Top Ten Frugal Tips for Babies

Simple Ways to to Save Money on Baby Expenses

Frugal Tips for Babies
Frugal Tips for Babies Help You Pinch Pennies. gracey

Did you know that the U.S Department of Agriculture reports that it costs $200,000 or more to raise a child to the age of 18. That's about $1000 a month from birth on up. Babies can be especially expensive. Before you begin to sweat bullets over the thought of affording the cost of raising a baby, rest assured that you can trim the fat off your baby budget. Check out these frugal tips for babies that will certainly save your family money.

Find Cheap Baby Clothing

Cheap Baby Clothes
Cheap Baby Clothes Can't Get Cheaper Than Hand-Me-Downs. Mark.Pilgrim

You've already noticed it - your little one outgrows clothing constantly. He's no more in one size and the next week he's busting out of his precious footed jammies. That's why it is essential to locate cheap baby clothing. You don't need to be constantly buying brand new, pricey clothes.

Keeping your baby in adorable duds doesn't have to threaten his college tuition. There are many ways to find cheap baby clothes that look great. Consider the following sources:

  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • Freecycle
  • Consignment shops
  • Hand-me-downs

All of these resources will have your baby well-dressed on a dirt-cheap budget.

Don't Buy Baby Food, Make Baby Food

Make Baby Food
Make Baby Food and Freeze It in Ice Cube Trays. Wendy Copley

Before you think that it is too difficult, too time consuming, or too expensive to make baby food; let me assure you it really isn't. Making your own baby food can be as simple as tossing the veggies you made for yourself into a food processor and giving it a few pulses. It really is that simple.

As far as cost effective, let me share with you a few examples using Stage 1 foods:

  • Both Gerber and Beachnut Stage 1 Peas and Sweet Potatoes cost about $0.23 per ounce. It only cost $0.04 per ounce to make homemade peas or sweet potatoes.
  • Gerber and Beachnut Stage 1 Bananas cost about $0.23 per ounce. Homemade puréed bananas cost about $0.01 per ounce.
  • Gerber and Beachnut Stage 1 Applesauce also about $0.23 per ounce. Homemade applesauce only $0.03 per ounce.

What's more - when you move up to Stage 2 and Stage 3 foods, the cost savings is even more pronounced. Over time, those ounces and those pennies certainly do add up. It also is great that you can expose your baby to a greater variety of seasonal foods: pumpkin, rutabaga, tropical fruits, etc. Over the course of a year, making your own food yields signficant savings. It definitely is worth it to make baby food rather than to stock up on jarred foods.

Skip the Crib Bedding

Crib Bedding
The Safest Crib Is Without Crib Bedding. valetinapowers

Many parents do not realize that the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with several other agencies, recommends that the only thing placed in your baby's crib is a mattress that fits snuggly and a well-fitting crib sheet. No other crib bedding is suggested. That means no crib bumpers, no pillows, no blankets, no sleep positioners of any kind. The reason being is that baby bedding causes an increase risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The easy answer - save yourself potentially hundreds of dollars and pass on the fancy crib bedding. It is completely unnecessary and potentially dangerous, so why bother? Instead, invest in some quality crib sheets that will hold up after repeated washings.

Use Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diapers Save You Money. rowanfae

People hear the term "cloth diapers" and more often than not their mind goes to dangerous diaper pins, soggy flats of birdseye cotton, and uncomfortable rubber pants. However, there has been a huge revolution in cloth diapering, and cloth has become far easier to use. Another worthwhile point, cloth is now quite similar to disposables in some ways.

Now if you are thinking of going the diaper service route, well then, it isn't likely going to save you much money at all. But if you choose to launder your diapers at home, you can save several thousands of dollars over the diapering period. That number increases even more if you re-use your diapers on subsequent children.

Depending on your neeeds and the diapering system you choose, it doesn't take a lot of money or a lot of diapers to build up an adequate cloth diapering stash. Based on the type of diaper you buy, you can diaper your baby until potty training with as little as a $300 resellable investment. Conversely, it will cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 to diaper your baby in disposable diapers. And you won't see a penny of that money back, for certain.

The styles of diapers from which you can choose include:

Make Your Own Homemade Baby Wipes

Homemade Cloth Wipes
Homemade Cloth Wipes Are a Smart Choice. monkeysnugglesdiaper

Did you know that many families save over $150 a year by making homemade baby wipes rather than purchasing store bought wipes? There are several ways to go about making your own wipes.

