How to Avoid Overspending When You Have Your First Baby
When you are a first-time parent, it’s all too easy to follow the cutest trends and most well-intentioned registry suggestions straight into a debt spiral. From that cute outfit that catches your eye to the special bottle your co-worker swears by, you’ll undeniably feel the pull to buy, buy, buy so you can be as prepared as possible when your little one makes his debut. And while it’s true that you’ll need some non-negotiable basics, there are an awful lot of unnecessary extras out there that can break the bank.
Here are three tips to increase your savings, which can help you dodge spending mistakes while you await your little one’s arrival.
#1: Remember that a full belly means a happy baby
Whether you plan to breastfeed or prep formula bottles, supply options abound: from breast pumps to bottles, nipples, nursing pillows, and cleaning kits, the accouterments of feeding a child are enough to send conscientious parents into a tailspin.
But before you have a meltdown in the bottle aisle, take a deep breath and remind yourself of this truth: All you need to do is feed your baby. And frankly, families have fed their children for generations without the trendiest must-haves that line the shelves.
To that point, here are a few budget-friendly ways to navigate newborn feedings while keeping up with the debt-free lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to attain:
- Swap the pricey sanitation kits by using Dawn dish soap to wash your bottles.
- Fashion your own nursing attire using the nifty two-shirt method.
- Test formula options by snagging samples from your pediatrician.
- Sign-up for rewards or coupons with your favorite baby stores.
For more tips to increase your savings when feeding your newborn, speak with family members or friends who are veteran parents. They may be able to point you in the right direction.
#2: Above all else, budget for diapers and wipes
Accept that your budget needs a separate line-item for diaper changes – particularly if your baby views a clean diaper as an invitation to prompt another diaper change (spoiler alert: many do!). Whether you try out cloth diapers or stick with disposable, accept that they’ll cost you – but also consider a few ways to scrimp and save:
- Purchase secondhand cloth diapers – just ensure you wash them well.
- Sign up for brand loyalty or reward programs at your favorite bulk store to save on disposable diaper boxes.
- Don’t shy away from generic: Many store brands are just as effective – and they’re much cheaper.
- Register for diapers and wipes.
- When family members ask what practical gifts would help you most, ask for diapers and wipes!
#3: Don’t overdo it on the outfits
Babies grow out of clothes before you can say, “oh, how cute!” No matter what, resist the urge to snag that tiny adult version of a trendy designer item: Your kid will probably only wear it once, and when he does, he’ll inevitably spit up on it.
Yes, baby outfits are irresistible, but let others have the fun picking them! If friends offer to throw you a baby shower, let them. No shower? Create a registry anyway. Some vendors, like Amazon and Target, discount selected items once your due date passes. Just make sure you register for seasonally-appropriate items. For instance, if your baby is due in July, you don’t need a newborn-sized winter coat.
A penny saved is a penny in your baby’s piggybank
Bringing home your first baby is thrilling – but keep in mind that one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a financially-stable home. Save well, dodge impulse purchases, and graciously accept generous gifts from your loved ones. By making smart decisions now, you’ll set a stellar example for your little one. Aside from these tips, there are dozens of other smart money moves, from tips and tricks to finding affordable childcare options, to couponing hacks to save big on baby supplies. Don’t forget to lean on your community of fellow parents to learn smart tactics, and remember: it is a learning process! Take it step by step, and you’ll surely save big in the long run.