According to Time magazine, the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years of age is around $221,000! This year alone, before she'd been born, we have found ourselves spending a crazy amount of money. There are the required pieces like carseats and diapers, wipes and hypo allergenic wash. Of course we have to have clothes, blankets and all kinds of burp/changing rags. There are co pays or lots of cash for those without insurance. There are gigantic bras and new maternity clothes to accommodate babies new living quarters. Afterward, there are more bra's with pad inserts and more clothes that can easily expose a newborn's food source.
Then there are the American necessities such as changing tables, changing pads, changing covers, cribs, crib mattresses, crib sheets, cradles, slings, carriers, wash mats, diaper genies, wipe warmers, and maybe bottles and all their accessories.
In addition to these, if you are a trendy parent, you may find yourself shopping for designers sheets, designer crib bedding sets and all kinds of matching accessories to hold diapers and transport baby. I can't forget the staple diaper bag ( :
So, how do us parents figure out which of these are essentials and where we can cut back? For myself I found some financial relief in second hand stores and craigslist ( :
For clothes I only purchased one pair of maternity jeans early on, that I knew would grow with me (although I just outgrew them a couple weeks back!) and that I would feel great in! Otherwise, throughout the different stages of my pregnancy, I borrowed clothes from friends, purchased flowy tops that I could wear post-pregnancy as well, or hit up some of the boutique-like consignment shops for mom's and babies. I always found good deals here at less than half the retail price!
Piccolina is just one of my favorite places to shop for maternity wear. They have a great turn over rate, so there's always new clothes to shop!
As far as baby furniture goes, I decided this was an area I could scrimp on, since Ella will only be sleeping in her crib for a year or so and same goes for the changing table, cradles, et cetera. I kept my eyes and ears open and ended up purchasing a used (but in great shape) crib, shelf, and cradle... all for $75!!! Later I found a white dresser for $50 and my favorite find- the Pottery Barn changing table (retails for $400) for only $75 on craigslist!!! With all of my furniture staples purchased early on at a steal, Jelani and I had some extra cash to go towards the details.
Another supersaver idea is to make your own crib set, which is the route we took! We simply bought a crib sheet to match the material, then had the bumper and quilt sewn to match. This cost us less than $140 which is the average price for a low-end target crib set. For moms who are familiar with designer crib sets you know they can reach upwards of $500!!! Plus, we have left over materials to make little accents, such as a rocker pillow, or lining for shelf baskets.
If any other mama's out there have their own tips and suggestions to add to this, please leave your comment!! I'm sure it's going to take some creativity over these next 18 years to raise a college fund ( :