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June 8th, 2013 12:56 PM #6Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Baby gear is the least expensive part of having children. I mean, you can spend many thousands of dollars on baby gear. But it is very easy not to. You can get nearly everything handed down or second hand. There are countless programs that will supply you with a free brand new carseat, if you are finding that cost prohibitive. There are hundreds of ways that you can cut your costs, some of them will be easy for you, others may be difficult or impossible. But cloth diapers, breastfeeding, buying used onesies- this is all low hanging fruit. This is not the expensive part.
It is also not at all a big deal to have a baby in a one-bedroom apartment. And you won't need to go out and buy a minivan. We still drive a two door compact hatchback w. our one and a half year old. It is not the most comfortable thing in the world w. a rear-facing carseat, but it is fine. It is fine to ride the bus or take the train w. a baby as well. Used bike trailers are easy to find if biking is an option for you.
The first expensive thing is medical care (at least in America.) Find out what you will need to do to get maternity coverage w. your health insurance. Obamacare just changed all of this, or will shortly as various parts of the bill come into effect, so call your insurance company and plan to spend a long time on the phone with them. Find out how much it will cost to add a child to your coverage. What does this cover? Are the fifty million well-child visits your baby will need in the first year covered completely, or will you owe a co-pay each time? Are prescriptions covered? If you plan to stay home w. kids, and your benefits are through your job, find out these things about your fiancé's insurance coverage. What will it cost to add you to his coverage? Sometimes it is a better option to get private insurance.
The other expensive thing is childcare. You or your fiancé will either need to stay home and sacrifice your income and potential career advancement or you will need to pay for daycare. Now, if you have an enthusiastic babysitting grandma around, that is like winning the lottery.
If you are both working now, and you plan to stay home w. your future children, start living on just your husband's income right now. Save your entire income. If you can't manage this, work up to it. If you plan to work and use daycare, look into what that will cost in your area and start socking that amount into a savings account every month. If you can't manage that right now, work up to it. Work out a post-baby budget (that online calculator is very helpful) and try living on it. Be realistic and factor in the nights that you will be exhausted and want to order pizza. You do not need a lot of money, but it is very important that you agree about your financial goals. If things are tight now, they will be tighter post-baby and you will also likely be sleep deprived and emotionally on edge.
June 8th, 2013 01:11 PM #8
I think in general the prices for kids are overblown.
The most expensive part of having a young child is a) either having one parent take time out of the workplace or b) having a child in childcare. For older children I would imagine schooling and activity costs are the expensive part, as well as clothes and food.
You will need a house big enough for a baby, although if you plan to co-sleep you only need one room for at least the first while.
We saved money by cloth diapering, breastfeeding, doing baby-led weaning (BLW) which did not require jarred baby food. Our friendship group has always been good at passing on baby clothes to whoever has just had a baby, so we benefitted a lot from that. We also got a lot of bargains setting up the nursery. Our financial situation is a lot better this time round so we won't be on as tight a budget, but it is definitely doable without having bags of cash.
Edit: We are from NZ, where healthcare is free - thank goodness! I am not sure how much more expensive that would make things but I am grateful I don't have to find out.Mother to two lovely kiddos, Mila Arden and Cato Bennett
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June 8th, 2013 02:17 PM #10Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
For me, the first year was much less expensive than I assumed it would be.
I am a stay at home mom, so we only have one income, but we don't have to budget for childcare. I am pretty much 'attachment parenting' so I am breastfeeding and most of the formula that I had around to supplement was free from the pediatrician and from a Yahoo list of parents in my neighborhood who often post about stuff like unneeded & unopened formula samples, hand-me-down toys & clothes, my family members also signed up for samples from the major formula companies...basically, even if you don't breastfeed you can shop smart & save on formula.
I also never bothered with things like a bottle warmer, wipes warmer, even a changing table...our buffet server with a towel on it was really just fine. Edit down your list of baby 'needs' cause mostly they aren't needed! We picked up a lot of stuff at garage sales, second hand stores & kicked down from friends. Just get a new car seat or one from a friend so you know it hasn't been in an accident!
We sleep with our daughter in bed at night and she naps on a memory foam twin mattress on the floor in a small extra room which has a baby gate instead of a door. No crib for us. This mattress will be her bed, maybe for her entire childhood and it works for us cause it's easier to sneak away after nursing her and I never had to worry about her climbing out.
