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Reader Comment: Newborn Baby Expenses!





Last week, I posted my early retirement series and within the first article I stated:

I also PLAN to have kids, but don’t have any currently so I really don’t know how much they’re going to cost..

George, a regular reader and comment contributer, made a detailed explanation on how much a newborn can potentially cost. This may be helpful for those who are planning to have children, like myself, and would like to financially prepare for them. Here is the comment:

You mention that you don’t yet have kids, and that you’re not sure how much they’ll cost. While this is something that’s highly variable, here are some rough guides…

1) Diapers cost about $80/month for a newborn, and slowly the cost drops until potty training. Purchasing cloth diapers (we got ours from www.motherease.com) can cut the diaper costs dramatically, but increase the amount of laundry you need to do.

2) If you need it, daycare is the single largest child-related expense you’ll have. A good daycare can easily cost over $800/month. Dayhomes can be a cheaper option, but they have their own pitfalls. Having “free” daycare from grandparents, if possible, is the cheapest solution.

3) The initial “set-up” cost for a nursery is around $500, less if you can get things used.

4) If you end up bottle feeding, baby formula costs up to $25/can for powder, and a can lasts about ten days – that’s $75/month for formula alone. Obviously breast feeding is cheaper, but it isn’t always possible.

5) Baby clothing adds up very quickly. We got a large amount of our baby clothes from friends and from Freecycle, which helped out immensely.

So looking at the list, here is what a newborn child would cost my wife and I:

  1. Diapers: $80/month
  2. Day Care: $0/month (two sets of grandparents in town)
  3. Nursury: $400 – We have a new nephew in our family, so our first child will most likely be getting hand me downs.
  4. Bottle Feeding: $75/month – have to check with the wife on this one ;)
  5. Baby Clothing – Depends on the gender of my first child. If my first child is a boy, then he will get hand me downs from my nephew. If my first child is a GIRL, then we'll most likely be purchasing baby clothing (new and second hand) – $75/month.

Total: $230/month + a setup fee of $400. Kinda sounds like I'm getting a second mortgage from the bank. :)

For those new parents out there, what do you think of my numbers? Am I missing anything?





89 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. 1. George

    Having a child definitely feels like having a second mortgage. The “light at the end of the tunnel” is that over time the expenses should decrease.

    Your numbers seem reasonable, but I’d check with the grandparents to make sure they’re willing to take the baby. A newborn is a LOT of work, and while they may be willing to help out periodically, they may not want to take on the job of child care provider on a full-time basis.

    Of course, you might be lucky if each set of grandparents is willing to take the kid for 2.5 days/week. :-)

  2. You are right: babies are expensive, but they are so worth it! It is estimated that parents spend between 150K and 200K on each child by the time they turn 18.

    I wrote an article to this effect a couple of years ago: http://www.babys-first-year.com/baby-expense.html

  3. In regards to cloth diapers I highly suggest the following:

    https://www.kushiesonline.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=819

    They are cloth diapers with the cover build right in, so they are almost as easy to use as disposal diapers. We do use a disposal diaper overnight or when traveling.

    My personal experience has been the kid runs us about $120/month which covers diapers, wipes, clothes and toys. If my number looks low keep in mind the wife runs a daycare, so we don’t buy the kid many personal toys.

    CD

  4. 4. Dean

    Some other setup fee considerations –

    Stroller – $50 to $500+
    Highchair – $75 to $250+
    Car Seat(s) – $150 to $300 x # of kids x # of vehicles
    Playpen – $150 to $200
    Swing/Jumper or other life saving err.. entertainment activity – $100 to $150

    Ongoing –
    RESP contributions – variable and optional but roughly $50 for maximum benefit

    Note – a number of these items can be bought used (although I think you should perhaps buy a new car seat for safety reasons)

    Also – we were quite fortunate to receive a number of these items and others as gifts from baby showers etc…

    Oh and one other suggestion – setup an RESP account asap(it’s a bit of a PITA), even if you do not contribute, ask friends and family to contribute to it instead of giving the latest annoying battery consuming toy dejour.

    Hope that helps -

  5. Mr.Dream: So you’re saying that these cloth diapers are just as convenient as disposable ones? I may consider this as it can save a considerable amount of cash. How exactly do these work? I noticed from the website that they have a liner in them that can be flushed down the toilet? So, how many cloth diapers would you need?

  6. 6. George

    We’re not using the ones that Canadian Dream suggests, but I’m sure they’re similar. The cloth diapers we use are made up of three parts:

    1) The diaper itself (one size fits all babies from birth to toilet training)
    2) A waterproof cover (we got a few sizes of them)
    3) Disposable liners (optional, but worth it).

    The liners are available from Sears and Wal-Mart, and cost about $6 for a roll of 100. We have 24 diapers and 3-4 covers, which cost us about $400 total.

    24 cloth diapers means that you’ll be doing an extra load of laundry about every 1.5 days with a newborn (babies need fewer diaper changes as they get older – our daughter is now 2 and we’re working on toilet training, so we’re only doing a laundry load of diapers once a week). If you have more cloth diapers, you’ll need to do fewer loads of laundry.

