Did you miss the GREAT NEWS I shared with you all yesterday??? Well, if you did you may be wondering why I am talking about a baby budget. Yes! You guessed it… we are having a baby boy who is expected to arrive in February! We are thrilled beyond belief! The pregnancy is going well and the little guy is growing and incredibly active!
Our Initial Thoughts
The several months before we decided to try to get pregnant we had many conversations about how a baby would change our lives and our finances. Of course you do not know until you are actually living it, but we used our imaginations.
Although we felt we were ready (as ready as one can be) to start a family. We really did not want to let up our foot from the gas with our mortgage freedom goal.
We have a few friends who had babies and are raising children on very tight budgets. Oh yeah, and the obvious one of our parents raising us on very tight budgets out of necessity. So, we knew it was definitely possible and we have some great role models. We just needed to find a way for it to work for us.
So, as with all great ideas I started dreaming and brain storming ideas. I knew with all the cutesy baby products out there. I would be tempted to buy more than the necessities.
I wanted to create a challenge for us that would help limit our spending and force us out of impulse baby purchases. After researching prices on diapers, formula (plan to breastfeed but just in case), baby gear, clothes, and all the gadgets and gizmos. I came up with a challenge to present to my husband.
Baby Budget Challenge
Our Baby Budget Challenge is to spend less than $1000 on all baby purchases in the first year. This includes all baby products bought to prepare for baby and all products bought before our little guy has his first birthday.
This challenge will not include maternity expenses or postpartum care expenses for me. However, it will include all items for baby from car seat, crib, diapers, wipes, breast feeding supplies, baby food, stroller, clothes, Christmas presents, medical expenses, baby & me classes, etc. However, it will not include saving for college. We hope to save more than $1000 in the first year for college!
How Will We Spend Only $1000?
If you are a parent who spends over $100 just to feed and diaper your little one each month you are probably thinking “yeah, okay Nichole you are so ignorant when it comes to baby expenses.” You would be right. I am quite ignorant when it comes to baby expenses. Although, I have done my research and I do have a plan!
Buy Gently Used
We will buy many of our baby items gently used. You can find many baby items that look brand new for a fraction of the initial price tag. However, there are a few items we will probably pass on buying used such as a crib mattress and car seat.
Graciously Accept Gifts
Our family is beyond excited about having a baby in the family. We are thrilled to be so lucky to have our little one be so loved before he even arrives. Several members of our family have already given or offered to give us certain gifts and gently used hand-me-downs. We humbly and graciously accept gifts.
Buy Only Basic Essentials
Yes, there are some really, and I mean REALLY cute baby items out there on the market. Plus there are some amazing high-tech baby gadgets that come with pretty hefty price tags. Although some of these items would be adorable or maybe even make our life a little easier. Babies really only need the basics. Food, a Safe Environment and Love.
I know we will buy a few things to make our life easier and probably a few things because they are “cute” but our ultimate goal is to buy only things the baby needs and will use.
Earn Gift Cards & Cash Back
From the beginning thoughts of starting a family, I have been trying to rack up gift cards and cash back to pay for future baby expenses. I initially got the idea when I read Retired By 40’s “1 Year of Free Baby Wipes” post in February about how she paid for all baby wipes using Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks. I knew if I took it more extreme, I could do better than free wipes!
Here are the main websites I have been and will be earning gift cards and cash back to pay for baby items:
Swagbucks: Is a website where you earn points or “swagbucks” numerous ways (online searches, shopping, surveys, watching videos, etc.) and then you can redeem them for a variety of gift cards. I will be writing a post in the near future on how I have racked up enough points for $200 in Amazon Gift Cards. I have opted for Amazon gift cards because Amazon’s prices for baby gear are extremely competitive and they offer a 15% off baby registration completion discount and 20% off diapers for Prime Members.
Inbox Dollars: Is a website that offers cash back for tasks such as checking your email, completing surveys, internet searches and watching videos. So far, I have earned just under $40 and hope to have earned near $60 before baby arrives. I plan to use this cash to purchase some gently used baby items.
Inbox Pounds: For those of you in the United Kingdom, this is the sister website of Inbox Dollars. I find it more difficult to accumulate cash back only because there seems to be fewer options to earn cash back. Although, since my IP address is in the UK I tend to qualify for more surveys through this site. I should accumulate £20 (minimum cash out) just before baby arrives. I plan to use this cash back to purchase a month’s worth of diapers.
I-Say: Is a survey website that has both US and UK versions. I used it in the U.S. many years ago and now use the U.K. version while living in the U.K. I have found it to be my favorite survey site that is available to me while living in England. I favor this one because I qualify for majority of surveys and even when I do not qualify it at least gives me some points. The surveys are easy to understand, interesting topics, and can be completed in a rather short amount of time. I typically earn a £10 Amazon gift card every 2-3 months, taking 2-3 surveys/week. So far I have earned £60 (~$90) in Amazon gift cards. I plan to use these gift cards to buy the last minute essentials before baby arrives.
Ebates: Is a cashback website where you earn cashback with your online purchases. Majority of our baby purchases will be online and so we may as well be earning cash back from our purchases. For now, we will be using the cash back from Ebates to apply to our mortgage. However, once we are debt free (baby should be ~6 months old) we will use our cash back from Ebates for baby expenses.
Win Baby Products
A couple months before we were pregnant, I began entering into baby product giveaways on various blogs and websites. The good news is I have had a few wins! Next week, I will share details of my wins, including my favorite and the BEST pregnancy pillow EVER and an AWESOME gift card!
Tracking Our Progress
You will soon see “Baby Budget” in the menu at the top of the page (or upper right if you are on a phone). Here you will be able to find all our latest progress with our “$1000 Baby Budget.” I intend to share our “Minimalist Baby Wishlist,” a running total of our spent vs. remaining budget, baby products won, gifts, and what we have bought. I have not quite decided how often I will update these pages, but most likely monthly and possibly weekly once we are closer to the baby’s due date when our purchases will increase dramatically.
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What Do You Think?
Is our “$1000 Baby Budget Challenge” achievable?
How could we stretch our baby budget more?
Is there anything we could add to enhance following this challenge?
If you have a baby or child are you willing to join the $1000 Budget Challenge with us?