Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Planning For The Future

Well, G and I have been talking a lot about babies.  And how within the next year or so we would like to start a family.  We both know babies are expensive as all get out, so we've been brainstorming ideas to make it more reasonable (which mainly will include me not going crazy and needing every gadget and whatchamacallit out there).  And I figured I would take to my blog and ask if my readers had any ideas for ways to make a baby more affordable.  We've already come up with ideas to save money in an account for the future.  But are there any ideas that worked for you?

I know some other blogs I read have talked about buying used furniture and sprucing it up.  And also, many seem to only finish the nursery months after the baby arrives (which makes perfect sense since they sleep in their parents room during the first few months).  Please let me know of any tips, ideas, etc.  It's a big thing, and we want to plan right!


  1. There are lots of mommy blogs out there and some are fantastic about budgeting. One is called Like Merchant Ships. She's got three kids I think.

    I don't have them but I think the main rule is keep it simple.

  2. I can't help either I'm afraid! From watching my sisters I think it is important to have saved up - as once you have kids there will always be something you need to buy for them - for the next 18+ years!

    And things like bassinets - the baby only needs it for a few months, so my sisters used the family one that gets passed around my cousins etc, which was handy and saved them that expense. On the bigger items of furniture that you must have, they also chose cots that could turn into small beds eventually, thus getting an extra use out of them. And of course, from our big extended family they inherited alot of clothes in sizes 000 to about 3 (although I have found the first born baby gets so many gifts of clothing!)

    Here in Australia too the Government gives you a "baby bonus" payment of $5000 after the baby is born. It is paid in installments over 13 weeks..........You could always move here!


  3. If you are going to wait for a while...get a job and save every cents you earn.

  4. I liked over from Adventures in Babywearing... hope you don't mind!!

    I have some advice about paying for the hospital bills. (I have a 5 month old, so I promise it works!!) Sign up for Aflac's 2 supplemental policies (I think they are called Hospital and Accident). They are set up in a way that if you are admitted to a hospital you get $xx and if you stay over night you get #xx... so on and so on, all things that you do when you check in to have a baby. So for a traditional vaginal delivery like mine, they send you a check for about 3 grand! If it's c-section you get even more! Which you use to pay what your primary insurance won't cover. The two plans together cost us about $70 per month, but it could be cheaper if your employer is on the preferred list (ours wasn't). The only catch is that you have to sign up and be on the plan at least 30 days BEFORE you get preggers, but if you are planning it out like it sounds like you are, it's not a big deal at all.

    CONGRATS in advance!!

  5. Congratulations on this exciting stage of your life - I found you through Steph at Adventures in Babywearing! :)

    Oh, babies are such a blessing - and you know what? My hubby & I do not have very much money, we are in ministry at a small Christian camp, and when I was pregnant with my son (now 18 months), I was nervous, too. But it is AMAZING how God provided everything we needed for him, and so much more, through things people gave to us- used and new, and baby showers, and finding the exact Pooh sheet set I wanted on eBay for not much money... I don't think we bought a single piece of furniture/big ticket baby item for him! We are expecting our second child in December, and while I'm nervous about the transition from one to two children, and how I'll do as their mommy, I'm not nervous at ALL about how God is going to provide for us, because He ALWAYS, ALWAYS does. :)

  6. In the months leading up to my baby's birth we would buy a $10-20 gift card every time we would go to the grocery store. We set them aside and after the baby was born we would use them to help with the grocery bill when we were also buying diapers (or for quick runs for baby supplies).

    Also, if you have a Babies R Us near you there is a rewards program. They have time periods where if you spend enough money there you get $5 or more back. They also offer a diaper program where if you buy 9 boxes you get the 10th free (I think only on Huggies and Pampers?)

    We also used our Pack-n-play as our bassinet for the first month or two in our room and then we also had it to use when traveling from then on out.

    Hope some of that helps!

