodel things around the house, try it yourself first and save the money you would have spent on labor.
Bringing home a new baby is an adjustment in many ways, and financial priorities may have shifted in your family. In time, you will adjust to your new lifestyle and budget and you will feel comfortable with budgeting after Baby.
11 Ways to Find Hidden Cash in Your Home
You may have potential cash lying around your house in the form of unused items that can be sold for cash.
- Gently used designer clothes, shoes and purses
- Gold or silver jewelry—even broken items
- Old cell phones or electronics
- Books, CDs and DVDs you no longer use
- Gift cards
- Things that were gifts or freebies that you never have used
- Collectibles such as figurines, coins or stamps
- Outdoor or sporting equipment
- Musical instruments
- Formal dresses that were only worn once
- Home decor and antiques
Sarah Lyons is a stay-at-home mom of six children, including 2-year-old triplets. She has learned to cut costs and save money in a variety of ways over the years as they added to their family.