Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ways to save $ with a baby or babies at home

One of the number one things a lot of soon-to-be parents think about before having children is how they are going to afford everything.  It is obviously not the most important piece of information, but it is a very crucial piece of information to have figured out prior to having your baby.  

I've shared some tips along the way on how we've kept the costs down for little man's first year or so, but I thought it might be helpful if I compiled them all in one post to keep my thoughts about it organized, because, well, we know I like organization.  ;)

I'll start with some of the things I've already mentioned.  If you are an avid reader of the blog, you've heard these so you may want to skip to part two below where I get to the new stuff.  Otherwise, let's start here.

1. Breastfeed.  This is the single most important thing that has saved us money and is still saving us money at this point.  Thankfully, I was able to successfully breastfeed little man and while we went through a few bumps, it has been pretty easy for the 8-12 months, after we got the first few months out of the way.  Breastfeeding has saved us immense amounts of money because it is free, compared to spending a large quantity of money on formula.  The only supplies you need for breastfeeding (we'll talk about pumping below) are your breasts, your baby, and a few minor additions of products.

One of the products I did use was nursing pads.  I linked a brand below available at Kohls, but I actually received mine for free after being given a brand new unopened box from a cousin who hadn't used them.  If you use these frequently, a box of cloth nursing pads (which I washed my set every night in the shower by hand) can save you a lot of money versus disposables, especially if this is your first baby.

You can also buy nursing bras, nursing tanks, and nursing shirts, but these are all really unnecessary options.  While they are nice to have, and I do have several, if money is really tight just having an adjustable strap tank top with the straps loosened all the way fulfills the same purpose.

2. Pump your breastmilk.  This one costs a little more, but is still less expensive overall than buying formula.  I purchased an electric pump from Medela for around $150, I believe, but my Medela hand pump ($35) would function just as well (and sometimes better) than my electric pump, had I not already have the diagnosis of carpal tunnel.  If you are a stay at home mom, I could very easily see just getting by with a hand pump.  We also used breast milk storage bags, but some mamas I know actually just freeze the breast milk into 1 or 2 ounce ice cubes from trays and store/save it that way, which is also a lot cheaper than constantly buying the bags.



3. Buy used clothing/toys.  We've already talked about my love of used here, but just to reiterate, buying used clothes for baby saves a TON of money, especially with how short of a time they are wearing each item.  It also is safer for the baby because by the time those clothes get to you and you wash them, most of the chemicals used to treat the clothing initially are long gone.

4. Cloth Diaper.  You can read more about the money you can save when cloth diapering here, although I will admit that it cost us personally significantly less than the $200 cost of our KaWaii diapers I mentioned, mainly because we've received some diapers for free through the blog, as well as for little man's first birthday and Christmas, I asked for cloth diapers for gifts from family and friends and was able to build our stash to a significant size without having to spend any money.  You can also buy used and save on diapers as well.



Okay, so now let's start the new tips.

5. Buy items that plug in.  I have total buyer's remorse in regards to little man's swing.  Not the idea of the swing, or how much we used it, because MAN did he love that thing, but in the actual swing we registered for.  At the time, I didn't know that there was an option that plugged in.  Nowadays, designers of baby items are getting smart and realizing that parents don't want to have to buy 8,343,968,024 batteries for one baby item.  And that is just what we had to do with little man's swing.  I know our nanny for the first several months got frantic calls on her way in sometimes asking her to stop at CVS and pick up batteries on the way.  DH also had to make several 3a runs to pick up batteries for the swing when it stopped on those nights where little man wouldn't sleep anywhere else.  There are GREAT products out there now like swings that do plug in, and I am eyeing a few of them for the new babe if it fits into the budget.

