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How to save money probably isn’t your highest priority when you have a newborn.
Unfortunately, many families try to save money too late–once they’re already headed for financial disaster. Even if you’re only saving 3 cents per diaper, that can translate to hundreds of dollars better spent on other necessities or improving yours and your child’s quality of life.
Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your money:
Go secondhand or look for hand-me-downs
Let people know you are looking for and are happy to accept, hand-me-downs. Friends and neighbors often have baby supplies left around. Most are hardly ever used due to the fast rate of growth and a constant need to upgrade sizes in the first years.
Another tip: It has been shown that children may learn to walk faster if they’re barefoot. You can easily spend $30 on shoes for your infant, but you are better off letting them walk barefoot indoors and sticking with soft $2 booties to keep their feet warm when outside.
Be smart about food
Although there is a constant debate about the pros and cons of breast vs. bottle feeding, and for some the option isn’t even available, breastfeeding is still the cheapest and most natural way to feed your child. Even after purchasing all the breastfeeding supplies you’ll still be way under the usual amount spent yearly on formula. Many families pay upwards of $1500 a year!
When your child moves on to baby food, consider what you are actually feeding them. Those tiny jars can get expensive quickly and are nothing more than your everyday fruits and vegetables. Try blending and pureeing (make sure you eliminate any and all chunks) your own baby food from healthy, nutrient-rich vegetables like carrots and peas and see how much you can save. This also allows you to know exactly where their food is coming from.
Use subscription programs and free samples
An easy way to save money on things like diapers and wipes is to sign up for one of many subscription programs. Discounts available on sites like Diapers.com offer some pretty useful discounts. You sign up for their program and receive a package of diapers every month. If you don’t want to go the time consuming, but monetarily most efficient, route of cloth diapers this is the way to go.
Then there are the free samples. Companies know new parents need supplies, and that new parents are prone to do spillover shopping once they are in the store or on the site. This means you can get a whole bunch of free supplies as long as you can control the impulse to buy from the barrage of offers that the companies will follow up with you on. That’s really the only catch. Get free stuff, suffer from a flooded inbox. Try doing an internet search for “Free baby samples” and see what you can find.
Some quick examples:
“Macgyver” your baby gear
Many pieces of furniture or accessories can be re-purposed. Cribs that can be converted into small beds and highchairs that can be tweaked into booster seats and/or a regular chair are your best for maximizing every dollar on the big purchases. Avoid useless and dangerous items like crib pillows and use that money to buy things that will actually improve yours and your baby’s quality of life.
Utilize Babysitter Sharing
Sometimes daycare isn’t an option for a number of reasons, and in some locations can end up costing almost as much as 2 years at a state college. A nanny is more convenient, but they usually cost even more. To save money search for a family or two you can partner up with. This approach is becoming more and more common. This same strategy will, of course, work for babysitters.
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