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.
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. $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.
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:
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.)
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.
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
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.
What are your tips for saving money with a new baby?