I love numbers and math and spreadsheets and all that stuff. But nothing keeps me up more at night than when I’m thinking about money. And not in the good way. No Scrooge McDuck here, folks.
So that brings me to the topic of this post: Budgeting, especially for baby…things. I don’t have any children yet, so I have no idea how much a bottle costs, or diapers, or wipes, or food, or formula, or clothes, or…well, you get the idea. And I know having kids is a big wallet-drain.
About 2 years ago, my parents got Christine and I this great budgeting kit from Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace University. If you’ve never heard of him, he is a strong Christian man who made tons of money in real estate, then lost it all, and has been able to re-make himself into what I assume to be the equivalent of a gajillionaire – give or take a few jillions. And his Total Money Makeover book and site is a great resource. He also has a daily radio show and his own TV show. The guy is great, and I love how he tells you like it is and doesn’t sugar-coat anything.
Well, like any good student, I popped in the DVDs and Christine and I went through the workbook together, figuring out our budget TOGETHER, learning about investments and car loans and all sorts of things we never really took interest in before. And we have had “Gazelle Intensity” on and off ever since (Check out the site to understand what that means). Of course we have had our setbacks, but we continue to set up and re-tool our monthly budget every month.
But now that a little mini-me is on the way, it’s time to get back to the grindstone and working on getting out of credit card debt and saving money.
My question to you, readers, is: For those of you with kids, how much have you budgeted for baby stuff every month? Or, do you even have a budget? Also, any tips or tricks for some new parents on saving money on certain items or things to avoid wasting money on? Also, what tips do you have for keeping our sanity during the first few months? A mandatory date night every month?
Our wallets and sanity thank you!
I know that we are planning on cloth diapering. My mom did that with me for the first year and I have so many friends who do that and recommend it up and down. It is a pretty decent cost up front but afterwards it is so much more economical financially and way better for the environment. Do your respective sibs have any clothes saved for you? Since you have both genders in your families already, that would help a lot too. I cannot speak from experience since we are not there yet but tout I would add that first part. Food for thought. And FPU is awesome, maybe someday Matt and I will make it all the way through it.
This has nothing to do with money….enjoy your sleep now, because once ‘mini me’ arrives, you won’t have a full night’s sleep until he/she goes off to college! xoxo
fun fact: I’m completely smitten with the Gazelle.com girl from the commercials but that still hasn’t moved me enough to go check out the site. I guess I should. 3 months into it and our baby hasn’t been a financial drain at all for two reasons: gift cards and hand-me downs. We have gotten so much free stuff from our sister/brother’s kids it’s been awesome and now we have stuff we’re ready to pass down. Baby’s outgrow things so quickly, it’s easy to find hand-me downs in good shape. And friends and family will give you so many gift cards for the baby shower- we bought diapers and formula for 3 months on them.
That’s awesome! I do think we’ll get a lot of hand-me-downs (we already have gotten a ton of stuff that we are super excited about!) and I know Christine is looking forward to the baby showers. And Gazelle.com and Gazelle Intensity are two completely different things, but, I guess I’ll have to check out the Gazelle.com commercials now. 🙂
Sign up for thing on-line. Like if your planning to formula feed-pick a brand (like similac) and sign up online and they will send you coupons (checks) for $5 off, every month or so. Same with diapers (huggies sends coupons often.)
Second hand stores are great for getting clothes and some baby items. Places like Once Upon a Child or Secondhand Kids have very strict standards for their clothes. I’ve gotten almost all Liam’s clothes there….they grow out of them too fast to spend a bunch of money! A lot of time, you can find clothes with the original tags! They often have good baby items too (like bouncers, swings, strollers etc) much, much cheaper than you’d pay at a store and about the same quality.
I don’t know how you feel about Craigslist but that’s where I found Liam’s crib. I got a $250 crib for $50 (and it’s a 3 in 1 ei. converts to a toddler bed and full size bed.) I had to sand out some bite marks and re-stain it but it turned out great and I’m really proud of the work I did on it.
Register at a few places because you get a ton of coupons. Also go to sites like enfamil and they’ll send u samples. The shower was a big help I just bought wipes for the first time. If u dont get things on your registry or through people you know second hand children’s stores are great. They have high standards and they’re very affordable. If u do disposable diapers they say on average you go through 10 diapers a day. I’m less than that now but it’s a good starting point to estimate cost. If u do formula I’m on generic and a can lasts about a week and a half to two weeks but that’s at 3 months with 5 oz at each feeding. I could keep going but I don’t want to babble and let’s face it we are only 3 months into it, we’re still learning too. I have some stuff for you. Just waiting to hear gender. If u have any specific questions feel free to call or write. Definitely have someone come to give you a break! It’s a stressful time and you’ll feel better after having a few minutes to yourself.
I realize you are a planner, and I love you for it, however, Lauryn and all of her “stuff” was just a “Let’s see how much THIS is gonna cost us,” and we adjusted everything else to accommodate. I suppose as far as money advice and buying things goes, I would recommend using generic brands whenever you can. The most expensive stuff is not necessarily the best. Generic diapers, formula, and even baby food worked for us. We accepted a TON of hand-me-downs, and Goodwill was awesome for knock-around clothes.
