Family

How to Have a Baby Without Going Broke

How to Have a Baby Without Going Broke

Whenever someone asks me the question “is it expensive to have children?”, I always groan. For some reason, people seem to think that it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a child from birth until age 18, and this is simply not the case at all.

It is possible to have a baby without going broke, I promise. The key is to be resourceful and to learn as much as possible about the things you should spend money on, and the things you shouldn’t.

Here are a few of my tips for having a baby on a budget.

Determine What You Actually Need

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need a wipes warmer for your baby. They will survive just fine without one. On the other hand, there are things that, of course, are necessary for a baby, such as a car seat, stroller, crib, a highchair or booster seat, some clothes and diapers. Everything else is extra. As a reference, here is a great article (and checklist) on newborn essentials.

Sign Up for Baby Freebies

There are so many companies out there that offer free baby samples to expecting parents. Some of my favourites include Nestle, Toys R Us, Sobeys and Sears. You will often receive free diapers, wipes, coupons, baby bottles, baby spoons and even prenatal vitamins.

By not signing up to these programs, you’re leaving a lot of free goodies on the table!

Join Rewards Programs

Consider signing up to rewards programs, such as Air Miles, Shoppers Optimum and Club Sobeys, so that you can earn points to use towards purchases of diapers, formula, baby wipes, baby toiletries, medicines and other baby items you may need.

This is how I get the bulk of my baby goods for free! I love redeeming points for diapers and wipes (and when my kids used formula, I’d redeem points for that, as well, saving me a fortune!).

Buy Used Whenever Possible

Most of the things you are going to need for your baby can be purchased second hand. Things like clothing, toys, dressers/change tables, diaper bags, bedding, and baby monitors are all items that you can purchase used. Invest in things like the car seat and crib, since these are very important things you should not buy used.

Everything else is fair game, though! Try to buy at least 50% of your child’s clothing used, especially when they are still a newborn. Babies grow super fast – and you don’t want to have spent a bunch of money on an outfit, just for your child to be able to wear it once before it’s too small.

Watch for Deals Online

You can always find deals for baby goods online – especially toys and clothing! I once saw Melissa & Doug toys on a daily deal site for 50% off and I snatched those up right away because that is a very good quality toy brand.

I have also purchased brand name diapers for a fraction of the retail price. Toys are always on sale, too – especially around Christmas time. Check MapleMoney.com daily for these deals, because you never know when a great deal will come along.

You want to pay attention to shipping costs when shopping online, too. Many retailers will offer free shipping with a minimum purchase (Walmart offers free shipping with NO minimum!), so make sure you spend that minimum to avoid paying any shipping fees.

Use Cloth Diapers

There’s no denying that using reusable diapers is going to save you a ton of cash. There are many different companies out there that sell cloth diapers and the prices range anywhere from $200-$800 for a starter set. This works out to much less than the average $0.25 per diaper that you would pay for brand name disposable diapers.

If you really want to have a baby without going broke, save your money and opt for cloth diapering over disposables.

Should you decide to go with disposable diapers, check Amazon, Well.ca and Walmart.ca for deals.

Make Your Own Baby Food

Preparing your own baby food at home is not only very easy, but it’s also a huge money-saver. Commercial baby food is extremely expensive and has a ton of preservatives in it that you probably don’t want to be feeding to your child anyway.

An easy way that I used to make baby food was to simply stick whatever we are having for dinner into our Magic Bullet and puree it for our baby. Now that she is older, she still gets whatever we eat, we just chop it up into small pieces for her.

These are only a few examples of ways that you can cut back on baby costs, which means that, yes, you can have a baby without going broke!

What are your tips for saving on baby goods?

Comments

  1. Christina

    Cloth diapers are awesome! We switched over slowly getting 3 or 4 new ones each month. We still use disposables at night time which allows me to buy them only when they are a super good deal. Borrowing items is also a great way to save. Things like swings, infant car seats and wraps/slings are things people only use for a short time. A great place to get second hand clothing/items is from local community and twins club sales. Also consigning what you’re not using any more helps fund the buying of ‘new’ items for your children.

  2. Heather R

    This certainly isn’t an option for everyone, but breastfeeding saved me tons of money. Using face cloths instead of wipes half the time helped as well.