    The cloth diapers of today are NOT the same as the ones your parents may have used – gone are the days of complicated folding and safety pins. The diapers we got from Motherease have various snaps on them (similar to the ones on children’s clothing) that make them a cinch to put on and take off.

  7. When you consider the cost of the cloth diapers, liners, waterproof cover, and extra laundry, how much do you think that you save compared to using disposable diapers?

  8. 8. Jeff Mackey

    You’re probably underestimating the initial costs to set-up the nursury, and you’ll also need car seats, strollers, etc. If you’re getting it from a relative or friend, you’ll save a lot I suppose, but my wife added up the other day what we’d need in total to have a baby and it was around $2000 to get what she wanted. This was of course buying everything new out of the sears catalogue.

    I like the info on the monthly costs going forward, we haven’t looked at those yet in detail, but what has been mentioned is close to our estimates. I’d add in money for babysitting as well, you’re going to want a night out every once in awhile. Even if a niece or cousin is babysitting, you’re going to need to give them something.

  9. 9. George

    FrugalTrader: We do use disposables when we go out with our little one, as well as to keep our daycare supplied, so our savings are going to be less than a family that uses cloth diapers exclusively.

    Here’s the math I’ve used: From birth to age 2, I estimate that we have 5 diaper changes per day on average (more for a newborn or when they’re sick, less for an 18-month old), but 5 per day is a good average. A box of 150 diapers costs about $40 plus GST (no PST here in Alberta), or $42.40, or $0.28/diaper. On average, we do about 3 extra loads of laundry per week, at an estimated cost of $0.25/load (we put the diapers on a drying rack, so there only expense is for the washer).

    Cost of using disposables only: 0.28/diaper x 5 diapers/day x 730days = $1022.00.

    Cost of cloth diapers approximately 75% of the time: 0.28/disposable x 1.25 diapers/day x 730days = $255.50
    plus initial purchase cost of cloth diapers of $400
    plus ~$164 for liners (27 rolls)
    plus $78 for extra laundry
    =$897.50

    So, our savings are approximately $125 over the cost of using disposables only for child #1. This isn’t a huge savings thus far, but we’re planning on having two kids. When the second one comes along, we won’t have the initial purchase cost to worry about, so the total savings for two children will be about $650.00, not including the “residual” value left in the diapers, which sell for between $4 and $7 used on eBay.

    Some might say the savings aren’t worth it for the extra work involved in doing the laundry, but honestly it isn’t that much work – I just dump the diaper pail right into the washing machine, and turn it on.

  10. 10. George

    Jeff Mackey: Your wife is estimating the cost of buying everything brand new, and she’s definitely not looking for any bargains if $2000 is her total.

    Savings can easily be found by buying second-hand items (or getting them free from friends), having the grandparents buy a few items (that’s how we got our crib), and by looking for deals.

    Your child will not care that you’ve bought them the “luxury” crib model – they won’t even remember it by the time they’re able to talk to you about it. The same goes for fancy baby clothes, which will just get spit up on anyway.

    Baby toys are ridiculously expensive brand new, but they’re readily available and dirt cheap at thrift stores. If you’re concerned about hygiene, just soak the toys in a bleach solution – and rinse thoroughly – before giving them to your child. In fact, this is a good idea even for “brand new” toys. Second-hand plush toys can usually be washed in the laundry machines if you want to clean them, as well.

    It’s fun to splurge and get a few fancy things, but it really doesn’t make sense to spend a small fortune on items that your child won’t remember by the time they’re a toddler. Often the simplest items are the ones that your child will like the most.

    If you can cut the $2000 baby budget back to $1000, the difference could grow to almost $5000 toward a university education, assuming a $200 CESG grant and 18 years growth at 8%. What do you think your child would appreciate more – five grand toward university, or extra-fancy nursery furniture?

  11. 11. Jeff Mackey

    Living in the arctic doesn’t help at all, but I’m just tossing the item out for discussion.

    I was quite surprised when I looked at the cost of things myself. A stroller that converts into a car seat is around $300 alone! A crib is another $200ish, even for a cheap one.

    If I remember to grab the list at lunchtime, I think her grand total was $2600 for like to have items, not necessarily to be bought all new or to that standard.

  12. 12. George

    FrugalTrader:

    I wrote a lengthy comment with the math involved in cloth diapers vs. disposables, but it seems to have vanished into the bit bucket. Rather than re-write the whole comment, here’s the summary:

    Using disposables only will cost approximately $1100 for the child’s first two years.

    We use cloth diapers approximately 75% of the time, and disposables the other 25% of the time. Using this split, the cost is about $850 for the first two years, for a savings of $250 over using only disposables.

    That savings, however, is only for a single child. The diapers will work just fine for our second child, so that eliminates the initial purchase cost, for a total savings of about $650. Once we’re done with the diapers, we’ll be able to sell them used on eBay, where they sell for about $4-7/diaper, and we have 24 of them, so that’ll recoup some of the purchase cost.

