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.
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?