How to have kids without blowing the budget!

So you get pregnant.  Planned or not, shortly after the shock/excitement sets in, so does panic about how are you going to be able to afford this kid!  This panic has set in for myself 3 times and these are the ways that I have dealt with it.  Most of these were learned when I had my son almost 12 years ago and had NO money.  I’ve carried them over with my last two children.  It’s helped us save loads of money, and with an ever-expanding grocery bill (a preteen and two little piggies will make you cry at the grocery store every time!) we need all the help we can get!  So here’s a few of my tips!

FEEDING:

  • Breastfeed….as long as you can!  Not only is it free (and easy), it’s best for babes.  The longer you nurse, the longer your baby receives the benefits.  My oldest son nursed full-time until I went back to school when he was 9 months, then he continued to self wean until he was around a year.  My daughter nursed until she was 15 months, with bottles as well starting around 10 months.  My younger son is almost a year old and shows no sign on stopping nursing.  He refuses bottles.
  • If you have to formula feed, use coupons!  It helps a lot.
  • When it’s time to start solids (please not before 6 months!  Or under the recommendation of a GOOD doctor.), make your own baby food.  I always found that my kids hated jarred food (who can blame them?  Have you ever smelled it?)  Plus the savings are tremendous!  1 jar of sweet potatoes baby food costs about $1.  You get, what, 2-3 servings?  I bought a medium sweet potato for $2 and got more than 12 servings.  You just steam the veggies (keeps the nutrients in) until very soft, then puree.  Freeze in ice-cube trays.  That’s it.  Plus, my kids only ever ate puree for a few weeks, so I had lots of puree to throw into things like spaghetti sauce or chili.  You can also do some research on baby led weaning.

CLOTHING:

  • Ask around for hand-me-downs, check out www.kijiji.ca, find local consignment shops, and keep an eye out for local clothing sales.  If you’re in Nova Scotia, keep an eye on the Facebook page.  I’ll be posting starting in the spring all the local sales that I hear about.  These sales are also great for getting things like swings, seats and toys.
  • Use cloth diapers.  Even if you just use them part-time, you’ll save so much money!  To save money when buying your stash, shop for used diapers (www.kijiji.ca), stalk your favorite sites for sales (there’s some really good Boxing Day sales out there right now!), register for cloth diapers for your baby shower, or stick to flats/prefolds and covers.  If you’re looking for something a little different for your baby shower, check out The Fluff and Stuff Shop diaper parties!  They also have a virtual option for those with family far and wide.

EXTRAS:

  • Ask yourself if you really need all those toys/swings/seats/etc.  You can save a lot of money (and space!)if you don’t buy any of the extras.  The only item I really needed/used was our exersaucer.  I bought it used at a yard sale for $15, used it for 2 kids, then sold it for $10.  Can’t complain then.
  • If you really need the extras, buy used.  Most are rarely used and are in great condition.
  • For wipes, even if you use disposable, use cloth.  You will get 100’s of those tiny little wash cloths at your shower, so grab a few and use them for tushies.  I regret not doing it before.

THINGS THAT MUST BE BOUGHT NEW:

  • Car seats and cribs.  Don’t mess around with those items.  Use the savings from above and get the best that you can get!  You never know what has happened to them before hand and you can get good quality for a fair price.

Good luck to you if you’re pregnant/planning on becoming pregnant, just had a baby, or are losing your mind every time you walk into the Wal-Mart with your children.  Kids are expensive, but there are ways to ease the pain!  Leave me a comment on ways that your family saves money!

Happy Diapering/Parenting!

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Filed under Cloth Diapering, Frugual Living, Green Living, How-To

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