Wednesday, 29 October 2014
I currently have two toddler girls 11 months apart. I wish I had someone tell me how to prepare for how much money would be spent on having them so I could've prepared MONTHS in advanced and probably would have saved hundreds of dollars in the long run. You get caught up in the wonders of having a child. Baby gear, clothes, bottles, formula, food, toys and bouncers you name it we bought it. Here's some helpful tips I found that helped us prepare for the second and now our third!
I wish I stuck with breastfeeding longer than I did for both of my kids (3-6months). I was buying 2 cans every month, and they were $18 at our drugstore and most of the time on sale for $16. I was roughly paying $32 a month for formula. When I started off I was using Enfamil, and that ranges from $30 - $40 PER CAN. That's outrageous! I Then came across the same store brand at our local wal-mart for $12 a can. Saving me 8$ per month, and when I was able to aquire coupons from the manufacturer and in-store I was saving almost $15 a month, which in turn was a free can of formula, WIN WIN! Another huge tip, DO NOT buy the liquid formula, stick to powdered formula, you'll end up saving even more and lasts 10x longer.
Big decision. Cloth or disposable. Cloth diapers are actually pretty easy and a little extra work with cleaning them out, laundering them and what not but it'll save you money in the long haul. I used disposable's because they were just super convenient for me at the time having children 11 months apart it was one less thing I had to do during the day. Disposables can range in prices depending what store you go to like a pharmacy, super-store or grocery store, but if you use disposables choose name brand not store brand. The increase in accidents, leaks, and clothes that got stained and damaged because I thought I was saving money buying cheaper diapers cost me more money to replace clothes and whatever else that got destroyed by baby blowouts. Buy the biggest box most are on sale every month. Before your baby is born, do not stock up on newborn diapers, you will find out they hit a huge growth spurt in the first week and the diapers are useless and have to buy the next size. Both my children were in size 1/2 diapers by the 2nd week they were born and I had 2 boxs of newbie diapers unused.
Buy stuff that converts, cause seriously everything nowadays is at least $100 for something and it'll add up after a while. I bought a travel system so my car seat went from car to stroller with a click. Our high chair changed from a high chair to a booster seat. Our crib went from a crib to a toddler bed, to a day bed, to a double bed, and both of our kids used it until it was on it's last legs and we had to throw it out and now there in a bunk bed which will stay with them until there at least 9/10 years old. Don't buy a change table even though it seems very convenient with all the storage and drawers and shelves attached to it. We had a long dresser that I put a change table pad on it and it worked out perfectly. Buy secondhand if possible. Also try creating a gift registry at your local baby store for basics like a stroller, car seat, or bouncer is the best way to start. It'll help save money. Test drive stuff when you buy it too. My mother bought me a double stroller on a whim and thought it'd be convenient, but I can't even steer the damn thing and that was $300 down the drain and it's still sitting in our shed.
Don't hoard baby clothes in advance. Baby's go through sudden growth spurts within the first few weeks after birth. By the second week both my kids were in 3-6 month clothes. Skip the shoes. Until they start walking. Socks & little booties will keep there tootsies warm. If you have your baby in the colder days of the year opt for a car seat bag and a onesie thermal suit. Choose some unisex styles as if you plan to have another and you buy everything pink, purple, frilly and frou frou, if you have a boy as your next child, he wouldn't be wearing a tutu.
Call your pediatrician first before scheduling an appointment. I saved so much time and money doing it this way. It was much faster to just call her, explain our situation, and let her give us a diagnosis over the phone, and if she thought it needed a look at, then she would ask us to come in. Don't buy an ear thermometer. You can buy some awesome digital oral/rectal thermometers at the drugstore for a fraction of the price, and it's 10x more accurate.
Opt for a breast pump instead of an electric one. A decent pump goes for about $35 - $45 and an electric runs for about $100+. Choose reusable breast pads (disposable one's aren't that expensive either) if you opt for that choice. I found a pattern online to make my own and made a gazillion of them and saved me a bunch. Don't rush for a maternity/nursing wardrobe either. See how it goes for the first 2 - 4 weeks and then splurge on a nice nursing t-shirt and a couple of nursing bra's to get you started for when you need to nurse publicly. And don't buy maternity clothing until it's absolutely necessary. I went to Thyme Maternity and bought 2 pairs of small maternity pants, and a bunch of shirts, that only fit me until I was 5-6 months pregnant and I just ballooned like an elephant and nothing fit. 180$ of stuff down the drain, and I had to go out and buy all new stuff for 6 - 9months because I didn't want to be living in spandex for the next 4 months lol
MAKE YOUR OWN BABY FOOD!
Don't get caught up with the "baby bullet" either. My mum bought me one and it was honest to god a piece of crap that cost her almost $100. My blender I've had for 4 years did a better job. But do make your own food. Jarred baby food goes for about 45 - 50 cents a jar, sometimes even more if it's organic, but I'll go out and buy a squash, some carrots and pea's mix it all together and I have enough food to last me 2 months. Stop by your local dollar store/dollar tree and they have these little plastic containers you can store the food in and can keep your baby food frozen up to 3/4 months. I just used to use Ice cube trays, fill them, freeze them, then pop them out into a freezer zip lock bag and take 1 - 2 out as I needed and warm it up. Convenient and cost effective.
GET A PIGGY BANK
Before I got pregnant I didn't save any money whatsoever from the time before and during my first pregnancy. The day I found out I was pregnant with our second I bought a huge plastic container, cut a hole in the top and every week I made sure I put at least $5 in the jar, if not all my spare change I found lying in our couch cushions or under the seats in our car. I saved almost $250. It was our reserved fund box in case we needed something important and were tight on funds. It will help you out in the long run.
These are what have helped me prepare for our third. Yes there is a lot we will have to buy this time around, and still don't know if it's a girl or boy yet, but I know this time around I will be saving A LOT more money and it'll help make things easier for the whole family if we don't splurge on every baby item and peice of furniture we see.