As I noted in a recent review of our 2011 financial goals, we’re going to have some big upcoming expenses that we need to prepare for. It’s happy news – we’re expecting our first child!
Of course, aside from the emotional, mental, and physical preparations, we’re also looking at our finances so we can be ready as possible for the baby’s arrival. We know you can never get completely ready, but it’s important to us to do our best.
For all the new parents to be out there, I wanted to get a baby list ready.
Little baby – big expenses
Who knew babies required so much? I was reviewing baby costs on Baby Center to get an idea of what to expect. It’s based on a survey of 1, 000 real mothers, whose expenses as you’ll see below can vary greatly.
While we’re planning to transform the guest room into a nursery, I was amazed at how much stuff is suggested for the baby’s room. I’d like to investigate and see the quality difference between some low, medium, and high end models since the price difference appears to be huge.
- Crib & mattress: $200-$910
- Changing table: $80-$250
- Bouncer: $30-$70
- Playpen: $25-$80
Baby showers are, of course, a great way to check of some of the items on your list, save you money, and give your friends and family a chance to help you out with some practical gifts.
Many blogs and sites emphasize that you don’t want to go overboard and shop for a bunch of baby clothes. Children grow rapidly, and small baby clothes won’t be worn long.
The site suggests that $59/month is normal for mothers to spend. We’re going to play this one by ear. While having new clothes can be nice, we have no problem using good hand me downs. I don’t think the baby will notice, do you?
Looking to go broke? From what I’ve been reading, diapers can be a big expense, though you can make it more manageable with a bit of elbow grease. It depends on whether you choose disposable or cloth diapers. If you’re going with cloth diapers, you have to decide if you’re going to launder them yourself or sign up for a service.
- Disposable diapers: $72/month ($864/year)
- Cloth diapers: $19/month ($228/year)
- Cloth diapers & service – $76/month ($912/year)
We haven’t made a decision yet on what we’re going to do. I’d love to get your feedback on what you’ve decided and how it worked out.
Traveling and living with the baby takes effort and some gear.
- Car seat: $60-$150
- Diaper bag: $25 -$200
- Sling: $29-$60
- Stroller: $70-$900
- Infant Bathtub: $20-$40
Food and feeding gear
This is another huge expense if you’re going the formula route. Breastfeeding does have some upfront costs, but month-to-month you can save a significant amount of money.
- Bottles: $60
- Formula: $105/month
- Manual breast pump: $30
- Electric breast pump: $150-$350
- Nursing bras: $75
- Highchair: $60-$250
- Plates, utensils, and bibs: $45
Besides the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, many people and books have pointed out the economic benefits.
Money for hospital bills?
A big bill that we’re looking at is the delivery. While it’s few months away, it’s going to be a significant chunk of money. Early estimates for our insurance coverage would put it around $800-$1, 000.
Since things can vary a lot based on where you are, you should consider asking friends who have recently have had babies to get an idea of their out-of-pocket expenses at your local hospital, a birthing center, or at home.
Common mistakes parents can make
We’ve had a lot of conversations with family and friends to get their much-needed advice. They’ve been kind enough to reflect and share their thoughts, and their feedback has been invaluable to us.
- Don’t get obsessed with new stuff. It’s very tempting to assume that your baby needs the latest and greatest gear that you see on TV and the web.
- Babies don’t need big rooms. We’re in a 3 bedroom townhouse and for the nursery, we allocated the current guest room. It’s the smallest of the three bedrooms, but we’re confident it’ll be more than sufficient for the baby.
- Babies don’t need a ton of toys. Well meaning friends and family have a tendency to flood your new baby with toys, so don’t stress yourself by getting more toys.
I have a feeling we’ll be asking many more questions in the future.
Your thoughts on baby expenses
I know I haven’t even come close to covering all of the possible expenses – childcare for example – but I wanted to hit some of the early expenses that we’ve considered.
Do you have kids? If so, what did you do to prepare (financially) for their arrival? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?