  3. Krista

    I agree with all of this! We use cloth diapers and cloth wipes. We are not a “stroller” family and I feel strollers are a waste of money personally but many families can’t do without, we use an ergo even just around the house. But our hospital does require a infant car seat otherwise baby isn’t allowed to leave the hospital. We use a Snugride35 which lasted us 2 years with our first so it will probably last around the same for our second. For baby food, we just bought a 15$ hand blender. It really is not expensive to have a baby at all.

    • Ali

      I’m just curious how a stroller is a waste of money? I’m expecting my first child and I’m new to all of this. I would think a stroller is something you would use a lot if you plan on going for walks and stuff. Is there something I’m missing?

      • Misty

        i guess it depends, i have 2 kids and another on the way and we use either the stroller or wagon almost everyday. we walk to the park, the store for milk, the library (another great place for free programs for kids, if you have a card. not to mention books and movies too). we also invested in a more expensive joggimg stroller that can be converted to a bike stroller, but got it off kijiji for cheaper! i would not trade my chariot for anything!

  4. Jenn B.

    Good tips for sure. Ask around, and don’t ever be opposed to accepting hand-me-downs! We got a lot of our daughter’s clothes and toys this way and were able to pass a lot of things on to other families in need as well. Some of the clothes may not necessarily be in style, but babies don’t care, and at 2:00 a.m. when she needs a clean sleeper, you won’t care either!

    We have saved a ton of money using cloth diapers as well, and I tell everyone that is having a baby how much I love using cloth!

    If you know anyone who is in financial need and can’t afford diapers, a good resource is Cloth for a Cause (http://clothforacause.org/). They collect donations of used cloth diapers, clean and fix them up, and loan/give them to families in need. I intend to donate my cloth diapers to them when I am finished with them.

    If your town has a swap group on Facebook, that’s a good place to check out for other things. My daughter’s physiotherapist said she would benefit from a Bumbo chair, but they are very expensive new. I was able to get one in a swap group for $20.00 and I know that once she has grown out of it I will be able to get my $20.00 back by reselling it. (As with everything, keep an eye on safety recalls. Health Canada has a site where you can look up product recalls before you buy – http://hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/child-enfant/index-eng.php)

    If you’re planning to breastfeed, you might not need all the stuff that baby stores try to sell you! A lot of times, you can rent a pump, and just buy your own tubing. I never liked using a nursing pillow.

    Oh, and reusable swim diapers, too. Those disposable ones cost an arm and a leg!

  5. Holly

    Great tips. Just be careful when buying/borrowing second hand car seats. Regulations changed last year and most seats made before January 2012 don’t meet them. Those seats are not supposed to be sold or even given away but, unfortunately, I see people selling them online all the time.

  6. Julia

    We went from no kids and two full-time jobs, to having three kids and only one income. We aren’t lacking for anything and have well fed, well clothed little ones. If we can survive, so can everyone else – sure there is cost involved but definitely not to the extent some people might think.

    Actually, having kids forced us to learn how to be more resourceful. If anything, I’d say we’re better off now because our dollar stretches so much further.

  7. teachermum

    Cloth diapers, facecloths for wipes, a minimum of clothes (face it, you can come up with a load of household laundry every day or two easily, just toss them in), toys only on birthdays/holidays, no brand name stuff at brand name prices (unless the older child earns the difference between your “price” and the item price), take hand-me-downs from everyone that offers.

    I never can figure out what on earth people were buying for children when I see the “cost per raising a child” figures out there. We certainly never spent anywhere near that!

    • Gen

      Yes, it’s shocking, but I believe those numbers! Especially when I hear what hockey or dance lessons cost these days! Over $5,000/year in some cases – YIKES! I don’t know how people do it!

  8. Gen

    Diapers, formula, clothes, kids activities … it all adds up, but what I think is the most costly is the salary you lose out on while on maternity leave and if you decide to become a SAHM. So when they say that it costs around $250,000 or more/year to raise each child, I believe it!! I’m sure it will cost me much more than this despite all of the couponing I do!!

