The following is a guest post. If you are interested in guest posting please contact me for details.
In honor of Glen and his wife having their first child, I thought it would be appropriate to offer some useful tips on saving money in the first year of a child life. As a father of three young kids, I learned the hard way from some costly money mistakes. The one that jumps out at me, and still stings a little bit, is the purchase of a $350 Peg Perego stroller when a $35 umbrella stroller would have served us just fine. So with that in mind, here are a few easy ways for first time parents to reduce their costs.
Don’t Hire a Photographer
I have known many young couples who have hired an expensive professional photographer soon after their first child was born to take family portraits. We are talking about a $300 sitting fee in addition to the expensive individual prints. I totally understand the desire to capture the early moments of a child’s life, but the costs associated with a photographer can be avoided. For example, my wife and I have a good friend that is a talented amateur photographer who offered to help us take some photos with his SLR digital camera. We jumped all over his offer and saved a ton of money in the process. We ended up giving him a nice gift card to a local restaurant as our “thank you”.
If you don’t have a friend who can take pictures for you, use the photo department at your local department store. They typically offer money saving coupons for both the sitting fee and the photographs. We have done this in recent years with great success.
Buy Used Baby Gear When Possible
My wife and I have easily saved $1,000 over the years by purchasing items used versus buying brand new. Shop at yard sales, thrift stores, and online auctions sites like ebay and Craiglist to score bargains on strollers, books, bedroom furniture, outside toys like wagons and play structures, and gently used clothing. TIP: Never buy an infant car seat or restraint device used as the integrity of the seat can be compromised when involved in an automobile accident. Always buy new. Conversely, never attempt to sell an infant seat after your child has outgrown it.
Needs Vs. Wants
The biggest money mistake my wife and I made when expecting our first child was buying or registering for every little gadget and gizmo that we thought we might possibly need. As it turned out, we didn’t use many of the items we bought or we already owned a product that did the job just as well. Instead, I recommend expecting parents to only buy the essentials to start and once the child comes they’ll quickly be able to distinguish between needs and wants and spend money accordingly.
Having your first child is a very exciting time. It can also be a very stressful time financially and emotionally as you adjust to some major changes in your lifestyle. I remember coming from the hospital with this tiny, helpless, human being praying there was an instructional manual attached somewhere. Hopefully these tips will help alleviate some of the financial pressures associated with your first child, or any child for that matter.
What other opportunities for savings would you add to my post? I look forward to your comments and thanks to Glen for the opportunity to guest post.
Kyle James operates a website called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which specializes in helping consumers save with online coupons, printable coupons, and frugal living tips to help save money in everyday life. He also has developed a free iPhone app so you save money with coupons on the go.