36 Responses to “Preparing for a Baby”
Wow. We did without a lot of the items many see as essential–crib, playpen, bouncer, changing table. I wore my babies and over the years used a variety of baby carriers–back, front, over the shoulder. If I needed a stroller, the lightweight umbrella strollers seemed to work just fine. Baby clothes were purchased at garage/yard sales and received as gifts or hand me downs. I used cloth diapers, eventually making my own from terrycloth towels purchased at yard sales. I could easily get two diapers from one bath towel. The inside of the diaper was flannel–either cut from receiving blankets also purchased at yard sales or flannel purchased on sale. The diapers had a shape so little folding was required after washing or prior to diapering the baby. Superabsorbent. I did purchase wool diapercovers so that I didn’t have to deal with a wet lap–or so others wouldn’t be afraid to hold the baby
Congrats! No matter what you spend your money on or what you decide you can live without, you will have a marvelous ride parenting!
Congrats! Something else to add to your list is life insurance – ASAP. Don’t wait to sign up until the baby is born, because accidents can happen at any time (and besides, caring for a newborn is stressful enough without having to jump through paperwork hoops wrapped up in red tape). Ours is only about $35 for both of us, but it’s some of the most important money we spend each month.
Breast pumps generally are not needed unless Mom is separated from the baby. If you are a work-from-home blogger/writer, you may not need one. If there is a problem with the baby that you need to use one in the beginning, you can often rent them from a hospital more cheaply than buying one for short term use. Around here it is $50 sunk cost for the disposable/personal parts, and $50/month. I bought mine because I work outside of the home and have used it 28 months so far for two children and paid about $320.
Definitely, buy gear as you need it. High chair? First baby never needed one – he just ate in his walker until he was big enough to sit in a regular chair. Second baby couldn’t stand to be separated from the rest of the family, so we got a high chair. I got a stroller at a garage sale for $5. It was a waste of money. We have never used it. I bought a sling off of eBay and we use it all the time.
I get disposables from Amazon’s subscribe and save. Believe me, when the ice pellets are coming down and the world is iced over, it is nice to take inventory of supplies and adjust the order schedule rather than going to Walmart. For the most part, Amazon adjusts their supplies in advance of my actual order, so if I decide I need them this week instead of next, I often get them the next day. (Your physical location in the country may affect this – I enjoy midwest convenience of fast delivery schedules)
I do have a moderate supply of cloth diaper covers and cotton prefolds. The cotton prefolds also make great nose-wipes, barf-catchers, and general spill-rags, not to mention head pillows when you’re making a change on the trunk lid because there aren’t any changing facilities nearby. I do recommend shopping for cloth diaper covers/AIOs that are rated for hot water. I just don’t like washing anything bacteria/virus (remember nose-wipes) contaminated in cold water.
Nursing provides natural feel-good hormones and other benefits for you besides being the best start for baby and costing a whole lot less than formula. Go to a La Leche League meeting now while you’re pregnant to get all your questions answered.
Hospital bills: We paid $900 to the hospital for the first baby who was more complicated and a longer stay and $1200 for the second baby. A big part of the difference was the time of year. Baby #2 has a birthday this week, so the insurance deductibles hadn’t been met yet whereas Baby #1 was born later in the year and deductibles had already been paid out for all the tests and the doctor’s bill.
I have a yearling and a 3 and a half year old. They are exhausting every day, but the joys of parenting are not measured in dollars or hours, but in smiles and giggles.
Agree with the cost-savings advice.
Two things to add: 1. Nursing bras are recommended to keep your breasts from being constricted, which constricts milk production. They’re also way more comfortable when you get up to month 8 and swollen. I got 2 and wore them even in bed — no sagging later.
2. If people throw a shower for you and you have clothes with receipts..Take them back right away if you even think you won’t use them. I had stores refuse to issue full credit to me once the items had gone on sale — the credit offered was a fraction of the original cost. And babies outgrow clothes so fast that you hardly need any for the first few months (less than you even suppose). Plus, things just don’t get that dirty until solids are introduced.
We got 2nd hand crib and stroller. We are also getting a few hand me down items.
Great tips in the comments.
We can tell you to minimize your spending on baby clothes for your first child, but the reality is, you won’t. Some of us are fortunate (or in some cases unfortunate enough) to have extended families that are more than willing to adorn your newborn with an assortment of new onesies, PJ’s and booties. We went through it with our first child … spent a fortune on new clothes for our first kid. But if you have more than one child, you’ll get over the need for newness.
*Buy a good crib and mattress; they will be sleeping on it for a few years if you get the convertible kind. Don’t go second-hand here unless you are extremely diligent about researching first. Also, each time a crib is disassembled, it lessens the strength.
*Use a dresser with a changing pad on it; we bought an unfinished bi-level dresser that can be used throughout their childhood/adulthood.