  7. J---it was so good to get your comments and e-mail. I was beginning to worry about you!

    Bonjour Madame---I LOVE Like Merchant Ships. I have been reading her for going on 3 years now. She has so many tips for living a bountiful frugal life!

    BriAnna---thank you so much for that advice, I had never heard of it. The military pretty much covers our hospital bills (they will even cover some midwives and birthing centers). But I am most definitely going to pass this advice onto some other ladies I know who it would help more than you could imagine!

    Carrie--- I agree, God does provide so much. We've already been fortunate to find some unisex items, and my mother is just waiting for us to get pregnant so she can tell everyone and overload us with blessings!

  8. Kaycee---the gift cards is a great idea! That is something I never would have thought of. We also are planning on using the pack n play idea. It seems simpler in the long run than having to get up fifty times a night when they're first born and eating a ton!

  9. It will never, ever work out on paper.

    But God provides immeasurably. You learn, you cut back, and things just work.

    We cloth diaper, which saves considerably. I breastfeed, make my own food.

    My daughter is the first grandchild on both sides, so she is spoiled beyond belief. I have rarely bought much for her--and usually, only if I WANT to. If I do buy clothes, I get them at consignment sales or WAY marked down. Grandmas, Grandpas, and showers have provided the rest.

    We bought a fabulous crib and changing table set for $200 at a garage sale.

    If you're thinking this far in advance, you have time to bargain shop! My biggest tip is see what you get at showers, don't buy up in advance. You will be surprised at what people buy. Also, if there are things you can get as hand-me-downs or borrow from friends, that helps a lot!

  10. I'm coming to you from Stephanie's blog :)

    I have a few tips of things that have worked for us:
    - Breastfeeding
    - cloth diapers (a little more work, but A LOT cheaper and then you can use them with any other children you may have)
    - buying clothing at consignment stores or only buying clearance (check out the contest I have going on on my blog)
    - yard sales and consignment stores for baby items (but make sure things are in good condition)
    - using a pack-n-play if you can't afford a crib
    - not even using a changing table because you can really change a diaper anywhere, especially if you have a changing pad
    - simple nursery decorations that work for either sex
    - making your own baby food (takes more time, but saves SO much money)
    - baby registries help out, too, or diaper showers

    And I have found that having more than one child doesn't actually double the amount of money you spend because you are able to reuse a lot of what you had with the first child. I think the departments that increase are food/drink and doctors visits. But other than that, we haven't really been spending much more on our children while they are still young. I am sure that changes as the get older, but when they are little it is not too much of a financial difference having another child. That is my personal experience, and we are due with #3 in a few months. :)

    Good luck!!! I hope this helped a little bit. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  11. Hey there! I also found you from Steph's blog. =) I don't have kids yet - but am pretty much where you are - preparing and feeling it out. I'm enjoying reading everyone's advice. I have a friend who is cloth diapering and seems to be saving a TON of money, so I would definitely consider it. I know garage sales and Craigslist are key too.

    Just checked out the rest of your blog and love it, looking forward to reading more!

  12. Hi I got a 4 month old, I only bought a sling and stroller with car seat and I went to the least expensive for the stroller and I thank God as I dont use it a lot I most carry him around :) I also breastfeed which of course reduces a lot of expenses and I am now gonna start cloth nappies as well just order some bum genius. Clothes wise I got a few from family and friends and the rest I get them as presents so far from grandparents I only bought one outfit just to say I have bought one LOL. If you bottle feed your breast milk you dont need to buy a sterilizer there are liquids to do that which is good enough and 2 bottles are enough ( then you need the storage bottles only about 10)a play gym is essential I think. A nappy changer is not. If you co sleep you dont even need a cot...I got one as a present but I dont use it a lot as he mostly sleeps with us. Also if you know they are givinmg you presents you can either do a wish list or else ask them for gift vouchers to spend as you like later... hope i've been of help passed by from Adventures in babywearing

  13. Several of you have mentioned breastfeeding, cloth diapering and making our own baby food. Definitely have looked into these, and have been saving for the cloth diapers (expensive to start, but save so much in the end!).

