January 26th, 2011 was a day that my wife and I will never forget. It took a little more than 24 hours to deliver our 10-pound, 13-ounce baby boy! We knew he was going to be big, but we didn’t know he’d be that big. Needless to say, it was a somewhat traumatic delivery. Fortunately, mom and baby Grant were fine, and our lives changed forever.
I never dreamed that parenthood would be this challenging, or this rewarding. My wife and I thought that we were so established and “ready” to have kids, and that it would come easily with everything falling into place.
After all, we’re older, we have good jobs, and we own a house. What we didn’t realize, however, is that none of that stuff matters when you’re up at 2 am with a baby screaming in your ear.
One of the biggest things prospective parents worry about is being financially stable enough to handle the general costs of having a baby. We’ve done really well so far, and I feel like the baby hasn’t been a financial burden at all.
I know that will likely change in the future, especially when Grant gets older and has more complex needs and wants, but for now, we’ve found some great ways to save on baby expenses.
Here are five ways we’ve saved money in the first two months of Grant’s life. You may be able to apply some of these tips in your own experience raising your baby as well.
Ways to Save Money with a New Baby
- My wife breastfeeds. Admittedly, not all women are able to nurse. Sometimes their body doesn’t cooperate, or the baby doesn’t cooperate, and that’s perfectly okay. In light of this, it is important to know that while it can be really tough for the first couple of weeks, it gets easier. So, if your baby is cooperating and your milk is coming in, try your best to get through those first two weeks of pain and agony because nursing really is very advantageous. There are many benefits of breastfeeding your baby – it’s more nutritious and it saves a lot of money on expensive baby formula.
- We gave an incentive at our baby showers. We had two baby showers: one in my hometown and another one at our house, which is close to my wife Lindzee’s hometown. We told the attendees that if they brought a pack of diapers, they would be entered into a raffle for a restaurant gift card and a bottle of wine. We also asked people to bring small baby books rather than greeting cards, because books will be used while cards will just get thrown away. Because of the raffle, we haven’t bought a single diaper yet, and we’ve been reading to the baby every night.
- We’ve continued to cook dinner and make lunches. It can be very easy to get lazy and rely heavily on takeout when you’re settling into being a new parent. To avoid falling into this expensive trap, we’ve made a conscious effort to make easy dinners, and I’ve been packing leftovers and making sandwiches to bring to work for lunch. In addition, because we built a strong support network, our church’s small group has provided us with home-cooked meals on 8 to 10 different nights.
- We’ve taken advantage of new parent coupons. There must be some mass information database hooked up to maternity wards, because it seems like every retail company immediately knows when you’ve had a baby. To save money on some of the items we still wanted to get, we took advantage of the 10%, 20%, and $10 off coupons we received in the mail.
- Our strong network of friends and family paid off. Lindzee and I have been extremely blessed with great friends and family, but part of that isn’t by luck or chance. We’re good to people, we’re generous, and we stay in touch with the people we love and trust the most. Therefore, when it came time for us to have a baby, we were showered abundantly with gifts and gift cards, making our out-of-pocket costs for items we needed in the beginning very low. Never underestimate the power of the age-old adage: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
It’s been a wild ride so far, and I know that each day brings new challenges. Just when you think you’ve got your baby in a routine, their teeth come in, or they get sick, or they get growing pains. Even with all of that, getting to watch your own flesh and blood experience the world in front of your eyes is absolutely amazing. It’s something I wouldn’t miss for anything.
Having kids doesn’t meant that your bank account will be drained. Like everything in life when it comes to saving money, use common sense and the resources around you to make wise decisions.
Do you have any tips or advice for lowering costs in your baby’s first year? Please share in the comments below!