Top 6 Ways to Reduce Baby Expenses
It is common knowledge that having kids in this day and age is expensive. How expensive? According to the USDA and their most recent Consumer Expenditures Survey, in 2015, a family will spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income, two-child, married-couple family ($59,200-$107,400), and $233,610 ($284,570 if projected inflation costs are factored in*) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise a child born in 2015 through age 17. While these numbers seem astronomical, here are six ways to trim that number to redirect those funds in an effort to reach financial independence more expediently:
- Keep the baby in your room. While I understand this is a personal preference, there really is no need to have a separate room for your new baby. If you can extend the time you can live in a dwelling with one less bedroom, you can save a significant amount of money, especially in a high cost of living area such as Washington DC. While I can understand the excitement of buying new furniture and decorating a room for your new arrival, what is the sense in having to get up in the middle of the night when your baby is crying, walk down the hall, pull the baby out of the crib, soothe said baby, put the baby back in the crib, and make the treacherous, half asleep, walk back to your bed, doing your best not to bang your pinky toe on your furniture lurking in the dark, which has been scientifically proven to be more painful than childbirth 😊. Instead you can keep the baby in your room, save the trip, and save that hard-earned money. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants share a parents’ room, but not a bed, “ideally for a year, but at least for six months” to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Buy a used minivan versus new. First off, the FI/RE family drives a used 2008 Chrysler Town and Country Limited that has been nothing but reliable. While they might not be the coolest of vehicles, vans are by far the most functional for a growing family, as they are tailor-made to deal with the intricacies of transporting a family to and fro. The impulse to buy new can be strong because you want the best for your baby. What I am telling you is that with some due diligence and investigation, you can buy a safe, reliable chariot without breaking the bank.
- Use sandwich bags/doggie bags instead of a diaper disposal system. Next to bibs and onesies, diaper disposal systems (e.g. Diaper genie) are a common gift given. While the upfront cost may be covered by the fact that you received it as a gift, the true cost comes from buying the refillable bag, which can add up to a significant amount if your baby is, how should I say, “intestinally active” as my baby. Instead, what has worked for the FI/RE family is to wrap up the spent diaper in sandwich bags or doggie waste bags, both of which can be bought for $1 for 100 at the Dollar Tree, or similar store. They both work well to trap the lovely goodness of “processed” baby food/formula. Plus, if you ever had the luxury of swapping out a Diaper Genie bag after waste has been incubating for a week while you are waiting for the bag to fill, it is quite a unique sensory experience. I will leave it at that.
- Choose the appropriate crib. I am blown away by the prices that cribs can reach, with some examples getting into the 4 figure price range. Guess what a $1,000 crib versus a $100 Target special looks like in the dark, outside of the fact that your baby has no idea what the difference is. Tangentially, there is a Finnish tradition, reaching back 79 years, of the state providing expectant mothers a box that contains clothes, sheets and toys, that can also be used as a bed. Some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.
- Blend your own food. While Gerber baby food is quite convenient, it really doesn’t take that many extra calories to boil some fruits or vegetables, add some seasoning if you dare, and blitz in a food processor. Food such as sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, and peas lend themselves to this process quite easily, and if anything, is a simple way to supplement any pre-made food you have decided to purchase.
- Use Vaseline (petroleum jelly) in lieu of expensive diaper creams. While the expensive butt creams may come into play if you child already is dealing with a rash, the FI/RE family has found that application of petroleum jelly (vaseline) in rash prone areas has worked beautifully in preventing issues in the first place. When paired with baby oil soaked cotton balls for cleaning sensitive areas, we have never had a problem with our children getting diaper rashes. Most importantly, you can get a large tub for a quarter of the price of the fancy gluten-free, GMO free, BPA free, fair trade oatmeal enriched cremes that do the same thing.
Hopefully we have given you some ideas on how to cut back on the costs of raising your child in order to reach financial independence a little bit quicker.