Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Cost of a Baby in our Experience: The little Things

When we were expecting Cora, there were so many things that were uncertain. I think that's the case for most new parents. Everything in your world is changing and you have no point of reference to compare it to. One of the things we spent lots of time discussing and thinking about was what will this baby cost us? 

Many things contribute to the cost of having a child, from insurance benefits to your particular tastes in baby gear and clothes. Everyone will have different experiences & find different price points depending on your situation & location. Even though I can't guarantee you'll spend xyz, I figure this sure beats those articles you see online that scare the bejeezers out of you suggesting that you could spend upwards of a bazillion dollars in the baby's first year of life. Here are our real life experiences in the cost of having a baby.

Right off the bat, You should know, this won't be what you spend if you want a lot of brand new items for baby. The way I see it is... the baby will use this stuff for less than a year. And in some cases, a month or less! WHY buy new things when there are gently used items that are in perfect shape for 70% off or more???  ( I will also note, that we did make some splurges that in all honesty are totally unnecessary or there was a cheaper way to get what we were buying at full price.)

The first thing we bought was prenatal books. We went to our local second hand book store and loaded up. In the end we compiled a library of 12 great books and the total cost was roughly $60.00 In retrospect - this was a totally unnecessary expense that I wouldn't make again - there is just so much information out there on the internet that I ended up using more than my books. BUT, if you want the books, they're out there & you can find them a lot cheaper than we did!

    Anything & Everything -  I quickly learned about the wonderful world of Just Between Friends sales. If you haven't been to a JBF sale before and you want to have a baby on a budget... GO! Well worth your time and money!! (check it out if you have older children too! They really do have anything & Everything!)

At the first JBF sale I went to, I picked up several items totaling out at $71.00!! (Portable changing table with cover that will fold, Boppy pillow with cover, a baby carrier, a couple of toys, drawer & cabinet latches, space saving high chair, blankets, piddle pad, spoons and other baby kitchen supplies, a few basic onsies in gender neutral colors, passy holder, diaper bag, & a bath ducky that checks water temperature). When I got home, I did a few Google searches and found some of the bigger items I'd purchased - we had saved over $113.54!! And all of this stuff were things I would be buying at some point anyway!!

Before baby girl came we went to two more Just Between Friends sales (in neighboring towns) - for both of those sales, we spent a total of $50.00! (items included Boppy infant positioner with cover, kitchen items for feeding toddlers, table bumpers & child safety items for around the house, various clothing items, a diaper bag - new with tags on it, two more child carriers, Johnny Jump Up & a couple of stuffed animals.) I didn't do the comparison against what it would have been new this shopping trip, but that comes out to roughly $3.50 each if you break it down per item - obviously some were more than others, but killer deals all the same!

Clothes, clothes & more clothes - I know I will sound like a broken record here, but I can't preach it enough! It is so handy knowing people with kiddos, really it is a blessing! We got tons of hand-me-downs!! What we couldn't use (wrong season, etc.) we passed on to others. Cost? Free! If you don't have access to someone for hand-me-downs you should seriously visit your local consignment stores (ie Kid to Kid, Once Upon a Child etc). They always have great deals, but around here they often run deals - as in every single holiday, no matter how insignificant. Even 15% off of already deeply reduced prices makes for an amazing deal!
We bought some clothes for Baby Girl, because how could we resist?!? Other than her Texas Tech gear (which I'm so ashamed at how much we spent, I won't even tell you here - feel free to ask if you're really curious!) everything we personally bought was from second hand stores and a couple of garage sales some friends of friends were having. I didn't do an excellent job of keeping up with those receipts, but looking back at budgets it looks like we spent about $60.00 (keep in mind, that bought us roughly 20 - 30 outfits, coming out to about $2 and $3 each!!).
As time has passed and we've needed to expand Cora's wardrobe with the seasons, I've learned that while these resale shops can offer great deals, I still greatly prefer consignment sales like Just Between Friends! Towards the end of their sale days, they run 1/2 off days on most of their items. This is when we stock up on clothes! We will pop into the sale early on, pick up whatever big baby gear and items we need that will likely be gone by the end of the sale. If I'm looking for a particular item of clothing for her, I'll quickly look through the clothing sections (which are very big!) but we save most of our clothes shopping for half off days!

