This is a guest article from my sister, Karen and lessons learned from her first 4 months raising her first child.
Having a child is a blessed occasion and something that some people take for granted. Some people struggle to achieve this greatness. Once you see the two lines (or positive sign) on the pregnancy test the costs just start rolling in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to talk you out of having children, and theoretically it’s not like a new car, or that dream home, you can’t really “Save up” for a baby. It’s always good to have a nest egg, money set aside for expenses that you’re not anticipating, plus to help cover expenses for labor and delivery.
In 2010 it was calculated that to raise a child for 18 years, that is anticipating that they move out upon High School graduation, and not including the thousands of dollars that go into college. It costs roughly (give or take) $11,000 to raise one child! And of course the more you have, the more this will increase each time, plus extra cost (bigger homes, bigger cars, more groceries, etc.).
My biggest quote when I was pregnant and shopping for myself (maternity clothes) or for my son was “I don’t see why I’d pay full price when he’s just going to grow out of it anyway, or only use it for a short amount of time”. Why pay $300+ for a brand new crib and $40 for a mattress when I got mine for $75 together (not recalled either!). His Infant Carrier and Base for the car was $15, and although these are the only baby items that actually have an expiration date, it was in great shape and not expired yet!
Infant car seats, in fact all car seats expire after 6 years of the manufacture date. These dates (both manufacture and expiration date) are usually printed on the box or on the seat itself. The only thing that will void a car seat completely is if it’s been in ANY type of accident. Because it can compromise the safety of the seat without any visible changes to the seat. If there was one thing I’d highly suggest buying at full price, a good car seat would be it…..however, if it’s within the expiration date, go for the bargain!
Other ways to cut costs would be to use cloth diapers, and cloth wipes….this is a HUGE, constant cost that will be needed. While the initial cost for cloth diapers is a larger one, it’ll save in the long run by not having to buy diapers constantly once you build up your supply of all the sizes needed, and they can be used for future children also. A lot of moms will buy or make cloth wipes as well. I personally use disposable diapers, but look for the cheapest/best ones. I’ve personally grown to enjoy The Walgreens Brand of diapers, they have good absorbency and we don’t have many “blow outs”….maybe I should be thanking my son for that. I do have some cloth diapers and want to use them, but my husband isn’t too sure yet. I do, however make my own wipes. Not cloth ones, but using household items. The recipe was given to me by a friend of mine who got it from her hospitals Labor and Delivery Nurses, so it’s got the Medical OKAY!
amazon.com/mom. This is amazing! You get free 2 day shipping on almost everything (I haven’t come across anything that I’d use that doesn’t qualify for it), plus the prices are cheaper when you sign up for Amazon Mom. Also, if you use disposable diapers, or regular wipes, you can sign up to be a part of their Subscribe and Save program. Which is where you sign up to purchase an item ever 1, 2, 3 or 6 months and it’s mailed to your house, and you’re automatically charged. You get an even LARGER discount, and if you use one of the coupons that are always found in parenting, or baby magazines (They’re neon green, can’t miss them), you get an even larger savings! I recently signed up for Amazon Mom, and the Subscribe and Save program, I also had one of the coupons, I mentioned above and I was able to purchase a pack of 100ct Huggies Diapers for $9.57 that will be charged to me every 2 months when I have the diapers shipped to me. For you people that are big on the per item cost, that’s less than $0.10 per diaper!!! I was so elated with this find and purchase!
There’s also generic formula and TONS of coupons, samples that can be obtained from websites. I’ve gotten a lot of formula off craigslist, which has been high quality for half the price as well.
Having children should be fun, exciting and although it may not feel like it some (ok all) of the time, it's a blessing. Whether they're biological, adopted, foster, step-children or just the neighbor kids that you like to spoil, they're expensive but they don't have to break the bank.