Keeping your sanity is a completely different subject. Everyone has a different breaking point, so the best advice I can give there is to make sure you communicate to one another when you feel you need a break. Lack of sleep on top of worry that you’re not doing something right is a sure-fire recipe for disaster in a marriage. Remember that you are a team and try to remember the love that brought this baby to you in the first place.
If someone offers you help, (dinner, doing your dishes, cleaning the house, watching the baby so you can sleep) TAKE IT!!!! There is no prize for doing everything on your own with a new baby and there is no shame in admitting you need someone to do those things for you. Trust me, the amount of people who will offer to help you will be overwhelming, but try to say yes to a few of them, like your older and wiser sister and brother-in-law 🙂
And my final piece of advice . . . . . PRAY. You guys are smart and well-equipped. It will all work out.
Okay now that I am home and have access to all my regular stuff instead of being at work….:) I get TONS of coupons in the mail. Some of them I got from being signed up for various things through my old job at CDC, some of them I got from parents at school giving me coupons (I have tons of points at Pampers, Huggies, Luvs websites because parents gave me their codes, those can be very helpful), some of them I got when I went on a wild tear back in July because I was suddenly sick and was sure I’d gotten pregnant while we were all at Mackinac (obviously not, lol.) I got a bunch of samples for formula in the mail, which I ended up giving to Jenny for the trips and just gave envelopes of coupons to friends with babies. Nearly every baby-related website has places where you can sign up for free samples and they will just keep sending you stuff. The websites at BabyCenter, Johnsons, and Baby-Samples is where I believe I got most of them from. Also check out frugaldad.com I have heard good things about that site as well. I am sure there will be lots more baby coupons coming my way because they never stop, so I will be sure to pass them your way!
I maintain that you should at least look into cloth diapering. That’ll save you a ton of money over those first 2 years.
Great stuff everybody, thanks!
Ari, we have some friends who do cloth diapering, and I have to be honest, I’m not too keen on it. I know it’s better for the environment and probably more cost effective, but, I just don’t think I want to deal with that. Great thoughts though!
But, we definitely plan to look into hand-me-downs, off-brand, and second-hand stores for things in order to save some money.
Craigslist has been great for us in the past, too.
Start pretending the baby is here TODAY. Pay child care costs into your savings account when it will be due, get cash back when you get groceries to represent diapers, wipes, etc. and put it in savings. That way you get used to the additional expenses, and you have some start-up money to soften the blow when Baby Goff actually arrives.
Also, consider breastfeeding!!! It’s the biggest money saver there is, not to mention the many, many benefits to both baby and mommy.
I will teach you how to cloth diaper… it is NOT hard and NOT gross and you can have all of Raegan’s old gDiapers that are in EXCELLENT condition. Justin doesn’t mind it at all and he gets grossed out extremely easily!!
We do not have a “set” budget for baby stuff at all… we just buy what we need when we need it and like Beth said adjust things elsewhere in your budget.
Making your own baby food is also a big help when the baby gets to eating solids. We also saved a lot of money because I was breastfeeding which is FREE! And now that Raegan eats “regular” food, we aren’t putting a lot of extra cost out because she eats what we eat for dinner (and drinks regular milk which we already buy).
Babies really don’t cost that much- it’s when they get older (school-age) that they start to cost a lot!
If you are having a girl, rest assured that I have MILLIONS of clothes in excellent condition that are going to fit your baby perfectly since Christine’s due date aligns with Raegan’s. You know I’ve already saved you a bundle on her pregnancy clothes!! ;o) And don’t worry, we will spoil you at the shower!!!
PS: I am wearing pink tomorrow, Raegan is wearing purple princess kitties and Justin’s on the fence so he is wearing purple!
A great way to save money is to call Grandma Fowler every two weeks for date night!!!
And yeah, you should go out on dates every so often. We didn’t really do that for Raegan’s first year as we just wanted to spend time with her, but now that she’s older we go out once a month (“A Year of Dates” was part of Justin’s Christmas presents).
(Yes… Grandma Fowler is an amazing babysitter… we can vouch for that; Raegan loved it there!!)
Date nights every two weeks sound great!
And Kristie, you have really been such a God-send with the maternity clothes and everything, so thank you! And my budget thanks you!
We haven’t really had the gDiapers vs. regular diapers discussion yet, but I’m sure that is coming soon.
Oh, and Christine fully plans to breastfeed, if she can. We are positive that she can do it and I am right there encouraging her all the way. She brought me home a little magazine/booklet thingy that I read all about breastfeeding. A little more information than I think I needed to know, but informative.
But I know that some women just have difficulty with it and others just can’t, and so, it doesn’t hurt to know what is a great way to save money if we have to go the formula route. I also know that certain formulas work better for certain babies.
Thanks everybody! Great advice!