How having a baby affected our budget
Parenting

How having a baby affected our budget : Shocking numbers!

How having a baby affected our budgetIT ALL ADDS UP…

 

Although we thought having a baby would be pricey our 2014 baby expense numbers that I will share with you today prove that with determination you don’t have to spend a fortune!

Were we shocked? You bet because we anticipated spending thousands of dollars more than we did.

I’m pretty sure there are going to be moms and dads out there that could slash our expenses even further to save more than we did but the key here is to pick and choose what you need and don’t need.

With most mothers going on maternity leave and some fathers on paternity leave this can impact the family budget significantly enough as it is so the last thing you want to do is pay full-price for baby related items if you don’t have to. Surviving having a baby on a lower-income is only half the battle.

Although there are ways to earn extra money while on parental leave it’s not easy with a new baby on board but for some parents it’s a great way to earn a bit of extra cash for their bank account.

 

Surprise, Surprise!

 

Having a baby after the age of 35 was not something we anticipated but we are happier than ever. We’re also grateful to know that our finances were right where we wanted them to be, debt free! Although our new baby has changed our life in more ways than one it was certainly an experience we could never plan fully for.

It’s true there is no ‘best time to have a baby‘ but for us it was important to get ourselves sorted financially first. When we found out we were having a baby boy we knew that we were in for the ride of our lives.

Boys love to break things, tear things into pieces and try to put them back together again and for the most part be the boy they are meant to be, rough, tough and dirty. Definitely one conversation we didn’t have before we got married was, how would we afford a baby?

I mean, who really talks about having kids before having kids or at least before you start working the magic to make it happen. Not us. Should we have? You bet!

Having a baby was the furthest thing from our minds when we got married but we knew that if we were blessed to have a baby one day that we would have some serious money crunching to do. At least that’s what we thought.

Creating your baby budget and living through it are two different things after you get baby home from the hospital. It almost seems like your wallet is never closed because there is something you need to buy or have on hand just in case of an emergency that pops up.

For this reason we sourced out everything we needed to stockpile for our baby so we weren’t running out the door every week. The stockpile has been a saviour for us.

In my mailbox I found this email from a CBB fan who wants to know just how Baby CBB has affected our budget now that he has arrived.

Back in 2014 Katrina wrote a post about Preparing your Baby Budget because we didn’t have kids so it was hard for us to understand just what was needed.

Now we know but we’ve also learned that you can’t plan everything! So, today I’m going to talk all about how our lives and budget have changed now that our new family member is here to stay.

 

Reader Question

 

Hi Mr. CBB,

Thank you for your wonderful blog. I’ve read since August and because of it, finances are always on my mind and I’ve stressed the importance of a budget to everyone who will listen to me!

We are expecting our first baby at the end of April. I’m therefore wondering if you can share how a baby has affected your budget? Have I missed a post about this?

People keep telling me how expensive kids are so I want to be prepared as much as possible and start putting money aside for this but unlike with my projected expenses section of my budget, I have no idea of the true costs of a baby. -SJ

Dear SJ,

Where do I begin? Go grab yourself a hot beverage, sit back and let me take you back to the day we found out we were having a baby. It was just another day so we though until we found out we were pregnant near the end of 2013 after having no early pregnancy signs except, umm… the obvious.

Off to the dollar store we went to buy a home pregnancy test (OK about 4 of them) and all of them read POSITIVE! Yes they work!

We were very unprepared because we were told the odds of us getting pregnant were slim due to complications but a miracle had happened. I’ve never seen my wife happier than she was at that moment when our lives changed forever.

So much was racing through our heads and no the first thing wasn’t, How are we going to go on vacation now? or…there goes our freedom but we were ready to have a baby. 

Aside from the excitement that our family was going to grow we knew that our budget may take a beating. Having just paid off our mortgage, no debt and settled in with the fact that we likely wouldn’t have kids we needed to take a moment to soak it all up.