  13. Hey George, thanks for the comments. I found your initial calculations in the spam folder but have reposted it.

  14. 14. George

    Hi FT,

    Thanks for that – I realized after doing the first round of math that my assumptions were a little more conservative than I had thought. The $250 savings is probably closer to reality than the initial $125 I calculated.

  15. George & FT,

    I won’t get into as detailed calculations as George, but yes overall the diapers will save you money.

    The exact number will vary a bit. For us it was a huge savings since we were at $0.40/diaper at first since we had only one brand of diaper in town that would fit the kid for the first two months!

    We use a lot less cloth diapers overall. We have 20 right now, but we started off with 10 and found we were doing too many loads of laundry.

    By the way I said the cloth are ‘almost’ as easy as a disposable diaper. They still take a bit more work, but your saving money and avoiding filling up your landfill.

    CD

  16. 16. Mike

    MDJ – you can also get $$ from the gov’t.

    Universal Child Care Benefit – $100 to anyone with a kid under 6 in Canada. Taxable in the hands of the lower income spouse.

    Canada Child Care Benefit – this is income limited but the limits are actually reasonable – here is the calculator – I tried 100k net income for fun and the benefit was $17/month
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/benefits/calculator/menu-e.html

    Other stuff – unless you have kids young I can guarantee that you will have friends you can get clothes and stuff from – ask around and take advantage of this.
    Also – yard sales are a great place to get clothes and toys.

    And lastly – when the time comes, if you can get stuff cheap in advance then great but if not then try to sort out stuff you really need for when the actual baby shows up (it’s not much) – you will have time (but maybe not the energy) to get stuff later on and not be rushed. Example is the crib – you can get one right away or have the kid in a basinet or basket for a few months. Change table? the floor is safer.

  17. 17. George

    Mike’s comment reminded me about our “change table”. Early on it was the crib. Now it’s the floor. In either case we use washable “changing pads” that cost us $2.50 each at Wal-Mart.

  18. Diapers, change tables, cribs, strollers… all sounds so complicated. :)

  19. 19. Mike

    Ah the changing pad…my son is chewing on his as we speak – better go rescue it.

    FT – u need a car seat to get the kid home from the hospital, some diapers, wipes, a few change of clothes and then you are in business.

    Side note: I was an unexpected twin and while my sister slept in the basinet, I slept in a drawer with some towels in it :)

  20. 20. AJ

    Diapers and baby clothing are one of the things you will definitely be spending a lot on. Check out http://www.Sandboxcouture.com! Oh! don’t forget the medical bills that the baby will be stacking up throughout its first eighteen years!

  21. Sorry to get sentimental with this comment but here’s what I can tell you. No matter what type of expenses you lay out, at the end of the day, you’ll find yourself spending more than you intended. But that’s not bad news, very far from it.

    Every month I try to set aside a budget for family, but in the end you’ll find yourself doing more and more for your family. You can’t help it. Those kids will be your heart and soul. They will be your nourishment.

    Sure, you can set aside money for the car seat, diapers, day care, and etc.

    What you won’t expect is the drives to the park just so you can sit with your child under the sun or watch him/her ride their bike or skate.

    Or spending hundreds on the birthday party, just to watch him/her blow out the candles in front of friends and family.

    And that’s just the beginning.

    At the end, no matter how much is spent, whether if its an extra $1 or an extra $1,000, you will know that your kids are more than worth it and much more. I have two beautiful twin girls and a Scrooge when it comes to money. Yet and still I always go over-budget when it comes to them. I’m probably the only daddy that can say I was more than willing to get up late nights to tend to my crying babies when they were infants (They are 5 now). That’s just how much you love them. You’ll see what I mean.

    My only advice is wait until you are absolutely ready.

  22. 22. Jason

    My wife and I are expecting our second child any day now (my wife is having contractions — literally). We are 25 and by no stretch have a lot of money (compared to most of the people on this board) but we are very content. Our son (15 months old) brings us so much joy and we’re planning on having 4-5 kids.

    When reading the comments, I start to get a little worried just because, here we have people who are obviously very smart with money and have lots of it, yet they are kind of scared of the money that’s going to be involved in having a baby? I don’t get it.

    It worries me because here I am making somewhat of a good wage (60k) and my wife is going to stay home with the kids and I don’t care what the expenses are for the kids — we’ll make it work. But should I be thinking this? So far, we haven’t worried about money at all (pay mortgage every week, and bills, etc just like everyone else). We are not big spenders one bit, and are able to save a bit of money a month.

    I’m rambling here… I know… but I think if you’re on a million dollar journey then a baby isn’t going to get in your way. Live life and love your children…..

  23. Hi Jason,

    Thank you much for your comments. You have a great point that there has to be a balance between money and every day “life”. I think we just over analyze things since most of us are obsessed with finances. :)

    FT

  24. Jason, I think it’s not as easy as you make it seem. I guess I want to be financially prepared to have a child and plan to be able to stay at home. Unfortunately we live in an area of the US which is extremely high COL, top 5 cities in US (New England), so being able to even afford childcare or stay at home is expensive.

    Newborn childcare where I live is $1500-2000/month. I think that having kids you can’t afford and going into debt is not the way to go. I think kids are a blessing, but it needs to be balanced with sacrifice.

