You're having a baby - congratulations. Babies can be expensive, but they don't have to be. Most parents fall into the trap of buying miniature everything. Not only does that drives up the cost of having a kid, it's pretty wasteful when it's all said and done. Here's how to cut the cost of raising a newborn without sacrificing the fun of being a parent:
Use Coupons For Baby Items
Most major manufacturers that make baby items offer mailing lists that you can sign up for to get coupons for baby stuff. Popular items always include diapers, formula, baby wipes, and toys. If you check off "planning to breastfeed," you'll also tend to get more and better coupons (and free samples) from formula manufacturers.
Breastfeeding is not only healthier for your baby, it saves you a lot of money on formula. Baby formula can cost upwards of $1,000 or more just for the first year. With breastfeeding, the costs are much lower. Even if you get a breast pump, breastfeeding bras, nursing wear, and ointments, the cost will be cheaper than formula - especially beyond the first year.
Buy a Convertible...Car Seat
Convertible car seats allow you to get more out of your child's seat. With infant seats, you have a small window of time to use them. You have to stop when the baby is 20 to 30 pounds. A convertible seat can be front or rear-facing, and it will accommodate kids from 5 to 40 or more pounds. You get more use out of the seat, spend less money, and your child is just as safe as if you had purchased two separate seats.
Buy Store Brand Formula
Because the FDA requires all store-brand formula to meet the same nutritional requirements as a brand name, you can skip the national brands without sacrificing quality - if you choose to go the formula route. It's not the healthiest option, but many mothers find it more convenient to formula feed beyond the first 6 months.
Skip Baby Detergent
Manufacturers of laundry detergent love to sell you on the idea of special cleansers for your baby's clothes. At one time, this was a necessity because the manufacturers loaded detergents with fragrances and dyes. Nowadays, you can buy fragrance-free and dye-free detergents that are just as safe as designer baby detergents and they're cheaper.
Buy Unisex Colors
If you're planning on having more than one child, unisex clothes are the way to go. Pink might look so cute on a baby girl, but she'll outgrow them before she wears out the fabric. With unisex clothes, your next child can have the hand-me-downs. Don't worry, your second child will be none-the-wiser, and you'll save yourself a boat-load of cash on clothes.
This follows the same rule as the unisex one - personalizing clothes means you can only use them once. What a waste. If you're planning for a second baby, skip the personalization and go straight for unmarked clothing. That doesn't mean they have to be boring. You can still buy interesting colored blankets, diaper bags, burp-rags, and toys. Just leave the name off.
Make Your Own Food
Baby food is expensive. Do yourself a favor and invest in a good food processor or blender. It will pay for itself within a year and your kiddo will have healthier, fresh, food.
Russell Matthews enjoys writing about saving money. You can read his twitter feeds here where he offers more money saving insights.
Posted by Jenna | Monday, September 16, 2013