Friday, July 26, 2013

Dipes n Wipes - How to save with baby

Well, I'm sure you all saw this one a mile away, especially if you and I are friends on facebook....after all, what do I obsess about here on TFB? Oh right.  My baby. Running, biking, swimming, food, and...saving pennies. Which is in direct conflict with #1, right?  Well, kinda.  But not really.
I'm no dummy.  I know kids aren't cheap.  And Greg and I had a plan going into this whole thing where we saved our pennies in order to shore up a baby fund for expenses we didn't think about.  It's not alot.  But since I am anal about expenses (blame it on childhood), I knew that I needed some kind of "safety net" in order to make me feel better. So here's what I've learned during pregnancy and the first 3 weeks by reading alot, talking to new mommies, and using my noggin. Some of it is plan common sense, but if it even helps anyone a little bit, I've done my job.

A Novice's Tips for New Moms-Saving Dinero

1.  Plan ahead.  Way ahead.  Before I even got pregnant, Greg and I knew we were in a baby frame of mind, so we spent 2012 getting ready until that little test came back positive.  We bought an SUV...shopped around and got a good deal.  I started taking stock of our expenses and shored up a reserve for emergencies (how much you can save is up to you, but I wanted 3 months living expenses socked away.  Call it paranoia, but I felt better having it and was able to save it slowly over 15 months).  We refinanced the house in order to save some money monthly and get a better interest rate.  Small things that got our finances where we needed them to be. 

2.  Have a Baby Fund - Assess what a baby will cost and make sure you have the money to fund it.  I'm not talking about toys or fancy clothes, but the necessities.  Do you need daycare?  What will it cost?  How much will diapers and wipes run you per month?  How much does your insurance policy cover for delivery, etc.?  (Did you know an uncomplicated delivery costs $4000 WITHOUT hospital stay?  YIKES!).  So we took out a big FSA for 2013 (note-not big enough, but I didn't foresee a newborn hospital trip!) so that when the bill came, we didn't need to shell out 4 figures.  I did research on daycare costs-interviewed some local ones and then worked the monthly cost into our budget.  I looked online for average diaper and wipe prices, along with average newborn use.  (These last few figures put me in sticker shock....I think the average newborn costs roughly what I make in a year, lol).  Then we started re-working our budget to figure out how much we needed per month and if we could save a bit more.  In a coke jar.  With pennies.  Seriously, who needs silly things like groceries? :-)

3.  Talk to friends and family - For a few reasons.  First of all, they will probably want to help in the form of a baby shower or baby gifts (people love buying cute baby things!)  So DON'T stock your nursery until after your shower or you're into the pregnancy.  My sister gave us tons of clothes, a crib, and baby toys.  My dad gave us a glider.  My mom gave us my old dresser and a bookshelf.  The only furniture we ended up buying was a $20 changing table on craigslist.  Score.  You also can get valuable information from new momma friends like.....what's a good deal on diapers?  When you see .25 cents a diaper in the store and know your kiddo goes through at least a dozen a day....the math sucks.  But new mommas can hook you up with deal tips that make life alot cheaper and easier!

4.  Learn the deal sites- See above for some of that, but also, find website and facebook pages that help you out.  Living Rich with Coupons.  Baby Cheapskate.  Krazy Koupon Lady.  All Things Target.  Enroll in Enfamil and Similac's new mom clubs.  Huggies and Pamper reward codes.  All of these sites/pages offer coupons, tips and deals for the new parents.  When you can get a box of diapers that retails for $49.99 for $ bet it's worth finding out how!!

My diaper stash - 1200, size 1 -3 (and 1500 wipes)
5.  Shop around.  For daycare, diapers, wipes, clothes, etc.  It really helps to start doing this before you have the kiddo, as your limited in shops for the first month!  I found a baby weight chart online that roughly estimated baby growth for the first 2 years, then matched that up with diaper sizes.  Then I looked for deals.  instead of paying 25 cents a diaper, I averaged 10 cents a diaper and had a nice stockpile of diapers size NB to size 3 (about 1500) before Rob was even born.  Was it perfect?  Nope.  But I saved a ton of money and I know he will use them!  Same thing with wipes and clothes.  I found wipes for about a dollar a box (as opposed to 2.99) and bought 30 boxes.  Clothes?  End of season clearance , garage sales and craigslist. grow like weeds...which brings me to....

6.  DO NOT buy new clothes. - What do people like to buy most for new baby?  Clothes!  Between my shower and new baby gifts when the kiddo was born...and of course Grandma's shopping habit! I have a ton of new clothes for the little guy.  The rest?  I bought for 50 cents or a buck apiece at garage sales.  C'mon now-babies grow so damn fast, there is no way I am spending 10 bucks on a onesie.  My latest haul - 50 outfits from 0-9 months at a garage sale = 20 bucks.  College should be saved for-baby clothes, no.

All I need is love! (Kinda)
7. Buy what you need....but with a grain of salt.If you go on the Bump or Baby Center ad print out a list of what you need for a newborn, prepare to max out your credit card.  No, you do not need a swing, a bouncer, a convertible car seat, a jogger a bottle warmer, , a Moby, a Bjorn and a boba.  (unless they call come super cheap or free :-P)  Society tells us to buy, buy, buy, or we are bad parents.  A little kid needs a place to sleep, clothes to wear, diapers, food and LOVE.  The rest is just extra.  Well, okay, maybe a bit more than that, but you know what I mean.

8.  Save those receipts!  Like I said, I bought a ton of diapers and kiddo things on super sale before Rob even came- but I saved all of my receipts.  So if we grow out of size 1's before I run out, I can always exchange them.  Or take back my infant bathtub when I find one for half the cost at a garage sale.  I keep all my baby receipts in a shoebox- just in case.  Store credit also rocks-we registered at Target, so any returns go right to the diaper fund. 

9.  Look for other ways to trim your budget - Do you really need premium cable (No.  You are too busy to watch it).  How about going out to eat every week?  (Not with an infant!)  If you stayed at home for maternity leave, can you cook meals in the crockpot?  Yep.  If you and your other half work together, you can really trim your household budget in the first month (and I am assuming more) in life with baby.  For the first month, we saved $200 on the credit card, simply because I wasn't driving much and only shopped once during the week.  Not that that will last, but that $200 went into the kiddo fund pretty quick!

So there ya go.  I'm no expert, but this is how I've tried to afford having a newborn so far....more posts coming once the kiddo is in daycare.  Then we'll see how well I did.

Any tips to add?

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