    I’m hoping to get away with spending about $500 the first year for our child. But we’ll also be in great position of being set for retirement, college, and have a large enough cushion for me to stay home probably.

  25. 26. Jason

    Definitely was not meant to make it sound easy, I apologize for implying that.

    Child care is definitely expensive, that’s why we aren’t doing it. Like I said, my wife is going to be staying home.

    Sure we won’t have a new car, not to mention 2 of them, no big vacations every year, and not the latest gadgets, but that’s our sacrifice to our kids.

    By the way, my wife gave birth to a baby boy Thursday morning. He weighed 7 lbs, 6 ounces.

  26. 27. Mike

    Congrats Jason!

  27. Congrats Jason on behalf of everyone here on Million Dollar Journey.

  28. Ok, I used cloth & I used disposable. I am one of the ones that found the “savings” of cloth was not worth the work of cloth. There is the gross factor (ewww) as they get older & into food it gets worse, plus I already do a load of laundry a day, I would have had to do 2 to keep up with the diapers. I am a wahm. I can only imagine the inconvenience to a working outside the home Mom.

    If you feel it is a right choice then go for it, but I found the generic diapers work just as good as the name brands & work out to be between $0.17 – $0.20 each depending on the size (since they squeeze more in a pack of newborns than in a pack of 5s). So using the generics probably brought my costs to = that of the cloth using people.

    Don’t get me started on baby wipes…I am not sure how I will ever live without them…

  29. 31. Karen

    I’d say the $75 a month for formula is a low number. Enfamil is the most common baby formula used and it runs about $12 a can. Most babies consume 9-10 cans a month.

    My children both received a lot of hammy downs from relatives and friends. I buy most of their toys at yard sales or consignment stores. They also get some for their birthday and Christmas. Trust me, they have way too many!

    I buy the diapers on sale and use coupons. Right now I just have one in diapers and both of them eat regular food. So, I guess I’d say that both of them are costing me less than $120 per month. Not bad, but that’s not including childcare. I am a preschool teacher and my kids come with me to work. That’s what of my benefits.

    I’ve been working on a post for ways to save on baby stuff. I guess I need to work more diligently on it and get it posted soon.

    Karen
    Thrifty Mommy

  30. 33. evelyn

    I have a 7-mo old baby girl, and I have to say that it is not as scary expensive as I thought it would be.
    I found a generic diaper that works well and is the cheapest in the market. The company also home-delivers for free which is very convenient for moms. http://www.babycityonline.com/pricelist.html
    I also use Presidents Choice and Walmart’s Parents Choice baby formula, which compare well with branded ones. A can of 1020g costs $19.79 for the one with omega-3 (super-recommended!) which lasts about 10 days.
    For clothes, check out ebay.ca for mixed lots of infant clothes & stuff. Going rate is about 50 cents to a dollar per piece. They are branded clothes and hardly used!
    For baby gear and furniture, check out kijiji.com for bargains.
    What I found expensive is day care. In downtown Toronto, the going rate seems to be 1400$ for an infant (3-18 mos). And good luck if you find a spot!

  31. It’s getting warm here in North Carolina and I’m glad yard sale season is coming. Most of my children’s clothes are used and I can get them at yard sales and consignment stores. I went to a yard sale 2 weeks ago and got a girl’s shirt with tags still on it for $1 and I also got a boy’s jacket for $1.

  32. 35. Bootsie

    Hey Frugal, just wondering…
    what if your brother / sister decide they want to have another baby? Will the hand me downs still be available? My husband and I are thinking about children soon. I have many friends that I would love to get ‘stuff’ from but my guess is they won’t be willing to part with it since they are likely going to have another child or two down the road…
    Just a thought. Still, baby showers will supply you with a lot of the basics. After all the ones I’ve been to, I will certainly want to do my part. ;)

    BTW, thanks for all the great info on cloth diapers. I’ve always thought I’d like to go that route to do my part to avoid further overloading the landfills, regardless of cost. But then again, I haven’t gone through it yet so it’s easy for me to say!

  33. I had planned on doing cloth diapers until my little screamer came along. She wasn’t a happy baby at all. Thankfully, things have gotten better.

    I’ve gotten some great deals these past few weeks on winter stuff for next year. Last weekend Sears had their clearance shoes buy 1 get 1 free. I got 6 pairs of shoes for $25. This week I went to a consignment store and their winter stuff was 75% off. I got over 40 items for $50.

    You can save money. You just have to know when to shop. Most of my great savings come at the end of the seasons.

  34. Bootsie: Good points, definitely some points to keep in mind.

    Karen:Why did you decide against cloth diapers?

  35. Frugal Trader: My DD was a screamer. There were some days that I could hardly eat. I certainly couldn’t deal with cloth diapers. Plus, not to be gross or anything, but she didn’t really have solid stools. I had too much going on with her crying.

  36. Karon: My wife had the same sentiment when I mentioned cloth diapers. That is, they might not be that pleasant to change/wash.

