Newborn on the Way: 5 Tips to Affording the First Year of Parenting

There’s no secret that having a baby requires significant financial responsibilities. In fact, a middle-income family expecting to have a child this day and age can expect to spend more than a quarter million dollars from birth to the age of 18. Though these numbers probably seem alarming, there are ways that parents can raise their children on a lot less without “short changing” them on the things they need as they grow. Below are a few suggestions:

  1. Buy Used

Sure it’s nice for your baby to have the best nursery furniture and the cutest clothes and accessories – I was guilty of doing this with my first child. The truth is, however, you spend all this money on the cutest outfits and nicest cribs and the baby outgrows the clothes in a few weeks and barely sleeps in the crib.

You can cut the cost of raising your child in their first few years by simply purchasing used items. Instead of purchasing expensive clothes that they will outgrow, purchasing things like baby clothes and baby sneakers online from a consignment shop can save you money (while also saving you time). Instead of buying that pricey nursery furniture, check a yard sale, ask a friend who recently had a child, or even look at secondhand stores to find used yet decent furniture.

  1. Breastfeed (if you can)

One of the highest costs of raising a newborn is formula. Baby formula can cost parents an average of about $1100 or more in the first year of the baby’s life. On the contrary, breast milk is free of charge. While there are some medical complications that might hinder women from breastfeeding, if you’re able to do it, I would recommend giving it a go. You could essentially save thousands of dollars that can be put towards other costs.

  1. Consider Cloth Diapers

A newborn will require about 10-12 diaper changes per day. Though cloth or reusable diapers will cost more per diaper initially, over time you will purchase less than you would if you chose disposable diapers. When you also factor in that your child will be in diapers until they’re potty trained, you’re looking at a recurring expense for the first two years of their life. Reusable diapers can be used time and time again and also help to save the environment.

  1. Make Your Own Baby Food

When your baby gets a bit older (around 6-8 months) they’re going to need a little more than a bottle to feed their appetites. Transitioning to solid food can also add to the expense of raising your baby. To keep those costs low, you can forgo purchasing jars of baby food in the store and simply make your own. Making baby food is fairly simple and is also a bit healthier for the baby as you can monitor what ingredients are being used to ensure they get the natural nourishment they need.

  1. Stay Home, Work from Home, or Ask for Assistance

If you ask any parent what one of the most expensive things is about raising a child, chances are they’ll tell you its childcare. According to the National Association of Childcare Resource & Referral Agencies, the national average for childcare is $11,666 per year! Shelling out approximately $900 a month just for someone to care for your child is a huge chunk of your salary.

To reduce the cost of childcare you have a few options:

Stay home longer – if you have a job that is flexible and allows you to remain home for a longer period of time, take advantage of it. The older your child is and the more they can do for themselves, the less care they require, thus a lower rate for childcare.

Work from home – now might be a great time for you to consider remote work from home opportunities.

Ask for assistance – elderly family members, neighbors who watch children for a living, or even the local government can be great places to find assistance with childcare. Home childcare providers often charge a lot less than daycare centers. The federal government also gives financial assistance to low income families who need affordable daycare.

Parenting is a lot of things, but expensive doesn’t have to be one of them. By applying savvy tips such as those applied above, you can significantly reduce the costs of raising your newborn throughout their first year. Though I wish I could say everything about parenting was this easy, I’m sure it helps to have such a load lifted from your shoulders. 




  1. kristen visser says

    Buy used is a good one! something that I wish I did more of or was told to do. you can save so much money that way as long as the items are in good condition

  2. My daughter buy use all the time and even resale the use items after she is done using it. She saved so much money that way and continue to do so.

  3. Great tips. IMO best to keep it simple. So many people put themselves in the poor house getting all the useless frills that are so not needed.

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