How to Save Money Caring for a Baby

Use Subscription Programs for Common Supplies

It’s no technique that babies go through a whole lot of diapers - anywhere from 6 to 12 per day. At about $0.25 apiece, the expense can really accumulate. The same holds true for equipment found in conjunction with diapering, such as wipes and ointment.

1.A good way to save lots of money on diapers and other baby supplies is to use a subscription program. Amazon.com has a Subscribe & Save program that gives up a 15% discount for subscribing monthly to 5 or more items. The best part is that they often feature coupons that stack with that discount. To score the best deals, you have to watch items pretty closely as coupons can appear and sell out within hours or a day. One way to keep track of Subscribe & Save deals is to join a Facebook deals group like Kidz Steals and Deals. Coupons that work on subscriptions are frequently posted in the group. Many times, the deals are so good that they sell out in hours! Kidz Steals and Deals is an extension of Kidz Buyz (a deals and lifestyle blog for parents).  There’s no downside to Subscribe & Save since you can cancel your subscription anytime. You pay for each batch as it ships.

2.Try Nanny/Babysitter Sharing

For a few working parents, daycare just isn’t an option due to logistics or insufficient space (some centers can have waiting lists of one year or even more). Hiring a nanny can become more convenient and less difficult than shuttling a child to and from daycare, but the downside is that they have a tendency to cost even more.

According to BabyCenter, nannies control $500 to $700 weekly ($2,167 to $3,033 a month) on average for full-time care. To save lots of on costs, try finding a nanny share situation with another local family. While it’s true an additional child adds to your foundation rate, you can still turn out forward fiscally by splitting the total cost down the center.

A similar strategy can be employed to babysitter costs. If you’re planning for a night out with another couple, arrange to share a babysitter rather than each getting your own.

When we just had one toddler, we used to split the services and expenses of an babysitter with friends who had a in the similar-aged child. Our sitter’s rate was $10 an hour for two children, so we were able to cut our costs in half by taking turns driving our kids to each other’s homes.

You may also find it worthwhile to form babysitting co-op or exchange with other families. By doing this, you always have babysitting services available - as long as you’re willing to reciprocate when it’s your turn.

3.Take Advantage of Daycare Referral Programs and Prepayment Discounts

Though often billed as a more affordable option than finding a full-time nanny, daycare in the U.S. is definitely not cheap. According to Child Health Care Aware of America, in 2011 the average cost for full-time child care in a center ranged from $4,600 to almost $15,000 a year.

To offset some of these fees, ask if your daycare has a referral program that gives tuition credit if you send a pal who signs up. Many centers offer referral programs or other financial incentives simply for getting your friends to take a tour.

For example, my local daycare offered a $25 credit for each parent I brought to the open house. I brought two couples with me, and although neither signed up, I still received $50 off that month’s bill.

 

Another option to ask about a prepayment discount. Many daycare centers bill weekly or monthly, but yours might cut you a break for prepaying the entire year. You may want to stretch your financial budget to fork over the money up front, but when you can swing it, you may knock 5% to 10% off your total annual bill.

  1. Shop Smart

Sometimes when you buy ahead or off season, you can save quite a bit on clothing or other items. If you know your child will need a bigger winter jacket the following year, look out for sales during the late spring and early summer.  That is when the prior seasons styles are clearance out. In most cases, the optimal time to buy clothing for a specific season is immediately after that season ends, when retailers need to make room for the approaching season.

Unfortunately, there’s no particular time of the when non-seasonal baby gear - items such as cribs, high chair, and strollers - are notably cheaper. However, with most items, you can spend less by purchasing the prior year’s model.

Since many baby stores don’t keep older models of strollers and high chair in stock, it might be better to try finding them online. If you’re eager to buy used, visit sites such as eBay or Craigslist; for unused items, try Amazon.com, which will have a pretty decent inventory of older models.

One area you don’t scrimp on is car seats.  You should never buy a used car seat. An older model is fine (as long as it is less than 5 years old and has life left), but you should always purchase new to ensure that the seat you are buying has not been compromised by an accident.

  1. Join a Rewards Club

Diaper companies and baby product stores have a tendency to offer rewards or frequent shopper incentives as a means of encouraging brand loyalty. Select a diaper brand in early stages and join its rewards program. Then, save the codes which come on the product packaging and add them to your account every week. Before you know it, you’ll have enough points to snag some free products.

Similarly, join a rewards card for each and every baby retailer that offers one. You could rack up store dollars over time, and as a bonus, you’ll often receive coupons and sale notification messages to save you even more money.

  1. Sign up for Free Samples

Google search “free baby samples” to instantly find plenty of offers. You can get offers ranging from free shampoo to photo shoots.

Sometimes free samples can be too good to be true (meaning, not free after all). But when it involves baby equipment, “free” often will mean “free,” without monetary strings attached. The only real “cost” involved is signing up for newsletters to receive product and offer notifications.

  1. Use Hand-Me-Downs

One friend gave us a practically unused baby swing. Another offered us some toys and a stroller. Other friends had plenty of gently used baby clothes stored in the basement. We easily saved ourselves a ton of money simply by asking.

  1. Avoid Formula

Perhaps one of the most heated issues over the parenting spectrum is the breastfeeding vs. formula debate. While there are differing opinions concerning which is healthier, one thing is certain: Breastfeeding is the cheaper option by far.

Even if you have to invest in a pump, you will still come out ahead. The cost of formula varies depending on whether it’s powder, liquid, organic and natural, or designed for newborns with allergies. Regardless it can easily run upwards of $100 per month.

  1. Make Your Own Baby Food

At near $1 a pop for regular brands - and almost double if you decide to go organic and natural - those little jars of baby food can quickly lose their appeal. Rather than spending from $3 to $10 every day on pre-made baby food, try making your own baby food.

A typical blender or food processor is all you need to whip up a variety of cheap, healthy meals. Some easy things to start out with are nutrient-rich vegetables like great potatoes, carrots, and peas. Simply steam and purée them until they reach a delicate, smooth consistency.

 

  1. Start a Baby Registry

Regardless of whether you’re not planning to have a baby shower, you should still register for essentials. For starters, this can help steer friends and loved ones toward the infant items you will need the most, resulting in practical gifts. Also, many retailers give you a registry completion coupon that could save you anywhere from 5% to 20% items you have registered for that you were planning to purchase anyway.

Some retailers even offer gifts just for setting up a registry. The last time we registered, we got free bibs, wipes, baby cream, and other useful things.

According to IRS suggestions, with a flexible spending account, you can allocate up to $2,550 of your gross annual income to medical care costs on the pre-tax basis if you’re married and processing your taxes jointly. If you fall into a 30% duty bracket, it can save you roughly $750 per annum for doing little or nothing apart from making the correct election on your benefits form.

A similar concept pertains to daycare expenses. With a reliant service FSA, you can allocate up to $5,000 annually if you’re married and filing jointly to hide daycare costs. Making use of the 30% taxes bracket example, that’s a $1,500 savings during the period of the year.

The major catch in regards to to healthcare and dependent care FSAs is that your money is allocated on a “utilize it or lose it” basis. Quite simply, if you decide to put $2,000 in your medical care FSA, but only have the ability to rack up $1,500 in eligible bills, you’ll lose that last $500. To avoid this, make sure to calculate your medical and childcare bills carefully before investing in a specific dollar amount.

Yes, your little baby will cost you a ridiculous sum of money, especially initially. But it’s not the end of the world. Before very long, your baby is a full-fledged child, and the days of diapering and purchasing new clothing every other week will be far behind you - and recover should come not only far more freedom, but far more wiggle room in your finances.

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