 Diaper pails! We decided to go with the Diaper Champ rather than the Diaper Genie. Reason? You can use regular trash-bags in the Diaper Champ - the Diaper Genie requires special bags, an added expense once baby comes. They retail for about $30, we bought ours for $10.75 in perfect condition from a local resale shop! {And if I'm being 100% honest, we bought another one for $10 at a garage sale to keep over at my Dad's house, obviously not an essential expense, but my point is - this was not a one time, can't ever find that great of a deal experience!} To save even more? A trashcan with a lid would work just fine! Really the key here with any system is to just take out the trash often!

Cora on the knock off Boppy.
Nursing Pillow - I had gotten a Boppy with a cover at a JBF sale ($10-$15 range), but I knew that I'd like another one to have in our bedroom (and my friend swears it is really handy in postpartum recovery to sit on!). If you're pregnant, I'm sure you get the promotional emails for free Nursing Covers, Nursing Pillows, Carseat Covers etc., you just pay shipping! It is a great deal, but just be warned... their Nursing Pillow is not exactly like a Boppy! It's smaller and not as wide and it's cover doesn't come off to wash. If you have larger hips, like me, then it is a tight fit to use it as it is intended. Was it worth $12.90 (the cost of shipping and handling) to get a nursing pillow? Yes! Just be aware it isn't identical to the Boppy.

Bottles - We picked up a gallon zip lock bag full of the bottles we chose (Platex Drop in System) at a consignment sale much like Just Between Friends for $5.00! There were 10 bottles in the bag, bringing the cost down to $.50 a bottle! We also got some drop in liners in a brand-new, unopened box for $1.00. This only left us needing to buy new nipples for these bottles (they had them at the sale, I would just prefer to buy this item new).

The total we spent on the items besides furniture, pack and plays etc for our first child; Roughly $300.00. Now that we're expecting baby #2, most of those items won't need to be purchased again. We're anticipating that our largest expense for this child (outside the cost of prenatal and birth...) will be clothes!

In the end, I can admit that I'm afraid to think of what the cost of some "smaller" items would have added up to without the generous gifts of friends and family. Crib sheets, blankets, Dreft detergent, bottle sterilizers, Bumpo seat & tray, nursing covers, carseat covers, diapers, wipes, bibs, shoes, clothing accessories, toys, burp rags - all of these are things we didn't have to buy but all of these things are items I see at JBF sales & resale shops all. the. time. My point? Don't buy new until you have to!! 

I have done my best to include all the items I can think of in this category - if you have a question, please feel free to ask! I would love to share any information we may have on finding these items at reasonable prices!


  1. Great post!! And guess what? I've never been to a JBF sale. Every time I plan to go it's the same weekend as something else. Boo! But, I will get there soon!

  2. Thank you for sharing! Our first baby is coming late summer. :)

  3. Babies definitely can add up when you think of all the stuff they require but there's also so many great resources for cheaper living. Cloth diapering is one that cuts costs, and of course, breastfeeding.

  4. Babies definitely cost a lot. Not to mention all of the other little things you buy MORE of (trash bags, dishwasher detergent, etc.). But so worth it! I've never been to a JBF sale before!

  5. Babies can add up so fast. Honestly there should be some invention that at the first year you add up everything the kid actually liked and send it back to your pregnant self so you can make a registry of useful things instead of things they don't like or you don't even use.

  6. I'm in awe over how much you saved! I hadn't heard of JBF sales before so that's something I'm going to have to remember once I have children of my own.

  7. This is a great post! It's crazy on how much you guys saved! That's awesome!


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