*Bouncer/Swing; it depends on your child if they will like these; try to borrow or at least get consignment.
*Playpen isn’t really needed unless you need something for travel.
*Agree with your baby clothes comment, but I’m a clotheshound, so I do go overboard there. Buy at end of seasons for bigger sizes and store.
*Cloth all the way. You can spend anywhere from $100 – $300 for a nice stash; you can even buy used on http://www.diaperswappers.com and the like. We used disposable with our first and cloth with this one. A few extra loads of laundry each week is really no big deal for us.
*Car seat – Buy the best convertible car seat you can…you’ll use it until they are 5 or 6 or older. Instead of the annoying infant seat, buy or make a great baby wrap (Moby) or sling and wear your baby when out…much easier on your back and pocket.
*Diaper bag – any bag will do really.
*Stroller – hold off a bit; again, sling or wrap works wonders!
*No huge need for the bathtub, but that’s also something you can get for under $5 used.
Food and feeding gear
*If your wife is going to be home, just buy an inexpensive hand pump or electric to use on occasion. Also, 3 or 4 bottles will be more than enough. Just plan on possibly needing to spend that money on a breastpump quickly, if needed. Things don’t always work the best at the beginning and you may need that sooner rather than later. Also, breastfeeding will save you more money over the long run with many things, so really do take it into consideration.
*Nursing bras – buy a handful of nursing tanks at Target for less than $10 each…much more comfortable to wear on a daily basis.
*Highchair – won’t need immediately and can easily buy used
*Other – bibs are cheap, special utensils/plates are not entirely necessary
I loved the book Baby Bargains…really lays out each item and category and brands and tells if you really do need them.
Hi! I just wanted to share some diaper experience. For our third child we were very broke, so I made some diapers (3 dozen, 100% cotton flannel). I just cut the size (taken from a commercial flat, not folded, diaper) and zigzaged around the edge. It was painless. The flannel was MUCH easier on the little behind because the folds are softer. If you can, find the double sided flannel, but either way. I also used disposables for the first month or so, because when they are brand new their skin is so delicate. When I switched to cloth, I used Bag Balm or Vaseline on her bottom (very lightly) to kind of make a barrier for the skin. If she got a rash (and she didn’t, much) I switched to cornstarch until it healed up because it kept her very dry and didn’t make hard ridges like talc can.
All the best!!
Wow, you guys have really helped us by sharing your thoughts on kids. Thank you – it’s been great for us and gives us some more things to discuss.
Buy everything you can, used. The only thing I would never buy used is a car seat; and maybe the crib mattress. (Some people say used crib mattresses are actually better due to “outgassing”, but we bought ours a couple months early and let it air out.) As someone else pointed out, you only end up finding some of the stuff you get useful. That’s a lot easier to stomach when you buy stuff used and can resell it for about what you paid for it.
Cloth diapers do save money. We get disposable diapers from amazon for the day care and use cloth at home. You are home 2/3rds of the time so the start up costs do still make sense. You can probably buy an entire cloth diaper setup from someone off craigslist or ebay.
We budgeted that my wife would hit her insurance’s out of pocket max for the delivery, and she did and then some. It was a complication-free delivery too. Also, how much you pay out of pocket has at least as much to do with your insurance as it does with where you live.
You will get lots of gifts. I was warned about this but I didn’t really believe them. Distant acquaintances came out of the woodwork to give us gifts.
And I just want to reiterate, buy stuff used.
On diapers–keep the kids in the smaller sizes as long as you can. For the same price, a box of size 1 has 144 diapers, size 2 has 132, size 3 has 112, size 4 has 96, etc. You get the point.
Also, sometimes you can use more than one size for specific situations. Our daughter is still small enough to comfortably fit in size four, but sometimes she “goes” enough that a size four can’t handle it. The leaking, however, only happens as night. As a result, she wears a size five to bed, and then fours during the day.
Sage – hehe, me too, and it’s okay! I like my friends’ kids. I like buying stuff for them, and playing with them. But I also like it when they go home 🙂
My husband and I are completely undecided on kids and one of the biggest deterrents that has always made us feel like they’re just not for us is the expense.
Between all of the material goods they require, all the material goods that would simply be fun to have, the lost income during unpaid FMLA/maternity leave, the cost of child care, the additional premiums required to add them to our health-insurance, the increased food costs, the cost of saving/paying for their education, etc, etc, etc…
It all just seems astronomical and truthfully: insurmountable. Add in the incredibly demands they make upon your time and energy, and I’m 99% convinced that we’re just not parent types.
