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#1 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Budget Baby :)

I've been brainstorming lately to write an eBook about having a baby on a budget. A distant relative of mine got pregnant this year (accidentally) and is 18 years old. She still lives with her family and none of them have any money. They are going through a really hard time financially. Anyway, I had all this advice I wanted to give her about cutting costs raising a baby, but I refrained because I didn't want to give unsolicited advice. But it got me thinking....

I looked up when the "experts" estimate it costs to have a child today (form birth-18 years old) and found it RIDICULOUS. It's from the US Dept of Agriculture. It said it costs about $30,000 to raise a baby from birth to 3 yrs of age (for a rural middle income family). What????? What the HECK are they including in that cost? I didn't delve further into it to see if they included details, but I might go back and check.

Total for a middle income family to have a kid from birth-18 yrs is $241, 080- and that doesn't include college. Ummm... who are these people? I promise you we won't spend anywhere near that. Heck, that would mean we would spend a total of $1,205,400 on our five kids. Hahahahahaha!!!!

So, all that to say, do any of you have any money-saving tips when it comes to babies and young children?

I find that I can get brand new clothing from good stores like Gymboree and Belk if I shop clearance sales, use their coupons, and buy at the end of the season for the following year. I have gotten very good deals using Gymboree's GymBucks program in the past, but the last two times it seems like they raised the prices on their clothes during GymBucks redeeming time.

We don't buy baby food. I didn't learn until the third baby that you DON'T have to start solids by 6 months, and you can feed them your own food mashed up. For the most part, I think buying baby food is a waste of money. Of course, if I had to formula feed for some odd reason, I might want to start solids sooner just to get the kid off of formula. Then again, I'd probably try goats milk before I tried formula.... Now I am rambling

Corrie, "trad" Catholic, wife to DH and Mom to DD (4/07), DS (2/09), DD (2/11), DD (4/13), two angel babies. 
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#2 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 01:43 PM
 
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The only way I could think to come close to $30,000 by age three is if you're including paying an insane amount for health insurance, which we have been for the last two years. My husband is covered by his employer, but to add DS and myself onto the plan it's $600/mo. Fortunately DH just took a new job and that number will go down to $200/mo, yay! They must also be including day care costs or lost earnings for a SAHM.

We have reasonable means and generous family, and I know we buy some things that are way over the top (like I just spent $75 on organic onesies on Zulily, I have multiple baby wearing devices, I don't usually buy clothing second-hand), but I think we still spend far less than average. No nursery decor/furniture, no bottles/formula, no baby food, very few disposable diapers. And I saved a lot from DS so we'll need to buy very little for this one. Even if it's a girl - I have no problems putting a girl in "boy" clothes, so she'd still get DS's hand-me-downs.



Living and loving in ATX with DH (of 7 years) and DS (3.5)
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#3 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 02:13 PM
 
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Yes, if you're factoring in the cost of healthcare premiums and just the cost to have the baby in a hospital, it can add up very quickly. But as for raising them, they just need your boobs and something to dispose of their waste for a few months, and then homemade baby food is always cheaper than the storebought kind.

I also started the baby food making on the third child. I would do a sweet potato and an avacado and just add things to those since they were both super foods and higher in fat and protein. And I did use the baby bullet, but any blender will do, doesn't have to be the BB. My son actually preferred the homemade baby food. There were times he wouldn't touch the store stuff. I wish he ate that healthily now that he's 3.

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#4 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 02:49 PM
 
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As a first time mom this really interests me. I plan on following this thread to get some ideas. We are okay financially but we are trying to pay off debt so anyway we can save money is a good thing.
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#5 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 03:21 PM
 
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I'll bet it's mostly childcare costs given short or nonexistent mat leaves in the States. $600/month (which I'll bet is cheap-it's higher in my city) adds up pretty quick!

Breastfeeding, cosleeping, homebirthing scientist mama to DD1 07/08, DD2 06/10 and a third on the way 02/15!

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#6 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 04:17 PM
 
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We are looking at 400/month for daycare and that is very cheap for an infant.
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#7 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 04:22 PM
 
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Yeah. For group daycare for infants here (1 year to 3 years) it's $1000 - $1200 per month. It goes down for the preschool years 3-5 to $600 - $800 per month. We've always gone the nanny route which is sometimes more expensive and sometimes less when we've had a sharing arrangement with another family. So, on average $1000 per month if that's for 1-3 years it adds up to $24,000. I'm sure you could make up the other $6000 with food, clothes, gear, insurance, etc.

Breastfeeding, cosleeping, homebirthing scientist mama to DD1 07/08, DD2 06/10 and a third on the way 02/15!

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#8 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 05:23 PM
 
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Loving this thread. DH and I are considered "low income". We don't have any debt and get by perfectly just the two of us but everyone is telling me a baby is going to send us into total poverty. I kind of refuse to believe a tiny human needs to drain my bank account. But people enjoy being cynical sometimes!
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#9 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 06:43 PM
 
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If you're able to avoid childcare costs, Bren, you will absolutely do it. Smile sweetly and thank them for their concern. Envision having the last laugh. Then smile even sweeter.

