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.
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?