It's no secret that having a baby is expensive, but did you know the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is about $287,000, according to a recent USDA report? This represents a 25 percent increase over the past 10 years, thanks to the rising cost of groceries and medical care. And this cost doesn't factor in expenses associated with pregnancy and delivery.
The good news is there are many ways you can cut some of the costs when it comes to your children. Maisie Knowles, a co-founder of FreeShipping.org and mother of two shared some budget-friendly tips:
1. Buy used furniture.
Websites like Craigslist, Freecycle.org and your local classified ads are a great place to find used furniture. Be sure to check the condition of the piece and for safety features, such as the spacing between crib spindles and locks on the rocker. Older models won't have these updates. Before making purchases, make sure you check model numbers for any items which may have been previously recalled.
2. Visit consignment clothing stores.
Stock up on baby clothes by using your local consignment clothing store, such as Once Upon a Child. Babies grow quickly, so many parents sell their gently used children's clothes. You may even find items with tags still attached. Also, some of these stores sell outdoor toys, books and more.
3. Register for more.
Create a registry through Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby or another baby store or website and put everything you think you'll need on that list. After your delivery date, most stores or sites will send you information about purchasing the rest of the items on your list at a discount. Combine that with a Babies R Us discounted gift card from GiftCardGranny.com and you could save up to 30 percent on the rest of your registry items.
4. Join Amazon Mom.
Save up to 20 percent on diapers and wipes by signing up for Amazon Mom and putting your diapers, wipes and formula on auto delivery. Along with your Amazon Mom account, you'll receive Amazon Prime benefits including exclusive discounts and free two-day delivery for three months.
5. Look into cloth diapers.
Take some time to consider cloth diapers, especially if you're thinking about having more than one child. A few things to seriously consider are the initial cost of purchase and the convenience and environmental impact of disposable diapers. See DiaperDecisions.com for a breakdown of the costs associated with cloth diapers.
6. Start a baby-sitting co-op.
After the novelty of being a new parent wears off, you'll want to have some time away from your little bundle of joy. Instead of paying for a baby-sitter, organize a group of moms and share baby-sitting responsibilities. To start, divide tokens evenly between the group, then charge each mom one token per child per hour to baby-sit. Each mom can then call on other moms within the group and pay with tokens to get free baby-sitting. It's a win-win for the kids, too.
7. Just ask.
Many parents are more than happy to get rid of their baby gear once they've decided their family is complete. Don't be afraid to ask to buy an item off a friend. They may surprise you and simply give it to you. Also, ask your pediatrician for sample packets of formula. They have closets stocked with samples received from manufacturers and will be happy to unload some of their stash.