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#10 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 06:55 PM
 
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I agree Tee! Without childcare, babies are cheap

Breastfeeding, cosleeping, homebirthing scientist mama to DD1 07/08, DD2 06/10 and a third on the way 02/15!

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#11 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 09:26 PM
 
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You could look at it from the prospective of selling too. Sell on local bst fb groups or craigslist. Buying used off there as well. I have a friend who sells anything that looks legit and she is making some money selling for her move.
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#12 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 10:10 PM
 
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My last baby is now 5 and I feel like I was able to do his baby care pretty inexpensively. The majority of his clothes the last 5 years have been either hand me downs or off Freecycle.org. I made his Moby style wrap from $1 fabric from Walmart. I do occasionally have to buy things like shoes or pajamas. Most of his cloth diapers I got off Freecycle with a few that I bought off Craig's list. I didn't do it with him, but with this baby, I plan to do baby led weaning. I mostly coslept, but was given a crib for free. This time, my stepmom bought one at a garage sale for $5.i have gotten a lot of other things almost brand new for cheap at garage sales. I didn't use a baby bath tub last time. I either bathed with him or did very shallow water in the regular tub. Um, there are probably more tips, but I am blanking right now.
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#13 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 10:11 PM
 
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This is a great thread. I think that besides insurance (which can be ridiculous I know) babies are not that expensive. Buy cloths second hand (they grow way too fast to spend an arm and leg on their outfits), breastfeed! (better for you and baby), cloth diaper/wipes (better for environment and baby), make your own baby food (cheaper/healthier), and you don't NEED every baby device made. You don't need a swing, travel swing, bouncer, bumbo, pack n play and a bassinet etc.. Pick one, maybe two. I say you don't need a crib, but that's me. SO much that is marketed to mothers/parents is totally unnecessary to raise a healthy happy baby.

If you feel the need to buy all the unnecessary stuff that your baby isn't going to care about. Then yes I can see how babies are expensive. But in my opinion, babies need love, mamma milk, clean diapers, clothing and comfort. That's it.

As for child care cost, for me the choice to stay home with my kids was easy.... it's either pay out the a$$ to have someone else raise my babes or take a small cut in income and stay home...
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#14 of 22 Old 07-29-2014, 10:11 PM
 
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This is a great thread. I think that besides insurance (which can be ridiculous I know) babies are not that expensive. Buy cloths second hand (they grow way too fast to spend an arm and leg on their outfits), breastfeed! (better for you and baby), cloth diaper/wipes (better for environment and baby), make your own baby food (cheaper/healthier), and you don't NEED every baby device made. You don't need a swing, travel swing, bouncer, bumbo, pack n play and a bassinet etc.. Pick one, maybe two. I say you don't need a crib, but that's me. SO much that is marketed to mothers/parents is totally unnecessary to raise a healthy happy baby.

If you feel the need to buy all the unnecessary stuff that your baby isn't going to care about. Then yes I can see how babies are expensive. But in my opinion, babies need love, mamma milk, clean diapers, clothing and comfort. That's it.

As for child care cost, for me the choice to stay home with my kids was easy.... it's either pay out the a$$ to have someone else raise my babes or take a small cut in income and stay home...
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#15 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 12:24 AM
 
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I have downsized with each of my babies, partly out of being lazy/too busy, and partly as I've slowly realized what's unnecessary. With my first, I really wanted accessories! It was all so exciting, I didn't know what to expect, I was counter-culture enough to know I didn't need most of what other people said I did, but I still wanted SOME of it! Got a lovely round crib as a gift (I put the first baby in it twice while I was using the bathroom, and didn't even bother getting it out for the other children)! Anyway, in my continuing attempts to avoid plastic and things permeated with fire retardants, I now have very little! I keep hoping I can get a family member to make wood versions of things (like a wood exersaucer - wouldn't that be so cool?), but in the interim I just do without. For this last baby, I didn't use a crib, cosleeper, changing table, bouncy seat, bassinet, exersaucer, playmat/baby gym thing, pack n play...that's all I can think of. These are all things I've had before for other babies. I basically used a wicker laundry basket, a blanket, and a sheep skin, or I wore him! Sheep skin on the ground, blanket on the carpet, sheepskin in the basket. Basically combos of those three things got me through till he was crawling, and then he basically just got into everything! Now, I had two older brothers ready to tell me every time he got into anything questionable! Not saying this would work for a first child or if your big kids are still quite little. But the fear of fire retardants really pushed me to get rid of some of the items I had been on the fence about.

I don't think I've bought much of anything clothes-wise for the kids while babies/toddlers. Ihave been given so many bags of handmedowns by so many generous people. When we do need clothes, Goodwill has great stuff, half of it still new with tags on, all for $1.49 to $3 usually. I do buy new underwear and shoes, and down coats on deep discount for the winter (a really good coat is important when your kids are outside all the time and never notice the cold). But then they all get handed down.
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#16 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 02:36 AM
 
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Oh! Just thought to mention my favorite baby-stuff resource ever: Freecycle. Folks offer items they're done with and, for whatever reason, don't want to/are not going to sell. We've received a crib, bottles, clothes, some wonderful high-quality large wooden toys, furniture (SO much furniture!!), the list goes on. I find that people are quite generous with baby/kid stuff when they decide they don't need it anymore; some do want to sell it to recoup their investment, but MANY don't want the hassle and prefer to simply give it away no strings attached. There's also often the option to put a request out to the group with a message like "If you have a changing table gathering dust, I would love to put it to good use", and that is also, frankly, a gold mine.