  9. Louise

    Agree that there are lots of ways to save money, be resourceful and frugal, but let’s be clear that proper planning for the temporary or permanent reduction in income is paramount to “not going broke”. Also, the cost of child care in Ontario (at least) is astronomical and if you stay at home or have family to help out you are in a much better position than those who have to pay for child care. So yes, there are ways to keep costs lower but the reality for some families is that there are lots of new and sometimes unavoidable expenses. Another thing that you can do to keep costs down is to find free family friendly entertainment and programming. In Ontario the Early Years Centres are free. My local one is fantastic and I pay nothing for the same programs my friends pay several hundreds of dollars for in fancy private programs.

  10. Krystal

    I am glad you have put this article out. Everyone kept telling me how it was going to cost so much to have a baby. I kid you not i have spent a total of $200 on her in her 6 months of life. I got a lot of stuff given to me and bought used when i had to buy. I thinking not waiting till the last min to get everything is key. I started getting things together when i was 20 weeks.

  11. Jennie

    I don’t think a stroller or a crib are actually necessities. Sure, many people couldn’t get by without them, but they’re hardly necessary if you’re on a strict budget.

    And listing a crib as something you shouldn’t buy used?? I’m shocked. Very few people can actually afford the $200+ for a brand new crib. There’s often nothing wrong with used ones, and as long as you check for recalls, there’s absolutely no reason not to buy used.

    • nicole

      i do know its important not to buy a used mattress.

      it was my understanding that the advice for a new mattress was based on a statistical correlation between babies affected by SIDS and new/second hand mattresses. No one knows the reason for the correlation, it just turned up in the analysis and so has been incorporated into the advice.

      i believe its something like if baby no 1 dribbles, vomits etc. into the mattress it can go mouldy and the mould spores can cause SIDS in baby no 2.

  12. Virginia

    Having kids doesn’t have to be expensive, but there a lot of little things that add up. I was the first in my generation to have kids so my son and daughter are the oldest in my family and of my friends kids so I don’t get many hand me downs. I get the bulk of their wardrobes at Value Village on 50% off days. I only buy things I would pay full price for in regular stores and I must say my kids are very well dressed. Im not one for brand names, I don’t care one way or the other but my husband loves Tommy Hillfigure and we find lots of brand name items in the second hand store. I fill in any gaps in their wardrobe with things I bought at end of the season clearance. On average each item of clothing cost less then $2. Baby gear is really expensive and most people seem to want EVERYTHING for their first child. I look at friends baby registries and laugh because I know they wont use half the items on their list. I wanted everything with my first too and by the third child all I needed was a stroller/car seat, baby swing (I got the one that vibrates too. Two in one takes up less space and costs half the price of seperate seats). Also decorating a nursery adds up. We all want a beautiful nursery for our babies and theres no shame in that. Even if you don’t use it because you end up co-sleeping.
    Things start to add up when they get a bit older. All 3 are in swimming lessons and the older 2 play soccer and have Portuguese lessons. We go on a lot of day trips and a couple mini vacations. We go to a lot of movies but thanks to the coupons from Costco, the cost isn’t too bad. A big one is we had to get a larger vehicle. We needed one with a third row because nothing fits 3 car seats across. Things like eating out cost more with kids. Now we have to order 2 kids meals, though we try go to restaurants where kids eat free that day.

    • Virginia

      Also as they get older things like school supplies, school trips, birthday parties, even the extra groceries all add up, no matter how many coupons you use and deals you find. Then theres bigger ones like the dentist (my children have inherited their fathers bad teeth genetics) , orthodontist, any physical therapy, or speech therapy or special needs they may need. I think a lot of people don’t take a bigger house into consideration but how many of us buy a bigger house because we have more kids? Our first house was super cheap and only one bedroom. Not quite suitable for 3 kids, though we didn’t move until the second was 4 months. There are just a lot of things that add up with children even if you only pay for the basics.

  13. Jess

    Awww, everyone always rags on the poor wipe warmer, but it really is awesome if you use cloth wipes. I swear it, I’d put it on my essentials list. I know, everybody’s list is different, but I’d probably choose the wipe warmer over the stroller (at least for the first 3 months 🙂

    Seriously, I just wet a day’s worth of cloth wipes w/ just plain water and pop em in there. I know, it seems extravagant, but it’s way better than freezing wet wipes and I made my wipes from old clothes/rags, so I figure I’ve made back the $30 I spent on the warmer by not buying wipes.