  37. 40. Marcy

    FrugalTrader- with regards to the cloth diapers, there are a variety of types to buy that vary in convenience-Kushies, Motherease, Fuzzibunz, to name a few. Plus, if you or someone you know can sew, you can get a pattern, some cotton, batting and PUL material and sew away! We bought all our’s on craigslist and have enough to last Jack til he’s 2 or 3, for only 500 dollars.
    If a baby is breastfed or formula fed, the poo can safely go in the washing machine. When you get to solids, it’s a little ” chunkier” and might need to be put in the toilet.
    You can get most baby equipment, toys and clothes from craigslist or a reputable baby thrift shop. If you are in Canada, try Once Upon a Child. We even used eBay to get his nursery decorations! If you plan on having more than one child, it’s worth it to buy quality items, even if they’re used, because you will use them again and again. Also, buy a crib that converts to a day bed- you’ll save money when the baby is ready for a big kids bed. Also, cloth diapers are not worse to change than disposable. No matter what you do use, you WILL get peed on at some point, you WILL get poo on your hands and you will have some diaper changes that require a bath for everyone-parenting isn’t glamourous.:)
    Cloth dipes can also help the environment, help with diaper rash and help accelerate toilet training( the dipe is more uncomfortable when wet than disposables, thus creating a catalyst for wanting to potty train)
    Good luck in your decisions!

  38. 42. NL Jaime

    HI there,

    Just to throw my two cents worth into the loop. I’m due to have a baby in just a couple of months. I find it astounding that so many people here are using clothe diapers just to save a buck and not to save the environment. I tried clothe diapers on my first child and honestly, I hated them. They’re not as easy as disposable diapers, they require more work in regards to cleaning and sanitation and truthfully, I didn’t save all that money. I started using clothe diapers because I thought it would be easier on the environment as well as my pocket book. But truthfully, I didn’t feel like the environment was worth it for me. Clothe diapers were a pain in my booty. As for the costs of having a baby, I’ve read some great comments here on how to save money and truthfully, if your start-up costs are two grand or more, it makes me wonder…..are you buying these items because the baby really needs them or are you buying them just because you want to keep yourself and your baby up with the Jones? Babies cost money. We know that before we have them. As one commenter said, the baby won’t remember his top of the line crib by the time he’s a toddler, let alone a teenager. And coming from experience….they get much more expensive when they become teenagers. The baby days are just a joke compared to the teenager years. So spend less on the baby, buy some things second-hand, accept the hand-me-downs, borrow….do whatever you got to….but you can take it from me, start a savings for yourselves cause once they become teenagers, your pockets become empty.

  39. 43. George

    NL Jaime,

    There is a wide range of quality when it comes to cloth diapers, and the better-quality ones definitely are comparable to disposables in terms of ease of use.

    As to cost savings, cloth diapers won’t save too much with a first child, but if you have two or more children the savings add up considerably. The major cost associated with cloth diapers is the initial purchase of diapers and covers – after that the costs (extra laundry) are peanuts. Good-quality cloth diapers will last through at least a couple of children, and you can sell them second-hand after that.

  40. 44. evelyn

    i agree with nl jaime. using cloth diapers is just too much work…did anybody factor in the labour cost of using cloth?? i think that would negate all the dollar savings unless one has a dozen kids on diapers at the same time!

  41. 45. George

    Cloth diapers mean you’ll do an extra load of laundry every other day or so. It really isn’t that big of a deal. But, to each their own.

  42. Since we’re talking about cloth diapers . . . my issue has always been the poo inside them. It just doesn’t pop out. I’m going through this struggle right now with my toddler. He is trying to potty train and I’ve been keeping him in pull-ups b/c I don’t know what to do about the poo. The underwear were just so gross! Someone please give your laundering tips. Thanks!

  43. We never considered cloth diapers since it’s enough work to just survive with your first kid.

    In Toronto we can recycle the used diapers in the green bin program they have here.

    Mike

    p.s. MDJ – was this comment thread what you had in mind when you started your blog?? Lol.

  44. 48. George

    Karen – the poop problem is easily solved if you use disposable liners. Kushies makes them and they come in a roll of 100. They’re kind of like extra-thick, extra long sheets of toilet paper. Because they’re flushable, all you need to do with the poop is grab both ends of the liner and flush it down the toilet.

    The liners add to the expense of cloth diapers a little bit, but they make them much more convenient. They also make laundering the diapers a lot easier, since they catch most of the poop before it gets in contact with the diaper itself.

  45. Would the liners work with underwear? If so, where can I get them?

    My son has been wanting to potty train for about 2 months. We’ve been working on it, but he still hasn’t mastered it. I think he would “get it” more quickly if I were using underwear.

    Thanks.

  46. 50. Marge

    re liners – if you want to do the frugal route, by a roll of paper towels (one’s that allow you to use 1/2 a sheet work really well, or just cut a piece length wise when preparing the diaper). Much cheaper – AND the side benefit is the extra absorbency.

    re potty training – my neighbors work in day care and their advice was to go cold turkey on training. Put the child in ordinary underwear and run him to the pot hourly. After several mishaps, we crossed the bridge and are FREE!

  47. I can try the paper towel, but going cold turkey isn’t working yet. If my little one has an accident (on the carpet), he doesn’t say anything!