Pregnancy week by week

 

It seemed like we went from 3 weeks pregnant to 30 weeks pregnant to 40 weeks pregnant and hello baby CBB in the blink of an eye.

Everything happened so fast and we certainly were happy we wasted no time getting ourselves situated and ready for his arrival. Forget about the due date calculator baby will come when he/she’s ready that’s the way it goes apparently.

In the year leading up to the birth of our son aside from the I don’t know how many doctor’s appointments, we started planning for his arrival. Her pregnancy was great for the most part aside from being ill like almost every other pregnant woman.

My wife read everything she could get her hands on (only slightly drove me nuts) and made sure to hit up every garage sale she could over the course of the summer to find baby bargains to offset the costs of not having a baby shower.

That’s right, she chose not to have one because, well she just didn’t want one although friends and family did come together to buy some lovely gifts for Baby CBB. She’s not big on wedding showers and baby showers and that was her choice.

Baby Must Haves

 

My wife made lists, lots and lots of lists of things we needed to buy ahead of time so we were ready to go to the hospital to give birth, bring baby home and so on. I laughed at the amount of receiving blankets, wash clothes and outfits we had but you WILL use them.

I’ll be honest and say that most of what we got for Baby CBB was second-hand. We were fortunate that way because it didn’t hit our budget hard.

Right off the top you need a stroller and car seat or you are NOT leaving the hospital. I was able to score an almost $400 travel system (car seat and stroller) for $130 odd dollars plus tax from Sears and it works amazing.

I thought I did the right thing and followed a manufacturer You Tube video on how to install a car seat but I made a small error which could have had deadly consequences. There is more than simple installation involved.

We were pulled over by the police who did a spot check and found a flaw in the way I had installed the seat which I had to immediately fix so don’t always rely on videos and written materials.

Find out if there is a certified baby seat installation specialist in your city to inspect your installation or you might want to pay for it to get installed which can get pretty pricey I heard, but your baby is worth it!

His baby crib was given to us free along with SO MANY other things including boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of baby items. I’m not exaggerating there were lots of baby clothes and toys from my co-workers and family.

I spent weeks sorting, washing, folding and sorting again. It really did save us a tonne of money with the used clothes for him because babies hardly wear them out. Our son was in one size one week and in another the next. This made sense to us and likely why what was supposed to be second-hand baby clothes looked brand new.

If you haven’t started shopping for baby clothes yet, don’t bring your credit card. Baby clothes are NOT cheap and some prices can be comparable to buying adult clothes. You can buy a pair of jeans for a baby and pay the same price for an adult pair.

Just after baby was born we made the mad dash to Target to buy some newborn clothes because we ran short because everyone told us we wouldn’t need them. Well, we did.

We continue to look at Value Village or buy bags of second-hand baby items online to save money now like we did all year. You can pretty much find all things ‘Baby’ used for less or free online. Unless you are someone who MUST have it all brand new then shop the sales and use coupons to save money.

There are designer babies out there but our son will be far from a designer baby boy because we aren’t blowing money by overspending buying handsome outfits because it’s makes us go, awe.

You can buy baby scarves to baby leggings to posh toys for a baby if you really want to spend the cash. Talk about accessorizing your baby, no thanks. Baby CBB is going to enjoy his time growing up this year in used clothes that make him look just as handsome for the short time he is in them.

Sure we have new baby clothes that we bought on sale and you can find great deals if you look and have the time to scour the stores but be ready for some money-busting oh my gosh moments.

Ways we save money in our budget

 

We chose to use disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers for our son so over the course of the year we took advantage of any coupons that we could find and paired them with Shoppers Optimum coupons to score over 600,000 Shoppers Optimum points in just over a year.

Of the diapers we bought our aim was for $0.12- $0.15 a diaper (or less sometimes) before coupons so we could maximize on the savings or other rewards programs.

We bought everything from baby wash, shampoo, wipes, pacifiers, Vaseline etc. that we could on sale to get the most points we could. Yes, we did the math and it worked out to be cheaper to go this route.

