Having a baby really does change everything and your wallet is no exception. With expenses coming at you from the pediatrician, baby food, the drug store, diapers, and clothes as well as a whole host of other places, it is not hard to see that it's a good idea to put your baby on a budget. If you are expecting or have already received another addition to your family, just remembering a few tips can help you avoid a postpartum recession.
If breastfeeding is something you are able to do it can be beneficial from a cost saving standpoint alone. Formula can be expensive and adds up over time. If you can skip all of that for the first six months, give or take a few, then it can really bolster your baby budget.
Resist the urge to turn your baby into a dress up doll by going on a baby clothes shopping spree. Sure it's fun to have your baby sit around in a tiny three piece suit or in your favorite sports team's jersey but it's not exactly practical. Remember, babies have sudden and unpredictable growth spurts and his or her entire wardrobe will be useless in just a few weeks. Consider this:
- Limit the wardrobe. Your baby doesn't need very many outfits for the day to day, a few sets will do as long as you have some backups for when things get messy.
- Buy or borrow used baby clothes. Remember, that lots of people have gone through this stage which means there may be people in your family and friends that have baby clothes they don't need. Especially for special occasion clothing, buying second hand can save you a lot of money and can look just as nice as new clothes. I mean, it's not as if the little guy that wore it before fit into it much longer than your baby will.
- Buy booties not shoes. Shoes are typically more expensive and booties are just plain comfortable. Hard soled shoes can be cumbersome for a baby, while soft soled booties offer versatility and dexterity, as well as protection.
- Get cloth diapers. If you are willing to do the washing, cloth diapers can benefit your baby budget. The average baby needs changing somewhere around 70 times a week. That's a lot of diapers to buy, but on the other hand it's a lot of cloth to wash. While it's definitely cost effective, this one is up to you.
- If you do buy diapers buy them in bulk at a wholesale store.
To a baby, everything is a new experience. So, simple things can entertain them for hours. Anything sensory, like bright colors and interesting textures will be amazing to a baby. Remember they don't care about how expensive a toy is as long as it's fun. There are even a lot of everyday objects that can be really fun for a baby or toddler. The key, however, is to make sure they are safe with whatever is around them.
Furniture and Gear
Building a good baby budget by saving money in the top three areas is important because if there is one area that you will want to spend money in it's gear. Safety is the most important thing and manufacturers always upgrade baby gear with more safety features. This means, unfortunately, the newest is most often the safest.
- Cribs - Considering how much babies sleep, this is where your baby is going to spend a lot of time. There are plenty of suitable suitable items to be found online. It's important to have a safe, comfortable, and sturdy crib, especially if your baby is going to have a little brother or sister one day. You don't need anything fancy for multiple reasons. One is that a typical, safe, sturdy crib costs between $100 and $500, while fancy, garish cribs can cost over $1000. Another is that decorative features can sometimes break off and be either sharp or a choking hazard for a baby.
- Car Seats – You have two choices here. A rear facing infant seat or a convertible seat which starts out rear facing for infants and can be converted into a front facing seat for toddlers. You have numerous choices for either style. From a cost saving standpoint the convertible is better because you won't have to buy a new seat when your infant grows into a toddler. However, the smaller infant seats may be a bit safer because they are designed specifically for newborns.
- Stroller – There is a huge variety to consider, and one of the biggest factors is where you live. Crowded, urban settings require maneuverability and rural settings require large wheels for varying terrain. Is it just for in and out trips? Do you want to take long walks? Do you want to jog? Whatever you decide, there are common universal necessities. You'll need seatbelts, brakes, and to make it is sturdy and safe.
When planning your baby budget, obviously the most important things to consider are three basic human needs; food, sleep, and safety. Beyond this, keeping it simple will help you save money.