Along with a new baby comes what seems like a world of new expenses. Whether it is diapers, formula, clothing or medical expenses, it seems like you are constantly spending money. In fact, past studies have shown that a parent could spend anywhere from $150,000 to $250,000 on a child up to the time they are eighteen years old. So if you are on a budget or having a hard time meeting expenses, how do you mitigate some of the costs associated with a new baby? We’ll give you some suggestions that could ease the financial strains that new kids bring.
Breastfeeding vs Formula
To start, if you can, always consider breastfeeding. It is the least expensive way to go and the health benefits of breastfeeding are well documented. Newborns have to be fed milk or formula every two to three hours for their first few months and if you choose not to breastfeed or are unable to do so, the constant buying of formula becomes your biggest expense.
Baby formula is not cheap and it is usually not wise to change a baby’s formula if they are tolerating the existing one well. So while you may find a cheaper brand or discover that you can save some money by buying powdered formula over pre-made formula, once you have chosen one it may not be feasible to make a change. So if your baby has not been born yet, now is the time to plan on which formula to give him that will keep this expense manageable, but if at all posible, consider breastfeeding as your number one option.
Once your baby is old enough to start eating food, you will have some financial relief because he will not need to be fed as frequently as during the time he was drinking formula. Baby food is also less expensive than formula. But this is another expense that you can reduce. To do so, you can make your own baby food at home. Just buy vegetables and chicken or meat and mix them up in a blender. You will have a puree with a similar consistency as baby food that will be significantly cheaper and is a healthy alternative. This puree can be stored and used for a couple of days as well and babies usually love them.
All babies have to visit the doctor regularly, whether for periodically scheduled vaccinations or because they become sick, so you will not be able to avoid medical expenses. There are options available for low income parents without workplace health insurance. You may qualify for a government assistance program like Medicaid. You may also want to check with your general doctor, who can tell you what programs are available in your area.
Other than Medicaid for health assistance, there are government programs to assist you with items such as food. The WIC program is designed to help moderate to low income families with food and educational resources. You may also qualify for Food Stamps, which is an assistance program that provides you with a check card and a monthly allowance of money placed on the card to be used for food purchases.
If you don’t qualify for government assistance, but are struggling with your child expenses, you can look for discounts and coupons. All major supermarket, pharmaceutical and department store chains issue discount coupons or have sales periodically. Check your local newspaper weekly, especially on the weekends, for sales and coupons. Also, check the aisles next to each product that you buy in the supermarket as many times there will be a coupon dispenser where you can pick up a coupon for an instant discount. You can also visit the websites of food or baby product manufacturers and register to receive coupons and special offers by email from them. Diaper makers like Pampers and Huggies will often send you coupons when you register for their mailing list.
Not only medicine, but everyday items such as diapers can be purchased much cheaper if you bypass the name brand and go for the store brand. There is normally not a drop off in quality by buying store brand diapers and the saving can be quite large. When you factor in that your child will go through multiple diapers every day for at least the first two years, buying diapers will become the largest baby related expense that you will have during that time. This is one that cannot be eliminated but it can be greatly reduced.
Avoid name brand clothing as much as possible. Babies will outgrow anything you put on them in no time so it is not financially wise to buy them expensive name brand clothes and shoes that they will only use a couple of times over a short period of time. This is especially true with shoes. Babies will seldom need to use shoes and spending on designer footwear for them is usually a waste.
As tempting as it is to buy your baby the latest toy craze or some toy that looks cute to you, getting an inexpensive toy will provide the same level of entertainment for a baby than anything that may cost you upwards of $50. Kids, especially babies and toddlers, are amused by the simplest toys, the ones that don’t do much or aren’t even very attractive, but they seem to captivate their interest the most. These usually wind up being their favorite toy.
Always Be On The Lookout For Ways To Cut Expenses
There are many ways to cut down on baby expenses and, while it is unavoidable to have these expenses, if you are creative and look for ways to reduce them you can always find reductions. The techniques we just showed you are an effective way to control some of the most common costs that you will encounter as a parent of a newborn.
If money is tight for you then you should be continuously looking for ways to reduce your expenses, much the same way that a company does it when earnings are down or a government agency does when the economy is on a downswing. Once you become accustomed to looking for ways to minimize expenses, these techniques will become second nature to you and you will come up with new methods of your own.