How to Save as a New Parent
Every parent wants the best for their kids. But “best” doesn’t have to mean most expensive. There are ways for new parents to cut down on the cost of newborn essentials — from baby formula to childcare and beyond, so bringing home a baby doesn’t bring down your bank account.
I’m ready for it. How can I save on baby gear?
The average baby may cost parents more than $18,000 annually, according to the USDA. Luckily, there are a few ways you can spend less. Here’s how you can save on newborn essentials.
Make a baby registry list. Even if you aren’t having a shower, friends and family may want to buy you gifts you may not want to splurge on yourself. Plus, most retailers offer perks like coupons, free shipping, and cash-back deals to help you get everything from your list. Meaning, you can save anywhere from 5% to 20% on that elephant onesie you were going to buy anyway.
Get samples. Your doctor can hook you up with free baby formula samples and other baby goods. And some baby formula companies will send you free samples for signing up for their email list or rewards program.
Find double-duty gear. Cribs that turn into toddler beds, high chairs that convert into booster seats, and car seat-stroller combos can help you cut down your to-buy list.
Set up recurring shipments. Some retailers give discounts on subscriptions to newborn diapers, wipes, and more. But keep an eye out for price increases before they automatically ship your way.
Thrift what you can. Strollers, diaper bags, baby clothes, toys…use your imagination. Some things just don’t need to be brand new. And if your local thrift store is coming up empty, try Facebook Marketplace. Or reach out to friends and family with children who might be willing to regift or lend you necessary items.
Revisit your budget. Adding a bundle of joy to your family may require you to cut back on other expenses. One example: Swapping your gym membership for walks or a free at-home workout app.
Utilize your insurance benefits. Some health insurance plans will cover the cost of a breast pump. If you have an FSA account, keep in mind that you can use it to buy things like baby monitors, breastfeeding supplies, and more.
How can I save on childcare costs?
That’s a big one. Daycare is one of the largest ongoing costs of having a baby. The exact cost of childcare will depend on where you live. But Nonprofit Child Care Aware says Americans spend nearly 11% of their household income on childcare. If you're a single-parent household, that number goes up to 35%. Here are some tips to make it more affordable:
See if your job offers a dependent care FSA. Yep, your health insurance benefits can come in handy here, too. You can stock this flexible spending account with up to $5,000 of pre-tax money to help cover daycare and nanny bills.
Look into nanny shares. If you have friends or neighbors with kids, look for a nanny who will watch both, and let you split the bill. Going Dutch could save you over $9,000 a year, according to Care.com.
Talk to your boss. And ask them about more flexible workplace arrangements, like working from home. It's not be doable for everyone — but if you think you can work from home while watching your baby, it can help cut costs.
Put it on your card. If your childcare provider lets you pay by credit card, you can earn points, miles, and cash back on that spending. Basically free money...as long as you pay the bill in full and on time.
Thanks so much to our friends at Skimm for these great tips.
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-The Baby Whisperers