Guest post from Jennifer from Multicultural Marriage
My husband and I welcomed our first child last year. One of the best things we did beforehand was to consider how we’d save money on all the new expenses while still providing the best possible care for our baby.
While you can’t plan for everything, here are eight ways I found helpful in cutting costs:
1. Identify must-haves vs. nice-to-haves.
While you’re pregnant, ask other moms what items they found most useful (and what they didn’t need). For example, I made nursing pillows a “nice-to-have” and found I didn’t need them after all.
2. Revisit baby registries.
You can save a lot of money through registries (see a few ideas in this post).
Bonus tip: Extend your actual due date by a few months so you can keep using your registries after your child is born. Change items as needed, and use coupons and discounts as long as you can! Also, think of future expenses such as high chairs and potties.
3. Wait on buying toys and clothes.
We just passed the one-year milestone and have bought fewer than five toys, even though our house is flooded with them!
Friends and family (especially grandparents!) may exceed your expectations in this area. Restrain yourself — close your eyes as you pass that insanely cute onesie on sale! — until you’re certain it won’t come as a gift.
4. Explore health insurance options.
Instead of a PPO plan, we chose a cheaper HMO plan that cost hundreds, not thousands, of dollars for a hospital delivery. For those interested, midwives or birthing centers may be even cheaper if they’re eligible for coverage.
5. Try breastfeeding vs. formula.
If this is an option, I heartily recommend it. It makes mom and baby feel more connected, it helps you lose baby weight, it’s healthier, and it’s a whole lot cheaper!
6. Shop around.
If I had time, I tried to compare prices (especially on big-ticket items) using the Internet first, then consignment, then in-store. Our car seat and stroller were cheaper in-store, but the crib was cheaper in consignment. Meanwhile, our high chair was cheapest online with a store coupon.
7. Try cloth vs. disposable diapers (or a mix of both).
It’s not the most glamorous job to clean cloth diapers, but saving hundreds of dollars (along with all the other reasons I wanted cloth diapers) may help you swallow a little easier on each trip to the toilet. Also, helping the environment is a bonus!
8. Go washable.
From changing pad liners to cloth diapers to nursing bra pads, reusable items are some of your best friends. They may cost more up front, but they’ll save you big bucks by the end of the first year… or even the first month.
These are just a few of the ways we saved on our first baby… however I’d love to hear from you!
What have you found most effective for inexpensive baby care?
Jennifer (blogging at Multicultural Marriage and @multiculturalm on Twitter) is all about celebrating and supporting multicultural families. She and her husband live in the U.S. with their first child, a daughter, who is (in their opinion) the cutest baby on the planet.