When I first saw the estimated cost of a baby during the first year, I was shocked. 12,000 dollars?! Who can afford that? And even if you CAN afford it, who WANTS to spend that much money on a baby over one year?
I despise spending money, and when it’s on something that I’m going to use for such little time, I despise it even more.
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It’s actually possible to spend very little during baby’s first year. Of course, there are essentials like diapers and wipes that you must purchase, but there are some simple ways that you can save some serious money.
Formula vs Breastfeeding
Are you planning to breastfeed? It’s my belief that every expectant mom should at least give it a try (if possible).
I knew that I was going to breastfeed, but I wasn’t looking forward to it because I had never really been exposed to breastfeeding (and therefore thought it was weird). Yep, I seriously thought it was weird! Maybe you do, too? But because of my frugality, I was determined to give it a try.
I knew nothing about it. Now I feel like I know everything there is to know (The Breastfed Baby: From Birth to Weaning).
Worried that breastfeeding is going to be too difficult for you? Read my post When does breastfeeding get easier?
Despite not at all looking forward to it, from the first moment of breastfeeding, I adored it. I can’t explain it, and maybe your experience will be different, but maybe it won’t. Maybe you will love it, too! It doesn’t hurt to give it a try for a few days!
So let’s look at the cost breakdown.
Formula (on average) is going to cost you $100 a month. And that’s if your child doesn’t have a milk protein intolerance (like both of my babies did). If you need to buy the specialty formula, you can expect to spend about $400 dollars a month. (Boy am I glad that I decided to breastfeed!)
Cost of formula for one year: 1,200.00
Cost of breastfeeding for one year: free (make sure to get a free pump from your insurance company)
Another place that you can spend unnecessary money is on crib bedding (that you can’t really use with your child because you’ll want to provide a safe sleep environment). A basic crib bedding set is going to cost you about $100, and it will contain two unnecessary items. The blanket (which you cannot have in the crib with your sleeping baby), and a dust ruffle, which while beautiful, is essentially pointless.
I purchased this super soft velour crib sheet and I also bought breathable bumpers (which you would have to buy separately anyway). I love this crib sheet because it is SO soft and doesn’t get cold like traditional sheets (so that when you’re lowering your sleeping baby into the crib, she hopefully won’t wake up).
Cost of crib bedding: $100
Cost of velour crib sheet: $13.00
Once your baby starts eating solids around 6 months of age, you’ll have this added expense.
If you make your own baby food (or go the Baby-Led Weaning route) you will save a lot of money. Besides, have you ever tasted jarred baby food? Do yourself a favor and don’t. I remember giving my first born child jarred baby food a month after she only ate homemade purees. Her expression was one of pure what-are-you-trying-to-feed-me-get-it-out-of-my-face-this-instant. It was hilarious, but I understood her pain.
Homemade baby food purees taste just like what they should taste like. Food.
Approximate cost of baby food (according to this awesome breakdown. I’m estimating that your baby will use 3 jars of baby food daily for 6 months). ): $500.00
Cost of homemade baby food (according to the above site. I however believe that the savings would be much more significant): $160.00
Baby’s grow. Fast. Faster than they ever will at any other time in their lives. While it is so tempting to buy all the cute clothes, resist. Those cute clothes will soon be covered in spit-up stains or will be outgrown after an epic growth spurt. Your baby might not even get around to wearing those adorable outfits that you just had to have.
Instead, take all the hand-me-downs. I didn’t buy any new clothes during the first year because I had bags and bags of hand-me-downs. Actually, I probably didn’t buy any new clothes for my children until they were school age.
Approximate cost of clothing: $60 a month for a total of $270.
Cost of hand-me-downs: $0.00
While there’s no way around it, there are still some simple ways to save money on diapers.
My favorite money saving diaper tip is to figure out how much you are willing to pay per diaper and NEVER pay more than that.
The cost of diapers can range anywhere from 15 cents per diaper to 40! That means if you’re spending 40 cents per diaper, you could easily cut your diaper costs IN HALF by simply being aware of what you are paying per diaper.
The experts believe that your baby will use THREE THOUSAND diapers in just the first year. Yikes! That’s a lot of diaper changes.
If you’re buying the costly diapers, there’s going to be a big cost difference, and this difference extends until your baby is potty trained..
Approximate cost of more expensive diapers: 1,200.00
Approximate cost of value diapers: 450.00
Check out other ways that you can save on diapers too.
Total savings: $2,647.00
Of course there are other ways to save too, but this is definitely a start.
For example, if you’re a family of four, you should definitely read more about how to feed a family of four for less than $100 a week.
What do you plan to do to save money during baby’s first year?
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Megan @ The Many Little Joys
Thursday 24th of August 2017
I love your practical mentality. I agree that you can spend a fortune on baby stuff, but you don't have to if you make choices to save money...and often it ends up being better for baby anyway. :)
Saturday 26th of August 2017
Sometimes I need to be a little less practical! ?