  48. 52. sandrae

    Interesting comments as I am about to be a single mom. Cloth diaper vs. disposable:

    I have a strong awareness for my carbon consumption, especially now that I will be giving this child a legacy of convenience vs. responsibility to the planet. I know cost should be considered, highly, into my planning, but so is my social responsiblity to a planet.

    Is convenience the only reason most people use disposable diapers?

    Thank you,

  49. 53. evelyn

    Convenience means more time to do other things you want/need/love to do…unless you equate doing more laundry (while you are crazy busy feeding/changing diapers/operating your home/working/feeling blue/paying bills/figuring your new life out/etc.) to “responsibility to the planet”, that’s your choice. One thing I learned after being a mom is to try not to be holier-than-thou… When you have a small baby, you will soon discover, convenience is everything. Well, almost.

  50. 55. Alex

    I’m late to the party, but I use cloth diapers (Fuzzibunz, as it happens) and am astonished to see how much work others seem to find they are. I put them on, I take them off, I wash them, I hang them on the line…not a big deal. I tuck the (cloth) liners between the outer cover and my little boy’s bum but not inside the fuzzibunz itself, which means I need only put the liner, not the outer, in the wash for any one change (I usually wash the outers about every 2 changes and otherwise let them air-dry and re-use if they are just damp).

    I do use a disposable at night, because he can sleep through the night in one disposable. They are more absorbent than the cloth.

    Between my clothes, my husband’s clothes, and my son’s clothes and diapers, I do two loads of laundry a week. That’s it. Not a problem. Also, we’ve had virtually no problems with diaper rash, using the cloth, so we save on ointment, though it cannot be that expensive (I literally do not know. My son is 8 months old and I have not yet used up the couple of tubes of bum ointment we were given as shower gifts. I’m not kidding about no rashes.).

    I did, however, learn that at least in my state (NC) if you are using a commercial daycare, you cannot send the kid to daycare in cloth diapers. So we now use disposables for the 2 days/week he is there, also.

  51. Alex, You really only have 2 loads of laundry every week? My husband’s clothes by themselves take up at least a load.

  52. 60. michael

    ha! You said that $250 sounds like a 2nd mortgage! Try all this in NYC. We had to move to a slightly bigger apartment (old one had zero light – inward facing courtyard). That alone is an extra $400 per month.

    Daycare here – if we can get in – may be close to $2000 a month! Yikes! Wish us luck…

  53. Michael,

    I couldn’t imagine paying the prices you’re paying in NYC, but doesn’t your income match the expenses there? I live in North Carolina and most people I know make $28,000-$35,000 per year.

    Karen
    Thrifty Mommy

  54. Oops. I forgot to mention, last year I wrote an article about saving money with a baby. Here’s the link:

    http://www.thriftymommy.com/25-ways-to-save-money-with-a-baby/

  55. 63. Rebecca

    I live in Canada and I have been buying Simlac Advance for my newborn (which is what he was put on at the hospital) and it was $32.99 a can. I am currently switching to the Superstore brand (Presidents Choice) which is only 13.99-19.99.

    But another cheaper formula is Parents Choice (found at Wal-Mart in both Canada & the States). It measures up nutritionally with Nestle Good Start (which is what they are now recommending here).

    As for diapers I went to Costco. I got 234 Diapers (Costco Brand..which is Kirkland) for $38.99. They are great, no leaks or anything. But if you wanted to go with Huggies Brand they are $39.99 for 228 of them at Costco. However i’m not sure how different the prices are in the states. I just know they are a lot cheaper in Canada so they probably are cheaper there in the States too!

    Hope this info helps!

  56. 64. Rebecca

    Also at Wal-mart I saw a beautiful crib for $99 which I was going to buy for my son (this was on the US walmart website). I ended up buying a second hand crib that was barely used (worth about $300) for $70.00. Just check out second hand websites and stuff! Great deals! Some stuff hasn’t even been used. kijiji.com (for USA) or kijiji.ca (for Canada) is the best site for second hand items)

    My stroller (which came with an infant car seat) came to about $230 all together (although it was with a 10% discount). I bought this at Zellers in Canada. But I have seen them cheaper.

    Bottles: Playtex Drop-Ins. They have disposible liners. You can just put the bottle part itself right in the dishwasher because the milk doesn’t touch it. I buy Parents Choice liners which are about $5.00 for 100 of them. They are easy because they don’t require sterilization (except for nipples and caps).

    Another tip: Sears is the most expensive for baby items (as well as other items too). My crib bedding set at Sears was on sale for $119.00 from $140.00 some and someone found it at Wal-Mart for $49.50. I have found this with many of their items.

  57. 65. paulette

    The best to at least survive the expenses of having a newborn baby is to save early. So when the time comes that you have a baby, it will be easier for you.

  58. 66. Justine

    There are many great ways to save on baby expenses. First, you don’t need to buy everything brand new! Second, you don’t need half the stuff people tell you that you need. For instance, our crib became an expensive laundry basket because the best way for all of us to get sleep when the baby was born was to co-sleep. When our son was ready for his own bed, we bought a double futon for him.