We have great insurance and having my daughter cost NOTHING like $0. We are located in America. My daughter is covered completely for well-visit appointments & luckily she has been in great health aside from allergy issues that we luckily figured out early on thanks to breastfeeding! I was pleasantly surprised our coverage was so great, maybe you can call your provider to check on yours.
I dressed my daughter in hand me down clothes from her many cousins who luckily have moms with adorable taste! I was also happy to have a little girl. Everyone loves buying girl clothes it seems! I only bought my daughter a few meaningful items & a ton of socks! No one ever gives you socks for a gift it seems! As for toys, besides a stuffed animal I bought while pregnant I have only gotten her a first birthday gift! My mom is nuts with toys and we also got a lot of hand-me-downs.
I think we are pretty frugal. I cook almost all of our meals, we don't use any childcare outside of the grandparents, I bought an elliptical so I don't have a gym membership anymore. We bought a home after and my daughter's room is really my gym/office. If you parent the way I do your kid will not really need their own space in a major way...
But I don't think my way is for everyone. Some people skeeve out over used items & would hate to share their bed! In that case it's probably more expensive. I figure the expensive part college so I'll hold back from the $1000 stroller & baby gap shopping sprees!
June 8th, 2013 02:37 PM #12Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
It depends on where you live. In the USA you have to pay for your birth and hospital stay etc, but in the UK there's free healthcare bar a couple of minor expenses. So that's a big factor - From what I've heard a complication free vaginal birth in the US can cost $10,000+, which is insane to me!
There's a big cost at the start, for the pushchair, cot/co-sleeper, cot linen, travel system, bottles (if you aren't breastfeeding), nappies, clothes...But at least when they're little they can't ask for stuff!
When they're older they get more demanding - The only shoes my DD will wear are Lellie Kelly's, they're her favourite and all her friends have them. Problem is, they cost £50 a pair and kids feet grow quickly so she only gets a couple of months out of each pair.
I'm lucky enough to have a niece a year older than my DD, so we get a lot of perfectly usable hand me downs from her. We call them "Katie Cast-Offs"..There's no harm in using hand me downs or second hand stuff, though I've never bought anything second hand.
There are lots of ways to cut corners with babies and toddlers. It does get harder when they're older and want all the stuff they see their friends with.
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June 8th, 2013 02:58 PM #14Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
I just wanted to give you some actual costs to give you an idea on how much you can save- we exclusively formula-fed our son for the first year. Formula cost us about $20 per week. So if you are able to breastfeed, that could potentially save you about $960 over the course of the first year.
At six months, we started giving him solid food. He has always just eaten the same things we eat, so we did not buy any packaged baby food. I am sure that has saved us money, but I don't know how much. Our grocery bill has gone up some since he started eating food.
Most of our baby gear was handed down or second hand. It is hard to say how much you can save that way, b.c there is such an enormous range.
We are cloth diapering. The highest estimate for how much you save that I have seen is just under $3000 from birth to potty training (assuming potty training at 3.5). I love cloth diapering, but I personally think that this is a very high estimate. How much you can save on this is going to vary a lot based on how much you pay for your cloth diapers (you can buy them used to help save), whether you have a washing machine or have to go to a laundromat, how early you can potty train, and which disposables you would have used. But let's just say, cloth diapering= $1000 saved per year for the first three years.
I consider $1000 saved in a year to be a significant amount of money. The $960 you could save by breastfeeding (assuming breastfeeding is free for you, it is not always) also seems like a significant amount of money to me. Lets say that you did both of those things, you could perhaps save $163/month.
But when I looked into daycare vs. staying home w. our son, daycare in our area would have cost us $1500/month. I stay home w. our son, that costs us my entire former salary and benefits and so on. Adding our family to my husband's employer's insurance would cost $500/month. These costs dwarf the cost of disposable diapers and formula.
I think that as our son gets older, things will also get more expensive. Right now, all of the baby activities we do are free. There are definitely expensive baby classes and stuff, but the baby doesn't care whether he is doing yuppie baby yoga or dancing at free library storytime. As he gets older, he will probably want to take lessons or do sports. From parents of older kids, I understand that these things are very pricey.