Having a baby can be very expensive these days. According to USDA, the first-year expenses alone come close to $13,000, without taking into account the costs associated with giving birth. If you haven’t started to save money for your first baby, you should get to it as soon as possible.
At first sight, the above amount may seem exaggerated but you will change your mind once you start counting the various types of expenses. We will review the most important of them in the following lines.
Common types of expenses for first-time parents
Bringing a baby into this world and caring for it during its first year of life involves two major types of expenses: one-time and recurring. Let’s see what each category involves and what you should expect.
1. One-time expenses
This category includes expenses related to items and services that you only buy once. The most important of these expenses refer to:
- Medical bills – According to Investopedia, maternity care costs can range from $6,000 to $15,000 in case of routine vaginal delivery and from $7,000 to $27,000 for cesarean delivery. The amount will vary according to your location, the level of services you settle for, and, of course, your insurance coverage. Of course, the costs will skyrocket in case of complications, additional interventions, and prolonged hospital care. Keep in mind that we haven’t taken into account prenatal care costs.
- Baby stuff – These too could amount to thousands of dollars, as, although the price per item is lower, you’ll need quite a few items. The basics include stroller, car seat, carrier, diaper bag, walker, etc.
- Home stuff – Getting your home ready for its new resident can get costly as well. Besides a crib with adequate beddings, you will also need a changing table, a small dresser, and a rocking chair. Baby monitors, play mats, portable swings, and bouncy seats come in handy as well as the baby grows and sleeps less.
- Feeding accessories – Depending on whether you breastfeed or use baby formula, you’ll need items to improve you and your baby’s comfort, store or warm the baby’s food, etc. Common examples include breastfeeding pillow, breast pump, milk bottles, sterilizer, etc. And these are just the one-time expenses, high enough to determine expecting mothers to pray to be able to breastfeed.
If these one-time expenses are not enough to scare you, keep in mind that your income could be affected as well. The Family Medical Leave Act gives certain employees access to up to twelve weeks of unpaid medical leave to care for and spend time with their children.
The time off work will certainly allow for valuable experiences and priceless memories. However, it will inherently affect your income, so make sure you can cover your regular expenses and bills.
Speaking of regular expenses and bills, we will review the most common recurring or ongoing expenses in the following lines.
2. Ongoing expenses
- Babysitting – Your baby will need permanent supervision, and babysitting could get pretty steep. The costs will depend on your schedule and whether you opt for in-center or home care but make sure to take them into account when planning your budget.
- Medical care – As parents, we hope for the best and pray that our babies won’t get sick, but what if they do? You need to have some money set aside for medicines and doctor checks, immunization, and other issues that may appear. There’s nothing more important than your baby’s health, so make sure you have the means to secure it.
- Necessities – You may not realize it now, but your baby’s food, clothing, and diapers will exceed several hundred dollars a month, more as the baby grows and you begin diet diversification. Add pacifiers, shampoos, wet wipes, etc., and you’ll surely begin to worry.
If you feel that we’ve covered everything, prepare to be proven wrong!
I don’t know how or why it happens, but plans always get messed up when you have your first baby. Unforeseen expenses always appear, and putting up with them can be difficult, especially when you’re on a tight budget.
To prevent financial difficulties, you should start putting money aside as soon as possible. Since your time is limited, you should also focus on diminishing costs.
Believe it or not, you can save a small fortune with a little planning and some smart tips. We will discuss how you can accomplish that in the following lines.
How to lower your first baby expenses and control costs
1. Join baby products websites and rewards programs
Producers like Pampers, Huggies, Enfamil, and Similac have interesting rewards programs that you can join in order to earn free samples, gain access to special promotions and discounts, and earn points that you can redeem for cash. By signing up to their newsletters, you will receive notifications whenever they have cheap newborn baby stuff on sale.
2. Create baby registries
As you plan your baby’s shower, choose the retailer you register with for carefully. By registering with major retailers like Target or Amazon, you can get free welcome kits, coupons, discounts on any items left in your registry, and access to limited-time offers on maternity and baby products.
