This was a guest post written by Stephanie Lynch. She’s a freelance writer who resides in Gilbert, Arizona. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her family, scrapbooking and enjoying the outdoors.
You’ve probably heard it before: “A baby, by the time they turn 18, will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Sure, while this can be true to an extent, it doesn’t mean you have to blow through your budget to make baby happy.
If you’re new to parenting or maybe it’s even your third, here are some simple steps you can take to budget like a pro:
Ask for free samples and coupons
Many manufacturers supply hospitals with samples of diapers and other baby supplies. Ask if the hospital you go to has such samples. It will even be better if you can get coupons as will considerably reduce the cost of key baby items.
Your local paper and popular online coupon websites/apps can also be a good source of coupons. Be sure to make it a habit to check these websites/apps frequently to see what you can take advantage of.
Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding, as you well know, is good for the baby and also good on your pockets as formula can be quite expensive. If you can, choose to exclusively breastfeed your baby in the early months, even if you struggle at first. If you have to work away from home, you can still pump your milk and save it for later. Breastfeeding can easily save you upwards of $40+ per week.
Make baby food at home
Making the baby's food at home will also save you quite an amount, just like the formula. Plus, again, it will be much healthier. You will also be in a position to tell exactly what goes into your baby's stomach. Remember to freeze the leftovers so you do not end up wasting food.
Buy diapers in bulk
Just like most products, diapers are much cheaper when you buy in bulk. Buying in bulk will also save you the endless trips to the store when you run out. Just be careful about the sizes so you don't buy diapers that are too small or large for your baby.
Stick to the bare essentials
It is very easy to get carried away when you have a new baby on the way. You will see all kinds of toys and products and you may be tempted to buy them all. If yours is a tight budget, just stick to the essentials. You baby may not need a cot or a high table until much later. It will also take some time before your baby can comfortably wear shoes. You can put off buying such products and instead invest in a good car seat that will serve you well for years.
Do not forget about the quality
Quality, where baby products are concerned, is very important. When the quality is low, the price will be low as a result. However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing because important things like safety are overlooked. Everything from the crib to the car seat should be made to the highest quality and with the baby's safety in mind. Just keep in mind that expensive products are not necessarily high in quality. You have to go over the finer details to tell just how good a product is. Before you try to save money on what keeps your baby safe, always be sure to read the reviews, look at safety recalls and always focus on the safety first, not the price.
Borrow when you can
Ask your family and friends if they can offer you baby products they no longer use. Considering how fast babies outgrow many baby products, you will be surprised by the state of most products you get. Most of them will be as good as new, and the good thing is that these will come at no cost at all.
Generic also works
Most brands come at a cost, especially when it comes to baby products. Buying the generic equivalent is often almost the same product and will be up to 40 percent less.
Take advantage of tax deductions and exemptions
Lastly, take advantage of tax deductions on child care to cut down your costs. You can also find out if your employer has a dependent care expenses program as this will reduce your taxable income and save you a buck or two every month. If unsure, always consult with an accountant to see how you can bring your tax liability down.