I love babies and I even love teenagers, but I don’t particularly enjoy children, though I have no doubt that I’d love my own and think they were the bee’s knees. But I also love my life just the way it is right now, so why would I want to go and throw an enormous, expensive, time-consuming, stress-filled wrench in it?
JK: Same deal here with the extended straps on the Baby Bjorn. 🙂
As for the Boppy, my wife had a nursing pillow that she swore by. So whatever you get (a Boppy or something else), a nursing pillow is a great suggestion.
re sling/carrier – we originally purchased a pouch sling, but I always felt like my son never really fit in it correctly. Being born at 8lbs 5oz and 20 inches he was a fairly big baby. When I did more research and found out about wraps, it was a godsend. We ordered from http://www.sleepywrap.com
I was able to keep my son close on most outings without the need to lug a stroller along. And I didn’t have to worry about switching to something else as he grew. I used it well past his first birthday.
You may also want to look into making your own baby food as opposed to buying jars of baby food.
The combination of breastfeeding and making our own baby food was a huge money saver! I only wished I had been able to look more into using cloth diapers.
Once both of our kids got mobile, we stopped taking strollers with us.
Last summer, we went on a stroller-free vacation, with a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and an 11 year old. They all managed multiple 2-3 mile hikes through the woods, and did it smiling.
A useful thing is a backpack/leash for the kids, when they are toddlers. You can stick some snacks and diapers in the back, and keep a grip on the kid, so they can’t wander off. We only use them in crowds, but they’re a lifesaver.
Nearly all our clothes were gifts or hand-me-downs. Toys were gifts or yard sales (carefully inspected and cleaned, of course). Breast pumps and the like were also borrowed or hand-me-downs—the “motor” is the expensive part; the tubing and all is replaceable. We went with disposable diapers, probably our one “luxury,” stocking up when on sale. And remember after weaning, baby eats what you eat, just blended (with baby cereal at first) so we only bought canned baby food for travel or a treat.
Some stuff just looks “necessary” in marketing brochures: our changing table was the floor with a pad most of the time. The crib was a one-time gift we reused for four kids. Same for the toddler bed and the play yard. People are getting rid of that stuff all the time and it’s often barely used.
We usually bought new car seats because hand-me-downs can be pretty beat-up or not up to the latest safety regs. That said, we shopped on the low end. Strollers were second hand. The kid does not care if it’s a Cadillac or not. Our kids LIVED in those cheap umbrella strollers once they got to toddler stage.
The best value is to have more kids than one–the start-up costs are the big expense; after that it’s all profit! 😉
Congratulations!! Children are wonderful!! (and babies are just soooo cute!)
Mine are 10 and 14 now and I miss those baby days.
They are definitely hard at the time but they are so temporary and you never get them back. Enjoy!
At a La Leche League meeting some 14 years ago, I still remember the advice that another mom said she got from an older lady at the grocery store when her children were acting up … she said “someday you’ll miss even the bad days”… so true.
Another piece of advice from my cousin at the time was don’t take advice from those whose children are older than 5 years. …. so be careful of what I’m telling you. 🙂
All I can add is …. our children ended up sleeping with us …. so the cribs were useful for about 18 months … the matching crib sets and crib bumpers, the slings, the matching lamps, the handmade baby blankets, etc, etc… so much stuff I didn’t use. Maybe that was my unorganized ways … but that time period moves so fast, in some ways you have to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Best Wishes! no matter what you do it turns out well… you have wonderful children for the rest of your life!
Diapers: Diapers.com has a great coupon(LiveReal) for your first visit, after that, they are cheaper than stores if you spend more than $50 to get free shipping.
Amazon is really the best place to get diapers. Sign up for Amazon Mom. You’ll get 15% off if you subscribe to monthly diaper delivery and you’ll get 15% off most of the diapers they stock. That’s 30% off every order. Plus free Amazon Prime for a year + free shipping on all of the subscriptions. We’ve been ordering 160 pull-ups for $36 shipped.
Car seats: Never buy used. They are worthless after a car accident and prone to recalls.
