Baby supplies are expensive, and when you add in the hospital bills and daycare fees, it can seem as if you need a third job to help pay for your bundle of joy. Thankfully, we have some simple tips to save you thousands of dollars each year!
If you want to know how to save money on a newborn or your baby (especially in the first year), we detail some tried and true ways to help you keep your savings account intact.
Tips to Save Money on Baby's First Year
Did you know that the average middle-income family spends between $12,000 and $14,000 every single year on child-related costs? How about the fact that in their first year of life, a newborn can cost between $20,000 and $50,000, depending on your place of residence?
The jaw-dropping statistic above on the costs of a baby's first year can include maternal and postnatal care, delivery costs, and any care that your child requires in the hospital. For those without insurance, this is extremely important to know. If you have a good insurance plan, this price tag can be drastically lower.
While the sticker price on raising a child is high, there are many ways to substantially knock those numbers down. Here are some easy methods for making this big life change much more affordable!
Call Your Insurance Company
As soon as you get pregnant, it's important to finalize who your doctor will be and determine where you will be delivering. Then, call your insurance company and get an estimate on the cost of giving birth. This can give you a clear picture of how expensive your first year is going to be.
If your insurance renewal period is coming up during your pregnancy, consider calling your spouse's insurance company to see what the cost would be to give birth if you were to switch over to their plan. If your doctor and the hospital are in network, this allows you to shop around for the best price.
Finish Your Registries
Many parents-to-be don’t realize that they can get freebies by just putting together a registry and meeting certain spending thresholds. While you may be thinking, "What if no one buys me a crib or stroller on my registry?" remember that YOU can also buy items off the registry to help meet these goals. Once you do, you can benefit from free gifts, samples, and sitewide discounts to use on baby supplies.
Amazon's baby registry has the option to set up a diaper fund that people can contribute to before and after the baby comes. This is a quick and easy way to have money saved away for this regular baby supply item.
Join Loyalty Programs
Did you know that there are loyalty programs for diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, and more? All you have to do is sign up and start saving. This can be a great way to drastically cut down on the cost of baby supplies in your first year.
Get a Big Box Store Membership
When you buy in bulk, you can save big bucks! Stores like Costco and Sam's Club offer diapers, wipes, formula, laundry detergent, and more, for a fraction of the cost.
Not only that, but Costco has their own Kirkland Signature line of these products that are much more affordable compared to brand name items, and after trying them, I don’t think I will ever go back to name brand again.
Best of all, if you sign up to be an Executive Member at Costco, which costs $10 a month, they will give you 2% cash back on all qualifying purchases. This year, I got a check for almost $300 in the mail. That covered the cost of the membership and gave me cash to spend on baby supplies for the month.
Babies don't care about brand names. They only care that they are warm and comfortable, so you can skip the designer labels and go-to brands just because you recognize their names. Unless a product has important attributes that generic brands can't offer, you might be wasting your money.
Skip Decorating the Nursery
I know, I know, I hear the boos from my desk chair, but your baby doesn't care what color the nursery walls are, that the furniture is perfectly coordinated, or that they have adorable knickknacks and toys that fit a fun theme. Your baby won't even be able to lift their head and in the first few months, they can just see blobs.
Most importantly, the safe sleep guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics note that your baby should sleep in the same room as you for at least the first six months, if not the first year. You can spend money on a safe crib and crib mattress, buy some breathable cotton sheets, and save your money for more important things.
Use Your Insurance
Another tidbit that many new parents don’t know is that they can typically get a free breast pump through their insurance. All you have to do is call your insurance company, register, and then select one of the many options they offer to members. This can be a really simple way to save hundreds of dollars in your first year.
Prioritize Convertible Baby Gear & Multi-Use Items
Not only is this a key tip on how to save money on your baby's first year, but it's also a great way to prevent temporary baby supplies from cluttering your home. When shopping for big-ticket items, here are the top things to consider:
- Skip the bassinet and buy a playpen instead: This will last you years, not months.
- Turn your dresser into a changing table: This eliminates you having to buy a big-ticket item that you will only use for a limited time.
- Buy a stroller that has attachments for your car seat, but that can hold a toddler once your baby grows: This is another item that can last you well into your child's toddler years.
- Look for a convertible crib: This eliminates the need to buy a separate toddler bed and makes their transition to a big kid bed easier.
- Use a regular trash can with a lid instead of a diaper disposal system: This is another way to avoid buying a big-ticket item. Plus, you don't have to buy bags that are much more expensive than regular garbage bags.
- Buy a dresser that will last into your child's teen years: Dressers that match your nursery furniture are adorable, but have an expiration date. Buy for the long haul and save your money.
- Consider a convertible car seat for second babies: Many strollers have a built-in bassinet option, which removes the need for an infant car seat altogether.
Depending on the size of your baby, your infant car seat may only last as little as nine months. This means another car seat purchase in less than a year, which can ring up another couple hundred dollars. If you buy the convertible option, it can last you until your child no longer needs a seat.
Buy as Your Baby Grows
Even if your doctor gives you a size estimate, you have no idea what your baby's proportions are going to be or how they're going to grow. For example, one of my sons came out as skinny as can be, with barely any butt whatsoever, but within six months he filled out that area so much that we now have to size up his clothes!
You will want a small stockpile of clothes for the first few weeks, but parents should aim to limit the newborn sizes and register for larger options. This also allows you to be on the lookout for sales.
Skip Certain Baby Supplies
The wipe warmer, the baby monitor, the food processor, and the bottle sterilizer seem extremely important, but you don't actually need them. They can also be quite expensive. If you want to know how to save money with a newborn, don't buy items that you don't need.
Related: Baby Must-Haves & More Items to Skip
Give Your Baby Real Food
It turns out that the purees that we were fed as kids aren't necessary either. Baby-led weaning came out in the mid-2000s and it allows your baby to eat the same food you're eating, which can save you money and time, and even diminish the instance of your child becoming a picky eater.
Related: Baby-Led Weaning for Beginners
Look Into Your Tax Deductions
Did you know that you can write off your medical bills if "these expenses exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year?" Not only that, but you can claim a childcare credit of $3,600 for children under the age of six and $3,000 over the age of six. Doing your taxes never sounded so good!
Save Money on a Newborn by Sticking to the Basics
Before having a baby, all baby supplies seem necessary. If you really want to know what you need and what you don't, reach out to friends and family who have had multiple children in recent years. They can tell you their favorite products and the ones to skip.
Most importantly, remember that besides a full belly and a clean butt, all your baby wants is your love. So, do what is best for your family and your budget!