Did you know the average cost of raising a baby is around $10,000 just for the first year? It sounds nearly impossible to afford that to many people. But I am here to tell you there is another way! I spent right under $4000 from March 2015 to March 2016 on my little girl. I could have spent even less than that because this girl has way too much stuff! You might be thinking she must have looked like a rag doll so I’ve included a picture of my daughter under the “buying used” section to show you that spending less money doesn’t mean you have to look poor. So how did I do it? Here are 13 tips to help you spend under $4000 on babys first year.
There is no mysteriousness behind saving money, but it does require expanding your knowledge in the area just like anything else you aim to get better at in life. Do you want to know why $10,000 is the average parents are spending? Simply, because that’s exactly what all those big advertising agencies want a parent to think is normal.
And another awesome thing is this is the total before I resell any items. The total after resale is around $3024 depending on if people talk me down and I sell lower than what I want too.
Here is an itemized list of what I have spent on all items, what I expect to get on the resell, and what I have actually got off of the items I have already sold.
1.Buy mostly used
The cheapest outfits for babies when you buy new are around $8 and can go up as high as $30+! Unless it’s a pretty dress, I never spend over $1 on any article of baby clothing. A lot of the time I pay around .25 to .50 cents per item. That’s huge savings and you will definitely be able to sell it for what you paid for it after baby grows into the next size in a couple of months.
Pretty much everything is fine to buy used for your baby. I have things that I prefer new. Like my breast pump and anything else that LO uses to eat. Also, car seat safety is very important so be careful when buying a car seat second-hand. You never know if it has been through an accident unless you really know the person you are buying it from.
Some great ways to get cheap stuff that I use are thrift stores, garage sales, Craigslist, and my favorite Facebook yard sale pages in the area. I use Facebook a lot for both buying and selling. Also, ‘Once Upon A Child’ is an awesome children’s thrift store. My itemized list above is a great example of what good used prices are.
Check out my post How To Make Quick Money On Facebook to find out how to use the yard sale pages.
I paid roughly $253 for my stash of 28 Alva Baby one-size cloth diapers, 3 overnight fitted diapers, 3 wet bags, and 3 pail liners. (Amazon sells the same diapers, wet bags, and pail liners that I use.) You can also buy some of these items much cheaper used if you are comfortable with that and don’t mind searching around a bit. The one-size diapers adjust to fit baby up until they are 35 pounds. The price might seem like a big chunk but disposables will cost around $800 for the generic diapers in just the first year alone. If you are pregnant, break it up buying them into increments. Buy a couple a month or something. It’s really not as bad and scary as people think. I was freaked out by them for the first couple months and used disposables. I bought a couple cheap cloth diapers to try part-time and gave up disposables completely.
Even part-time cloth saves you money and most of them are pee diapers anyways. I started doing it because of the money I’d save, but have you ever looked into how many chemicals are in disposables? I see all these babies with chemical burns on their little tushies and it makes me want to cry. I’ll stop there but seriously check into it.
For an easy approach to cloth diapering check out my post Using Cloth Diapers in 3 Easy Steps.
It’s free! And formula is far from it. I am not an expert on formula, but you will probably go through about a 33.2 oz. can a week that costs about $20. Baby won’t eat as much once you start on some solids around six months, but do the math. Formula will cost you a lot of money! $720 (I cut the last 6 months amount in half) compared to free is just crazy talk. I know I wouldn’t want to give my baby something some people cooked up in a lab.
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least six months and up to two years or beyond. With all these people with health problems on the rise, one has to look at the “scientific formula” as a possible contributor. I know breastfeeding is not always an option for everyone, but that is actually very rare. It seems so hard to some, but after the beginning, it really is so easy. I never thought I’d make it to a year during those first couple weeks, but I’m so happy I stuck with it.
One thing I wish people knew is it’s not all or nothing! Obviously, EBF is best, but do part breast milk and part formula if you must. Check out my in-depth article Become An Expert BEFORE You Start Breastfeeding to learn everything I wish I would have known when I started breastfeeding.