    And you can save even more on cloth diapers by buying used, opting for simple prefolds (which I prefer anyway), etc.

  14. Chickadee

    I love your newsletters and articles! Thank you for helping me save lots of money on groceries! One small quibble with this article: commercial baby food does not contain preservatives. Food marketed for infants is also not allowed to have added sugar or salt. It’s the law in Canada (other countries differ). Be an informed consumer, read ingredients on every package and jar.

  15. Christine Weadick

    I started buying stuff before I got preggers… We were ‘trying’ so we figured we’d need the stuff sooner or later. I watched the sales and that was when I bought stuff. I used cheap face cloths for bum wipes and just tossed in the washer after using. My older son was the oldest of the grandchild run then but my in-laws bought him and later his sister some really nice things that went on the family hand me down trail, trading around the sisters-in-law for their kids and eventually back my way when my second son was born 7 years after his brother.

  16. Mrs. Lawler

    BREASTFEED! We know people who spend $40 every THREE days on formula. Why on earth would someone do that, when you have perfectly good milk-makers attached to you!. That means you also get to save on bottles, bottle warmers, special bottle washing baskets etc. etc.!! 😀

    • PG Momma

      As a mom who was unable to breastfeed, I got to experience that cost of formula feeding. As for the actual cost, only a prescription formula costs as much as you mention and often times, breastfeeding a baby that would require such a specialty formula is just not even an option (due to MPI or other severe food allergies and intolerances).

      Standard milk based infant formula cost me roughly $150 a month when baby was at her maximum intake (5-6 months before solids were started) and I used the most expensive standard formula out there.

      • Mrs.Kammeyer

        Your assumption that a child who would need specialty formula could not be breastfed is inacorrect. My son is allergic to milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts and peanuts. I breastfed him for three and a half years 🙂 I did avoid these foods for the first 18 months of his life but gradually was able add them all back to my diet while still breastfeeding a toddler.

        If anyone reading this has further questions please refer to LLLI.com or kellymom.com or call your local la Leche league leader who would love to answer your questions.

        • Julie

          If a mom chooses to breastfeed (whatever the reason – it is completely her choice and there is no room for criticism), and then discovers multiple allergies, she has no other alternative than expensive specialty formulas. It’s not ideal, but thank God that there are scientists who have developed “milk” to feed babies when mom can’t.

    • katie

      Some woman can’t breastfeed so don’t judge. Their milk may not be proceed or their baby may not latch on. also for breastfeeding not to cost money, the mom would have to be a stay at home mom and be the only person who could feed the baby. if the mother works or the dad wants to eat the baby then bottles, pumping machines and etc need to be bought.

    • Couper

      Wouldn’t it be a great world if everyone could breast fed but it’s not a perfect world and women like myself have to rely on formula. A large jar is $23 each not $40, and my daughter takes 5 days to eat an entire jar.

      Regarding the actual blog, yes material objects for a child can be cut down but the cost of food/medical/education/activities/clothing costs a lot! People need to only have the amount of children they can financial afford. Just because a child is 18 does not mean you’re no longer paying for them, I’d love to hear a loving parent that still doesn’t pay for things after their child is 18!

      • Sara Decker

        I love my parents and they are very caring but with 3 siblings within 5 years of each other making less than $60k/year, my parents cut us off at 18. When we went to college, everything had to be all paid for by us and student loans. It is possible to not pay for your child after 18, but it is very uncommon nowadays. I plan to at least pay for 50% of my child’s education and room & board because managing a student loan debt payment equal to the average mortgage in the US is a little stressful for a 23 year old.

      • A M

        My parents didn’t pay anything for my brother or I after we turned 18. I don’t see how that makes them “not loving”. I took 4 part time jobs to pay my way through college and I earned an Accounting Degree and I certainly don’t resent them in any way. If anything, it taught us good work ethics. My husband was the same – sure, his mother sent him off with leftovers after thanksgiving dinner and perhaps a few extra groceries but he paid his own way through college. I plan to help my kids out a bit but I most certainly expect they will work to pay their way through college and university. I’m not going to hand it to them on a silver platter and have them take it for granted.

