Babies Are Expensive: How to Prepare for Having a Kid
Babies are expensive to take care of, and the expenses actually start before the baby is born. Before you bring your precious newborn home from the hospital, you have to purchase all the furniture, clothing, and supplies that the baby will need. Then you have to factor in the hospital costs (if applicable) and, possibly, the lost income that you might face if you decide to stay home with the baby for longer than the paid time off your company provides.
As cute as they are, babies don’t come cheap, and sometimes new parents are shocked by the amount of money that goes into taking care of a baby the first year alone. There are certain items that need to be purchased new because of safety or other concerns, but some items can be purchased used or even made, which can save money. Here are some items that you will most likely need for the baby.
In addition to the hospital stay, you will probably spend a great deal of money on a few specific items. Cribs can be expensive, but you will save money by avoiding certain extras. Many new parents spend money on fancy bedding, which isn’t necessary and sometimes isn’t safe. Kid bumpers look nice, but they are risky because they can increase the chance of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.
You should probably purchase a new crib, unless you can determine the safety of the crib you are purchasing, and even that is still risky. In 2011, new federal safety standards prohibited drop-side rail cribs, and other changes were implemented, as well. Purchasing a used crib usually isn’t worth the safety concerns.
You should also be careful when purchasing a car seat. A new car seat is best, because you usually don’t know the history of the car seat you are buying. Car seats that have been in a crash are usually not safe to use, and plus, car seats should not be more than 10 years old. Although car seats can be expensive, if you buy a basic model, you won’t have to spend much. Many hospitals also sell car seats at a discounted price for new parents.
Another item you might want to purchase new is a stroller. Strollers can be purchased used, but again, you need to be careful in making sure the stroller is safe — that it’s not missing any parts and hasn’t been recalled. It is best to check every item you purchase used (including toys, high chairs, etc.) to make sure it hasn’t been recalled and doesn’t pose any other safety concerns.
However, you don’t need to purchase everything new. Babies grow out of clothing quickly, so buying used baby clothes when possible will save you a lot of money. If you choose to use cloth diapers, those can also be purchased used. Some expensive furniture can also be purchased used, like a sliding chair, dresser, or changing table. The most important thing to always remember when buying for kids is to check the age and safety rating (as well as recall warnings) of everything you buy. It seems overwhelming, but when you consider the potential risks of not checking, it is absolutely worth it.
Another way to save money is to make things yourself. Pinterest has many ideas for baby items you can make yourself. If you are talented with a needle or willing to learn, you will save a lot of money by making items yourself. Burping clothes and baby clothes are expensive, and even the cost of purchasing baby wipes that you can easily make yourself adds up.
You can also build certain items for your baby. Storage furniture and even cribs can be made if you have the experience and the necessary tools and workspace, but of course, you want to be careful to follow all safety guidelines. Many baby toys can also be crafted.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need everything that your friends have. Many people go out and buy everything at once, but that wastes space and sometimes money. You won’t need a highchair for quite a while, because a newborn can’t even sit up. The same is true of very involved toys and also blankets, which are not recommended for young babies, anyway. Although you might need these items eventually, you can wait until you see a good deal.
Babies are certainly expensive, but you can cut costs greatly by making as much as possible yourself and buying used when it’s safe. If possible, get started on your bargain hunting (or creating) well before your baby arrives, as your time will be spent with your child once he or she is born.