4.Have family or friends babysit
Childcare is crazy expensive! Especially for an infant. You will pay anywhere from $4000-$15000 annually depending on which state you live in. Family and friends will usually give you a good deal or maybe even watch your child for free. Plus who is better to watch your child? There are many psychos hurting babies in day cares these days, even the ones with cameras. It is certainly a crazy world we live in. I understand that not everyone has someone around to help, though. Make sure you check into government child care programs to help you out if needed. You could be eligible for free or discounted child care. If you have an extra room you could have someone you trust move in and work something out to where they can help with your LO.
So I really didn’t use a lot of coupons, but if you have the patience to do it you can save a lot of money. And there are also a lot of good apps out to help you save money on everyday items. The app Shopkick rewards you just for shopping at your local grocery stores. I did use some coupons when I bought disposable diapers. The diaper manufacturers usually offer them on their websites. Also, some baby registries give you coupons.
6.Family and friends help get baby stuff
Send people your baby registry so they can help you out and/or have a baby shower. I have also heard of some people doing online baby showers. If you know some people with baby stuff they are not using ask them if they wouldn’t mind giving some things to you. Or if you aren’t comfortable with that, ask them if you could buy some of their stuff. You could get a really awesome deal or they may just give it to you anyways!
7.Make your own baby food
It costs roughly $1.5 for a 3 oz. serving for baby food at the store, but if you buy one small bag of carrots that are $1, you will get about twelve 1 oz. servings. That’s big savings! And it’s way healthier too! Who knows what crap they put into packaged foods nowadays? I’m pretty sure we all know it’s bad at this point, though. I started mashing up whatever I was eating and my lo would eat that around 7 ½ months. You really only need to worry about baby food for 2-3 months so it’s not too bad.
Take a look at my article Quick Guide To Homemade Baby Food to learn how to fit making baby food into a busy lifestyle.
8.Make your own wipes
I did this for the first 7 months not really to save money, but because I am an anti-chemical fanatic I guess. It is really cheap, though. I used bounty paper towels cut to size in a container and poured a cleaning solution on them. I used 1 C. of water, 1 T.coconut oil, and 1 T.Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap. I also use this same mixture in a foam dispenser for her bath soap. You could also use the same solution with cloth wipes and really save money. Either soaked in a container or spray baby’s booty with the solution and wipe.
9.Stay at home
If it is possible, have one parent stay home with baby to save money on a babysitter. No reason to work, work, work for a bunch of stuff you don’t need and miss out on baby’s best years if you can help it. Plus baby will love seeing mommy or daddy’s face every day! Or alternate shifts at work with someone in the household if you are able.
10. Use the library
Instead of buying a bunch of books, check out your local libraries selection. It’s a great bonding experience and helps build your baby’s vocabulary. I started reading to my LO as soon as she came home from the hospital and now she absolutely loves books! Also, a lot of libraries have story time for anyone to sit in on.
11.Don’t go crazy on gifts
I know we all want to give our kids the best, but more isn’t always better. There are too many spoiled rotten kids theses days. And hey, it leaves more money to go do something together. Also, I know my LO loves spatulas and stuff that I use more than her own toys anyways!
12.You don’t have to get a bigger place
There are many ways to make life comfortable with limited space. Now if you have an extra bedroom that’s great, but if not don’t stress about needing to upgrade right away. Plus, it’s best if your baby is in your room anyways. They sleep better when they are closer to you. How scary for baby to sleep all by themselves when they are fresh out of the womb? According to the National Institutes of Health, keeping your baby in the room with you also has been proven to lower their risk of SIDs.
13.WIC/SNAP/ government assistance if needed
Don’t feel ashamed to get help if you need it. I had never needed assistance before and have always prided myself on my independence, but when I first became a single mother that extra money for food helped a lot. That is what it’s there for. WIC helps with formula, food, and they have a Lactation Consultant on staff that will help you if you intend to breastfeed. They are also a good place to help you find other programs that you could be eligible for. SNAP is also a great resource. It provided me with $320 a month for food. Do what you have to do for you and your LO. Don’t be ashamed of needing some help when you’re down on your luck. People that want to make it a life decision are the problem, not good parents like you!
Let me know what tips you plan to try from this list in the comments below!
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