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5 Ways to Save Money After Your Baby Is Born

By Erik Folgate

baby grantJanuary 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”

Final Word

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!

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://thefamilyceoblog.com Julie @ The Family CEO

    I gave birth to a 9 lb. 6 oz. baby boy named Grant too. He’ll be 16 this summer. :-) Your suggestions are all good ones. And kudos to you for reading to the baby. We read to both of our kids from the time they were born and they were both early readers and excellent students. Congratulations on your baby Grant!

  • http://change-is-possible.net Heather

    My thoughts are theoretical right now, as we’re expecting our first in October, but these are our plans…

    Cloth diapers.

    Co-sleeping: no crib, no bassinet. Still some piece of equipment to help make this a safe venture, but not as pricey.

    No changing table (as its own piece of furniture): planning to buy a portable changing table top. We have convenient places to use it.

    Baby’s room has two closets, so no dresser necessary.

    We found some stainless steel baby bottles that convert into sippy cups. Not a huge money savings, but every bit counts!

    Those are the plans so far…

    • http://www.clothdiaperclub.com Clothdiaperclub

      Cloth Diapers get such a bad rap but are sooo much better than they used to be! Long gone are the days of safety pins and nasty plastic pants. I have used cloth diapers on all three of my children and even got my hubbie on board! There are some really great products out there to make it easier than it used to be.

  • http://khurtwilliams.com/ Khurt L Williams

    Co-sleeping has consequences. My sister-in-law and her husband did it with their first child. Then the first child had to make room for the second child, 4 years later. The fist child was forced into sleeping in her room. 6 years later and the second child still climbs into their bed in the middle of the night. From what my wife says, her sister and brother-in-law are only intimiate when they go out of town – alone. That’s about once every three months.

    • Joy2b

      This isn’t the only way to do co-sleeping. The studies that recommend co-sleeping don’t necessarily reflect participants who are bed sharing at all, and many only go on for a few months. Parents who have a crib near their bed can quickly respond to the baby’s needs, and notice problems like overheating, without the baby ever sharing a bed. The baby may be moved out of the bedroom before they can walk, so they never develop the habit of walking to their parent’s bed in the first place.

      Many pediatricians actually don’t recommend bed sharing with small babies, particularly when they’re too small to move on their own. If nothing else, the pillows and blankets adults like are a suffocation risk.

      There are advantages to a long term family bed approach, and I’ve noticed that children brought up that way do turn out very well as adults. However, marital happiness also affects kids health. Couples have to be prepared not to have privacy, or to enjoy a few minutes of privacy whenever they get it, or they shouldn’t go quite this far with the cosleeping.

      Of course, even if parents never introduced co-sleeping, once a kid is big enough to get around, they may decide on their own that they’d rather be closer to their parents, and try to get into bed with them.

  • Heather

    Umm… Were they planning on cosleeping until the kids had their own partners to sleep with? Kids can be transitioned into their own rooms younger than a year old. Many people sleep with babies in bassinets bedside until they sleep through the night and then transition them to their own room…

  • Erik Folgate

    we bought baby furniture, and we’ve used everything frequently so far except the crib! That’s mostly because he’s still sleeping near us in a pack ‘n play in our room. But, we got a dresser/changing table combo and we use it all the time to change him. He also love it there because of all the shadows our bodies cast on the wall.

    I think you can definitely do the suggestions you all had for saving more money, but for a less “hard core” solution, my suggestions work pretty well.

  • http://www.alexandalexa.com/ Baby Clothes

    A good steps for new parents to save their money on new born baby and there is many more ways to save money on your new baby but if you follow these tips then you will be on your way to signification savings. But don’t compromise with your baby heath just be extra conscious about both things.

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