Saving money has become a popular trend lately, but how can you cut back on expenses now that you have a baby on the way? Parents overwhelmingly don't want to compromise their little one's comfort or safety, but they want to make smart economic decisions too. So I have identified a few areas of baby "fat" and have some pointers on how you can "trim" it.
Seriously, the amount that is charged for formula, (which is a severely inferior form of nutrition anyway) is out of control! Also, the bottles, nipples, warmers and all of the paraphernalia that goes with bottle feeding your baby don't come cheap either. So, if from day one you are focused and determined to make breastfeeding work, you can save a sizable chunk of change. It won't be easy, at least most of the mothers I have talked to say that the first few weeks, even the first month or two, of breastfeeding were terribly uncomfortable and stressful. However, there is lots of help out there to assist you with everything from finding the best latch, to treating sore nipples. You might even take a gander at my own "5 tips for pain-free breastfeeding". Just keep reminding yourself that the benefits your baby will get from it, and the financial savings as well, are more than enough reasons to keep trying when it gets tough.
2. Cloth Diapers.
Sure they are a bit more pricey up front, and a little more work down the line, but over all they are an amazing way to save not only the environment, but your wallet as well. There have been many advances in cloth diapering in the last 10 to 20 years, so it's not quite as hard a choice as it once was. If you are looking for real, lasting savings, invest in some of these fluffy little bottom covers for your baby, and smile to yourself every time you hear other mothers complain about how many diapers their little super-pooper is going through, and how expensive it is over the next two years.
3. Recycled Clothing.
I know that no one likes to be the "Second Hand Rose", but honestly, your baby doesn't know any different, and he will have grown out of the hand-me-downs before you know it. There are many ways to hook yourself up with a great source for recycled baby clothes. Basically any parent of a baby who is around 6 months older than yours will likely be looking to unload a box or two of gently used baby clothes. So, ask at church, synagogue or temple, at your knitting circle, online communities, even a neighborhood block party is a good place to find a source for new-to-me outfits. The money you save will really add up over the first couple of years, since every three months or so your little bundle of joy will need a whole new wardrobe.
4. Public Library.
Every couple of months there is a new must-have parent-to-be book on the market. Some of them are great, some of them are fairly redundant. However, they all are going to cost you, unless you take a trip to your local library every month or so to pick one up for free. Classics like the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" series and " The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby" may cost quite a bit at amazon, but they are all available at your local library for nothing. Another benefit of this approach is that you can check out several competing perspectives on parenting and compare them to find the best fit for your family without dropping a dime (unless you forget to return them on time).
5. Home Made Birth Announcements.
Birth announcements might seem like a bit of an extravagance at a time when you are trying to pinch your pennies, but one of the results of sending out these cute little cards is a sudden influx of gifts and cash from friends and family to help you out with the new baby. With a computer and a printer, you can put together a pretty nice baby announcement at home and print out however many copies you might need. Then, for pennies on the dollar, you can spread the word to all who might be interested that your new adorable little tax deduction has arrived.
One of the side effects of becoming a parent is often a sudden awareness of exactly how poor you really are. However, with a few extras trimmed away, and a few frugal substitutions made, you can make the transition into family life with less of a financial splash. If you have found these tips to be helpful, please forward them to any new or expecting parents you might know. Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome. Happy parenting!