Smart ways to save money as a parent


It’s true that having a baby is expensive, but one thing you might have started to notice in the months since Baby was born is that it doesn’t have to be as expensive as it could be. Maybe you’re regretting investing in the fancy changing table, as you only use it half the time, or maybe Baby has been perfectly happy to spend the last week cycling through the same three pairs of comfy jammies, instead of any of the cute, intricate outfits you’ve been waiting until she was big enough to wear.

The point is, you’re no longer a rookie, and you’re getting the sense that there are some cost-saving cuts a parent could find that wouldn’t actually do anything to hurt Baby’s quality of life at all – and you’re right, there are.

Network

Networking isn’t just for people leveraging synergies and doing business – business! It’s also a great way to sidestep baby expenses. By now, if you’ve been going to a mom group, taking Baby to any classes or activities, or even just to the library or the park, you’ve probably started connecting with other parents – you can probably tell where this one is going. You’ve got a sense, by now, of just how fast babies grow, though. That means that if your new parent friend’s sister has a baby a month or two older than Baby, chances are, they’ve also got a whole stockpile of clothes in a closet somewhere that will fit Baby right now – this also goes for equipment, like toys, bouncers, and playpens. You can offer trades for these items, either in some of the equipment you might not want cluttering up your house anymore, either, or in babysitting – what parent couldn’t use a little of that, now and then?

Skip the baby shoes

Baby is still a ways from walking, so at this point, shoes are pretty unnecessary. They can also definitely be on the pricey side, especially for things that Baby will grow out of before you can blink. Even when she does start walking, there’s a good chance it will be around your home, and that it’ll be a while until she is walking beside you on an errand run, instead of in a stroller or carrier. Invest in some cute socks that will stretch as her feet grow, and wait to see how big she is when she stops toddling and starts tearing around.

Scout out free or cheap activities

Finding ways to get Baby started socializing before she starts school, especially if she hasn’t started daycare yet, can be tricky, and a lot of the classes and activities for young children can be pretty pricey. If you keep an eye out, though, libraries and community centers can be great places to find free and cheap activities that put Baby in touch with her diaper-clad peers.

DIY parenting

There are lots of things new parents are encouraged to buy pre-made, but can be made pretty easily and cheaply at home – two of the big ones are baby food, when the time comes to start Baby on solids, and baby wipes. The two main alternatives to buying baby food are feeding baby a slightly modified version of whatever the rest of the family is eating, or making your own mushed up or blended baby food in large batches and freezing it. Baby wipes can be constructed either out of paper towels in a soap, oil and water solution, for disposable wipes, or with cloth and the same solution, for an eco-friendly alternative.

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