Sticking to a Budget When You Have a New Baby

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Having a new baby in the house is a wonderful experience, but coping with all the stress, the sleepless nights, the worries, and the financial aspect is not easy. Follow these simple tips to stay on top of your budget, and still make sure that your newborn has everything that’s needed.

  • Don’t rush into buying everything at once. Of course, having a baby on the way is an exciting moment, and you may feel overwhelmed, and probably thinking that you need a lot of items, but it’s not really mandatory to have everything in place before the baby is born. For a while, those trips to the mall to get more diapers or new clothes will be your only social activity anyway, so you will enjoy them more than ever. More importantly, you will also be better prepared, and you will have a better understanding of what you actually need and what you can skip for the time being.

  • Breastfeed, if you can. Needless to say, the main argument is that it is drastically healthier for both the baby and for you, but it’s also a huge money saver, even if you still use formula every now and then.

  • Prepare your own, home-made baby food. Once again, it’s a lot healthier and safer than anything that comes in a jar.

  • Borrow what you can, and decide later if  you need to buy it or not. Books are usually better borrowed than purchased, either from a friend or from your local library. You will read up a lot on maternity and coping with a newborn, but you don’t need those books forever in your house. The same goes for the books you will read to your child.

  • Don’t go overboard on buying toys. They’re so colorful and fun, that it’s hard to resist buying them – as a parent, not as a child. For newborns, the many things around them are more interesting than toys anyway, and it will be a while before your kid needs additional sources of entertainment. There are even studies that indicate that too many distractions may be harmful, and may cause attention problems later in life.

  • If you can use cloth diapers, go ahead – it’s possibly the biggest money saver in the first year. Don’t beat yourself up if you find it’s too time consuming – understandably, you have a lot of things on your mind, so you may give yourself a break on this one.

  • Turn to your friends who already have kids and ask for help. There’s no shame in asking, and many have a lot of items they don’t need anymore. The best case scenario is to find a friend who already has a child, and plans to have another one sometimes in the future: you can borrow a lot, and you will just return everything when your kid doesn’t need it anymore, and your friend is ready to have another one.

  • Do not try to cut costs on items that are vital for the baby’s safety. It may be common sense, but it’s also tempting when you see that you can save hundreds of dollars of a crib or car seat, if you just lower your expectations and buy from a less known producer. Make sure you check the references and the history of reliability. Also, investigate in advance what type of bottles you want to buy – there are some health concerns about the plastic ones, so you may want to get glass bottles – and keep an eye on the local stores to see if  you can get a good stock on discount.

  • You know that friends who already have kids can help you, but those who don’t can also be of assistance: ask them to clip coupons for baby items for you. They don’t use them anyway, and you can save quite a significant amount.

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