Greeting a tiny new family member can be daunting, especially when you realize that insurance didn’t cover all those hospital and doctor charges. Be prepared. Big adjustments in your finances will likely be necessary and good planning can make the transition much easier and more successful.
It’s important to know that a 2010 U.S. Department of Agriculture report cited in Parenting.com indicates that $12,000 is the average cost of child-related expenses for the average middle-income family just in the baby’s first year! All is not lost, however, as you will find five very effective cost-saving tips discussed here.
Shop Smart, Even Before the Baby Arrives
There are several plans you can make that will start you on the path to savings. First is your insurance plan and what it will cover. Hospital bills are big and you can make a few moves to wrestle them into a lower bracket. Determine if things not covered by your plan are really important to you. For example, natural childbirth is cheaper than having an epidural. Is your pocketbook worth the pain? How much do you value your privacy? Tolerating a roommate can cut costs. And, in the hospital, if it’s packable, stuff it in your suitcase. Your hospital bill will include every item that was brought into your room. This includes diapers and toiletries, where every penny counts.
Do It Yourself
Feeding the little one can add up. Doing it by yourself can mean two things. Either makepureed foods from your regular grocery supplies (those little jars are pricey) or do your baby a lifelong favor and breastfeed. It’s a protection for the little one and saves a lot of formula.
Clothe Your Baby Carefully
Of course your baby needs clothes – warm, clean and comfy clothes. Designer outfits are neither wise nor necessary. Hopefully, gifts from friends and family will fill the need for fashion. Ask them to buy outfits in sizes that will go out a year, not just in newborn. Visit stores that specialize in used baby goods and you’ll find cute and serviceable outfits for less. Look for Onesies to use as underwear when it’s cool, alone or as sleepers when it’s hot. And remember, shoes are for walking. Socks or booties do just fine for most of the first year.
Think Before Buying Big Ticket Items
Before buying anything, think. Does the baby really need this? Cribs should be empty of all but baby, for safety’s sake. A kitchen sink is as functional as a baby bath tub, and a bottle can be warmed in a pan of hot water (check the milk temperature). Think before you sink your money into things you can do without. For necessities, shop yard sales and second hand stores.
Another tip is to shop online when looking for necessities for your child. Online retailers tend to have better deals than in-store. Not to mention, most online retailers accept discount coupons at checkout which allow you to save even more on your purchase! Websites such as Mamma.com allow customers to search for coupons to save on baby products at Carter’s as well as many other online retailers!
Create a circle of friends who also have young children, then trade away. Exchange outgrown clothes and equipment, babysitting services, great ideas and tales of frustration. Having a group that supports you can provide benefits beyond the financial ones. Learn from more experienced parents or pass on your hard-earned wisdom.
In summary, be smart enough to not only save money but to recognize when you just need a little convenience, a break for yourself, a night out or the joy a giving baby a brand new toy. You can make it happen.