  17. Whitney

    I think those of us with sewing skills or who know someone who can sew benefit from having things made special instead of buying them. I imagine most people with a sewing machine have fabric lying around somewhere that can be used for bibs, hats, bows, or anything else you might WANT for your baby. Even by making your own baby blankets, you can save a lot. A skein of yarn costs about $3 where I live (even less with a coupon) and it takes maybe 3 skeins whenever I crochet a baby blanket. You don’t have to give up the extra things if you’re thrifty about it! 🙂

  18. CP

    I have seen the results of a study that suggests that the cost of cloth diapers as apposed to disposable is comparable. Cloth diapers often have to be washed more than once and the additional cost of electricity and water increases your bills just as much as the cost of buying disposable diapers. Sending your diapers out with a laundry service is also very expensive. Possibly you will save money, but not as much as you might think.

  19. Dana Ogle

    Cloth diapers are a LOT cheaper than disposable. We are using cloth because my daughter has sensitive skin and since we’re already doing it we bought a stash for the baby on the way. 43 diapers, inserts and all came to about $200. Diaper pail, sprayer, detergent and everything else was right at $100. The only difference is 2 extra loads of laundry a week and I run an extra rinse when I do diapers just because it makes me feel like they get more clean.

    There are more things you need for a baby other than bed, car seat, high chair & clothes though. So I disagree with that one. You always have to cover things like blankets, bottles (if you are going to use them), toys and more stuff.

    • Russell Matthews

      There is a huge debate about cloth diapers and I can certainly see how it may make small savings in the long run. Diapers.com is a great resource for low cost disposables and I think that the time spent washing cloth outweighs the benefits. I would rather spend my time earning additional income than small savings on cloth diapers. Anyone else agree? On this topic- I am disposable. *Almost* everything else I would say wash and reuse – especially cutlery. I hate the concept of plastic cutlery, but that a whole other topic.

      • chonte

        I agree with you. a read an article when my lil one was on the way (she’s 3 now)and their study found that there is really no price difference between cloth and disposable once you figure in the extra water and laundry detergent you have to pay for. as the original commenter says she even uses an extra rinse cycle which would add to your monthly water cost. I saved money on diapers buy shopping sales with coupons and buying from my local Tot-Swap. (40 diapers for $5!) also checking the clearance sections in grocery stores. i scored a box of diapers for half price because of a store overstock.

      • Katie

        To say cloth costs more in the long run than disposables is way, way off. Plus the enivorment. Which is priceless 🙂

        • Rachel

          Doesn’t using extra water and electricity also harm the environment. Just saying.

          • Dawn

            The water and chemicals used in the manufacturing of every single disposable diaper far exceed the water used to wash them. Also a family who plan to have more than one child can use the same cloth diapers again. I am about to have baby # 4 and we are still using all the same diapers as my first. Try to beat those savings with disposable diapers. Not to mention I have to pay for garbage tags and I make my own laundry detergent.

      • sharon

        Time to wash diapers? Don’t you throw them in the machine, go do something else, and later throw them in the dryer? How much extra time does that take?

    • Claire

      I have read articles that indicated the cost of washing cloth diapers can make the cloth vs. disposable debate avery close race. Some sources say that often diapers must be washed twice between each usage, and there is no doubt a cleaning service is more expensive. I think it depends entirely on what is valuable to you as a parent. I would not enjoy the time and energy spent on maintaining cloth diapers, and the time saved is more valuable than potential money saved. The extra usage of hot water and electricity should definitely be taken into account. If your utility bill makes a sudden jump, make sure the price jump isn’t more than the cost of buying disposable diapers.

  20. Leitia

    I found you through Pinterest. While I agree with all the ways you suggested to save money, to say children are not expensive is extremely inaccurate. They get more expensive as they grow. When people estimate how much to raise a child, this includes needing to buy bigger homes, medical expenses, etc. which are huge!!! While I agree those estimators overdo it and our culture tells us we need more than we do for children—kids are very expensive.

    • Julie

      Need to buy bigger homes? Not necessarily. People all over the world live in small abodes. We have six in a small house. The kids don’t each have their own rooms, but we have a lot less stuff than the average American and make it work.