Diaper bag: A $40 backpack that zips open all the way will last longer than a $200 designer bag that you have to dig through, AND it’s more comfortable AND you’ll look trendy. 🙂
Clothes: You are going to buy too many clothes. You’ll underestimate how fast they grow and stock up too far, or you’ll overestimate how fast they’ll grow and buy next season’s clothes too big. Garage sales and used-baby stores make that much less painful. You will want a ton of onesies and t-shirts for the first year. Babies spill and spit up a LOT. You’ll be changing clothes several times per day.
Changing table: A low dresser is better than any changing table out there. The top drawer can be diaper supplies, the rest can be clothes. You can get a changing table topper that will strap to the dresser and has a seat belt to keep a squirming baby in place.
Feeding: For formula, look into a Sam’s Club membership. The formula is almost identical to Similac, but half the price. If the baby’s getting breastfed, invest in a pump. A $30 pump from target will take half an hour per boob and burn out every 4 months. A $200 PurelyYours will take 15 minutes total(two suckers) and last forever. When you’re done having kids, buy a sanitation kit to replace the gaskets and sell it on Craigslist for $100.
Hospital bills: With baby #2, we got surprised with an $8000 bill. Little known fact: most hospitals have a charity fund. Ask if you qualify. They’ll send you some paperwork to proved your income vs expenses. Include every possible expense you have, from utilities, to your cell phone, to gas in your car. Really. For baby #3, we put my wife on my insurance in addition to her own, so the insurance companies paid the coinsurance/copay/deductibles together.
Congrats on the baby news! You’ve already got a lot of great advise here, but I’ll add a couple of tidbits.
If you go the breastfeeding route, get yourself a Boppy (www.boppy.com) My wife swore by it with both our kids. It helps the baby rest comfortably on his/her side and puts them in the perfect position to feed. My wife was so good at it, she could go “hands-free” and talk on phone/write notes/etc. Heck, I even used it to bottle feed the kids too when my wife was catching up on rest!
We liked the Baby Bjorn. We got the one with the extended straps (i’m linebacker-ish in size!) It was great to have the child near you, facing forward for them to see everything. And it was extremely comfortable to wear.
Amazon.com’s subscribe & save option on diapers provides a nice discount…
Great discussion, and congrats! Our first child was born a month ago, so I look forward to your thoughts on the journey.
My two cents (although most have been spot on): Our biggest expense has been the chair. We opted for something a bit more expensive, but that looks and feels like a normal recliner/glider. It’s been fantastic for those 3 AM nights with Daddy because it actually fits me (the cheapo combos were much too small).
Also, a quick tip on the breast pump. We got ours from our local hospital, whose breastfeeding center sells them at cost. It was cheaper than I could find anywhere online.
Another tip: the cheapest diapers are from a hospital supplier (if you know someone). Otherwise, my brother recommended Amazon, although I haven’t compared the prices myself.
Congratulations on your growing family!
Based on my experience, you need some stuff, but there’s a lot of stuff other people can’t cope without that you won’t even want, much less need. The trouble is, you don’t know which of the other people’s must-haves are your who-cares.
So … you can either get everything and then see what you use, or get the basics and then add stuff you find you want once the baby is here. I think the latter approach is much less expensive, even though it may involve paying a premium price for a few things you want to get quickly (rather than shopping for a bargain).
In my experience, the only stuff you really need for the first 2 weeks after the baby is born is …
— a bunch of ready-to-eat meals and convenient snacks (packaged peanut butter crackers, fresh fruit), especially if you are breastfeeding
— electronic breastpump if you are considering breastfeeding (everyone I’ve known experienced either engorgement or low supply, and either way a good pump is handy especially if your infant isn’t born nursing well, which most aren’t (they learn, of course!))
— ~10 onesies appropriate to the season and “the right size,” which likely means you really need around twice that, a few smaller and a few larger. But remember, a bit large is OK; of course, too small isn’t
— ~6 receiving/swaddling blankets
— ~6 cloth diapers (AIO type) if you’re considering them at all and 1 or 2 large boxes of disposables (even if you’re committed to cloth, you’ll want some disposables sooner or later)
— somewhere safe for baby to sleep (we used a bassinet, not a crib), and ~5 appropriate fitted sheets for the mattress it contains
— ~10 baby washcloths or soft, clean rags
— ~10 burpcloths, ditto
— 2 packs wipes
— diaper bag or canvas tote
Really, that’s pretty much it. Everything else you can get later, as you discover you want it.
