Wise Words for New Parents: Save Money on Baby Expenses During the First Year
Parents who’ve already been through the first year with a newborn will tell you that as prepared as they felt at the time, they were still caught off guard by things they did not anticipate. For some, it was the realization that in the first year that little bundle of joy can cost quite a bundle.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs approximately $13,000 per year, on average, for a child’s care and feeding. To help you deal with the new-parent sticker shock, consider a few helpful ways experienced parents have reduced the price tag on some of the major baby expenses.
1. Delivery: Dig into your health care benefits.
The costs of delivery can add up quickly, depending on your medical insurance and the circumstances. A study by the Center for Healthcare Payment and Quality Reform found that on average, U.S. hospital deliveries and newborn care cost between $30,000 and $50,000, depending on the delivery method. Even though most medical insurance plans pay a portion of the overall costs (an average of $18,000 to $28,000, according to the report) you may still have a deductible or co-insurance to pay. It’s important to understand what your medical insurance covers so you can anticipate your costs. To save money, consider using flexible spending (FSA) pre-tax dollars toward your out-of-pocket costs.
2. Diapers: Beware the incredible bulk.
According to LearnVest, parents can expect to spend upwards of $550 annually on disposable diapers per newborn or toddler. While buying in bulk is smart, be careful, because if your baby grows quickly you could be left with a too-small surplus. LearnVest suggests finding coupons on manufacturer websites and in Sunday circulars.
3. Child care: Band together!
Child care can run you between $400 and $2,000 a month, according to ChildCare Aware of America. One way to save on these costs is to gather other parents in the neighborhood to join in on a nanny share. Sharing a nanny with several other parents can allow you some flexibility in terms of scheduling and may offer your child more one-on-one attention than traditional day care centers, according to Care.com. Bonus: Your little Paul, John or George will have lots of new mates to play with!
4. Clothing: Couture clothes will only fit for a hot minute.
According to Babycenter.com’s 2013 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, moms spend an average of $790 a year on baby clothes. Be wary of indulging in the latest trends for your tiny fashionista or mini-hipster, because babies grow so fast the cost-per-wear can be high. Also, it isn’t uncommon to end up with a closet full of never-worn outfits with their original tags. Your best bet may be to swap with friends whose kids are just a bit older.
Beth Shea, mommy blogger for inhabitots.com, says: “A few keepsake items of fancy clothing which may be handed down for generations are always fun to buy for a new baby. But resist the urge to go on an expensive shopping spree buying baby designer clothes that will no doubt be subject to drool, spit-up and diaper blowouts!”
Another idea to consider is shopping at a local gently used children’s clothes store or look online for baby clothes exchange groups.
5. Vacations: Nix that unforgettable trip they’ll never remember.
While it’s tempting to get an amusement park photo op with everyone’s favorite mouse, chances are if your child is under 3 he or she likely won’t remember it. Save the money and consider sticking closer to home until they’re older, when you can create fond memories your child will cherish for years to come.
With a little fiscal foresight, you may be able to avoid some of these common parent traps and save money during your baby’s first year. No doubt, you’ll need it during the formative and potentially costly years to come!