Saving money vs. saving time when it comes to caring for a newborn

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Having a child is one of the most life-changing experiences for a couple and it will pose quite some challenges, especially for the people who are still interested in saving money. A newborn and the savings are really not gonna go well together, so it’s normal for any prospective parent to be scared of the idea of having a new member in the family.

While some statistics are providing shocking results, a baby might not cost you as much as some advertise, but it’s clearly not gonna be an inexpensive ‘option’ either.

Before our daughter was born, we did our best to stock on most of the things we thought we’d need (including diapers, sterilizer, stroller, some clothing etc.). We didn’t purchase any medication, since we didn’t know what our doctors will recommend, but the stuff we though was needed was bought ever since I was 4 months pregnant and the tests came back negative for any health problems that would have made me choose to terminate the pregnancy. By then we also knew it’s gonna be a daughter, so it wasn’t that difficult to prepare for her arrival.

saving money

When it comes to saving money with a newborn, there are many options:

  • accept gifts and hand-me-downs from others. There will be people in your life who will love giving your kid a gift and some already had babies, so there’s more stuff to be received. As long as the items are well cared for, there’s no reason to refuse. We got the car-seat and the crib from some friends, plus some new clothing gifted by others. It saved us some bucks.
  • go the cloth diaper way. There’s a new ‘trend’ nowadays for cloth diapers, from what I can tell. They do tend to hit your wallet less than disposables, not to mention you will have a smaller impact on the Planet, ecologically speaking.
  • breastfeed, if you can – this is clear, if you can breastfeed, do it. It’s great for the kid and good for your finances, since formula costs will add up.
  • borrow the stuff, if you can – goes for breast-pumps, if you need one and other items.
  • do without a sterilizer or bottle heater – all you need is a stove and some hot water. You can boil the stuff and heat the bottles, too.

I have read many articles posted in various personal finance blogs, that had to deal with saving money. There was a wealth of tips and ideas for the new parents to be able to spend less, even with a child. In some cases this means having to do more work to care for the baby, but this will save you money in the end.

Does this always work?

In my case saving money is not everything I care about. I work from home and actually got back into the ‘saddle’ one week after the birth of my child. I cannot afford taking too many days off, so, the moment I was able to get back to my web design business, I did it. The business is paying for most of my bills (still making more money than husband’s business) and, clearly, paying for all the stuff our daughter needs.

But I cannot work, spend some quality time with her and also waste time with stuff that I can ‘automate’. Something needs to give. I cannot forgo work, since we have bills to pay, I won’t sacrifice time with my child, she’s really important to us, so I am forced to pay for the ‘convenience’.

This is the reason we did purchase a lot of stuff some people might have done without. Our parents clearly did. We did purchase an expensive sterilizer, bottle heater and also a double electric breast pump (we actually have a manual one, too, since the ‘pro’ one didn’t arrive on time). It takes 5 minutes to sterilize everything, literally 5 minutes for the milk to be at the proper temperature and the electric pump does the job faster and way better than I could. They were expensive though and we hope to be able to recover some costs after we don’t need them anymore.

We did go with disposable diapers and I wouldn’t accept anything else. Right now I feel pretty ‘selfish’, so I won’t care that much for the environment. The disposable diapers are easy to use and I can get my child clean/clothed in minutes (usually the 5 minutes it takes me to have the milk heated). I could have chosen the cloth diapers, but this would have cost me valuable time, which I am not willing to spend like this.

Sure, the budget does take a hit, but the baby costs, compared to how much I can make when running my business, are pretty dismal. So, with all my budgeting and care for money, I was willing to spend the bucks I needed to make more money and also save some time. Which, right now, it’s also valuable to me.

When did you choose to save time instead of money, when it comes to caring for your baby?

11 COMMENTS

  1. You’re right Dojo, having a child is one of the most life-changing experiences for a couple. For me I would rather choose to save time, I used disposable diapers from the very start when my daughter was born.

  2. We did what we could to save money on baby gear, formula, etc. I started out breastfeeding but switched to formula when breastfeeding became too time consuming. We used disposable diapers to save time (a decision I now regret) as well.

  3. Depending on which cloth options you go with, cloth diapering for us was just as fast as disposable, the only extra time we spent was the washing every 2-3 days. It did take us a while to get into the groove of things though. Congratulations on your newborn – I wish you lots of fun and happiness – whatever choices you and your family makes!

  4. First…Congrats on the baby! We have a 7 1/2 month old and while I’m a frugal person…saving time and convenience was more of a priority. I definitely did the things you mentioned to cut down on costs, but when it came to buying diapers/baby formula…I didn’t have the time to shop the lowest cost places. Babies are definitely a life-changing experience.

    • Eh … can’t wait for her to be 7 months. I’m sure it’s a great experience for you. Yes, time & convenience can also be important for a new parent.

  5. I cloth diaper. I didn’t find it too inconvenient, but if I had, I would have dropped it for the disposables. You shouldn’t feel ‘selfish’; you gotta do what you gotta do for your own sanity. I’m all for saving money, but mental health comes first.

  6. We do a combination of disposables, cloth, and elimination communication. The combination has allowed us to do whatever is easiest at the time, and it’s really amazing since she potty trained way early. There is nothing in the world so amazing as finding out your 15 month old has pooed in the potty on her own without any intervention on your part.

    We just fed the babies cold milk. And I have to admit, we weren’t as assiduous about sterilizing bottles for our second kid, though we did use glass bottles more (which are easy to sterilize in the dishwasher) and she was able to drink more from the tap (since my seniority at work meant I was able to work from home more with DC2), which doesn’t require any sterilizing.

  7. I think as with many things, with baby expenses you need to do an analysis of whether your time is better used working and making money, or saving the money. My family cloth diapers – my cousins have always done so, and when we have kids we will too. It’s better for your baby, too. Disposables are essentially just chemicals.

    • Well, we chose the disposables and it’s OK so far. The baby has no problems with it and I’m very happy to save the time. With all the stuff needed for her, this time is really important to me. 🙂
      Happy to see you’re pleased with the cloth diapers though.

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