I am a fan of the “travel systems” and didn’t find getting one much more expensive than a carseat (though this was a few years back so things may have changed). I think it’s well worth buying an infant carseat, the kind that snaps into a base; a small infant won’t really fit safely into a “convertible” seat (the kind that is ostensibly for 5-35 lbs.), and being able to lift the seat out without bothering the sleeping baby? Priceless.
I tried a ton, ton, ton of different slings and carriers and spent a bunch for the privilege. Personally I ended up liking a tube sling best, especially once my kid was older (2 — oldish by sling standards…), and a Mai Tei I bought cheap (new) on ebay when he was smaller, but there are so many different options. If possible, first, wait ’til the baby’s here, and then, go to a store where you can actually try them on — if there’s one near you (they’re hard to find). Meanwhile, just accept any hand-me-downs and gifts you’re offered, and hope for the best.
We used cloth diapers (FuzziBunz + Nurtured Family contours for liners) and were very happy with them; threw them in with our other laundry (after rinsing out poop) and never did anything special. But at least in our state, daycares aren’t allowed to use cloth diapers, so if you’ll be using daycare a noticeable amount of time, it may not be worth spending a lot to get fancy cloth diapers.
I may not have any kids but I have been doing a lot of research, mostly on natural parenting it may and may not be useful but people tend to save huge amounts of money. Midwives, Doula, or husband/mother assist with the birthing experience. Elimination communication, baby wearing, co-sleeping with child, breastfeeding for a while and even homeschooling. Some people can do this and some people can not. It all depends on their circumstances. I plan on doing this once my time come. Congrats with the little one!
@Elle: Yea college (if you pay for them) is by far the biggest expense!
My wife and I are in the process of trying to get pregnant. We were discussing diapers with my parents, and my mother had a wonderful suggestion. When my brother and I were infants, my mother used cloth diapers. She would take old sheets and cut them into squares, and line the cloth diaper with them. She said that it made clean-up much easier.
Ahhh, yes… The chair. We had a glider with a gliding ottoman and it was awesome. Very good for chilling with a baby, and you could rock/glide almost effortlessly thanks to that ottoman.
Another useful thing if you’re nursing… A nursing foot stool. Similar to a normal footstool but lower and slanted at the perfect angle for nursing when you’re sitting on the couch or whatever. My wife loved hers.
Here is a link: nursing foot stool
Later in life, it’s a nice little foot stool for when you’re doing computer work, or whatever (esp if you’re not super tall).
Clothing and Toys — don’t forget about consignment shops. Most, for the smaller sized clothes, will only take new items with tags, and can be had at huge discounts! when your little one outgrows them, you can try to consign them back too.
Diapers — if you go the daycare route, i’ll give the same advice I was given, buy the cheapest option available. they have to change them often at a daycare, and you’re wasting money using a premium brand and changing every 1-2 hours. We use Pampers and Luvs at our house, but have tried other brands. Pampers runs a neat program called gifts 2 grow where you accumulate points.
another note on diapers, always have some of the next size on hand. for overnights especially, once you start seeing leakage, or the dreaded blowout, it’s good to go up a size overnight, even though they may not fit for day use.
Stroller/carrier. we used a backpack style carrier that we Love… also bought on consignment. and had a huge stroller that matched the bucket style car seat. we hated the stroller, it was big, and heavy, and the wheels were never good for anything other than pavement. we’ve since gotten a jog style, much better.
food — there are lots of make your own baby food cookbooks. it’s a great way to save as your little one moves to solids, all you need is a blender or food processor
finally, a Rocking chair that’s comfortable. it will be your best friend on long, long nights.
Best of luck!
@Investor Junkie: That’s something we’re think about, but haven’t had much time lately to actually look into yet.
Wow; I didn’t realize how long daycare waiting lists could be! I appreciate the heads up.
@Paul: Thanks for pointing out additional costs of C-sections. We have Blue Cross so we appreciate your feedback.
@momcents: It sounds like cloth diapers were a huge savings for you. Congrats on your second child! I hope your pregnancy goes smoothly 🙂
I went the route of cloth diapers and my son is now 19 months and still going strong with cloth diapers. We chose BumGenius 3.0 diapers because they function like a regular diaper and grow with the baby. The price tag is a little steep, but we were able to offset that cost by directing baby shower guests to the CottonBabies website. We received a baker’s dozen from our guests and bought a dozen ourselves. That’s enough diapers that we only have to do the wash twice a week!
