Who ever said raising children was easy? Or cheap? In fact, once you have a child your bank account will take a massive dive. Diapers, clothes, car seats, cribs.....you name it. Everything you do will cost you a pretty penny. So the best thing to do before you welcome that beautiful bundle of joy into your life is to budget and be prepared. Below are some tips for you to help keep your cheque book – and your sanity - in tact so you can focus on your newborn instead of worrying about your bank account.
1. Double Duty Furniture
When you are shopping for baby furniture, try looking for stuff that will do double duty, such as a change table that is also a dresser, or a highchair that can be converted into a booster seat and regular chair later as the baby grows. Also, many cribs can be transformed into toddler beds later on, saving you money in the long term.
2. Gift Return
Chances are you received a lot of gifts at your baby shower that you will never use. To save money or to exchange the item for something you truly need you must remember to do the return promptly since many stores put time limits on returns or exchanges. If you aren't feeling up for the task, try asking a close family member or friend to do it for you. Everyone wants to help out new parents so take advantage while the offers to help are there.
3. Crib Pillows
They may look cute and cozy but they are unnecessary and simply dangerous, since they could be a SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome – hazard. Don't waste your money on things that look cute in the store.
4. Baby Bottles
You may be tempted to purchase a tonne of baby bottles before your baby is born so you are stocked up. In reality you don't need them all. In fact, you may find out that your baby doesn't like certain brands of bottles. So don't waste your money. Buy one or two to see if your baby takes to them. If so, you can buy more. If not, you will have to try a different brand.
Babies need diapers – a lot of them. Instead of buying a bunch of small packages it may be worth your time and membership fee to shop at a local Costco or wholesale club to buy in bulk. You'll save yourself hundreds of dollars a year.
6. Community Centers
Don't give in to the hype of baby music classes that cost you a fortune. Your local library or community centre will have several programs, including music classes and mom-and-baby yoga classes – all for free. There are also several toys to play with at these places and you'll get to meet other parents to socialize with.
7. Diaper Bag
You've heard the saying “Never Leave Home Without It.” Well, this should apply to your diaper bag. Take it with you at all times and stack it with diapers, ointment, wipes, an extra outfit and snacks. If you forget your diaper bag when you are out you will end up buying one or all of these items, which could get very expensive.
8. Free Samples
It never hurts to ask. So the next time you are visiting your paediatrician ask him or her for any free samples of formula or ointment they may have. You'd be surprised at how many of them will hand out some free stuff to help you and your newborn.
There are several companies that offer you coupons when you visit their website. Try visiting gerber.com, beechnut.com, earthsbest.com and stonyfield.com for free coupons or discounts. Your grocery store will also have lots of coupons that will give you a certain amount of money off your grocery purchase.
10. Baby Food
Every time you make your own baby food you are putting money into your own pocket. It's not a big deal to mash up some steamed broccoli or banana. There are many sites online you can visit for free baby-food recipes.