Raise a Baby on Your Budget
Raising your baby is going to cost a lot of money, no matter how you look at it. There are several things you can do however to help it be a little bit easier on your check book while still giving your baby the quality he deserves.
When you go to register for your baby’s nursery you will probably see a lot of dollar signs. There are all kinds of themed, fancy bedding sets that can cost you hundreds of dollars. That is on top of the cost you have for the crib, dresser, changing table and other furniture items you may choose to buy. In reality the expensive crib bedding will do you little good. It is recommended that you do not use soft comforters and blankets as they can increase the chance of SIDS. Your baby will definitely need sheets and a bumper to protect his head as he starts moving around (before he can sit up), but you can pick up those items very inexpensively, and save the rest of your money for the diapers you are sure to need!
A crib can be another expensive item. A choice that is growing in popularity is buying a crib that can convert from a crib into a toddler bed. You can even find cribs that convert from a toddler bed into a twin or full size bed for when your baby gets bigger. These are nice because it saves you money down the road when your baby starts eating you out of house and home, and you have school costs piling up.
You can also save money by purchasing a dresser that has an area for changing your baby on top, or one that you can put a pad on to help you change your baby. This cuts out the cost of the changing table that you will not use much probably after your baby’s first birthday. As your baby enters toddler hood and is running and busy you will find that it is often easier to just stop and change your baby where he is playing, or while he is standing, than it is to drag your baby from his toys to his room to change his diaper.
While you may think that many things would be great to have, like a diaper wipe warmer, most are actually unneeded and items you could cut out to save a little money. You will definitely need a car seat and stroller, and having a swing and bassinet is a great idea. However the little things like baby food organizers and special dishwasher items are things you can do without. With the exception of the car seat, check out consignment shops and yard sales for the bigger and more expensive items. Generally with a good cleaning, most items could be used again, safely for your baby. Also be sure to check out the recall list put out by the manufacturer of any product that you buy new.
Since your baby is going to grow so fast shopping for clothing at consignment shops, thrift stores or garage sales can save you a lot of money as well. Baby clothes can quickly cause you to go broke if you have to buy them new and because babies out grow them so fast your baby will probably only wear his outfits once or twice before they don’t fit. This is true for most people so you can normally find clean, almost new and sometimes even brand new with tag items at used clothing venues.
Diapers and Baby Food
Both diapers and baby food can be done much more naturally in an effort to keep the max amount of money in your pocket. Disposable diapers are very expensive and alone can take all your money. There are diapering options such as cloth diapering and flushable diapers that can save you a lot of money and some claim will cause less diaper rashes and discomfort for your baby.
Baby food is often around 50 cents a jar on the shelf. It is much more inexpensive to make your own by making extra dinner and using a blender and some breast milk to blend your own veggies and fruits from leftovers. As your baby gets older and stronger you can blend up meats and noodles as well to give to him. You can thin out store bought oatmeal and blend up rice to make your baby’s first cereals. If you choose to do organic food, which is already more expensive, then making your own baby food will save you even extra!
Breastfeeding vs. Formula
Cans of formula are very expensive and can easily be wasted if your baby doesn’t eat as much as you make, or you spill as you are preparing a bottle. Breastfeeding is nature’s way of feeding a baby that is not only the healthiest for the baby but is free! Breastfeeding is the best nourishment that you can give your baby. If you have to use formula be sure to sign up on all the formula websites and look for coupons. You will save a lot of money with coupons and freebies of formula that companies will send you.
There are baby coupons in papers almost every Sunday. Whether it is for bath products, diapers or food, be sure to look for these coupons. In the long run the savings will add up! Ask your friends and neighbors to clip their baby coupons for you, or if they don’t clip coupons, ask them if they will give you their batch of coupons. Watch for sales at stores on products you have coupons for, and even watch for stores to do double and triple coupon offers. Take advantage of every money saving offer you can.
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