Babies are cute, cuddly and let’s face it…costly. How much should you budget for raising a baby?
Do a quick sum of start-up costs to on-going expenses and your figure could easily be thousands to tens of thousands. Thus, it is prudent to have a general budget for baby.
Also, to shop wisely. And pick your needs versus wants.
Here’s the low down on projected baby expenses and tips on how to save money.
Budget for Baby: Baby Start-up Costs
I know, that sounds like you’re starting a business rather than a family, but money knows no sentiment.
Just like a new business having a baby requires a significant investment.
Cribs, crib mattress, car seat, bedding, high chairs, playpens etc…these are all start-up items that have strong priority and usually run the higher figures of your baby budget.
- Create a baby registry for baby showers – Whether you just share a “baby shopping list” amongst family or formally fill out a baby registry at a baby gear store – letting others know your preferences and priorities for baby gifts will help the gifting process as well as furnishing the nursery.
- Borrow from friends & family – gently used items are always a welcome addition to any baby budget. However, please keep in mind that car seats should not be bought 2nd hand nor should they be used after the expiration date (clearly marked on each car seat.)
- Consignment shop/ebay/kijji – generally half off what you would buy new in stores.
- Watch for store flyers for sales or baby days. Check manufacturer websites for coupons to print.
TIP: Do your research on what specific projects match your family’s needs. A crib that converts to a bed can stretch your dollar. A car seat which goes 5-65 pounds (and faces forward and back) eliminates car seat shopping for a good while. A change table that can become a desk can grow with your child from babyhood to school-aged.Budget for Baby: Baby On-going Costs
The on-going costs of babyhood are in a lower price bracket than the start-up costs but they do add up. Formula, diapers, baby food, clothing, childcare, etc…are a weekly (if not daily) expense.
- Breastfeeding is free (also very healthy). However, formula is a real (and no-apologies-required) feeding option. All infant formulas must adhere to government Food and Drug regulations and as such – one could surmise that when choosing infant formula lower-priced generic brands may be more family cost-effective in comparison to higher-priced name brands.
- Buy diapers bulk – but not at the beginning. Don’t stock up on size 1 diapers as babies grow very fast in the first months. Around the 6 month mark, when baby has done his first major growth spurts go ahead and buy bulk.
- Baby food is always cheaper if you make it yourself. Plus, it’s healthier. And ever so easy. All you need is a blender and ice cube trays and you’ve got yourself a baby food system.
- Hand-me-downs are most welcome. Save money by shopping at consignment shops or accepting hand-me-downs from friends & family. It will save you a bunch.
- Child-care. Ugh childcare – a very expensive baby cost yet so important. Every parent want to ensure their kids are in a safe, responsible, caring and engaging environment. Either build childcare into your budget (so you give up your gym membership – You can run around the block instead) or check childcare options (as in family & friends, childcare subsidies, community childcare options)
Budget for Baby: Future Baby Costs
Parents need to forecast future baby (well – kid and teen) costs into their baby budget. What do we need to save now for later?
- Living expenses – do you need a bigger car for the family? A 2nd vehicle? A bigger house? A house closer to school?
- Education fund – do you need to start an RESP or college fund? Interested in private school education? International exchange program?
Disheartened by the cost of babies? Don’t be.
They are much more cute and cuddly.
Really. And a simple baby budget (on a spreadsheet, piece of paper or just in casual conversation) can help decide your needs versus want and biggest baby budget priorities.
And best of all, holding that brand new baby is free and oh so fantastic!