My wife had me picking up diapers and all sorts from Kijiji which saved us lots of cash so start looking now if you know what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Most parents can’t wait to get rid of the baby clutter that is in their house probably how we will be one day.

Our baby change table cost us $30 used, our bassinet was another $30 used, the playpen was $50 used. We picked up a used Dutailier rocking chair and stool for $80 in excellent condition which retails for around $500 new. We were given 2 baby high chairs for free from our neighbour.

Our baby mobile cost us $7 used, nursing pillow $3 and 2 free, co-sleeper was free, our Ocean wonders aquarium that hangs on the side of the crib was $5.00 used at Value Village our and Zany Zoo a whopping $6 and retails for over $120.The baby monitor $30 and the crib mattress was passed along free from a relative.

We have 4 change bags (thankfully) as we pack so much to leave the house and to travel. One we found at Target for 50% off, 1 at Goodwill for $3, 1 Sears $9.00 Boxing Day special and the last one for $15 from a relative. Our safety gates we did buy brand new on sale however we did buy one used safety gate for $7.00 from Kijiji.

We picked up many Melissa and Doug wooden toys, books and DVD’s for cheap at the second-hand shops 50% off events because we want them to last and were hoping to stay away from plastics. Given to us free was a Fisher Price swing which retails for $189.00 plus tax from Facebook.

To be honest we had another we picked up at a garage sale for free that was the same make just a different model but required batteries so we gifted it to another mother-to-be. The new free one has the option to plug-in or use batteries. Batteries cost a fortune and we were going through 8 DD batteries a week!!

We decorated the baby room very simple and bought wall stickers from the dollar store and it looks great!

Free baby stuff

 

Only 4 months in and we have so much stuff as you read above and we are starting to wonder where we are going to hide it all. If you thought you had space in your house or apartment get ready to cram stuff in every corner.

For the most part we’ve used just about everything that we have apart from some bottles, nipples, bumper pads for the crib, bottle warmer, baby wipe warmer (found it wasn’t working as well as we’d like and it dried the wipes out).

Many times over the course of her pregnancy my wife would pick-up used maternity clothes and the moms would off-load tonnes of baby stuff for free, score!! To them it was a huge weight lifted from their home. For us it was a huge money savings to our budget.

Some moms even post free baby items on Kijiji or in Facebook groups to other moms who are expecting. It’s about passing along what you have to help another mom. It’s a continuous cycle of help and it works out great.

One thing we did learn is that it’s important to give back so anything we got for free we will give away for free and pass it along to another mom in need of the items. Other items that we purchase along the way we will re-sell to make back a portion of the money to put back in our budget after we no longer need them.

We also signed up for every baby formula program we could so we could have formula and coupons in the house just in case and luckily we did. (I’ll explain later). You don’t know what formula your baby will like so having the samples available is a great way to save from spending money testing them out.

You can also sign up at Pampers and Huggies Canada and almost every box of diapers have codes on them you can add to your account. Once you have enough points you can cash out and buy items up for grabs.

If you have a family doctor don’t be shy to ask for samples. We likely won’t ever have to buy any Baby Advil, Baby Motrin, bum rash cream and other bits and bobs we got free from doc. Some offices even have sample cans of formula to give to moms to be. So ask away and save $$.

Baby Food

 

Never assume your baby will breastfeed and you are free and clear of buying formula, bottles, pump equipment, sterilizer and so on. Anything could happen!

Our baby had a tongue tie which meant he wouldn’t latch at birth and was losing weight. He had the tie sorted out at 2 weeks old but by then he loved his baby bottle and mum had to supplement with formula as her breast-milk was slow to come in even though we tried everything we could to get him to latch.

Even after the lactation consultant, the nipple shield, the tube feeding we resigned to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen but the wife still tries even to this day.