6. Buy neutral.  While most of our clothes are definitely boy-themed, there are a few areas we were able to buy in order to reuse.  All of our socks and white onesies will be reused for the next baby, as well as some more gender neutral bottoms such as brown or black pants that could be paired with pink or purple tops if we have a girl next.  We also decorated our nursery in a completely gender neutral theme (tan, cream, and chocolate brown, with cream safari animals on the blankets/pictures/etc.) so that we don't have to do one single thing to change the room when the next baby comes.  Well, aside from drilling a hook in the wall to hang the wetbag, I don't know why we haven't done that yet.

7. Buy items that serve multiple functions.  For example, the potty we recently bought for little man has it's own little potty that he likes to sit on now (which gives me 5 minutes to pee in peace, we're not potty training yet, it's more of a distraction for him for now), a ring that you can put on your toilet for him to sit on there in the future, and turns into a step stool when the base isn't being used.  Some potty designs now have step stools even designed to hold adults in more neutral colors, so you can always use it.



8. Make your own baby food.  In the beginning, little man wanted nothing to do with baby food that I made, so we did purchase store-bought organic baby food for a while.  But I kept trying, and now he will eat some of the baby food I make.  Even if you buy organic produce to put it in, it is still cheaper, and you can still give it to them in a squeeze pouch if you buy a Sili Squeeze.  I love to use Mrs. McGee's homemade baby food recipes here.

9. Use coupons!!!  As a mama who breastfeeds, cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and uses mostly hand me down or purchases second hand items, you may think I can't use coupons to buy baby items.  This is completely wrong.  I am a CVS coupon freak and I LOVE getting deals there.  I am an ExtraCare member and often you will get coupons for $5 off or $10 off a purchase just for buying other items there.  I use these coupons to buy necessary things for little man, like toothbrushes, tylenol or medication for fevers, etc.  There are tons of great ways to save at the stores you know and love, you just have to make sure the things you buy with those savings are kid-centered :)

10. Buy organic, but buy store-brand.  We have an AWESOME chain store near us called Meijer.  I'll be the first to admit, I used to HATE Meijer.  There are always a million people there, and it can get hectic sometimes.  But now, after shopping there for a few months, I totally understand why.  They have an amazing selection of their own store brand organic items that are often on sale (or further discounted through their MPerks program, which you can sign up for online).  These store brand organic items are typically even less expensive than some of the non-organic name brand items.  Some of the items we buy organic for little man every week are fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, crackers, meats, dairy products, etc.  Almost anything you have a need for, they have an organic or eco-friendly store brand option.  We also buy knockoff seventh generation cleaning products or paper products when we need them (such as toilet paper) in the store brand.  It saves us a TON of money on groceries, especially since I was shopping between Marsh/Kroger and making an extra stop at Whole Foods every week, which was costing me and arm and a leg.  (Although, I do have to admit, I love and miss Whole Foods, it is just so expensive!)

I also want to add one more item, but I'm not going to number it, because this option is not available to everyone.  One way that we have saved A LOT of money since little man was born is the fact that I now work weekends.  Sure, DH and I don't get to see each other as much as previously, but it is a temporary adjustment, and it allows DH and little man to have their own uninterrupted time to bond each week as well. When I work weekends, we obviously don't have to pay any day care costs, because little man is with DH.  It gives me my full paycheck from those hours to use on what we need, and I don't spend so much of it on day care, which is going to be especially helpful when we have the new baby and our day care costs are going to double.  Thankfully, being in healthcare, I have this option, and would highly recommend picking up weekend hours to anyone who also has this option!

I hope some of these tips will be helpful to you, as these are all a huge part of how I save money and am able to stay at home more with little man.

What are some of the things that you do to save money?



♥ the naptown organizer


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2 comments:

  1. Don't forget about cloth wipes to go with the diapers. I know my husband can go through anywhere from 2-8 wipes on that tiny bum. Another bonus is throwing them right in the pail with the diaper instead of fishing them out of a wet bag to put in the trash.

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  2. I love this post! As a first time mom to be, I'm definitely looking for some tips! Thanks! :)

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