Here's a newsflash: it costs a lot to have a baby!
A recent report from the USDA estimates the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is a staggering $287,000. This represents a 25-percent increase over the past decade, thanks to the rising cost of groceries and medical care. The kicker? This amount doesn't include the expenses associated with pregnancy and delivery.
Just to bring a baby home from the hospital requires a few must-have items for new parents. These are only the bare basics a mom will need to get out of the hospital with her new baby (based on average costs).
- Car seat - $100
- Clothing - $50
- Diapers - $72 (one-month supply)
- Wipes - $20 (one-month supply)
- Crib with mattress & sheets - $230
- Bottles (unless breastfeeding) - $60
- Formula (unless breastfeeding) - $105 (one-month supply)
- Hospital bill - $15,000 (uncomplicated vaginal delivery, no insurance)
Add a little extra cash to cover typical items baby and mom may need within the first couple months and that brings our grand total to: $17,400
Ultimately, deciding to start a family is a big decision. Women I've talked to say they're waiting until they're financially stable. This is a smart move, but it's tough to think you'll ever be ready for a bundle of joy that will cost six figures. Before you give up on parenthood completely, you should know these seven ways to cut some costs.
1. Buy used furniture.
Places like Craigslist, Freecycle.org and your local classified ads are a great place to find used furniture. Be sure to check the condition of the piece and for safety features, such as the spacing between crib spindles and locks on the rocker. Older models won't have these updates.
2. Visit consignment clothing stores.
Stock up on baby clothes by using your local consignment clothing store, such as Once Upon a Child. Babies grow quickly, so many parents sell their gently used children's clothes. I've even found items with tags still attached!
3. Register for more.
Create a registry through Babies R Us and put everything you think you'll need on that list. After your delivery date, Babies R Us will send you information about purchasing the rest of the items on your list at a discount. Combine that with a Babies R Us discounted gift card from GiftCardGranny.com and you could save up to 30 percent on the rest of your registry items.
4. Join Amazon Mom.
Save up to 20 percent on diapers and wipes by signing up for Amazon Mom and putting your diapers, wipes and formula on auto delivery. Along with your Amazon Mom account, you'll receive Amazon Prime benefits including exclusive discounts and free two-day delivery for three months.
5. Look into cloth diapers.
Take some time to consider cloth diapers, especially if you're thinking about have more than one child. A few things to seriously consider are the initial cost of purchase and the convenience and environmental impact of disposable diapers. See DiaperDecisions.com for a breakdown of the costs associated with cloth diapers.
6. Start a babysitting co-op.
After the novelty of being a new parent wears off, you'll want to have some time away from your little bundle of joy. Instead of paying for a babysitter, organize a group of moms and share babysitting responsibilities. To start, divide tokens evenly between the group, then charge each mom one token per child per hour to babysit. Each mom can then call on other moms within the group and pay with tokens to get free babysitting.
7. Just ask.
Many parents are more than happy to get rid of their baby gear once they've decided their family is complete. Don't be afraid to ask to buy an item off a friend. They may surprise you and simply give it to you. Also, ask your pediatrician for sample packets of formula. They have closets stocked with samples received from manufacturers and will be happy to unload some of their stash.
Maisie Knowles is a working mother of two with three-year's experience writing on parenting and partner issues. She received a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado and co-founded FreeShipping.org with her husband.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!