If you’ve put off babies due to the high cost associated with having kids, you wouldn’t be alone. Millennials, or twentysomething women, have been slower to have children than any previous generation, according to a report by the Urban Institute.
Researchers believe finances are one of the biggest reasons millennials are hesitant to have children. Twentysomething women are busy paying off unprecedented student loan amounts as well as dealing with the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to researchers.
When my husband and I first found out we were expecting our first baby, we were of course extremely excited, but we were also faced with the task of figuring out how to financially afford a baby.
We had just spent the first five years or our marriage paying off $45,000 of debt (a combined amount of student loans, car loans, and credit card debt), and then saving $50,000 for a down payment on a house.
Although we were happy to be expecting, we also didn’t want to find ourselves in another financial predicament. For that reason, we vowed to try and save as much money as possible on our bundle of joy. Here are five unique ways we’re saving money on our baby.
One of the first money-saving decisions I made when I found out I was pregnant was that we were going to cloth diaper our baby.
You could spend anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 on diapering your baby with disposable, according to BabyCenter. Conversely, you could build a cloth diaper stash for about $300-500, or even less if you buy used or choose to do flats and prefolds instead of the more expensive pocket or all-in-one diapers.
And the best part is you can reuse the diapers on future children as well, saving even more money.
The cost for infant care at the most highly-recommended daycare center in our area goes for $1500 a month. And while we could afford to pay this, we would have to eliminate a lot of extras in order to do so, including reducing savings, retirement contributions, and college fund contributions.
So we decided to look at other options, including licensed in-home daycares. We spent months searching before we finally felt comfortable both financially and emotionally with our daycare option, which will run us between $500-$750 a month.
Too often, we settle on daycares based on everyone else’s opinions of that being the best, and therefor the only option, when in reality, there could be an option that is just as good for half the price.
Like many first-time parents, we easily wanted to fall into the trap of buying every top-of-the-line product for our baby, with no regard to cost. But the reality is that people you can buy lots of barely-used baby items for a fraction of the cost. Swings, rock-n-plays, cribs were all being sold light-used for anywhere between 30-70% off retail.
It was a no-brainer for us. We saved $500 by buying a used Pottery Barn crib. We saved another $600 by buying a used Pottery Barn glider. We also accepted all the hand-me-downs that people offered, with the knowledge that we could keep what we wanted and donate the rest.
Remaining Gender Neutral
There are some personal reasons my husband and I decided not to find out the gender of our baby ahead of time. But one of the major financial benefits of going Team Green has been that people actually bought us useful items off our baby registry rather than shower us with mountains of clothing.
And the few clothes we did receive were very tasteful and gender-neutral, assuring that we’ll be able to use them for all future babies as well.
Only Buying on Sale
For the few remaining items that we had to buy on our own, we had a strict rule. We must use a coupon, buy it on sale, and—if it was a piece of clothing—could not cost more than $10 a piece.
With all the gift cards we received, combined with registry completion coupons and sales, we’ve easily saved hundreds of dollars on our new bundle of joy.
Ultimately, having a baby doesn’t have to cost you half your fortune. By being prudent and mindful of our spending, we’ve been able to save lots of money while still providing the best for our child.