Family Money Saving Tips

Top Baby Costs and How to Save

Top Baby Costs and How to Save
Written by Irina Vasilescu

For families, nothing’s more exciting than the prospect of welcoming a new baby. Parents who’ve always wanted to have a specific number of kids usually cannot wait to have another bundle of joy – but the expenses associated with raising another child should always be taken into account.

To give you an idea about how much it actually costs to raise another baby, it’s between $11,000 and $16,000. This is according to Stacey Bradford who wrote “The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents”.

There are also baby costs calculators online that you can use to figure out how much money you would have to shell out during the first few years of raising a child. When you factor in the lost wages for a working mom, the cost of child care and the occasional luxuries, you might feel a tad overwhelmed with the financial aspect of raising a child.

However, there are available ways for you to offset some of the costs associated with raising a baby – which we will learn about in the next section.

Top Baby Costs & Ways to Save on Them

The number one thing to remember about raising a baby – be it your first, second or third – is that you should save up for it in advance. The minute that you decide to have a second child, for example, that is the time that you should start saving up money for the future expenses. Have a target amount so that you can free up several hundred dollars out of your monthly budget for the baby’s delivery and the mom’s prenatal care.

If you receive money as gift during baby showers and similar events, don’t spend it on diapers. Instead, put it in a savings account which you can specifically allow for baby-related expenses.

You should also be aware of all the expenses associated with raising a baby and implement ways on how to save up for each aspect. Here are some of the biggest baby costs that you need to save up for as a parent, as well as the ways to save on them:

Expense: Setting Up the Nursery

If you’re having your first baby, you might get overzealous in spending a lot of money on setting up and decorating the nursery. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about preparing a room for your baby, but you should take all your future expenses into account. Once the baby arrives, you will have a lot of things to spend money on so you should save on different aspects of raising the child.

On average, a typical nursery will set you back around $2,000 if you will buy all-new furniture and baby items. A crib with a mattress costs anywhere from $150 to $75, depending on the style and brand. For the bedding set, blankets, sheets and mattress covers, you will spend around $300. A changing table, a changing pad, covers, a dresser and other baby furniture can cost around $1,000 in all.

You can really get all-out and spend a lot of money in setting up the nursery for your baby, but there are ways for you to cut back on the costs.

Basically, you need to look for multi-purpose baby furniture. A crib that can be converted into a toddler bed later on is a great investment. A changing table that double as a dresser or a high chair which can be converted into a booster seat are other multi-purpose baby furniture pieces which are a good investment. Better yet, borrow or buy second-hand furniture so that you can save money and spend it on other expenses for the baby.

Expense: Baby Formula and Baby Food

During the first six months of your baby’s life, he or she will only drink milk. If you want to save money, breastfeed as long as you possibly can. Not only will this save you a lot of money on baby formula, but the bond between mother and child will also prosper. A bonus is that your child will grow up to be healthier.

However, not all moms can produce enough breast milk to feed their baby during the first few months so you do need to consider the costs of buying formula. For a one-year supply of formula milk, the cost can be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

For moms who are combining breast milk with formula, it’s a good idea to invest in an electric breast pump. If you have a friend or a relative who used to breastfeed, you can borrow the pump – it is only the plastic attachment which should not be shared. This will save you $150 to $300.

You can also ask your pediatrician for formula samples; sign up for newsletters to receive free product samples from formula milk manufacturers, and use discount coupons and vouchers to save money on milk products.

For babies who are six months and older, parents can combine baby food with milk. A jar or baby food costs about a dollar but you can take the natural route and simply mash fruits and veggies to feed your baby as soon as he or she is able to digest solid foods. You can also sign up for newsletters to get discounts on baby food products.

Expense: Clothes for the Baby

Baby clothes can set you back around a thousand dollars and this is not considering the amount of money that you have to spend on maternity clothes. The staple items that you can buy for the baby are sleepers, hats, booties, socks, gowns, clothes for cold climate, shirts and pants. Most first-time parents make the mistake of buying too many clothes for their baby, not considering the fact that they can easily be outgrown.

If you buy a winter coat for your baby during the second quarter of the year, for instance, your child might be too big to wear it come wintertime. This means that you don’t need to buy too many pieces of the same size, considering the fact that your baby has sudden growth spurts.

You should also consider buying baby clothes from consignment stores, or asking relatives or friends for baby gear and clothes which they are not using anymore. You also should not buy too many pairs of shoes because your baby’s feet will grow big in no time.

Expense: Diapers and Other Baby Supplies

You can easily spend $1,000 or more on diapers and other baby supplies. Diapers cost around $0.25 per piece and if your baby uses two or more every day, the costs will eventually add up. This means that it is worth it to drive up to superstores where you can get diapers and other baby supplies in bulk to take advantage of great discounts.

You can also check out online stores, use vouchers or discount codes to save money when buying diapers and other baby supplies.

Expense: Child Care

If both spouses are working, the income coming into the household is a big consideration when hiring child care experts. If the mom plans to go back to work as soon as possible, you would need to hire a nurse or a newborn nanny for the baby. The cost of child care can range from $5,000 to $24,000 per year – depending on your location and the expertise of the nanny.

If you think that you cannot afford to hire full-time child care experts, consider having one parent work part-time or even the mom temporarily staying at home or working from home. This way, you can look after your newborn yourself and save money on child care as well.

As for babysitting services when your child is a bit older, you can swap services with neighbors, trusted relatives or simply alternate baby-watching duties with your spouse by arranging your schedules.

Expense: Toys, Books, DVDs and Similar Baby Items

Buying toys, books, downloading apps or DVDs for your baby will set you back around $20 to $50 per month. Again, a big mistake that first time parents make is spending too much money on toys. Remember that kids have a very short attention span so that toy which you bought for a couple of hundred dollars might not be interesting for your child at all.

To save money, you can buy second hand toys from consignment stores. You can also rotate toys by dividing them into two groups. You can let your kid play with one set for a couple of weeks, then swap it for the second set for another two weeks. This way, they will have new toys to play with without you having to spend too much. You can also hold a toy, DVD or baby clothes exchange parties with friends, neighbors and relatives who are also parents.

More ways to save money on toys here.

There might be a lot of expenses associated with raising a child, but there are also ways to offset the costs.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • My step brother and his girlfriend had a girl 5 years ago and I’ve asked them about having another baby so that baby doesn’t grow up as a lonely sole child like I did for a while in my boyhood before getting a sister. But his girlfriend seems to be hesitant because of the costs attached to raising another child and this article helped me to fully realize that. Not that I didn’t know it costs money, but it sure does come really steep to the pocket to raise more than 1 at a time. I’m surprised with parents that can raise 3-6, if not more at a time. That’s astounding!

  • The best tip from this article is to look for second hand items. My children have received new sweatshirts as gifts many times that have ended up being useless the first month because of a broken zipper! Yes, I could buy a zipper and replace it, but most of the time I am not that ambitious. I prefer to buy second hand clothing especially for kids because they outgrow them so quickly, and I feel like you know what to expect with a used item rather than a new item. I figure if another kid wore it and it’s still in good enough shape to re-sell, it must be a higher quality item, and it has a better chance of holding up while my child wears it too. This is not always the case, but even when used items wear out, they cost less initially, so you are out less money in the end.

    Another good tip I read in a book once was to never pass up a freebie when it comes to kids stuff. If a friend or relative offers you hand-me-downs for your child, take them and donate whatever you know you won’t use, but you’ll probably find more that you can use!

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