The more I think about our (mountainous... sigh) collection of stuff, though, the more I realize that much of it was given to us by friends and acquaintances. If you are interested in that angle, definitely gently let it be known that you are interested in hand-me-downs. You'd be amazed at all the people who will gladly pass something along!
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#17 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 10:03 AM
 
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eBay! My favorite "store". I get used clothes, or even many-seasons-past clothing lots with tags on. If I buy used, I try to get stuff in EUC from Gap or Gymboree because I know it will wear well for multiple kids. If I need to buy it new, I go with Oshkosh because, at least in our family, it wears well and has been passed down between not only my girls but my niece as well. Many people, myself included, are excited to GIVE baby clothes, gear, etc.. away to an expectant mom.

If I have to buy something new because I couldn't find it used, I get the best we can afford at the time with plans to take great care of it and sell it or donate it in the future. I also buy almost all gear gender-neutral. I don't need a house full of pink frilly things only to replace them with blue because I'd personally feel silly.

I think health expenses and child care expenses are the real kicker. We are so fortunate for the Navy's health system with our little one that needs lots of appointments with specialists. Fortuantely I'm also able to stay home from work which spares us day care or preschool costs. I know that these two things are tremendous blessings when it comes to making dollars stretch so I jump at the chance to watch other kids to bless their families too.

When I'm tempted to fall into the buy-buy-baby trap, I honestly think about Sarah in Genesis, going around as a nomad, in her old age, with no extra baby stuff. It helps me distinguish needs from wants in my own life and keeps me on track towards frugality.
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#18 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I honestly had no idea daycare cost so much. I guess I never really thought about it though. Wow. I wonder if it would be cheaper in the long run for some working moms or dads to just stay home. I would think being home would allow you to save money in more ways than just not paying child care. I know that just isn't an option from many people though. Too bad there aren't more work-from-home opportunities for moms. I used to write for some "content mills" on the internet for extra money, but the companies I wrote for have pretty much gone under. I miss having that easy option.

Corrie, "trad" Catholic, wife to DH and Mom to DD (4/07), DS (2/09), DD (2/11), DD (4/13), two angel babies. 
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#19 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 12:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cagnew View Post
I honestly had no idea daycare cost so much. I guess I never really thought about it though. Wow. I wonder if it would be cheaper in the long run for some working moms or dads to just stay home. I would think being home would allow you to save money in more ways than just not paying child care. I know that just isn't an option from many people though. Too bad there aren't more work-from-home opportunities for moms. I used to write for some "content mills" on the internet for extra money, but the companies I wrote for have pretty much gone under. I miss having that easy option.
It is cheaper for some to stay home. If what you bring home after commuting costs, wardrobe costs, childcare etc. does not leave more money in your family budget than if you stayed home, it's not worth it. Unfortunately for others, though, it can create a greater financial hardship. I am a lawyer. With a good position. My ex stayed home for a while (well, turns out he never planned on working, but that's a whole 'nother story!) because what he brought home would not have adequately covered childcare costs. It didn't make financial sense for him to work.

Another consideration is staying home for a short period of time. I just read an article about the long term costs of being a SAHM. It was an interesting read.

But, at the end of the day, I do tend to think that almost anyone can stay home. It just depends on the lifestyle one is willing to have or forgo, depending on how one looks at it.

As for me, I think 3 kids is the tipping point to justify a nanny over individual care costs of after school care for 2, plus daycare for an infant.

And, yes, I would much prefer to be at home with my kids.

Mama to add 10/05; ds 3/09, and two angels
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#20 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 12:43 PM
 
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I like to stay home for the first 1-2 years, just to make sure I am there when they are most vulnerable, but mostly to breastfeed, on demand, without a pump. I wish all women had that option. I would support my tax dollars giving all women that option, if they chose it.
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#21 of 22 Old 07-30-2014, 01:51 PM
 
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Yes, I feel super lucky that we get 1 year of mat-leave here. Personally, my salary well outweighs childcare costs (I'm a professional) so for us it's worth it. Also worth the mommy sanity However, I only usually work 3 days/week until the littles are 3.

Breastfeeding, cosleeping, homebirthing scientist mama to DD1 07/08, DD2 06/10 and a third on the way 02/15!

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#22 of 22 Old 08-02-2014, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heatbrown View Post
like a wood exersaucer - wouldn't that be so cool?.
My husband keeps joking that he's going to make everything out of wood for the baby (mind you, he hasn't yet started his woodworking aspiration). Today when I talked about having a baby shower he said "but I thought we said we don't want new stuff or too many contraptions, right?" and I replied, "there will be some things we need to think about, like a quality breast pump". His response, "I'll make that out of wood too". LOL. I might suggest he start with the exersaucer instead!
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