As you probably know, baby expense should be high on your list of things to plan for, before the baby comes. There is no cheap way to have and raise a baby: it takes sweat, work, lots of cash, patience, and more to have a happy, healthy baby. Some studies suggest that you will spend anywhere between $150,000 and $200,000 for your kids by the time they are 18 years old, not including private schools, special lessons, or college.
But if you waited until you had enough money, time and energy to have your baby, you would probably end up without any children. Here you*ll find a few ways to ease the finances, so that you can enjoy your new bundle of joy.
1. Get health assistance - if you don*t have health insurance, and can*t afford it, doctor*s bills can ad up really easy. But there are options out there for people just like you. This baby expense will probably be one of your biggest, so don*t be afraid to ask for assistance if your family needs it.
2. Breastfeed your baby, if possible. It*s free, it*s convenient, and it might help against breast cancer. It*s recommended as being the best form of nutrition for baby.
If you can*t breastfeed, don*t feel guilty. Try to apply for WIC (Women , Infants, and Children): http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic , a program designed to help middle and low income families with educational resources and food. You can also save money by buying formula in bulk, clipping coupons, and accepting free samples whenever they are offered. This is a baby expense you can*t do without.
3. Diapers - Some diapers are better than others, but most are basically the same. Store brand disposable diapers can be just as good as the name brand, for several dollars less than their name brand counterparts. You can save even more, if you use cloth diapers instead of disposable. As with breastfeeding, it*s a little more work involved, but well worth it.
4. Diaper Rash Prevention - instead of taking action after your baby got a diaper rash, prevent it with a drop of olive oil applied to their bottom every time you change their diaper: it works wonders (you should check with your doctor first).
5. Baby food - When it comes to baby food, a blender is your best friend: it will help you keep this baby expense at its lowest. Not only is it much cheaper, but it*s so much healthier! Save the little baby food jars for quick trips, or special occasions, and give your baby pureed food made by you. You can cook a week*s supply on the weekend, put the blended vegetables in the ice cube tray, for a few hours, and then place them in a freezer bag. Depending on your baby*s appetite and age, you can microwave one, two or three cubes before meal time. It*s quick, healthy and inexpensive.
6. Clothing - There is no need to buy expensive designer clothing for you little one. Do you think anyone will really notice that your baby is wearing Tommy Hilfiger? Babies look cute in anything: don*t waste your money! You can get most of your baby clothing at yard sales or second-hand stores.
7. Toys - they are big business, but you don*t have to feel pressured to get the latest and most expensive models. My kids were happy with everyday items as their toys: empty shampoo bottles (make sure they are cleaned and rinsed very well before handing them to your baby), plastic bowls, plastic containers from food products (margarine, sour cream , etc.) that they could stack up, etc. Also, buy some toys that will help with your baby*s development, are durable, and are age appropriate: a baby expense worth the money.
8. Wills - Get a will or update your old will. Name a guardian for your child and the trustee of your child*s inheritance (often but not always the same person). Without a will, the court will name these individuals and also split up your assets in accordance with state law which may not be the way you would wish. Please don*t try to avoid this baby expense: your kid*s future might depend on it. A simple will that includes a trust for minor children costs between $150 and $250.
Here are links to some great baby resources:
- generic brand wholesale diapers
( http://www.diapers-4-less.com/private-label-diapers.htm )
- baby formula: free samples and coupons
( http://www.freestuff-for-babies.com/babyformula.html )
Adriana Copaceanu is a work at home mom of 2, and the publisher of Baby*s First Year Companion http://www.babys-first-year.com, an online resource for new parents.