Having children doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems. The expression, “Hindsight is 20/20” definitely applies to having children. We have learned a lot since having our first child (of three) and these tips come from practical experience as parents, NOT from the overpriced expectations placed upon us by manufacturers. Had I known THEN, what I know NOW, we would have saved a considerable sum of money beginning with our first, NOT our third!
-Babies grow fast in their first year. They also don’t wear anything out. If you’ve been blessed with an abundance of new baby clothes from a baby shower, be practical. Keep a reasonable amount of newborn sizes and exchange newborn sizes for bigger sizes, all the way up to one year.
– I would also NOT take the tags off your newborn clothes. I had an abundance of newborn sizes for our first (I did NOT exchange sizes and washed everything before he was born) but when he popped out a staggering 22 1/2″ long and 9lbs 7oz, the newborn outfits BARELY fit! We had to buy bigger sizes. What a waste.
-Never refuse bags of hand-me-downs or pass-along clothes. Stains happen. Babies just do that. An outfit that is slightly stained is perfect for wear at home and most times when you’re out and about, the baby is tucked into a carrier or stroller or something, and no one is going to see the little stain. Not to mention that no one is looking for stains, they’re looking at the gorgeous little angel you’ve got instead!
The pass-along clothes apply to older kids as well. We camp. The kids wear these pass-along clothes when we camp. I don’t worry if an already worn-a-bit shirt gets hit with mud, fish-guts or snagged and ripped on a tree. The clothing didn’t cost me anything and the boys get to be boys without worrying about clothes.
-Do not hesitate to shop for kids clothes at tag sales and thrift stores. I have found brand new jeans (tags from store still on) at the Salvation Army for only 3.99/pair versus the $15.99 on the tag! If you find a great outfit in bigger sizes than you currently need, store them in a bin. You’ll go “shopping” for those bigger sizes eventually, trust me, they grow FAST.
-Let’s talk diapers. Cloth is a cheaper way to go if you wash your own. I admit we did NOT do cloth. So, that said vape juices for sale, expensive disposables are just that-expensive! After having babies that could blow out the best of the disposables, we started trying the less expensive brands and found that they worked just as well, at a fraction of the cost! When it came to disposables, I got whatever was cheapest, be it with a coupon and sale or sale alone. I DID find a brand of generics I didn’t like and avoided, but for the most part, they did the job.
-Baby wipes. Here is a medical fact for you. Human urine is sterile. It does not contain bacteria (unless there is an infection-different story). You wipe the urine off the baby because uric acid crystals will form and irritate the skin. That said, you don’t have to reach for an expensive baby wipe with each wet diaper. I used a baby type face cloth that I rinsed off between diaper changes (each day was a fresh towel).
For diapers that are a little more “messy” shall we say, you can use the wash clothes but you’ll need to wash them in hot water with bleach to kill bacteria (which works well if you’ve gone with cloth diapers). We preferred to use homemade baby wipes, which were much cheaper and just as effective. If memory serves, a container of generic wipes was about $1.99. I figured the cost of my homemade version to be about .50 maybe .75 but not more than that.
Here is a recipe for homemade wipes. This is a GREAT way to use up all those bottles of baby supplies you’ll get at a shower, by the way!
-Good quality paper towels. We bought the select-a-size brand at the warehouse store to save cutting the paper towel roll in half and it kept the cost down. Fold halved towel in half again. Place into plastic container (recycled wipes containers do work well).
-mix 2 cups of water with 2 TBS of baby lotion (or creamy style baby oil) and 1 TBS of baby wash. Microwave or heat well for two minutes, pour over wipes.
-Babies do NOT need special laundry detergents unless they develop skin sensitivities. This is another one of those things new parents think is a must (well the ads would make you THINK you needed this!) I even confirmed this with our pediatrician. If they DO develop sensitivities, switching to one of the “free” type detergents might be all you need.
-Children do NOT need lots of expensive toys. Seriously, think of that commercial with the expensive toy and the toddler with the box that the expensive toy came in. That kid plays with the BOX, not the toy! A recent trip to the toy store made us laugh. They had this electronic drum for babies/toddlers for 12.99. We remembered how our oldest found sheer joy and pleasure sitting on our kitchen floor with my pots, pans and bowls and a wooden spoon banging away. Oh, and the pots and pans didn’t need batteries either. Basically, think twice and three times before buying costly toys. A little imagination (or a book) goes a long way in turning basic household things into fun toys.
-Baby food. Make your own. Eliminate salt and extra spices and just cook longer and then run through a chopping machine (I LOVE my mini chopper- $10 and it was used for more than just baby food). Baby food freezes in ice cube trays quite nicely. Don’t be fooled by “baby” juice. 100% fruit juice is just that, 100% fruit juice. Buy the big bottle of apple juice on sale for .99 and water it down (most pediatricians recommend a limited amount of fruit juice anyways and watering it down stretches that).
-Daycare. I have been on both sides of the fence. I’ve been a working mom AND a stay at home mom. Again, hindsight being 20/20, I’d encourage you to really consider avoiding this expense. We thought that we couldn’t do without my almost full-time paycheck but in the end, we figured out that daycare cost us a lot of money and that I could work a very part-time schedule and NET the same money. Truly, try and figure out how to avoid daycare if possible.
-Needs versus Wants. This is especially true if money is tight. Don’t hesitate to think twice before you buy something for kids. Manufacturers would have you think you NEED it all, but the reality is, your mother and your grandmother did without a lot of this stuff so chances are you can, too.