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Tips for Saving on Baby Expenses

8/26/2019

Tips for Saving on Baby Expenses

It’s hard to know exactly what to expect with a newborn, even if you read every parenting blog and book you can get your hands on. While bringing home a new baby brings priceless joy to parents, it also adds a slew of new monthly expenses that can cause financial strain. At a time when you’re so tired you can’t keep your eyes open, know that you canturn to PFCU to learn how to alleviate some of these costs. Here are some of the top monthly expenses that come with a baby’s first year, and how to save on each one.

Childcare

For working parents, after your maternity/paternity leave ends, childcare will likely be the biggest expense in the first year of your baby’s life. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of infant care in Pennsylvania is $11,842 – nearly $1,000 a month. Because this annual cost is so high, it’s a good idea to find ways to cut costs without cutting quality as early as you can.

An easy (but more expensive) option for busy and working parents is to enroll your child in a daycare program. However, if this is too costly and you are fortunate enough to live close to trusted family members who are willing to babysit, you can consider leaning on them a few times a week to help alleviate some of the financial strain. Additionally, if you’re in a pinch and need a quick solution, consider reaching out to a trusted neighborhood teenager to watch your child. Some other great resources are local churches and nonprofits such as your local YMCA, which tend to have low-cost and high-quality childcare offerings.

If you’re a working parent, talk to your employer about workplace benefits, like flexible scheduling, a work from home policy, or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – a savings account that pulls pretax money from your paycheck, which can be used toward childcare and other healthcare expenses like insurance copayments and deductibles, qualified prescription drugs, and other expenses. Once your employer has set a limit, you decide how much money you want to put into the account. Be sure to consider using an FSA if your employer offers it, as it’s a great benefit that often gets overlooked!

Nursing/Feeding

If you’re a mother who is able to breastfeed, nursing won’t be your biggest expense. Breast pumps are mostly covered under the Affordable Care Act. However, if you are feeding your baby with formula, these costs will add up.

There are a couple of ways that you can save some money on formula, such as using coupons found on the websites for formula manufacturers like Similac and Gerber, and shopping at bulk merchandisers like Walmart and Costco. Be sure to compare the prices of these options to what’s offered online at retailers such as Amazon to make sure that you’re always getting the best deal. To save the most amount of money, you might consider purchasing powder formula rather than ready-made liquid, as it tends to be less expensive. Additionally, store brand formula can be just as high quality as name brand but for a lower cost, which is a win-win for you and your baby!

Clothing

The only thing cuter than a happy, healthy baby is baby clothing, and those tiny little shoes are sure to make almost anyone swoon. Watching your baby grow right before your eyes is an unparalleled experience, but babies grow very quickly, which means the clothing you buy for them this fall will not fit them next fall. This constant turnover makes buying baby clothing expensive, especially depending on how and where you’re shopping.

You can start cutting clothing costs months before your baby even arrives. If you have a baby shower, don’t shy away from asking for clothing gifts to prepare you for the first year of your baby’s life! If you feel uncomfortable directly asking for clothes, you can turn it into a fun activity by suggesting that everyone brings an inexpensive, blank onesie to decorate together at the party. A baby shower is an excellent way to ask your family and friends for the supplies you need to feel prepared for your first child, so take advantage of this opportunity to start stocking up on clothes as soon as you can.

Another way you can save some money on clothing is by shopping at thrift and consignment stores. Buying used clothing is a great way to save on clothes that your baby will likely get dirty and grow out of quickly. Also, if you have a family member or friend that has older babies, take advantage of hand-me-downs! By offering to take unused clothes off their hands, you are refreshing your baby’s wardrobe in an environmentally sustainable way. Plus, if you plan to have another child, hang on to the clothing to save yourself a few more bucks and get more use out of the clothes down the line.

Diapers/Wipes

As a new parent, you will spend a lot of time changing diapers; and just like childcare, food, and clothing, the price of diapers adds up quickly. To save money on diapers and wipes, you can stop by your local Walmart, Costco, or other bulk merchandiser to compare prices while you’re shopping for baby formula. Again, make sure to price match these options with what’s offered online to ensure that you are getting the most for your money. While it can be tempting to spend money on Huggies or Pampers, store brand diapers can also be high quality and are typically less expensive, so give them a try!

Another great alternative is switching over to cloth diapers. While this requires more cleaning on your part, cloth diapers will save you money in the long run. Before fully committing to switching, try cloth diapers out for a week and see how you and your baby feel.

Bringing your baby home shouldn’t break the bank, so don’t let it! Throughout the first year of your baby’s life, there will be many situations that require some trial and error, but with PFCU on your side, you’ll have the tools and resources you need to weigh each and every option with confidence.

Erin Ellis

Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
eellis@PFCU.COM