Today is the 3rd Installment in my real life savings series that I've been doing.
Today, we're gonna talk all things baby.
Babies are expensive. The things babies need are expensive. Today I'm going to share how I can get away with spending less than $100 per month to take care of our youngest little boy, Toby.
The expenses that I am including in this post are diapering and feeding. I am not including doctor visits or medicine or clothing since those are not regular monthly expenses for us.
Two things that we do that greatly help our monthly budget with our littlest are making our own baby food and cloth diapering.
I never thought I would be that mother. The one that would love to talk about cloth diapering and the one that would spend time pureeing her own food for her baby. I actually remember giving one of my friends a hard time when she was pregnant and told me she was going to use cloth diapers. I told her I thought she was crazy.
A few months later, when Alivea was about 14 months old, my husband and I decided that I would stay home full time with her. Losing my income drastically affected our monthly budget and I had to find ways to cut costs. I purchased a small starter kit of cloth diapers and after some research and some months of trying out different ways to wash them, I felt like I got the hang of it and we kicked disposable diapers to the curb. I can say it was one of the best decisions we ever made.
When Toby was born, I knew I wanted to cloth diaper him as well. We purchased disposable diapers to take on our trip with us to Florida to pick him up and on our recent vacation to the beach but besides that we have used cloth diapers exclusively with him. My husband and I have been really shocked at the price of diapers on the few occasions when we have had to buy them and have been so thankful that we don't have that as a recurring expense. Plus, babies are just so cute in cloth diapers.
Here are some things that I've learned about cloth diapers:
1. The initial investment can be a little high. I bought a small starter kit to try them out and get the hang of them then bought some better quality ones used from two good friends. Don't be afraid of used diapers. I would recommend buying from someone you trust. And then wash, wash, wash them. There are also some great diaper companies that give back like Assunta Store (whose sales benefit a ministry working with disabled and orphaned children in China) and the Little Bee Co. (who donates a cloth diaper to an orphanage for every diaper purchased).
2. It takes a little bit to learn how to wash them correctly. Give yourself some grace with this. It's okay. You will eventually get the hang of it. Research different detergents and try some out. I've found that the detergents that are Free and Clear (no perfumes or dyes) are the best. I also wash mine several times in hot and cold water.
3. It's not as much work as I thought it would be. I only do 2 extra loads of laundry a week. That's worth the $40-50 I save every month.
4. I think cloth diapering helps with potty training. Disposable diapers are made to wick the moisture away from your child so they don't feel wet. With cloth diapers children know what wet feels like so when you switch to underwear they already know. I feel like potty training Alivea went rather quickly because of this.
The second way that I save major money taking care of Toby is by making his baby food.
I spend about 45 min to an hour each week cooking, pureeing and bagging Toby's food for the week. He's eating mostly vegetables right now and doing this myself is definitely a savings over purchasing baby food from the store.
Here are some tricks that I've learned about making your own baby food:
1. Find some recipes you'd like to try for your baby. I used this book that my friend gave me. The purees are simple and it even breaks it up by age so you know what your child should be able to handle and when.
2. I purchase the frozen vegetables from the grocery store. This cuts down on my prep time greatly. This past week I purchased 2 bags of frozen broccoli, 3 bags of frozen corn, a bag of apples and a bag of frozen strawberries. I purchased the vegetables in the steamer bags and cooked them in the microwave. The strawberries I just allowed to thaw and the apples I peeled, cored, and cooked on the stovetop. I then pureed everything seperately, put them in ice cube trays and froze them. When they were frozen, I transferred them to freezer bags, labeled them and put them back in the freezer. Toby eats 2-3 cubes of any one of these at a sitting.
3. I supplement with Cherrios and with Rice cereal and, of course, baby formula.
So that's it. My tips for spending less than $100 on your baby every month. It works for us. Do you have any tips for saving money on babies or kids? I'd love to hear them. Leave a comment below.
And if you'd like to read any of my other posts in this series click here