Having a baby can be an overwhelming, exciting, and nerve-wracking experience. So many changes so quickly, and you have to learn a lot as you go.
A baby affects your finances in a big way. Between the hospital bills, baby gear, diapers, formula, and everything else the baby needs to be healthy, you can easily spend thousands of dollars before the baby even arrives.
If your budget has felt a little tight, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with these tried-and-true ways to save money when you have a baby.
But first, let’s examine several budget-related questions we frequently hear from new parents or soon-to-be moms and dads.
How Much Money Should You Save Before Having a Baby?
Some sources suggest babies can cost $11,195 or more in the first year. But don’t let that number scare you—that figure is high because of the cost of delivery. With good insurance and smart financial decisions, having a baby can cost much less.
Save as much as you can, but don’t worry if you don’t have that amount before the baby is born.
How Much per Month Does a Baby Cost?
How much you spend on your baby per month will vary based on the specifics of your situation and financial choices. However, when it comes to necessities, babies usually cost around $50 per week (or $200 per month), according to Parenting.com. This calculation is based on diapers, formula, and baby food only. The cost is far higher when you factor in clothing, doctor visits, and childcare.
However, If you breastfeed, buy diapers and wipes in bulk (or cloth diapers), that number may be lower.
How Much Should You Make a Year to Have a Baby?
There is no definitive answer to this. The USDA reports the average middle income family will spend about $12,980 per year per child. But families can (and do) spend far less per year.
How Much Do Diapers Cost Monthly?
It varies, but on average, you can expect to pay about $120 for disposable diapers and wipes per month.
In contrast, after the initial costs of cloth diapers (usually around $500 total), there’s not much you have to pay for except for laundry detergent.
How Much Does a Newborn Cost a Week?
If we take the USDA’s calculation for the average cost of raising a child ($1,060 per month) and divide it by four, that’s about $265 per week you can expect to spend on your baby.
How Much Should You Save per Month for Your Child?
It’s a smart idea to save money for your child’s college fund. Saving between $250-$550 per month should help you cover tuition by their 18th birthday
11 Ways To Save Money When You Have a Baby
How can a first-time parent save money? Plenty of ways. With a little creativity, you can make your dollars stretch and still have enough to take care of your little one.
1. Breastfeed if Possible
Breastfeeding can save you thousands of dollars on formula. Breastfeeding can also lend your budget some needed stability during formula shortages and periods of rising inflation. It also gives your baby essential antibodies and can help to increase the bond between mother and child.
However, breastfeeding is not an option for everyone, and sometimes formula feeding is the best choice for both parent and baby. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to save money when you have a baby.
2. Accept Hand-Me-Downs
Chances are you have a friend, sibling, or neighbor who has children who have outgrown their newborn or baby clothes.
Bring up the topic of baby clothes with another parent, and they’ll likely offer you their gently used or unused baby clothes without you even needing to ask.
You’ll get baby clothes for free while helping them declutter their homes. Everybody wins.
3. Buy Used Baby Clothes
Babies throw up on everything. They have blowouts. They also change sizes quickly (sometimes multiple times per month!).
Buying used clothes will make you less worried about keeping outfits pristine. It will also save you money and help you keep costs low when updating the baby’s wardrobe.
4. Don’t Buy a New Postpartum Wardrobe Right Away
Just like with pregnancy, a woman’s body can change a lot during postpartum. Women should give their shape time to stabilize before restocking their wardrobe.
If you have to buy new clothes, however, buy a few comfortable (stretchy) pieces that will still fit if you gain or lose weight in the post-birth months.
5. Buy Used Baby Furniture
Your baby’s needs for bassinets, cribs, bouncers, and other furniture will change as they grow. Buy used pieces to keep costs low, then resell them when your baby outgrows them.
6. Don’t Buy Baby Blankets
So many people will give baby blankets to you as gifts and hand-me-downs that you’ll probably find yourself with more blankets than you know what to do with.
Also, babies should never sleep with blankets because of the risk of SIDS, so you’ll really only need them for swaddling or going out in cold weather.
7. Buy Diapers Wholesale
Big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco often sell large boxes of diapers at a discount price. While the upfront cost may be higher, you’ll save money in the long run.
8. Stock Up on Free Samples and Coupons
After you have a baby, some marketing companies will send you coupons and free samples of useful stuff like formula, diaper cream, and baby shampoo. Often your hospital and pediatric office also give away free samples.
Take advantage while you can.
9. Ask for Recommendations
Baby gear like strollers and car seats are expensive. Before buying a $300 stroller, ask other parents for recommendations of their favorite (and cost-effective) equipment, so you don’t make costly mistakes.
10. Make Your Own Baby Food
Baby food is expensive at $2-$7 per tiny jar. You can make baby food for a fraction of the cost. Plus, when you make your own, you get to decide which ingredients to use, which means no preservatives and little to no sugar.
There are plenty of recipes online, but making baby food can be as simple as blending up a banana and serving it to the baby with a spoon.
11. Try Cloth Diapering
Cloth diapering is a much more cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to using disposable diapers. Cloth diapering requires a bit of an investment up-front, but saves hundreds of dollars in the long run.
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Babies can be expensive, and sometimes even the most budget-conscious parent can find themselves in a financial bind when their bundle of joy arrives. When your finances feel overwhelming, Power Finance Texas can help.
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