Saving with baby

This post brought to you by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC . All opinions are 100% mine.

You may remember that my overall goal for 2014 is to fight the norm. A big part of this is ignoring the hype to spend and acquire and instead, live a life worth living. It also means that we’ve been paying attention to our finances more than ever.

So when I was approached to write a few sponsored posts connected to the BMO Harris Bank Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes, I jumped at the chance. I’ll be writing a post for five weeks about my own experiences with finances around specific life stages.

About the BMO Harris Bank Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes

The BMO Harris Bank Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes is a five-week long interactive game experience. The game takes you through a town-like environment, highlighting key milestones in the journey of life.

This week, you can explore the “playground” and learn about more ways to save money when you have children. Here’s what the interactive game experience looks like this week. Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 2.43.06 PM

I just made my way through the pin points and earned tokens. By participating this week (through Feb. 24 at 11:59:59), you can also collect tokens for a chance to win $500. (Winner will be drawn on Feb. 27.)

Having a baby

When we had Henry, everyone told us that BABIES WERE SO EXPENSIVE. And it can be true. But I was shocked at the statistic shared this week in the scavenger hunt. Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 2.40.56 PM $10,000 for a kid? In the first year? It can’t be true. It simply can’t be true.

(Head in the sand.)

Then, I did the math in my head - 

When Henry was in daycare, we were spending about $700 each month on daycare. This was in the middle range in my area and we had an awesome daycare provider. Without even factoring in diapers, clothing, food and other supplies, I realized that we were probably right in line with that statistic.

Does that scare anyone else? I never really added up the cost of a kid before.

It’s a good thing he was so cute.

henry

What was I saying?

Oh yeah. Money.

We didn’t spend willy nilly the first year. (Or now, for that matter.) Here are a few examples of ways to save with a baby in-tow:

Savings

One simple thing that Ryan and I did for Henry was open up a savings account for him right away. My parents did the same thing for me and I still have that account. We immediately stashed all of the cash gifts in the account along with proceeds from an insurance policy.

It would have been easy to spend that money on cute baby things, but I am so glad we resisted the urge. We did have a few gift cards that we used, but otherwise, we had everything we needed. Throughout the first year, we also put more money away. When Ryan received a bonus from work, we put a good chunk into Henry’s account. When we received a gift from a family member, we put the money in Henry’s account. After a year, we had saved a good amount for our son’s future. And by doing it with money that we weren’t necessarily expecting, it made it easy. (Ryan also invested some of Henry’s fund into his own stocks and bonds. That’s a whole other post, but it allowed Henry to earn more on this money in the first year.)

Baby STUFF

Ryan and I have tried to keep the crazy spending at bay when it comes to Henry. Because of the generosity of friends and family, we haven’t needed to buy many baby “necessities” or even toys. He has more than enough things to keep him busy without camping out in the toy aisle.

For necessities like diapers and wipes, I research the best prices for each size he’s worn and then I buy in bulk when they are on sale.

Clothing

I’m a huge fan of secondhand clothing and shoes. I have purchased a few new items for Henry for special occasions. But, about 99 percent of his clothing was something I found at the thrift store or consignment store or that was given to him by friends and family. In the fall, a former coworker gave us two huge bags of hand-me-down clothes for Henry. As a result, I haven’t bought a single thing for him since October and don’t expect to need anything else until summer. #winning

Now

Because I’m staying home with Henry now, we’re saving a bundle on childcare costs. (We also cut our income nearly in half, but that’s another story.) We spend between $40 and $50 each month on our toddler. This covers any special toddler foods and drinks along with the standard diapers and wipes. It also covers any extras that pop up. I would expect the costs to be the same for another newborn (probably more on diapers and wipes and nothing on food and drink).

So the sticker shock of a kid may be eye-opening. But, these are a few ways we were able to keep unneccessary spending at bay.

Find more ideas for saving money with a new baby on the BMO Harris Bank Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes. And don’t forget to like them on Facebook.

What are your tips for saving money with a new baby?

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Comments

  1. says

    You know this is a topic after my own heart :) I feel like we were really good about saving and not going overboard on buying stuff…and now that activities have started up, it’s harder. Between preschool tuition and soccer/swimming lessons/whatever, I’m having to be really good about just one thing at a time on top of school.
    Emily @ imperfect recently posted…Operation Curb Appeal: Exterior LightsMy Profile

  2. Kellie says

    I imagine the numbers must be insanely variable by region. In my area, full time child care per month is more than 2X what yours was. And when BFing didn’t work for us, our first year included a $20 carton of powdered formula (store brand,reward program and coupons) every week or so, then diapers, wipes etc. I don’t feel like we went overboard on unnecessary stuff but we spent WAY more! Lol

  3. says

    I always forget about daycare when I see those crazy high numbers…..when I had Ari it was a pretty easy call financially for me to stay home, since I was still in grad school and my entire stipend and then some would have gone to pay for day care, I’m sure. It was a pretty easy call in other ways, too, since I was more or less over being in grad school by then ;). I could make a commercial for babies: “Babies: better than grad school!”
    Gretchen@BoxyColonial recently posted…Home Decorators’ Tollan Rug: A Tiny Master Bath UpdateMy Profile

  4. says

    It’s not for everyone, but we used cloth diapers. They were an investment in the beginning, but saved us a lot in diaper costs over the years.
    That, and I made sure my second was also a boy to make the cost per use of all the clothing for the first one even lower! ;)

  5. says

    Great tips! I’ve been working on a post like this in my head. :) We also buy secondhand, and I resisted family’s desire to invite 800 people to my baby shower so that I didn’t end up swamped with STUFF. I’ve had especially good luck at yard sales for clothing (stuff can be as low as a quarter!) and stocked up for K’s first year at the yard sales I went to last summer. I plan to do the same for this coming year.

    I was also shocked about that $10,000 stat but you’re totally right that childcare must be a huge part of it!
    Erin recently posted…Easy DIY Inkblot Pillow {Plus Free Psych Eval}My Profile

  6. says

    I’m baffled at how much babies cost! I couldn’t believe how expensive it was getting ready for the baby to get here. This might sound really bad, but I was SO happy Evelyn was born right before the new year so we can still get the tax break :)
    Kenz @ Interiors By Kenz recently posted…Easy Entryway TableMy Profile

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  1. […] Psst: I was asked to write sponsored posts connected to the BMO Harris Bank Scavenger Hunt Sweepstakes. I’ll be writing a post for five weeks about my own experiences with finances around specific life stages. (For more, check out my first post about saving with a baby.) […]

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