There are some alarming statistics about how much it costs to raise a child from birth to adulthood. Most of these numbers land somewhere in the $235,000 range, but that can be somewhat misleading.
Nevertheless, ask any parent if having a baby is cheap, and they’ll probably give you a nervous, exhausted laugh. Babies are expensive! On average, it costs $60 a month for baby clothes(with your first child). The average child will use somewhere around 3,360 disposable diapers in their first year of life alone, adding up to over $800 annually.
Beyond clothes and diapers, other major expenses include strollers and car seats, dirty-diaper-disposers, diaper bags, and a plethora of other baby gear. While there are some costs that you probably can’t avoid (doctor visits, bottles, etc.), Americans do tend to overspend when it comes to our kids.
Here are some helpful and practical ways you can save on baby items for your own family, and give useful gifts to friend or relatives.
- Check Craigslist. Since baby items can’t be used for very long, many people are willing and eager to sell their minimally-used items like strollers, car seats, and cribs for a great price. But be picky! Especially since it’s for your baby, be sure to check all safety ratings, cleanliness, and functionality before making a purchase. And always put your safety first! You can also check Facebook or other local online trading groups.
- Consign. You can save a lot of money on gently used clothing and baby gear by researching consignment sales. If your children have outgrown clothes, shoes, carseats, or strollers bring them to sell, too. Churches in your area may help host a consignment sale like this so ask around and do some research.
- Use Hand-Me-Downs. If your friends or family have slightly older children, ask if they’re looking to get rid of any baby items. You may be able to take some baby items off their hands for free.
- Potty-Train Early. A wonderful option for saving on diaper costs is to eliminate the need for diapers altogether! It may not work for every family, but potty-training your kids early could save you thousands of dollars.
- Diaper Fund. Especially for your first baby, you may have friends and relatives wanting to buy you gifts and throw you showers. Instead of registering for a long list of baby gadgets, ask for them to start a diaper fund, and register for a few of the “big ticket” items you didn’t find on Craigslist.
- Ask, Then Buy. Talk to some friends or family members about items they loved when they had their children. Your mom or grandmother may have some great ideas and tips for you to cut down on the excess. Make a list of what people recommend splurging on and what didn’t work well. Verified reviews can save you from making unwise purchases.
- Build a Budget. No matter what, start saving and budgeting early. If your family is transitioning to one income, start saving as much as possible and be disciplined to keep a budget. Build a category in your budget for your baby and use it as a savings fund before the baby arrives.
Before you invest in baby gear, pray, agree as husband and wife, and remember to steward wisely the money God provides for you.
Psalm 127:3 – Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Originally published on Handwriting on the Wall.