TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 28, 2013) - Children may be priceless, but they are also very expensive. Between diapers, formula, car seats, daycare and clothes, the first year of parenthood can be a real shock for a growing family's finances.
The excitement of a baby-on-board often leads new parents to rush out and buy the newest and best of everything for little new bundle of joy.
"Before you spend a dime on baby expenses, stop and think about what those purchases will do to your budget," advises Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. "Your child's everyday essentials should be a line item in your household budget before the little one arrives. By budgeting and making smart purchases, you can enjoy the new addition to your family without going broke in the process."
With a little thrift and ingenuity, many parents may find that they can keep the costs of raising a family down. To help families avoid the sticker shock of having a baby, Consolidated Credit offers these tips to help raise a baby without breaking the bank:
Breastfeed - Breastfeeding is still considered the healthiest option for your child, and best of all it's free. If you find you need to buy formula, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to provide you with samples and coupons for a variety of brands. You can also visit the manufacturer's website to sign up for coupons and free samples.
Make your own food - The cost of those tiny jars of baby food can really add up, but making your own can create huge savings. You can make baby food in batches pureeing your own fruits and vegetables, or it can be as simple as tossing the veggies you made for yourself into a food processor.
Go with cloth - You can bet your bottom dollar that diapers will be one of your biggest expenses in baby's first year. However, if you choose to launder your own cloth diapers at home, you can save several thousands before junior is toilet trained.
Ditch the designer duds - Babies outgrow their clothes in a blink of an eye. Instead of buying new designer duds every time they sprout up, ask for hand-me-downs or purchase gently used items from consignment shops, thrift stores, community websites and garage sales.
Swap gear - Before you go out and by the latest and greatest baby toys and equipment, ask friends, family and neighbours for hand-me downs and tips on what they did and didn't need. You can also take part in community programs that invite families to drop off gently used toys and take "new" used toys home.
Use coupons - Sign up online for money saving coupons on everything from diapers and formula to food and clothes. If you indicate that you plan to breastfeed, many manufacturers will send you free samples or higher value coupons for formula.
Budgeting for a new baby can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Consolidated Credit's free Money Savers for New Parents booklet contains even more information to help control some of the costs associated with having children.
About Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada:
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance. For more information, visit www.consolidatedcredit.ca or call the toll-free phone line at 1.800.656.3920.