  21. Jaclyn

    Ok… I think some are missing the point of this article! Of course babies cost extra but what I believe the author is trying to say is be careful of your purchases. Think about what you buy! Do what can be done, you would be suprised what u can save. I shop consignment stores… So helpful! Toys, cloths any baby stuff. Dont have consignment stores? eBay is a good source too. I stick to the clearance for clothing in normal stores. If cloth diapers are doable great! For me? I’m scattered and laundry is a pain. I was fortunate to breast feed but my milk started to get less and less so at 9 months he’s getting formula and breastmilk… What can you do?! Breast feeding isn’t for everyone, formula is expensive. There is no way around that. Diapers cloth or disposable are expensive in time and or money. Make good choices on items, example – like the right swaddling blankets that work and won’t get funky, I like the muslin ones, not cheap but they last! Be thoughtful on the toys, it’s easy to get carried away… And used books are cheap! A few blankets, thoughtful staples oh and I tried to get neutral items (like crib, bedding, blankets ect) thank goodness because my first was a girl and second a boy!

  22. Ola Ward

    I had children over 20 years ago. I used wash cloths for baby wipes. Got that jewel of an idea from my first son’s daycare. Just bought the inexpensive cloths in bulk form the dollar stores. For around the house. To me, nothing cleaned a kid better than the wash cloths. Baby wipes for travel.
    I could not have made it without a stroller. At all!!!
    And most of the “things” baby needs, women here get at their baby showers.
    Be careful, those of you who buy diapers in advance! I know many young mommies who have had very large babies, 10 lb babies won’t be in those newborn diapers for very long!! Plan for that, get as many coupons as you can. Go ahead and pre buy diapers, just don’t get so many of the newborn sizes.
    Now there is “online”, we didn’t have that when I was raising my babies. Lots of great bargains!
    And to add to the comment on cloth vs. disposable…..the savings for those things come later, with second and third babies!!! Same way with training pants. I used cloth for those for all kids. Not every single time, but for the majority of the time. We passed those around among friends all the time. Some kids potty train early, some don’t.
    Formula is very expensive, so if you can, breastfeed!
    Oh, and the health insurance premium goes up when you add a child, so plan for that one, too.
    So many fun years ahead for you girls!! Enjoy it, and take lots of pictures!!
    Oh, add a nice digital camera as you plan for baby. Learn to use it, you can save on professional portraits. Just do you own regular photo sessions. On the other hand, now you can book a photographer, she or he can give you the CD, nicely edited. You pay for the service, but you can print out as many photos as you need. I have so many of those package deals, I never used as many as I bought! Frames second hand, and you can have some lovely memories on the cheap!!!

  23. Sara Decker

    I am shocked at how this article does NOT really say anything about how to have a baby without going broke.. We got everything mentioned in this article, including a 5-110 lb car seat, as gifts and I nursed. So our baby was free right?! WRONG! I love my baby boy but he’s rung up a $25,000 bill already and he’s only 7.5 months old. Hands down, the most expensive things for my perfectly healthy little man is hospital/pediatrician deductibles and coinsurance ($2000), additional health insurance ($285/month), loss of income for 4 extra months to stay home with him until he is 8 months old($20000+) and now daycare ($1050/month). Baby’s are expensive no matter what! You are adding another person to your family that is entirely dependent on you for everything so obviously they will take some of your paycheck! The only thing I can think to add is to pick up two important skills: woodworking and sewing!

    • A M

      Cassie is based in Ontario so she would not consider medical costs in other countries. We also have one year maternity leave. However, I’m not sure how you can consider loss of income a $20k cost. It doesn’t cost you more to stay home, you make that choice. We went to a single income two years ago out of choice and it has not “cost” us anything. In some ways it has given us more by teaching us what things are important to spend money on. Also, you can save on daycare by using home daycare – look on Kijiji or talk to moms at the local school. Average is $25 a day without receipts or $33 with (I did the math – these both work out the same when you factor in the tax refund). This amounts to $500 a month. I had 4 kids under 5 years old and had an amazing sitter come to my house (live out nanny). She cooked and cleaned when she could and this cost me $400 a week – with receipts. There are ways to save on daycare too.

