By: Katarina Knoff
Becoming a parent is a beautiful thing, but it is also costly. There are many expenses that can be overwhelming for new parents to balance. Here are some tips for new parents to better prepare and save money:
1. Start Saving Before your Baby Arrives
The costs of having a child start well before the child is born thanks to the cost of maternity clothing, prenatal care, birthing classes and preparing to bring your child home. It is best to start saving money as soon as you find out that you are expecting so that you have at least a few months worth saved by the time your baby arrives. It might be a good time to pick up a side job or to purge your home and sell unwanted items for some extra cash.
2. Compare Costs of Life Insurance
It is crucial to protect your family and have life insurance coverage. Even when money is tight, it should be one of your top priorities and can be very budget-friendly. Compare several different policies to find the best fit for you. Talk to an agent to make sure you understand all the options available to you.
3. Be Strategic About Feeding Expenses
Formula: If you are planning to use a formula to feed your baby, the cost could range to well over $100 per month. Choose a generic powdered formula as long as you find one that meets your quality standards, as it is less expensive than the liquid formula.
Breastmilk: If you are planning to pump breastmilk, pump directly into bottles to store in the fridge. This will save you between $15-$20 for a package of milk storage bags.
Baby Food: Once your baby has shifted to baby food, make your own! It will give you more control over what they are eating and can save you lots on store-bought baby food, which costs around $1.50 per jar.
4. Use Hand-Me-Downs and Shop Second-Hand for Clothing
Children grow a significant amount in their first year. On average, every three months, they will increase in clothing sizes, so it is impractical to overspend on outfits that won’t last very long. Ask family and friends for hand-me-downs or shop second hand so that you can better budget the extra cash for other child expenses.
5. Use Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers require a higher upfront expense but, over time, will save new parents money. They can range from $5-$10 per diaper, and you will need at least a dozen on hand, but over a year, they are significantly cheaper than disposable diapers.
6. Use a Free Online Calculator
If this is your first child, you may be astonished at the number of costs that you will need to consider and budget for. There are feeding, clothing, entertainment, furniture costs and more. It can be a bit overwhelming. Babycenter has a baby cost calculator available on their website that can help you estimate how much you will spend total on your baby’s first year.
Keeping these tips in mind, just remember, the first few years of a child’s life are the most expensive. The significant adjustments won’t last forever. Once your child is out of diapers and out of preschool, your budget will find some relief. With correct planning and determination, you will be taking on parenthood with a good idea of the financial cost and a solid foundation.