Bills, bills, diapers, more diapers, baby gear, and more bills.
The cost of things really seems to add up quickly when you have a new baby at home, especially when your monthly income takes a hit because of your maternity leave coverage only paying you 55% of your monthly wages. Huge shoutout to the government for that one.
The past year has really opened my eyes on how to save money when you have a new baby at home! Did you know that parents spend an average of $227,000 on each child between birth and the age of 18? The cost of raising a child has also risen 40% in the past 10 years, and that number is expected to keep on growing.
Read on for some sweet secrets and money saving hacks!
By planning your meals a week or so ahead of time, you can eliminate unnecessary shops at the grocery store. Do one big shop after meal planning is done, and always take your list to the store with you. Buy meats in bulk or family size, and freeze extra portions for easy preparation throughout the week. Buy local produce when available, and eliminate sugary snacks that cost a pretty penny.
Make extras of some of your favourite meals and freeze then in ready to bake portion sizes. This works great for casseroles, lasagnes, soups, and shepherds pie! Doing this will eliminate the need to order take out on those lazy “I don’t feel like cooking” days that we all have during the week.
Meal planning also helps eliminate the amount of food that gets thrown out during the weeks. Roughly one third of all the food that is produced in the world gets thrown out each year. That equals to about 1.3 billion tonnes. OUCH! If you think about all of the families that are struggling to eat everyday…..
Take Your Own Lunch to Work
This is something we just started doing in our home for Michael. When we do our weekly or biweekly shop, we get everything we need so that I can make his lunch for the week. We also set the coffee to turn on at 5:00am in the mornings so that he has it ready to go when he leaves for work.
This eliminates the need to purchase coffee on the way to work, and some form of crappy fast food lunch everyday. I honestly don’t know why we just started doing this, but I do notice that he is in a much better mood these days when he comes home from work after taking his own lunch to work.
Shop Sales and Bulk Items
Have you ever watched that show extreme couponing? Become those people. Now, being in Canada, it isn’t as easy to extreme coupon as it is in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that you cant keep your eye out for good sales. Just the other day we got a huge box of 200 diapers for $9.00 off, because I found a good sale! (If you really want to save money, go cloth, and I will cheer you on every step of the way for doing what I can’t bring myself to do)
Look for sales and clearance racks for those must have baby items if you want to buy new. If not, there are a ton of second hand options available these days. I have even got a few good scores off of Craigslist. Some of my “purchases at a good price” have lead us on adventures in to a questionable area of town, but all in all the stuff I have gotten is great!
Buying everyday items such as dish soap and laundry detergent in bulk (at Costco or somewhere similar) can save you money throughout the year. Keep a smaller bottle and transfer from the large tubs for easy use. This can be tricky when storage is tight, but one large dish soap container can last us over one year for only $18.00.
Buy Reusable Items
I am the first person to admit that I love paper towel. We never had it as a kid growing up, so that is probably where my attachment issues to it come from, but it really is shitty for the environment. Opt for reusable dish cloths and dish towels to do your part for the environment, and save a penny. You can use these for years if you buy a good quality and just pop in the wash to clean!
My nana has been knitting us dishcloths since the beginning of time, and we still use ones from years ago because they are just so well made!
I will also mention cloth diapering in here as well. I despise them with all that I am made of, but if you really want to save some cash in the long run – I think they are the way to go! Not to mention, that you would be doing your part for the environment as well by keeping diapers out of the landfill.
Shop Second Hand
Adding on to the previous topic, shop gently used consignment shops or thrift stores for those baby must haves. Some of the shops even buy your used baby clothing and will give you a store credit to use on future purchases, some even give cash!
This is my favourite way to shop baby clothes, especially sleepers and onesies. We go through a ton of them, and when Marlow has outgrown a size, we pick out the ones that we want to keep and take the rest back to the store and trade them in for more at a bigger size!
Places like Facebook can also have some good used items at great prices, check if your area has a “swap and shop” page that you can join.
Make Your Own Baby Food
Believe it or not, those little jars of food do add up! If you are into doing purees for your baby, stock up at the grocery store on the fresh foods that you want. Prepare them at home, and freeze in to an ice cube tray for perfectly sized portions. Once baby gets bigger, you can use a muffin tin for bigger portion sizes.
If you are into doing baby lead weaning, which is what we are doing, then baby just eats whatever we eat. This saves me having to make different meals, because lets face it…I don’t have time for that. It also cuts down on our grocery bill too!
Take Advantage of FREE
If you get creative, there are a ton of free activities that you can do as a family. As the weather gets nicer and nicer, a trip to the park is a great free activity. Kids love the park! Kids also enjoy just being outdoors, so walking, bike riding, scooting, skipping, or pushing the stroller can be a great way to spend an afternoon. It takes us hours to get anywhere walking these days because Marlow insists on stopping and touching every plant, flower, and blade of grass that crosses her path.
Some community centres offer play groups or age appropriate activities for a super low cost or even free. Call around and find out what they offer. The library is also a great free activity. They offer story time for the kids, and music time as well. Get a schedule and get out there!
Every Cent Counts
Saving a dollar here or there may not seem like much now, but trust me it does add up over time. If you pay with cash throw all of your extra change in to a jar. At the end of the year, take it in to one of those coin counter things and swap it our for bills. You can use this extra for Christmas shopping, plan a holiday, or just have it as a security fund in case of emergency! I hate change, absolutely hate it, but throwing it in a jar is a very doable thing for us.
We took ours in the other day because our jar was full of nickels and dime and came out with about $60.
Hopefully I have given you a few new ideas about saving money with a new baby, and if I haven’t then you are most likely on your way to saving a buck or two too and I would love to hear your secrets! If there is anything that you insist be added to the list, or if you just have a great money saving hack for us mamas, then please drop it in the comments and share it with us! Us moms work better when we work together and have the support of one another!