Baby On A Budget

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mandi over at Catholic Newlywed is writing a series on having a baby on a budget. I think it’s a fantastic idea and really interesting to hear people’s takes on what is and isn’t necessary when raising a baby. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it and I believe the pre-Cana curriculum for engaged couples would benefit immensely from practical tips and ideas, such as Mandi's and other mothers raising babies on a budget. I think if couples knew that having a baby is not all that expensive as it is sometimes claimed, they would be much more inclined to have a baby and/or use NFP. I think teaching NFP and teaching baby budgeting ideas go hand in hand

With that said, I’ve decided to jump on the 'baby on a budget' bandwagon and add my two cents about what I believe is necessary for having a little one. (Mandi, I hope you don’t mind!)

In my opinion, it seems so many women and couples have a great deal of fear surrounding having a baby. They seem fearful of the change it will inevitably bring to their life, fearful of the cost they might incur and perhaps fearful of deviating from their original or so-called "responsible" plan. So to young (or older) couples considering adding to your family, the first thing I have to say to you is: Be Not Afraid!

Babies are not as scary and as expensive as popular culture would have you believe. A child will change your life, yes, but probably not as drastically as you fear (and the change will definitely be for the better). So here are my arguments for throwing the money issue out the window and having that baby already.

First of all, it takes nine long months (ten in my case) to go from “we’re having a baby?!?” to actually having a baby. That’s a long time. It’s nearly a year to get everything in order that needs to be put in order. That’s enough time to save some money or even pick up an extra job, if need be. It’s sufficient time to get your finances and a plan in order.

Secondly, once your baby is born, he or she really doesn’t require many “things.” Babies are simple creatures. All they truly need is milk to fill their bellies, clothes to keep them warm, diapers to keep them clean and most importantly, their Mama (and Dada too). That’s it, it really is that simple!

It has been said before and will be said again, but babies really only need breastmilk (for up to a year or longer) to satisfy them. Breastfeeding is healthy, convenient (most of the time) and free! Breastfed babies are also less likely to get sick, so there are less sick visits to the pediatrician. Breast is best! That also means your food budget and grocery bill will not change for at least a year.

As for clothes, these will be given to you in droves once your baby is born. Before we had Hannah I purchased a few items from places like TJ Maxx and Old Navy and I probably spent $25, at the most. The nice thing about baby clothes is that they’re cheap. Once we had Hannah people were overwhelmingly generous and sent us so many beautiful clothes. We did not need to buy her any clothes until around her first birthday. Honestly, clothing is a minimal expense for a baby.

The one thing you will have to buy is diapers. Of course, some people practice “elimination communication,” in which case diapers aren’t necessary, but personally we don’t roll that way (If you do, more power to you). If you do decide to purchase diapers, they can be either disposable or cloth. The cloth diapers option is a one-time investment and probably the more cost friendly alternative. My suggestion, if you’re really on a strict budget, ask for a set of cloth diapers as a shower gift.

Lastly, babies need their Mama and Daddy. These two people are crucial for the baby to develop and thrive. Aside from what a baby needs, all a baby really wants is love.

All other items, toys, cribs, strollers etc. are certainly nice accessories, but aren’t essential. If you’re lucky to have generous family and friends, many of these things will most likely be given to you as gifts. It always surprises me how incredibly generous people are when a baby is born. Everyone loves babies and everyone will love buying something for your baby. The Spanish proverb that “every baby comes with a loaf of bread under their arm” is certainly true.

So if the fear of the potential cost of having a baby is preventing you from actually having one, I would encourage you to reconsider. Babies can be had on strict budgets, it's been done before, it will be done again. Plus, they're worth every penny you might spend. 

Okay, one more thing you will have to buy for your baby is a car seat. The law and the general public tend to frown upon a baby sliding around in the backseat. Again, car seats can be a shower gift or even borrowed.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Jennie for adding your input, I agree with all you said 100%!

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  2. You go, jennie! Hey nice shout out to elimination communication...you can bet some of your readers will google that. :)

    Gone are the days of kids riding around in the back of the station wagon sans car seat! :)

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  3. Thanks Kerry. You guys used elimination communication with Isabel, right? ;) haha. I know the bygone era of a kid in the backseat without any restraints is sadly behind us.

    Thanks, Mandi!

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