Having children can be expensive. From the cost of daycare to buying clothes what seems like every two weeks to finally sending them off to college, raising a child can top $200,000. The first year alone can have parents reaching deep into their pockets as they outfit their nursery, buy hundreds of diapers, pay premiums for day care, and struggle to clothe their rapidly growing baby. However, with a little planning and some smart choices, parents can cut costs for big savings in the long run. Here are a few ways that you can save money on a new baby:
Skip the Hospital
The cost of having a baby in the hospital can be $5,000 to $10,000, depending on where you live and whether there were any complications during delivery. A caesarian delivery can cost even more. Alternative options such as having a natural birth at a birth center or at home can save you thousands. A certified midwife attends these births, and transfer to the local hospital can be arranged in case of emergency. Women whose pregnancies are considered high-risk are not eligible to deliver in a birth center or at home.
Choose a Natural Diet
Your body was designed to feed your baby everything he or she needs to grow and be healthy. Breast milk is not only the best food to give your baby, but it is also free. Formula can contain artificial preservatives and other harmful chemicals, and it can be quite expensive. Feed your baby breast milk for at least the first six months to year of life to save money, promote health, and encourage bonding.
Do It Yourself
After formula, diapers and wipes may make the biggest dent in your pocketbook. Newborns can go through 12 or more diapers a day. Over the course of the first year, you could purchase thousands of diapers. Save money by making your own cloth diapers and wipes. You can spend less than $50 to make diapers to last you those first several years. If you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase cloth diapers for a larger investment. Enough cloth diapers for the first couple of years can cost you a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the brand and how many you purchase. However, this is still a smaller investment that disposable diapers over the first several years.
Think Outside the Store
It’s tempting to run right out and buy your baby a whole new adorable wardrobe and to spend thousands of dollars on themed nursery decor. Chances are that your new baby will grow so fast that he’ll never be able to wear some of those clothes and that you won’t be spending enough time in that nursery to enjoy it. Don’t waste money on clothes and gear that you may not need or that you will use for only a brief period of time. Look for baby items at consignment stores and yard sales to get these items at a fraction of the price. When others offer you their hand-me-downs, accept them. If your friends with children don’t want to give you their old baby items, they may be willing to let you borrow them. After all, you won’t really need that bouncy, vibrating seat after the first two or three months anyway.
Sharing is Caring
Daycare prices for infant care rival those of mortgages these days. Unless you have a retired mother or some other benevolent relative on hand to care for your baby, there aren’t many ways to get around paying someone else to take care of your baby. However, there are a few ways that you can save on child care. Look for nanny shares or babysitting co-ops in your area. These arrangements allow you to share a nanny with one or two other parents, with each of you chipping in payment while the nanny watches all of your children. You’ll pay far less than what you would for dedicated full-time care. Babysitting co-ops pair up parents who are willing to trade off childcare duties. Depending on your schedule, you may watch children in the group one day or a few hours a week in exchange for other parents doing the same for you. If you have enough people involved, and schedules are flexible enough, you could work out full-time care this way.
While there’s no question that raising children can be expensive, there are many ways that you can cut costs over time. Look for ways to make your own products, borrow or buy used, and find ways to share duties. You’ll at least save enough to make it through the teen years when new cars, smart phones and college tuition make it onto your radar.
About the Author:
Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research onnursing courses online and nursing schools in texas.