Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saving Money With a New Baby

We like this post from DadJam about how to save money when you have a newborn.

In a nutshell, Head Jammer says:

1) Breastfeed for the first 6 months because the food is free. We'd add that you can breastfeed for a year exclusively and have the healthiest baby (and wallet) on the block. And keep breastfeeding for as long as you'd like. Two of our three breastfed for more than four years.

2) Get a used crib. We bought one and used it for three kids, now it's on loan to a friend who just had their first. Despite being 10 years old, it's in really good shape. We always borrowed those cradle thingies. Or you can skip the crib completely, use a drawer with a blankie in it the old-fashioned way, and have you baby sleep in your bed.

3) Get hand-me-downs! It's shocking how NICE used clothes from cousins can be.

4) Use cloth diapers. Absolutely! And instead of buying wipes and adding them to the landfill, use washcloths and warm water. One family we know has white ones for wiping tushies and colored ones for hands and faces.

5) Forget toys. Well, that's not exactly what Head Jam says but we're paraphrasing and misrepresenting to further our own anti-materialist agenda here.

6) Don't have a car. He doesn't. If you do, though, invest in the safest and most expensive car seat you can. Not the kind that pop out (carry your baby close to your chest. It's good for both of you) but a steel reinforced good one. Car accidents kill too many babies a year.

7) Suck it up that you'll be spending a lot of money on coffee.

We have a few more suggestions:

1) Ask well-meaning friends and relatives to bring FOOD after the birth, especially things that can be frozen, instead of gifts. The baby doesn't need anything. You need to eat (healthy, organic, whole grain food).

2) If the well meaners from #1 really need to give you something, ask them to contribute to a college savings fund or buy Baby a savings bond. In this down market, bonds have been doing gangbusters!

3) The baby will be spitting up, pooping, and growing like crazy. If you can't get hand-me-downs, go to Good Will or the Salvation Army and buy clothes there. We live in a relatively wealthy area and people give really nice, often new stuff to Good Will. So, the lady shopping next to you will be slapping her grandson. But you're saving money.

4) Use olive or avocado oil on your baby's skin instead of expensive lotions that will cause a rash anyway.

5) Wash laundry in cold water. You save money and energy. The clothes get clean. Even the pee pee diapers (maybe not the poopy ones--wash on warm for those...) You don't need bleach of any kind, even though it is cheap...


Anonymous said...

Good ideas (although I admit to not using all of them w/ my four kids)! (And, on the breastfeeding one, even though we added solids when our kids turned four months old, I nursed them all for at least a year, give or take. Health benefits aside, the "free food" thing was a big deciding factor!)

Other ideas for saving money with a baby:

1) Skip the fancy crib bedding. Little babies shouldn't be using comforters or pillows, anyway, so there's no reason to splurge on that Laura Ashley ensemble right now. If you absolutely *must* have fabulous bedding, put it on layaway during your baby's first year and bring it home when he's old enough to use it.

2) Make a list of the things you *really* need. Chances are, wipe warmers and diaper stackers aren't on it.

3) Spend wisely. People always say to ignore your dirty house and just enjoy your baby, but if that's impossible for you (like it was for me), and you truly have no time or energy to clean up, consider hiring a one-time maid to do a thorough cleaning for you. Yes, it costs money, but if it keeps you sane and makes you more able to sit back and enjoy your newborn, then it's money well spent. (I admit to never doing this, but I wish I had. All of those exhausting late-night cleaning scrambles seem silly in retrospect.)

Most of all, though, try to cut yourself some slack during the hectic newborn weeks and months. Ask for help when you need it, and admit that you can't -- and shouldn't -- do it all. Nobody's handing out medals for the biggest martyr, so don't kill yourself trying to become one!

Anonymous said...

hard 2 know what you really need when you have your first kid until AFTER you've gotten loaded down with useless shit and electronic toys.

i hope new parents read this and skip the shopping sprees and ignore the advertisements.

good post, btw.

Vincent @ The Dad Jam said...

Great summary of the Jam, thanks for mentioning it and glad that you liked it! Nice additional ideas too! I will be doing part two of my saving money Jam soon!

Eric said...

we have saved a lot by family and friends giving us tons of clothes!

Anonymous said...

before we got our used crib, we had guai guai sleep in a cardboard box! he was a perfectly happy baby in the box.