3. Sign up for free trials
Many producers lure new customers with free trials. Some do it because they are convinced you will love their products and keep buying. Others are just after your credit card information and will enroll you into costly subscriptions.
If you know what you’re doing, you could get valuable free stuff. Just make sure to carefully read terms and conditions, check merchant reputation, and cancel subscriptions in time to avoid costs. Some trial offers worth checking out are those of The Honest Company and Abby & Finn.
4. Join parenting communities
As a first-time parent, it helps to connect with parents and service providers from across the country. Besides gaining access to information and having the opportunity to socialize, by joining the right community, you may also and get access to useful guides, tools, resources, and more.
For example, EverydayFamily members have access to various freebies and receive notice of cheap baby stuff offers from various producers and retailers.
5. Get the stuff you need for free from friends, relatives and neighbors
Use every opportunity you get to tell those around you what products you are missing. They may have them or know someone who does and agree to borrow them or offer them for free. Spreading the word can’t hurt, and you can give back or help others as your baby grows older.
6. Use technology and social media to find the stuff you need
Apps like Nextdoor connect you with your neighbors and allow you to keep up with the news in your neighborhood, including garage sales and giveaways. You can also join Facebook Groups and buy or receive the stuff you need from moms with older kids.
7. Use coupon apps and browser extensions
These are great ways to locate coupons and discount codes and pay less at checkout. Some of them even reward you with points for using them and inviting your friends to join, and you can trade those points for cash.
I’ve been using Honey and Avast SafePrice, but don’t stop there. Keep looking and testing, and you’ll surely find even better alternatives.
8. Do your shopping through cashback websites and apps
You’re spending the money anyway, but if you choose your path carefully, you could recover up to 20, even 40% of your spending as cashback. Check out websites like Ebates and Affinityy and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
9. Pay with the credit card that offers the most rewards
Check out your credit cards to see what they have to offer. Use them in such a way as to reap the maximum benefits. Don’t hesitate to close the ones you have and apply for new more rewarding ones if the situation allows it.
You could earn cashback, flyer miles, price protection, extended warranty, and other valuable credit card perks.
10. Join a freecycling network
These networks could be a great way to get free baby gear, toys, clothes, and footwear from parents who no longer need them. Freecycle.org is one of the largest networks and a great solution to get rid of the stuff you no longer need and prevent it from ending up at the landfill.
On Freecycle.org, you can get the stuff you need while protecting the planet, by preventing functional useful items from ending up at the landfill.
11. Check out clearance sections and flash sale websites
Don’t hesitate to turn visiting the clearance sections of your favorite stores into a sport. It is a sure way to find the stuff you need at half price. An online alternative would be to check out closeout stores like Nordstrom Rack Online, and, why not, flash sale websites like Zulily.
12. Buy pre-owned, refurbished, or second hand
You want what’s best for your baby, and I get that. However, spending a fortune on new products when you have even better products available at lower prices simply doesn’t make sense. So what if another baby sat in that crib or stroller? As long as it’s in good condition and provides the safety and comfort your baby needs, you should be glad you’ve found it.
13. Off-season and multi-pack deals
At the end of the season, retailers need to make room for the new collections. This is when you can buy great products at amazing prices. Buying several products at the same time could help you save money as well, especially if you shop at Amazon, Gap, or H&M.
You may not realize it now but if you apply all the above tips and strategies and turn them into a routine once you’ve convinced yourself of their effectiveness, you will save a great deal of money.
You won’t get rich, of course, since your baby is on its way and bringing about an avalanche of expenses. However, you will at least be able to afford the basics and, why not, a little treat for yourself and your loved one.
What are your tricks for saving money and what is your budget for your baby’s first year? We’d love to see your thoughts and numbers in a comment, so that you may inspire others to start saving and believing in themselves.
Mihaela is a proud mother of two, happily married to the love of her life and passionate about reading, music, healthy cooking, and child psychology. A sociologist and expert copywriter, she now channels her knowledge and experience in writing for Iris Content, AM Navigator, Top 10 Picks, and, last but not least, her soul-project, BebeYoga.