When it comes to talking about having a baby a lot of people will say, “Having a baby is so expensive.” I disagree; it’s whatever you make it (with the exception of daycare costs). If you plan some things out before having a baby that can help.
By nature, I’m a planner. I don’t necessarily have to write everything out in full detail, but I at least like to have some idea in mind of what I want and how I would like for it to go. Having a baby was no exception. Omar and I decided that after we were married we wanted to be married for at least a year and if at all possible have a house before we had a baby. We also wanted to have some money saved up.
We were married for 1.5 years before getting pregnant (and yes we had our house as well). Once we found out I was pregnant we discussed ideas that would not make having a child “so expensive”. Here are some of the things we did and ways to prevent a baby from affecting your budget.
ONE. Don’t Find Out The Gender of Your Baby
I don’t know what made me not want to find out the gender of our baby. It was something we discussed before I was even pregnant. I guess I wanted to be surprised. What was surprising is that Omar agreed to go along with it because I just knew he was going to tell me no!
This ended up helping us a lot. When you have a baby shower most people love to buy clothes for the baby or at least one outfit if they’re buying something else off your registry. Buying clothes is even more tempting when you know the gender of the baby.
Since we didn’t know the gender, most people bought other things on our registry that we needed. Those that did buy clothes either bought white onesies or gender neutral outfits, which is what I wanted anyway. After our baby was born, the people who really wanted to buy gender-specific clothes still ended up getting some. So it was a win-win situation.
TWO. Don’t Be Ashamed To Take Hand-me-downs
I will admit it; I like new things. Who doesn’t? However, I also like to save money. So, therefore, I see nothing wrong with using gently used hand-me-downs.
One of my friends gave us a bassinet that she had used several years ago with her son (he was 12 when I was pregnant). She also gave us a swing that she used with her youngest son.
Once our son was born a neighbor and coworker gave us huge bins of boy clothes. Between this and getting gender neutral clothing at the baby shower, we haven’t spent much on clothes for our son at all. And he’s almost three! I’ve only bought him a couple pair of pants or shorts if we didn’t already have his size, and some shirts if I found some on sale and I thought they were cute.
I did have to buy him shoes. Even babies/toddlers seem to be hard on shoes. I guess that’s why I didn’t get many as hand-me-downs!
THREE. Stay Out Of The Baby Section
Speaking of baby clothes, shoes, etc. . . Don’t even tempt yourself! Baby clothes are so cute. However, unless it’s a special occasion, something that is needed, or a really really really good deal, then don’t waste your money buying a lot of baby clothes. Our son spent a lot of his time in onesies unless we were going somewhere; they were just so convenient. And we saved the other clothes for when we were actually leaving the house.
Disclaimer: I have already told Omar that if we have a daughter one day that I can’t guarantee that I will be able to stay out of the baby girl section. Baby girl clothes are just sooo cute. I did promise that I would always get a good deal though. That was my compromise! Lol.
FOUR. Use Cloth Diapers
I know this one isn’t for everyone. However, it is something that worked for us. The cost of cloth diapers can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it, especially if you get sucked into buying all the cute little covers.
I had a friend who used cloth diapers and she told me all about them. After I understood everything, for the most part, then I told Omar about it. I told him I would let him decide if we would use cloth diapers or not because if he wasn’t interested then there would be no point.
Well, Omar surprised me when he said he wanted to use cloth diapers. His reason didn’t surprise me at all – the cost savings. The average cost of diapers for the first year can add up to more than $550. Depending on which cloth diapers you choose to buy, you could get a stash that costs less than that. Also, your child would be able to use them past a year, maybe even until it’s time to potty train depending on which kind you choose. And you can use them for the next child as well, which is what we plan to do in the future.
Some people say that in return your electric bill and water bill will increase if you’re washing your cloth diapers at home. However, we didn’t notice a change in either of our bills. And we washed the diapers every other day.
If cloth diapers aren’t for you, then you can always add different sizes of diapers to your baby registry for your baby shower. And if you’re afraid that people might not be interested in buying diapers for you, then maybe do a raffle where for each box of diapers they bring then they have a chance to win a gift at the baby shower. Besides, who doesn’t like to win free stuff?!
I won’t go into all the details about breastfeeding vs formula and the benefits of each and which is best for the baby. However, from a financial aspect breastfeeding is cheaper than formula because it’s free. If you have to pump for any reason and give the breastmilk in a bottle, then obviously it’s no longer free. But just strictly speaking in regards to breastfeeding vs formula and which is cheaper… Breastfeeding is free.
SIX. Make Your Own Baby Food
We never bought any baby food for our child once he was able to start eating solids. We bought a small food processor and made him his own baby food depending on what we were having for dinner. If we were having something that he couldn’t eat we made sure to plan ahead so that we would have something on hand that he was able to eat. This saved us money as well as gave me a sense of satisfaction that he was eating fresh food.
If you don’t think you have time to do this, planning ahead can help. For instance, if you have a sweet potato, the baby can eat off of that for a couple of days because it’s not like he is eating that much at a time anyway. Also, you can prepare some stuff ahead of time and freeze it.
SEVEN. Budget For Baby To Have Spending Money
This is my favorite idea that I came up with in regards to how our first baby was going to impact our budget. Omar thought it was a crazy idea and felt that a baby shouldn’t have spending money. Since we do a zero-based balanced budget we allocate all our money once we get paid. However, anything can happen at any time with a baby or there could be something you’ve been wanting to buy for the baby once it goes on sale. In both cases, you would need money.
I figured since Omar and I both have spending money (or blow money as we like to call it) out of every check, why shouldn’t our baby have it? I told Omar it would be a great idea because
- We wouldn’t have to use our own blow money to buy the baby anything.
- It could be used for whatever the baby may need.
- Most importantly I wouldn’t just waste the money on anything if the baby really didn’t need anything.
Once our son was born I asked Omar again. He reluctantly agreed, and when we got our first paychecks, I happily gave him some blow money. He only gets $60 every 2 weeks, and it has worked out great. We used it one time when he was sick and needed medicine, but we didn’t have our HSA card. But it was more commonly used when he needed more cloth diapers (or disposable diapers for when we left the house) as well as for clothes, shoes, toys, etc.
There have been times where he didn’t need anything and I would put the money in his savings account. This is by far one of the most cost effective ideas I’ve come up with!