My husband was a bit skeptical when I first brought up cloth diapering while pregnant. I remember the exchange exactly. He said, “I don’t know, doesn’t that mean we’ll have to touch poop?” I responded, “We’re having a baby, we’re going into the business of poop!”
I ran the math once of how much cost savings we would see from using cloth diapers. I factored in the cost of gas, water and electricity to run the machine, as well as the initial outlay of the cost of the diapers and special detergent (1 box has lasted 19 months so far). I also factored in supplementing with disposables for night time and trips out of the house. During the first year, when diapers are smaller and cheaper and there’s the startup costs to overcome, we only saved fifty dollars. However, during this second year, we are saving well over $500.
I’m currently expecting my second child and the diapers are in great shape to share. I expect our cost savings to hit four digit numbers in no time flat.
I recommend setting aside a little more than $1000 for your co-pay of the hospital bill, particularly for the possibility of a c-section which would increase costs. In my experience (from 2009), after Blue Cross paid their share, I had $2000 in charges between the hospital and the doctors. Also, look for used items at consignment shops. Babies don’t need new stuff for the most part, with the exception of a carseat and possibly the crib. BTW – we like the quality of the cheap Costco (Kirkland brand) diapers better than the bigger name brands.
What no mention of college education savings? ie 529
Also if your Employer offers a dependent care account, that can help reduce your taxes (for use with daycare) if both parents are working. If the child is going to daycare also start looking now. It’s common in this area of the country (NY for me) to have a year waiting list.
Start looking for a pediatrician for your baby ASAP.
Thanks Nickel and Chris for the advice and information! It amazes me to hear from others the amount of diapers we’ll be going through. We’re leaning towards disposable based on feedback I had from family. I’ll definitely won’t mind store brand if they do the job.
Great idea on borrowing/testing baby gear. I think that would be a big help for us since we’ll have no clue to what would actually be convenient for us when the baby arrives.
I agree with Chris. If you go with disposable diapers, use the cheap ones. We mostly used store brand from Sam’s Club. This is especially true when your baby just enters a new size – the cheapies will be more than enough to “contain” them. There were a few instances as our kids got to the upper end of a size range where they’d have “blowouts” – you’ll probably learn the hard way what that means 😉 – and the name brand diapers would do a better job, but for the most part the cheapies are totally sufficient.
Disposable diapers are very convienent and to stay on budget we went with the store brand ie. Sams/Walmart, Target, Costco. Since we had a shower and received diapers from many different brands, we were able to test them all out and the store brand works just as well as the rest of them and they are considerably cheaper. We used about 7 to 12 diapers a day in the first few months and a few less now.
Laura: We’ve been down this road four (!) times, so here are some thoughts…
You should definitely go with used stuff wherever practical. For younger babies, they outgrow their clothes so quickly that there’s usually no visible wear. You can save shockingly large amounts of money and still dress your kid in the cutest clothes by shopping around a bit, and concentrating your efforts on hitting yard/garage sales and the like. Sounds like garage sale season will be in full swing during your baby’s first few months, so that will help.
Also related to clothes… Buy ahead, but don’t go overboard. It’s harder with the first, but as you have more kids (if you do) you’ll develop a sense for how big they’ll be next winter so you can hit the clearance racks this year and get stuff on the cheap. Clearance racks are your best friend when buying new, but don’t go overboard, and don’t lose track of what you’ve already bought.
Also… Keep in mind that buying new vs. used is not an all-or-none decision. For example, you can get a used crib with a new mattress. Or a used changing table with a new pad.
On the subject of cribs… I would recommend resisting the urge to buy a super expensive, all inclusive, adorable crib set. In our experience, the crib is most often adorned with a mattress pad and fitted sheet along with a favored blank or two. The matching sheets, bumpers, comforters, etc. look wonderful when you bring the baby home, but they quickly get set aside in favor of a more practical (and streamlined) solution.
Also, try to borrow from friends to try certain things out. For example, many moms swear by their slings, so we bought a nice (and fairly expensive) sling, figuring we’d use it forever. Unfortunately, all of our kids absolutely hated being carried in it. We ended up buying a Baby Bjorn carrier that they all loved. Had we tested out the sling first, we could’ve saved a nice chunk of change.
On diapers… We went with disposables. The biggest factor in our decision was a lack of a washer and dryer in our apartment when our first was born, and it stuck from there.