This is the first post of an upcoming series of guest posts that will bring you some fresh money saving perspectives this summer. I’m so thrilled to be sharing the work of some smart up-and-coming bloggers with you! Today’s post is from Nonarae Clausing of From Poor to Prosperity and she’s bringing us 5 tips for raising babies on a tight budget.
5 TIPS FOR RAISING BABIES ON A TIGHT BUDGET
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If you’ve ever looked up how much it can potentially cost to raise a child each year, the numbers can be downright terrifying!
Its enough to make most people feel insecure and unfit on a financial level.
Most of the cost that is incurred though, I believe is calculated by the cost of items being purchased new, which is not always necessary or realistic.
Here are 5 tips for raising babies on a tight budget.
1. MEDICAL COSTS
When raising kids, medical expenses are a given. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that you will meet your medical deductible every year going forward, until they are no longer on your insurance.
With that in mind, there are still a few different ways to help ease the cost.
LOWER YOUR DEDUCTIBLE
One of the best things you can do to keep costs down, medically, is elect an insurance plan with the smallest possible deductible.
This will at least ensure that your out of pocket medical costs will be as small as possible, and insurance will pick up the rest. (Although, it will probably mean more money coming out of your paycheck.)
Enrollments typically start in October, so check with your employer to see what your options are in advance, so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
USE THE NURSE LINE
Many new moms run to the ER for each new health concern. After all, it’s super terrifying to have this tiny little human that you have to keep alive.
So, it’s not that these concerns are invalid, but they can also usually be resolved by calling the Nurse line too.
A nurse on the Nurse Line can tell you if your baby should be brought in for further inspection, or if the issue can be resolved with less expensive over the counter medications.
The nurse can give you expert advice for free, so it’s basically a no-brainer as a first step in non-emergency situations.
I think it goes with out saying that attempting to prevent illness is less costly than trying to cure or heal illness.
If you nurse your baby, your own antibodies should be passed to the baby through breastmilk for approximately 6 months. After that, baby vitamins and probiotics can be purchased over the counter to help keep them healthy.
If probiotics are too expensive, you can also get them from foods that have been fermented. Yogurt is an easy go-to for healthy probiotics.
Cloth diapering is by far the least expensive way to diaper your babies.
They do cost a bit more up front, and require more effort to use, but you only need around 25 and they can be reused repeatedly.
By the way, here is a pretty nice set of cloth diapers at a reasonable pricehere is a pretty nice set of cloth diapers at a reasonable price.
The inserts are the part that need to be washed most frequently, and you can use flour sack towels or old hand towels in their place.
Otherwise, used cloth diapers can be found easily, for much less expensive, at garage and yard sales.
If you aren’t interested in cloth diapering, here are 5 easy ways to save money on disposable diapers.
Many of us expect that as soon as our baby is born, we will immediately start producing milk and our baby will instinctively know how to get it. Then, we immediately feel terrible guilt when this doesn’t happen as we want it to.
In reality, breastmilk takes 3-4 days to come in and babies must also learn how to nurse. These things take time and you must have patience if you want to be able to do it. Do not be discouraged!
If you decide to feed your baby formula after all, there are a couple options to help keep costs down.
First, some insurance plans cover formula, and may take a hefty portion of the cost for you! Check with your insurance carrier to see what baby supplies it may cover and how to submit claims to your insurance for reimbursement.
Also, WIC is an amazing resource for low income families. WIC is a highly regulated assistance program that supplements the cost of nutritional food for momma and baby, from conception until after the baby is born.
In WI, WIC pays for 7 cans of Gerber formula each month, until the baby is 6 months old. Each can is around $20.00, so this is a HUGE cost savings!
You can also sign up with Similac and Enfamil to receive free formula and coupons regularly in the mail.
When the baby starts weaning off milk, it is very easy to make your own baby food purees at home.
Just take the foods you are making for yourself, add some water, and puree together in your blender.
Freeze the puree into cubes, in an ice cube tray, and store them in a labeled container in the freezer until needed. One cube is approximately 2 oz.
Baby clothes are probably the most adorable clothes ever! I completely understand wanting to buy all the clothes for your new baby but buying more than necessary can easily break the bank.
Babies’ clothes get changed about 4-5 times per day, so you only need between 15-20 outfits for each size. If you wash clothes multiple times per week, you don’t even need that many.
Because most cloth diaper sizes are adjustable, they also help prevent blow outs which also saves you from having to change clothes many times throughout the day.
Because of how fast babies grow, it is perfectly okay to buy clothes used!
Many cute outfits can be found at thrift sales for less than $1, and most parents make sure that their clothes are kept stain free, but even if it has a stain or two, that’s okay!
Your baby will not mind, and neither does anybody else. I promise!
The older kids get, the more difficult it seems to keep them entertained.
They constantly ask for more and more toys, but after a week or so, forget about them completely. Studies show, when it comes to entertaining kids, less is more.
Toys can be fun, and it is totally okay to purchase them, but the fewer you have the better children learn how to use their imaginations.
Strive to find quality, second hand, educational toys at local second-hand stores and thrift sales.
Blocks, letters, Legos, books and puzzles are all great low-cost toys! Beyond that, it is totally okay to let them find their own entertainment.
RAISING BABIES ON A TIGHT BUDGET
Ultimately, having a baby doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg.
We do not have to give them everything, and most of what we do give them doesn’t need to be new. Wherever possible, be intentional about purchasing items pre-loved, so that you can afford to purchase high quality items that NEED to be new, such as car seats.
Don’t let society tell you that you need all the things! In reality, we don’t need nearly as much as we think we do, in order for our kids to grow and thrive.
Nonarae Clausing is the founder of From Poor to Prosperity, where she teaches all about personal finance. Her debt free journey started in 2015, with approximately $65K in debt. She and her husband were able to claw their way out of debt in just over two years, and now she’s passionate about helping others do the same!
Psst… If you’d like to hear more from Nonarae, hop on her email list here. You’ll get a FREE budget form, plus exclusive access to her 5 day Build a Budget Challenge!