First you can opt to make your own reusable cloth baby wipes from cotton receiving blankets or discarded flannel squares. Place a mixture of water, baby oil, and baby wash in a spray bottle and - voilà, you never will have the headache of running out of diaper wipes. Plus, it will only costs you pennies to make them, and they are better for the environment.

If you aren't keen on laundering dirty wipes, then you can also make your own disposable baby wipes. All you need is the same mixure above, a roll of paper towels, and a container with a seal tight lid. Disposable wipes will also save you money and are simple to make.

Breastfeeding Baby Saves a Thousand Dollars or More

Breastfeeding Baby - Frugal Living
Breastfeeding Baby Saves You Thousands of Dollars. sean dreilinger

Although a breastfeeding baby isn't a possible addition to every family, breastfeeding your baby for the first year of life will save you more than a thousand dollars a year. Ultimately, all that is needed to breastfeed is mother and baby, though certainly there are many breastfeeding products that moms can opt to buy.

With formula feeding, however, it isn't like you can choose to not buy formula or feeding supplies. Here's how the must-haves of formula feeding break down.

  • Basic powdered cow's milk based formula costs about $0.12 per ounce. That translates to about $1225 for the first year
  • If your baby needs a special formula, such as a hypoallergenic formula, then it will cost around $0.31 per ounce, totalling roughly $3,160 per year.
  • Compared to the cost of infant formula, you likely wouldn't bat an eyelash at the incidental costs of bottles, nipples, bottle warmers, and bottle brushes. That would come to somewhere between $50 to $60 for the year, depending on your baby bottle preferences or your baby's unique feeding needs.

Think Gender Neutral Baby Items

Gender Neutral Baby Stoller
Buying a Gender Neutral Baby Stoller Is Practical.

If you choose to find out the gender of your baby, it is tempting to purchase everything in pinks or blues to suit your baby. Decking out the nursery, color coordinating everything, delighting over gender-specific items are fun ways to spend those final months of pregnancy for many parents.

However, buying gender specific baby products may cost you more in the long run. As chic as that pink and brown polka dot stroller is, you probably won't find it acceptable should baby #2 come along and be of the boy variety. Furthermore, if you want to re-sell your baby products later down the road, you may be limiting the number of interested people. There is certainly a very practical aspect to buying gender neutral baby items. It enhances their reusability.

For bigger items, use these tips for finding less expensive alternatives.

Find Alternatives to Paid Baby Sitters

Baby Sitters Are Expensive
Baby Sitters vs. Baby Sitting Coop. Jennifer White

Bottom line: baby sitters are expensive. Depending on your evening out, you might find that you plunk down more cash on paying the baby sitter than you do on your date or appointment. For some parents, the cost of baby sitters is so much that they don't go out sans kiddos at all.

There is good news - you can find ways to save money on the sitter.

  • Check to see if there is a baby sitting coop in your area.
  • Pair up with other families in your neighborhood and informally exchange sitting hours.
  • Create a list of family and close friends whom you can rotate through for sitting services.

Join a Toy Library or Participate in at Toy Swap

Toy Library
Participate in a Toy Library. veredgf

A toy library is exactly as it sounds. It is a community based toy program that allows families to come in and "check out" toys just as they would books. Often these pick-a-toy lending programs have a small cover charge to participate. However, the small investment is well worth it. As you check out toys, you will be able to screen which favorite toys are worth buying, rather than wasting money on toys that are overlooked.

Toy swaps are community programs which families are invited to drop off toys in good used condition and take new "used" toys home. Another great aspects of toy swaps is that it allows you to clean house and purge items that are taking up space around your home.

Scrutinize the Words "Baby Sale"

Baby Sale
Resist the "Baby Sale". Tim Boyle / Getty Images

Don't we all love a good sale? But, alas, sometimes those words, "Baby Sale," kick our adrenaline into such high gear that we find we buy things we simply do not need.

So when you read the sales flier for the latest baby product bargains, ask yourself these questions before you buy.

  1. Is the item age appropriate for my baby's physical development?
  2. Do I already have the item or a similar item at home?
  3. How long will my baby use the product?
  4. Have I been thinking about buying the item for longer than I have known about the sale?
  5. Is the price a good value?
  6. Are there hidden costs? (Ex. shipping)

Once you screen out what you really do need from the things that you impulsively want, you will find yourself making wise purchases. As you do that, your savings will increase as your financial stress diminishes.

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