A few weeks ago I was emailed by a reader that asked me how to start budgeting or figure out a budget for a new baby. Of course she'd heard the statistic that babies cost something like $12,000 per year.
That's a lot. And that's a scary number to think about for the cost of raising such a tiny thing! After raising a baby for the last year I can tell you that the number above doesn't have to be accurate for you! If you follow some general tips and learn how to start budgeting for a new baby you can end the first year of baby's life without stressing about your empty pocketbook and just enjoying the miracle you were given. Here are some ideas:
1. Plan to cloth diaper. I promise it's not as icky as you think it is! Make sure to read my post all about cheap cloth diapers to find out more details on how to cloth diaper for less. Even if you still use disposable diapers for some outtings you will save in the long run with cloth diapering. And it will help you save money on the next baby!
2. Only buy used baby clothing. Let your family and friend give you gifts of new clothes. Save over 75% off a regular baby's clothing budget by shopping at thrift stores and garage sales for clothing. Here's an example of one of my trips: Why You Don't Pay Retail for Kid's Clothing.
3. Grow your own food to feed baby. We discovered that baby's just want to eat what you are eating! So we fed our little guy just that and he never grew to even like the taste of baby food. One thing that also helped save us time was feeding baby our home canned goods. They were pre-cooked and already soft and so easy to pull off the pantry shelf! So even though our little guy started finger feeding in the winter he still was able to enjoy yummy peaches, pears, green beans, apples, and more that I had canned up the summer before.
4. Really figure out what it's costing you to work outside the home. Much of that $12,000 a year expense is for daycare and things you need for baby while you are at work during the day. I've worked with many of my friends to help them re-do their budgets to be able to stay at home with baby instead of having to work. Of course this isn't an option for everyone but it is a good idea to figure out what it's costing you to work before you just assume that working outside the home is the only way.
5. Don't give in to all the "baby things"! Oh my, there are so many things for baby out there! And I would agree that some of them are so nice to have, like a good stroller, a nice swing, LOVE!, ect. But when you are out and shopping for things for baby just ask yourself the question before you buy..."Does baby really need this?" Baby's need food, clothing, clean diapers, and a safe place to sleep. They do not need a fancy jumping toy (that takes up your whole living room anyways), brand name clothing (they are just going to throw up on it), or every new "educational" toy on the market (they'd rather play with your measuring cups!). Focus on those things that baby really needs and you will be just fine.
6. Toys are just something for you to step on. We learned pretty quickly that baby wasn't interested in the store bought toys. Sure, he did have a few things he enjoyed like stuffed animals, musical istruments, and wooden stacking toys, but otherwise there was always something else he'd rather play with. Think about making your own toys instead of spending the extra money on them or buy them used at a garage sale to save. One of the toys our guy really likes is our Homemade Baby Sensory Toy. It didn't cost anything to make!
7. Make your own baby ointments. Get the best lotions and creams out there without the high price tag! Some we've posted so far are, Coconut Oil Lotion (works great on excema!) and The Best Diaper Rash Cream. Another easy, natural thing to make is Homemade Cloth Baby Wipes.
So basically if you just spend the first year focusing on baby and the things he really needs (he really just needs you!), you should be just fine. Just like having anything...don't stress over having the newest and the best, it doesn't always pay for its-self in the long run.
What are some ways you planned your own budgeting for a new baby that would help a new mom-to-be?
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