Monday, 1 February 2021

Does the new year come with a new addition to your family? Congratulations!

Parenthood is one of life's greatest blessing — and also one of its biggest expenses.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the first year of a baby's life costs about $13,000 on average — and that figure is not including labor or childcare expenses. Avoid breaking the bank on bare essentials for babies with these savvy budgeting tips.

Swap, don't shop

From bottles to bassinets, babies need a lot of gear to help them — and their tired parents— thrive. But before you get your shopping list ready, ask friends and family for help whittling down your baby budget in the form of hand-me-downs. In recent years, there has been an uptick in the United States birth rate, which means more folks are having more babies. As those babies turn into toddlers, parents may wish to part with unwanted sleep sacks, blankets, toys, and more.

First of your group to have a child? Turn instead to local parenting boards and community groups like Buy Nothing for gently-used freebies. These groups will also serve you well — and save you hundreds of dollars — as your little one's needs change with the transition from baby to toddler.

If you are searching for products like strollers and car seats, be sure to inquire about their warranties, as these items have expiration dates for reasons of safety. The best part? When your baby outgrows the items, you can simply give them back to your community to help others in turn and avoid unnecessary waste.

Put the earth first

Formula, store-bought baby foods and disposable diapers are certainly convenient, but with that convenience comes higher costs and more waste. Instead, put the Earth first and opt for feeding and diapering options that are both budget- and eco-friendly.

The benefits of breast feeding are well known, but did you also know that breastfeeding can also save parents $1,400 during the baby's first year of life?

While breast pumps can be costly, the Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance cover the cost of a breast pump, either a rental unit or a new one that you can keep. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, your insurance company may provide breastfeeding support and counseling services for free, so be sure to check with your insurance provider.

When your baby transitions to solids, simply cook and puree or blend fruits, vegetables and meats, and store them in reusable containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Disposable diapers are also quite costly, averaging about $900 per baby a year. Stock up on cloth varieties that can be washed and reused. Just be sure to only launder them when your hamper is full, as some studies have shown their environmental benefits are negated if you run your washer/dryer frequently. 

Save, save, save

It is never too early to start saving for your child's future, especially their future education. The United States Department of Education estimates that a public college education will cost over $200,000 by 2030. A piggy bank, basic savings account or a 529 College Savings Plan are among the many great ways to boost your child's financial future. Bonus: For educational planning, 529 College Savings Plans allow for tax-advantaged annual contributions to a savings account specifically geared to future college tuition costs. 

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