    The consignment and thrift stores are good ideas. I told my mom that my goal is to have 90% of my baby's clothes free or from those places. I figure the 10% can be for special occasions, like the going home outfit. (and even that I would buy used if I found something wonderful)

    Equidae---I am wanting to sling and wrap the baby up tight (and my husband's on board, yay!) so we've talked about putting off getting a stroller until they get so heavy it kills us or they squirm and want down.

  14. They best advice anyone ever gave me is by telling me that if you wait to be financially stable enough to have a child you would never have one. WE could always have more and we usually always wish we had more, there for there is no right time to have a baby as far as finances go.

    As far as making things cheaper once baby is a go i live by a few simple rules. (1)If you can find it on sale buy it! (2) Name brand isn't all it's cracked up to be unless it is diapers! (3) Consignment shops are your friends!

    Also trust me as a first time mom you will think you cant possibly live without all those gadgets and nic-nacs. Half of them you will find out with time are useless.

    Must have things IMHO are the normal like diapers, wipes, bottles (even if you are breastfeeding), pacifier (if that is in your plan, it wasn't in ours but we found out the first night home that Wal-Mart at 3 am isn't fun), bassinet/co-sleeper for the first few months or so, crib later on, and i am sure i am forgetting other things (i am sure clothes are a must lol).

    I hope this is helpful. Everyone's opinion differs on what needs and what are wants. I wish you all the luck in TTC when the time is right for you.

  15. Well, it hasn't been as bad as I thought it was going to be when my husband and I first decided to throw caution to the wind and start our family. 13 weeks in we found out we were having twins- double yikes! I don't know if we have particularly generus friends and family or what but things just seemed to fall into place.

  16. I'm about a month away from having our first baby, but I have to say that it SURPRISED both of us how little we've spent preparing. We knew we would cloth diaper, so we spent a few hundred on that up front, but aren't expecting to spend much more on it. We also trolled the Internet for cloth diaper giveaways and contests, and I will freely admit that over half of our stash comes from being the lucky winner. In addition, we were never afraid to ask people we knew with older kids if they had hand-me-downs they could part with. We have tons of baby and toddler clothes, toys, and blankets, most of which have never been worn or used, that people didn't use for their kids because we had the balls to ask. That's also how we wound up with most of our baby gear.

    I definitely advocate saving up, but you can also find great savings in coupons and on gear online. In addition, asking people for hand-me-downs may be much more fruitful than you would ever expect.

  17. Here from Adventures in Babywearing ...

    One thing my husband and I were determined to do is not fall into the baby marketing strategies of "you NEED this!"

    Borrow whatever will be short-term, like a swing, or a jumper toy. It's not only expensive to buy new, but once you're done with it, you have to think about storage. And if you are in the military like I think I'm reading, then storage is probably already at a premium for your family.

    Good luck, and blessings to your family as it grows!

  18. If you want check out my blog, I just had my first. So I blog about all things baby. I am also on twitter.com/bobbijanay . My one favorite thing is and I wish I would have board the baby wearing band wagon earlier.

  19. Hi Kalee! I linked over from Adventures in Babywearing.

    How exciting that you're contemplating starting a family. Motherhood is marvelous. I bet you're going to love it. :)

    I would echo what others have been saying. Having a baby really isn't that expensive if you don't buy into the baby marketing craze.

    My "top money-saving tips" would be:
    * Use a midwife/deliver at a birth center.
    * Breastfeed for at least the 1st year.
    * Don't worry about the "nursery" (painting, decorations, etc.).

    You might also enjoy this post that I recently wrote about "Newborn Necessities": http://metropolitanmama.net/2009/04/15-newborn-necessities/.

    Best wishes!