She used the hospital grade Medela Symphony dual pump while in hospital which cost about $4000 new to buy. (I know, exactly what I thought). You could buy the lower grade Medela and other brands that apparently work well for hundreds of dollars at pretty much any store that sells baby stuff.

We chose to simply rent the hospital grade pump after we left the hospital as it worked well and we didn’t want to change what was working. The cost to rent the pump is around $80 a month give or take a few dimes.

Some works benefits companies might cover this expense (ours didn’t) but it’s worth looking into. Your benefits might only cover the cost to purchase a pump or a portion of it. I know it’s expensive BUT my wife wanted to pump as much as she could for our son and I applaud her for that.

She is up day and night every 2-3 hours making sure she pumps so baby has food although we have to supplement as she couldn’t keep up with his demand. In the end something was better than nothing for us but it came at a cost.

The huge cost for formula was having to buy the ready feed as it costs a fortune. We were instructed to do this for the first two months and at nearly $10 for a box of 6 that didn’t last us too long. Before we knew it that was really adding up but our doc told us we were fine to move on to powder or concentrate during the third month.

We were fortunate to get lots of coupons given to us and found an amazing deal on powder formula $25.99 on sale for $14.99 – $8.00 coupons. We did the happy dance, bought as many as we could and hauled them away from the store. This helped ease some of the increase to our budget. We have enough now to last us until he is about 9 months old.

When we travel with baby we bought a used cooler bag for $3 and keep the baby food inside along with an ice-pack which works out great when we are on the road.

Baby education

 

We finally opened up a PC bank account for our son where his government cheque and other baby related money will go. This money will be used for his education or whatever he needs down the road.

We’ve also set up his Registered Education Savings Plan at a cost of $208 a month for 12 months each year to get the maximum matched amount from the government. Free money is free money so we aren’t going to miss out on that for him.

 

Our baby budget numbers

 

Other than the above our son hasn’t put too much of a dent in our budget because we are being frugal when we shop. I’m sure I didn’t cover every item we bought or was given to our son but you get the idea.

During the course of 2014 we spent an approximate total of $2148.01 on baby related items and $2500 on his RESP. Had we of not gotten anything free or used and had to buy it ourselves I likely would have saved about $4000-$5000 for the first year plus the cost of the education fund.

If we factor in all the snacks, crackers and burger runs you can add a bit more to that number, but we won’t say anything… shhh!!

Now that we are almost 5 months into the parenting role it’s easier to plan our projected expenses in the budget accordingly moving forward.

You can spend as much or as little as you want when you have a baby but I’m betting you will look back and find plenty of items you didn’t use or you didn’t need.

How did having a baby affect your budget? Were you frugal with your baby?

 

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Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/Freedigitalphotos.net

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24 Comments

  1. So nice to hear more about your journey with baby CBB! We rented the Medela Symphony too – what a Godsend that thing was, and at a tenth of the price it costs to buy! You really can raise a baby with a small budget. Many blessing to your wonderful family, Mr. CBB.

    1. Yes she has a love/hate relationship with that machine… I swear she talks to it some days. lol. We are going to move from the pumping soon I think as she’s not producing as much as she would like and it’s not worth the time and cost. Our doc says our baby has gotten what he needed from the breast milk at the beginning.

  2. Thank you for NOT scaring me! I am due in June and as a first time mom, I have zero idea what to expect. Already, we are trying to save money by downgrading our apartment, looking for a place with a washer/dryer so we can cloth diaper, and I am set on breastfeeding (in the US, the pumps are free with all insurance plans).

    But besides that, I get sticker shock at some of the numbers! I am reading the book “Baby Bargains” right now in hopes that it will continue to shed some light on what all I need to buy and how much I should pay. But it’s still scary. Your post gave me hope!

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I’ve been meaning to pop over to say congratulations as I did read that you were pregnant. Congrats!! It’s gonna be a ride but a fun one. I wish pumps were free in Canada… would make sense but sadly they are not. Do you have the option what you can get?

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