According to the financial experts at CNN Money, the average cost of raising a child over the course of 18 years is about $241,000. That includes groceries, daycare, clothing, health care, education and all the miscellaneous expenses that kids seem to generate on a daily basis. If you have more than one child, multiply those expenses times the number of kids in your family, and you could be wondering how you’ll ever keep up. Before you contemplate the benefits of getting a part-time job to keep a roof over your head, check out these five money-saving tips that you can implement from birth, to help keep your family’s budget balanced.
1. Buy Pre-Owned Baby Equipment
Babies grow so quickly that they often outgrow their equipment long before it wears out. You may have a number of friends or relatives with kids who no longer need car seats, portable changing tables, toys, games, and even books that they have moved beyond. Ask to borrow these items or purchase them at a deeply discounted rate compared to new items at the local baby megastore. Garage sales and consignment stores are also great places to find quality equipment and baby gear that you can buy at a fraction of the cost, and even resell when you are finished with it to maximize the return on your original investment.
2. Consider Breastfeeding
Did you know that mothers who breastfeed their babies can save between $1,500 and $3,000 on baby formula per year? And that’s just the cost of formula. It doesn’t even include the cost of bottles, nipples, disposable liners, bottle and nipple brushes for cleaning – which all add up to be quite a significant expense from the day you take home your bundle of joy until she celebrates her first birthday (or longer).
Breastfeeding expenses are minimal in comparison. For example, you may require a few nursing bras or tank tops that you can purchase rather inexpensively at your local department store or discount retailer. You may also choose to purchase a nursing pillow for the best positioning of your baby as she nurses every two hours for the first couple months of her life.
The cost of a well-made and supportive nursing pillow such as a Comfort & Harmony nursing pillow Mombo design is usually less than $50 for the pillow and a washable cover. This is a significant savings over the cost of baby formula. You will not have to buy a bunch of pillows over the course of the year either. One pillow with two covers will last at least as long as you nurse.
3. Make of List of Not so Important Items
When you are having a baby, especially if it is your first pregnancy, you are bombarded with ads and advice and books telling you about all the special items you need for your baby and your home. Make a list of the essentials – as in diapers, receiving blankets, clothes for your baby, an approved car safety seat, and a sturdy diaper bag.
Really, when it comes right down to it, you do not need a bunch of expensive convenience items like a baby wipe warmer, or high-end, designer baby furniture. Along with a few essentials, your baby simply needs you, her parents, for the first few months of her life. It’s that simple.
4. Let your Friends Give a Baby Shower
Even if you are not a “traditional” mom-to-be, and you do not love the idea of sitting in a room full of women oohing and ahhing over tiny, pink ruffled things, think of the money you will save when you register for baby items. Your friends and family want to share in your joy and will be delighted to purchase these gifts for you. Refer to your essentials list and you could end up with many of these items even before your baby arrives.
5. Save Money for Maternity Leave
If you are going to taking the standard maternity/paternity leave from your job, or are taking additional time off to be with your newborn, planning ahead financially is a good idea. Try to save a percentage of your salary during the nine months of pregnancy so you’ll have a nest egg to fall back on right after your baby is born.
With a little planning and some creative ideas, you can begin saving money as you raise your child from day one. If you continue these wise financial habits throughout her life, you may just find yourself well under the average cost of raising a child. Along with your new little one, that’s something to celebrate for the next 18 years.
With a family of 6, Lisa Coleman understands the importance of saving when planning for another addition into the family. She was successful at breastfeeding her children with the helpful support of a quality nursing pillow like the Comfort & Harmony nursing pillow Mombo design and the help of her immediate family.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbarles/9215713810/