      • Devi

        The ‘cost’ is not taking money out of your pocket, but as lost income meaning not getting money that you would have otherwise. It IS a cost, even if there is no bill. The non-material benefits don’t go into a budget. Not saying this is right or that is wrong, but your “it doesn’t cost you more to stay home, you make that choice” does not make any sense. Costs are independent of how they come to be- voluntary or involuntary.

  24. Lisa Anne

    My children were not and are not finacial burdens no matter what. I used coupons and bought only what they needed. Many commenters have discussed breastfeeding and of course if can do so, it saves money!!! There are some women who just cannot do that will spend money on formula. Look fo manufactures coupons and contact them to get on their mailing lists. Also follow a starter list before baby arrives and buy only the essentials and as baby grows then add in the fun extras.

  25. Shane Hayes

    I think people are missing that mrs January is a Canadian (largely Ontario) website….we have OHIP that covers most baby medical insurance (I am lucky enough to have great insurance through my job and it is only $8 every pay to add family to it)…..so everything else is covered through that….prescription formula would be free for me…..

    I also think people are still confusing wants vs needs….babies don’t need fancy high tech toys, expensive clothes, or the fanciest strollers…..

    second hand clothes are great (value village you can get a onesie for under $1)…and since kids grow so fast that is my plan….I wear mostly second hand clothing since i’m tough on clothes….

  26. Karina

    I am pregnant with my first child and I researched tons to be able to choose wisely,in everything that we bought for her. We spent less than $250 for the complete nursery. We bought the crib and dresser/changing station used. My husband painted the room. I decorated the room with homemade crafts, Bought crib set new at a sale on amazon, bought cloth diapers on eBay from China, they costed $106 dollars for 30 diapers with inserts, they are adjustable so, she can use the same until she gets potty trained. We got a friend that donated her girls clothes for our baby and the rest, friends gave us at a baby shower. Having a child can be really expensive but, because we are already spending so much on copays and coinsurance, we decided to be careful and just get essencial for now. I will be a stay home mom so that means, I will me doing homemade baby food and cloth wipes too. The secret is research! Trust me 🙂

    • Cassie Howard

      Good for you, Karina. That is so impressive! It’s a good idea to only buy the essentials and then purchase the other stuff only if you find you really need it. I completely agree with doing research – and doing LOTS of it!

  27. Barbara McLeod

    I did all this 23 years ago, however, did you mention yard sales? I get everything from yard sales except for a new crib, stroller and high chair. I likely could have gotten the high chair at a yard sale. Almost all my kids cloths for the first two years came from yard sales. When you get home, if they need some extra cleaning, soak them in a solution of water with some auto dish detergent, that get them clean. Rust stains: Salt+lemon juice, out in the sun. My motto was to never pay more than 25 cents for a pair of pajamas. I was also able to pick up a huge supply of commercial cloth diapers from a business closing. Best purchase ever. They are so much better than the kind I could get in stores. I never washed diapers twice, they were always fine. I also made cloth wipes out of these diapers, sewing into quarters with a zigzag stich, then cutting. Just throw them in the diaper pail with the diapers. Don’t get caught up in the hype if you cant afford it!

  28. I tried using cloth diapers for a while but found them to be too expensive and too time consuming. I’d say that using an economical disposable diaper is the best way to save over the long haul.

  29. P P

    Nice debate over so many issues. Yes I agree with the author- raising a child is not that expensive if you buy wisely & keep your eyes open for those deals & second hand stuff..
    Here are some suggestions..

    1.wash ur baby with a warm water after he poops- save on wipes & the warmer! It will also avoid excessive wiping on the sensitive skin & rashes. Use them only when you are outside. You can cut old cotton clothes, blankets into small pieces to use as wipes. They can be washed with once washed cloth diapers.

    2. Go to Kijiji, Craigslist, eBay, seasonal community sales for almost everything- baby furniture, gently used clothes for different stages, toys, unused stuff b’coz of outgrown baby, all baby gears. I got 72 gently used clothes for $25! Almost 40 of them were worn once or never worn!! So, they shop for us!! How kind!

    3. Formula – Subscribe the top formula companies for the free samples. They will send you tons of free samples first & then keep sending cheques. Again go to Kijiji, there are too many deals & trades on these coupons/cheques. go grab the one best suited for your baby. I always bought the top brand formula for 50% of the store value.

