Congratulations! Having a new baby is fun and exciting but it is also expensive! Fortunately there are lots of things you can do to save money without sacrificing your baby’s health or your sanity.
If you can do it, breastfeeding is the best way to go. Not only is it cheaper (have you priced formula lately?!) but studies have shown it has great benefits for baby as well.
There are tons of baby discounts online. Sign up for them all! You can find free coupons, samples and even full sized products. If you are bottle feeding, be sure to visit the Enfamil, Similac and Nestle websites. They have great programs where they send you free full-size samples, gifts and “checks” you can use at your local grocery store. Try www.freegifts4kids.com/ or TotallyFreeStuff.com/Baby for even more resources.
Making things yourself almost always saves money. Here are a few easy recipes for baby items.
Baby Wipes: Mix 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil or baby oil, 2 tablespoons of body wash and a strong roll of paper towels. Remove the cardboard tube from the paper towels and put in an airtight container. Mix the liquid ingredients and pour over the towels. Put the lid on and shake.
Baby food can be made by cooking vegetables or fruits and pureeing them to a smooth consistency. Store no more than 24 hours in an airtight container.
Butt Paste : Mix 1/2 cup Vaseline and a half of a tube of Desitin. Add about 2 tablespoon cornstarch. Mix again. Add about 2 tablespoons of Maalox. Add more cornstarch or the other ingredients if necessary to bring the mixture to a more pasty consistency.
Check Out Local Resources
Every city will have its own resources. Shop at local second hand stores and flea markets for baby furniture and clothes (but NOT car seats!). Sign up for local market research panels for parents and those expecting if they are available in your area (I happen to live near Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati and did not pay for diapers until my son was 8 months!). Look in the newspaper for free or low-cost parenting classes and programs. Fire departments are also a great place to find safety advice and equipment.
Local county resources have many programs for those who qualify. If you are a low-income household, look into government sponsored health insurance for children, and programs like WIC (Women, infants and children) which provides nutritional assistance to expecting moms and kids.
Ask Your Doctor
Many obstetricians and pediatricians are aware of great resources and programs for parents. If you child gets sick, ask your doctor for samples or to prescribe generic medication.
Having a baby is a life changing experience, but it does not have to be a bank account draining one!