This is one of the most common questions we get from soon-to-be-parent readers. “How do you set a baby budget?” Nate and I laugh when our friends inquire and we give them the most honest answer we can come up with, “Um, you don't! Good luck with that!”
Be prepared. These tiny people will swipe money out of your bank account faster than Kevin Spacey tears through blue ties in House of Cards (thanks, by the way, to the Netflix Stream Team for keeping us company during 3am feedings).
That being said, though, a baby budget IS possible. Here are our top tips for getting started on the right foot.
Baby Budget Basics: 6 Tips that Work
- Don't stock up on stuff for the early phase. Your child may grow more quickly than you expect. My three-month-old had a rapid growth spurt and is currently as big as a seven-month-old. SO MUCH for all those size two diapers…he skipped that size completely!
- Opting for the cheaper item isn't always the best choice. A lot of higher-end baby gear holds its value better or actually increases in price for resale. Hard-to-find carriers such as Kinderpacks or Tulas, for example, are often sold for more than their original price on eBay and Craigslist.
- Stash away extra money that first year by opening a college fund and asking eager-to-dote relatives to contribute to your child's future instead of buying more toys or onesies.
- Skip the rockers, bouncers and swings until you know your baby's personality. Since every soothing method doesn't work for every infant, wait on purchases like that until after baby's born – then ask a fellow mom if you can give their stuff a spin first.
- Learn to cook. You can keep your wee one's food on a baby budget by whipping it up in a crockpot as opposed to buying a zillion tiny containers. At the very least, wean yourself off take-out and start making meals at home for you and your significant other.
- Make friends. Odds are, someone you know happens to have a baby who is outgrowing the stuff you need (and they may be eager to get it out of their house). Community support is the very best way to stick to a baby budget.
What baby budget tips would you give to new parents?