    Breastfeeding is cheap and convenient. If you have trouble establishing breastfeeding, do yourself and your bank account a favour and hire a lactation consultant, call La Leche League or go to a breastfeeding clinic. Breastfeeding will save you thousands of dollars.

    You don’t NEED a stroller. Get a good baby carrier like a Mei Tai, Sling, Wrap or Pouch and you’re good to go. I didn’t buy a stroller until my son was nearly 2 and even then didn’t use it much.

    Change tables are a huge waste of money. Put a change pad on the floor or bed and change baby there. Less cost and more safe.

    Playpens are also high up there on my list of giant wastes of money. Our was quickly given away as it was never used.

    My advice is to get the basic; a good quality convertible car seat, a good baby carrier or two, diapers (I used a cloth diaper service for the first 1.5 years then switched to ‘sposies); clothes and if you don’t plan on co-sleeping, a second hand quality crip that converts to a toddler bed. You can figure out what else you actually need after the baby comes.

  59. 67. red

    My son is now three and a half. At the height of it, we figured we were spending about 120 bucks a month on his arse:
    diapers
    diaper genie refill
    arse cream.

    It was worth it.

    FOr the last several months he’s been crapping in the toilet, like a big boy, and life is good.

  60. 68. Emily

    I found found newborns fickle. One refused to use the crib. The second refused to sleep in my bed.

    My advice, before making large purchases, see if you can borrow things and try them out first with your newborn. Then if it works for you, go ahead and buy it. I did that with stroller, sling, highchair and exersaucer.

    Don’t count on what works well with one baby in your family working for the second. Their personalities are all over the map and frankly, when you’re tired your ultimate goal is catching some shut eye. The price tag can lose meaning if you haven’t slept for longer than 20 minutes intervals in 2 months with a colicky baby.

    I tried cloth diapers with my first. They worked so well for one of my friends who gave me a ton of different kinds of cloth diapers from her extensive stash. It was a mess! After waivering between the free cloth and disposables for a while, we switched to disposables. Convenience in a hectic household won out.

    Breastfeeding went swimmingly with the first. The second child, it was a disaster. I pumped for the first year with a Medela Pump In Style. Not easy, but saved on formula in the long run and didn’t deal with as much guilt that one child had breastmilk and the other didn’t.

    In the early days with a newborn, exhaustion is a tough opponent. You may find yourself favouring convenience and sleep over price and principles.

  61. 69. Robbin

    Breastfeed! It costs less and is much better for your child. It is the best gift you can give a new baby. Health Canada and the World Health Organization recommends doing it for at least 6 months – preferably up to 2 years or more.

  62. 70. Angela

    What about Dr’s visits? My friends said there will be about 7 for the first year for the baby for vaccines and such. I’m trying to figure out how much to save for these co-pay visits.
    And what about a good guess for the number of visits for moms?

  63. 71. George

    Angela: Here in Canada visits to the doctor aren’t really an issue (financially, at least). With our two kids we didn’t pay a cent for doctor’s visits in the first year. In the first two years we had vaccinations at 2, 4, 6, 12, and 18 months, with doctor’s visits about every 2-3 months in the first year. Where I live the vaccinations are given by a community health nurse instead of at the doctor’s office, so it’s a separate visit. There are no co-pays involved as the visits are covered under the provincial health plan.

  64. Great ideas on how to plan for the baby and all the expenses that come with raising your bundle of joy. I would also add that you should consider waiting until you know more about your baby’s interests and personality and what your lifestyle will be like with baby. What you think you want pre-baby may change after you actually have your baby and see what the reality is. If you absolutely must have the $2,000 crib, consider getting a less expensive stroller. Most importantly, if you want the top of the line crib, plan for it and give yourself permission to spend the money and enjoy it. Know where the money is coming from to do all of the start-up stuff: is it from your income, on a credit card, or from your savings? I your situation, you could draw from your savings (emergency fund and./or extra cash in the checking) and just plan to replenish that account over the next 4-6 months.

  65. 73. Amy

    Does anyone have a suggestion for where to get cloth diapers in Vancouver?

  66. 74. DAvid

    Amy:

    Here

    DAvid

  67. 75. Al

    If you live in the GTA call the diaper warehouse. They sell No Name brand diapers and wipes that wills ave you approx 50% off retail prices. They don;t have a website but can be reached at 905-270-8888

  68. 78. Horlic

    I’m not new parents here but how about medical cost? I think should start to save money for your new born baby education and should start buy insurance as well.

  69. 79. sara

    Hi Horlic,

    Living in Canada, medical costs are free so no insurance to buy either.

  70. 80. Christian

    Jason said:

    “Sure we won’t have a new car, not to mention 2 of them, no big vacations every year, and not the latest gadgets, but that’s our sacrifice to our kids.”

    I find this a ridiculous statement. When you mention not having a new car, no big vacations, not the latest gadgets.. and then it’s a sacrifice FOR THE KIDS?