    4. Similarly, sell off the unwanted/used stuff regularly.

    5. Distinguish between ‘really’ needed stuff & tempting,less expensive/on sale but not so needed extra stuff! I generally end up buying extra clothes on sale!! Have to control that!

    6. Disposable & cloth diapers are comparable.I got 275 h
    Huggies diapers for $36 at Walmart! They lasted more than 2 months.

    7. Prepare healthy food at home. You can use regular mixers & cook it along with your food! No need to buy baby food mixer & all. Really, baby product market is tricky. They use your emotions to make you fool & handicapped and your home crowded!! 🙂

  30. Angela

    We did everything suggested: cloth diapers, bought used/consignment, breastfed, made our own baby food and diaper/baby laundry detergent. However, we DID NOT have maternity coverage on our insurance so instead if being thrown a $20,000 hospital bill and having to pay for EVERY prenatal visit with cash we opted for a safe and AWESOME home birth with a CNM. $2,800 for all prenatals, labor, birth, and post partum checks. Best and coolest thing I’ve ever done. And from a mom who has gone through all three: a c-section in hospital and then a vaginal w/ epidural in hospital my favorite was the home birth and SO very cost effective! It’s not for everybody but it’s a HUUUGGE money saver! If anyone is interested there is TONS of info on the Internet about home births…I mean, your grandma did it, so can you!

  31. Chantal

    Best option to live cheaply is to live in a small town where you can own your own house and only have 1 person working.

    Living in Victoria, BC, Canada (a few hours out of Vancouver, BC), where average house price is around $550,000, we paid $19,000/year for daycare. We could have paid less, for an uneducated mommy watching our kids in a basement with no checks, balances and accountability, but since I chose to work, I wanted good daycare for my 2 kids.

    Cloth diapers and using coupons was a huge help too. I found babies to be cheap – what gets expensive is when they grow up – braces, school fees and fundraisers, toys, clothes, and activities such as piano and soccer and dance.

    It costs 20,000 to have a hospital birth in the US?

    Long live high taxes and free medical care in Canada. Wow, I’d pay even more taxes to not have to worry about medical expenses. I couldn’t imagine how expensive it’d be to raise my kids if I had to pay for medical coverage – all the ER visits for high fevers and stitches. ugh.

  32. thefrugalmummacanada

    Maybe we are spoilt in AU with the hospital system… back there private doctors work in public hospitals and no matter if you are having a natural or C type scenario, with our 5 didn’t pay anything and of the 5 births had three that were private go figure… i’m still getting my head around alot in CA, however… can say that… after baby #2 I ditched the cloth diapers only because I was running a business from home… I bought everything I could off ebay that couldn’t be handed down from a girl to a boy (mainly clothing wise)… I must admit by baby no 4 given our move to CA… I gave absolutely everything away to my brother and sis-in-law as they were expecting their 1st… and then came along surprise no 5 lol… where you can, absolutely the saving grace is pre-loved. Nothing wrong with it, some folk don’t bleach/sanitise when you buy, but nothing you cant do your self lol… I also am a big fan of sewing, so if you are handy with a sewing machine/serger… it costs next to nothing to buy fabric and make some little pants or t shirts… but have to admit… when walmart have their 1$ sales to clear out old stock… stock up!… i’m yet to go out to the thrift shops but i am equally sure they are a great place too as they should not accept any broken/damaged items… re-use and re-cycle… :-S

    • thefrugalmummacanada

      btw – baby no1 arrived in 2007, the surprise arrived in 2013… the other 3 are inbetween…

  33. Rachel

    Anybody else having trouble redeeming points on the Huggies website? It keeps asking me to update my profile, which I have done numerous times, and won’t let me do anything else. Thanks.

  34. proudmom

    It’s easy to raise a baby these days diapers alone can burn a big hole in your pocket. However, we spent so much on things like baby cots and expensive toys which our baby didn’t even use once.

  35. PJ

    How would you afford daycare for 2 kids? We can’t afford me to be a stay at home mom. We currently have a 3yr old. My body clock says I’m ready, but our wallets don’t agree.

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