In 2018, it’s estimated that the average cost to raise a child in his/her first year is $17,000. What does that mean to me? It means I would either have to quit my job, get out of debt, or make more money. There is nothing like having a baby that makes you get your stuff in order.
With my first child, I had no idea what to expect, all I knew was that I was excited but concerned at the same time. We were still in debt and I was in no position to stay home. I looked in my area to see how much I would pay for childcare and I was sticker shocked. My husband and I were basically going to pay for another mortgage called Daycare.
But I had to remind myself that me having this wonderful gift is not a burden but a blessing. I had to believe that God already had this child in mind and it would be ok. I also had to believe He would give me wisdom and knowledge on not only how to care for this gift, but how to give this child the best we can without going broke.
Over the months and years, He helped me a whole lot and I must share. For those who have kids, are considering having kids, or have taken on the role of guardianship, let me share with you ways I saved money on my first year of baby for the third time.
Supplemental Insurance: Most companies will allow you to sign up with Aflac or something similar throughout the year. You can choose a plan to cover yourself or your children for big life events like surgery or birth. I’m telling you it’s worth it. Had I’d known about this for my first child, I would have saved so much. I did this with my other pregnancy and I never received a hospital bill after her delivery. All her medical care was covered.
Free Immunizations/clinics: Most cities and towns have free health clinics that give infants free immunization. It doesn’t matter if you have insurance or not, it’s all free. Though your insurance provider should cover immunization for free, if it does not or you have to pay a high deductible, look for a health clinic instead. Some also provide dental care and vision as well.
Online doctor: My insurance company partners with an online, 24/7 telehealth provider that I can contact if I have a health question. I use this for non-emergency situations of course. Many times when my child was not feeling well and I explained the symptoms to the licensed doctor, they knew what the problem was. It saved me a trip to the urgent care or hospital when the Pediatrician’s office was closed.
Family time: Does your mother or aunt stay home? How about a sister or cousin you can trust that can watch your child during the day and works at night. It never hurts to ask them for their services and be willing to hear a no or a payment plan. Maybe ask another stay at home mom. With my kids, I arranged for family to watch my children after my 12-week maternity leave. That’s when I needed them the most so my child would stay out of daycare. Also, I was blessed to have my sister watch my daughters during the day since she worked early afternoons/evenings. It was not a burden to her and my kids cherish their aunt. If family is available to you, it may be an option for you. Remember it takes a village to raise a child.
Part-time or service to service: Perhaps someone can watch your child part-time, some daycares offer this service. It’s usually half the cost of what it would be if your child attended full-time care. Also, I know some working moms that work 3 or 4 days a week and have a neighbor watch their kids in exchange to watching the neighbor’s kids when they are off.
Licensed home care: I have taken my first born to a daycare after 4 months old and she was constantly sick. This daycare was clean, I made sure of it. I checked their facility, it was top rated, but my child could not handle the germs. I looked into other facilities but wanted something a bit more private and with fewer children. I spoke to some mothers about my concern and they told me about licensed home daycares. I called the Department of Children and Families and asked them for any recommendations around my area. They gave me a list of providers. From there I was given access to their license number and inspection reports to make sure they passed their inspections. Did you know that licensed home daycares are inspected stricter than child care facilities? They have to be in tip-top shape in order to remain open. Plus they charge a whole lot less than a facility. My kids are currently in one.
Hire a nanny: This may come in handy when you have multiple kids. They will sometimes watch all your children for the price of one, which is beneficial. There are many sites that can give you more information on how to find a nanny which you may have to pay a fee. The nannies should have been background checked. I have not personally used this service but I have friends that have and they loved it.
Homemade: When my kids were young, they played with everything but their toys, so I made bottle shakers for them where I put a couple of coins or rocks in a plastic bottle. Pots and pans with wooden spoons are great options for your future musicians. P.S.-Boxes are their favorite.
Birthday parties: For gifts, I like to think long term so I had friends and family give books, puzzles, and educational toys. Gift cards are nice as well.
Hand-me-downs: Whether it’s from a thrift store or from someone you know. Clean the toy really well though. I have received toys from cousins and friends that I know and trust.
Look out for part 2 of this series.
What are your plans on saving cost for your newborn?