    Bear in mind that not having suitable transportation AFFECTS the KIDS in terms of their quality of life. No “big vacations” AFFECTS the KIDS in terms of their intellectual growth and exposure to new experiences. Not the “latest gadgets” AFFECTS the KIDS in terms of their exposure to new technology (like the computer, for instance). And then you have the temerity and gall to say “that it’s a sacrifice (you) made for the kids”.. shame on you! these decisions must not be blamed on anyone else – including the kids – you must OWN THEM. Eventually you’ll end up having expectations of “the kids” that are outlandish because of your “sacrifice” to have them – grow up, be an adult and take responsiblity for your own ego/biological driven decision to have kids – or better yet, do have kids only when you’re truly ready and able to support new human beings in the manner which is required to GUARANTEE them a good life, and not one SECOND before that.

  71. 81. George

    @Christian: I think you need to relax some more. It’s quite possible to have happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids despite not having new vehicles, big vacations, and the latest gadgets. Last I checked, spending a ton of money and racking up debts solely to “guarantee” children a “good life” usually results in spoiled children that think that the world should be handed to them on a silver platter.

    I think it’s far more important to spend TIME with your children, rather than spending MONEY on them.

    A couple of things to think about:

    1) Transportation: “Suitable transportation” and “new car” aren’t the same thing. We have a 7-year old vehicle that is perfectly adequate to transport the kids wherever and whenever they need to get somewhere. Would a brand-new Cadillac Escalade improve their “quality of life” by any measurable degree? I don’t think so.

    2) Vacations: Kids can get plenty of “intellectual growth” and “exposure to new experiences” without spending thousands of dollars on “big” vacations. My kids have had plenty of experiences going to local museums and nearby vacation spots – somehow I think they’ll survive if they don’t get taken to Europe or a backpacking trip through Nepal on a yearly basis.

    3) Technology: Kids don’t need the latest and greatest technology to be able to function in the modern world. A two-year old computer will cost 20% of what a “bleeding edge” computer will cost, and the only difference to a child is that their game might take an extra few seconds to load. Their quality of life won’t be affected in any way.

    Giving children a good life has more to do with how you spend your time with them than how much money you blow buying them expensive things. I think that children should learn that $200 shoes, iPods, international vacations and brand-new cars are luxuries, not necessities.

  72. 83. Isabelle

    Hi, everyone! My bf and I live in Alberta, and we net 70 grand a year (until baby of course!). Our unexpected baby cost us 600.00 before the birth, and will cost an additional 200.00 each month of the first year. We use a diaper linen service, and have chosen to breastfeed. In the future, I will make baby food instead of purchasing it.

    The things that we bought new were a carseat, baby mattress, and a baby sling (I take baby everywhere!!!). We received a playpen and swing as gifts. Other items were purchased used. I used my Aeroplan points and drugstore points for miscellaneous drugstore and department store needs.

    The only other cost that was quite unexpected was clothing – for me! It was a struggle to keep up with my constant need for clothes – ultimately, I spent about 400.00 on clothes. I’ll be able to continue wearing about half of it.

    Finally, I lost wages due to not working, but it was ok.

    We saved a few thousand during my pregnancy (I made a fuss to get more hours at work and bf agreed to match my savings) for baby’s RESP and we hope to continue contributing each month! We are also saving for a family sabbatical overseas.

  73. 84. ioana

    Daycare downtown toronto 2007 was 1700$ a month.

  74. 85. Mark

    As a rough guide how much you can take your baby probably will be during the day by taking an average of 70 g a formula for every 450 g of weight of your baby. For example, babies 4500 g heavy will eat about 700 g formula for 24 hours. Keep in mind that this will not apply to smaller babies, premature babies or babies over 6 months of age.
    It is also important to remember that all babies are different, some have a greater appetite than others bearing in mind that your baby is still physically progressing and if your pediatrician is satisfied with his / her progress, then why you do not have to worry about.
    You will notice that generally baby taking less milk you do not feel good, and more milk when you grow faster (this typically occurs between 2.3. and 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months of age), and this is completely normal.

  75. 86. Yolanda

    It’s really expensive mostly because of diapers, but there are a lot of tips for saving like buy ecologic diapers. Check in craiglist for toys in good condition, and so on… Also if you like I can recommend you a great site with newborn baby clothes: http://www.monishka.net/flower-tutu-onesie/

  76. 87. DJ

    If you’re planning on having a baby, throw your budget out the window.

    It seems as each month progresses, there is something else that needs to be purchased. Soothers, teethers, medicine, bigger clothes, multiple pairs of shoes for daycare, haircut, carseats, accessories, RESP contributions, books, toys, organic food, driving around in your car for hours (read=higher gas bill) to get them to nap etc. the list is essentially endless.

    If you drive a small or very small car, plan on upgrading to a van or suv. Also, your house will feel about half the size — you may want to move to a bigger house.

  77. I just had another baby and we’ve been looking at daycare costs when my wife returns to work from mat leave – costs almost as much as rent! Anybody have any recommendations for private care in the Toronto area?

  78. 89. Diane

    One good idea is to open a day home in your own home. You get to watch your child grow up, your child has social interactions, and you make great money. A portion of your household expenses can be claimed in your business. It just seems like a win-win solution.

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