how to raise a baby without breaking the bank

I’m so excited to be blog-swapping with Kelli from More Bang for Your  Bucks today! She’s has a wonderful site that focuses on frugal living, family, food, and more! Be sure and stop in for a visit if you can, I know you’ll love it! You can also check out my tips for becoming debt-free over there!

Hi y'all! I am so thrilled to be posting for Mandy today. I instantly loved her blog from the minute I began reading a few months ago. If you're new, take some time and stick around for a few minutes. I think you'll love what you find!

I blog over at More Bang for your Bucks. There, I explore different ways to save money, as well as a hodgepodge of other topics- such as family, Scripture, and food. :) I wasn't lying when I said hodgepodge!

One of my favorite ways to save money is by using dollar stores. Originally, that is what my blog's primary focus was, but I have since branched out. Still, I love getting a good deal and I have found many of them at Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, as well as the "Dollar Spots" in stores such as Target. Today, I am going to share with you a few ways to raise children more inexpensively using these great stores!

  • What is the first thing most women want to buy when they *suspect* that they maybe, might, possibly be pregnant? A pregnancy test! And you can spend a fortune on them, or you can march right down {or drag yourself, if you really are pregnant!} to Dollar Tree and buy one for a buck. And they work! As I mentioned here, they either accurately diagnosed or confirmed all three of my pregnancies. :)

So now that you know you're pregnant, there are LOTS of other expenses that can quickly add up. {especially when you're a cash-paying maternity patient like moi!} So how else can you save money?

  • First of all, if at all possible, breastfeed your baby! I know this is a sensitive subject- I have really good friends who really wanted to but just couldn't- but it is so good for baby, for you, and it is free! With our first two, we supplemented a tiny bit with formula, but our third hasn't had formula since she was about a month old {mostly because she won't take a bottle!} and there is no telling how much money that has saved us. If you are not able to actually nurse, I suggest buying a high-quality breast pump. Even if you spend $200 on the pump, this will not compare to the money you'd spend on formula! {Also, ask around about borrowing one. I was able to do this, only buying a few replacement parts.} Again, I know that nursing isn't possible for everyone. It took me 5 weeks to get my firstborn to nurse- because he was sent to the NICU at one day old- and I was thisclose to giving up. But I can honestly say I am glad I stuck with it.
  • Secondly, shop around for the best deal on diapers. I know, I know cloth are cheapest and I kinda wish I had started from the get go. But as I mentioned, our first was in the NICU at birth, and in the hospital off and on for the first 5 months of his life, and cloth diapers were the furthest thing from my mind! Plus, we had a huge, huge stash of disposables from our showers. I wrote a whole post here about shopping around for the best price. Spending a few extra minutes each time can really save you money! I like the AmazonMom option- you get free shipping and there are usually coupons to use as well.
    • {Another suggestion- if you are having more than one baby shower, you can kindly request that one be a diapers/wipes shower. My youngest is almost 10 months old and I have bought 2 packages of diapers so far! We went 6-7 months with the other two without buying a single diaper. Although the 5,000 newborn-sized outfits you'll get at a traditional shower are cute, you probably don't need that many. But you will need 5,000 diapers! :)}
  • Lastly, you probably want your little one to look cute, but have you seen the prices of some baby outfits out there? I am all for dropping a little extra cash for a special event {coming-home outfit, Easter, Christmas, etc.} but for the most part, I only buy super-cheap clothing for my little ones. They simply outgrow it too fast to spend a fortune! But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. :)
    • The best places I've found to buy baby/children's outfits: clearance racks at Children's Place, Carter's, sometimes Target although their clearance is sometimes still too high for me, and garage sales. Goodwill and consignment shops, while great for adult clothing, seem a little over-priced to me for children's clothes. You can read more here on this topic.

I got this adorable outfit at Dollar General for $3.50!

This outfit:: Shirt- Children's Place last summer (I was pregnant with her!) $1;

shorts, hand-me-downs from her sister: $2 from Wal-Mart in 2007. :)

Bathing suit: also a hand-me-down from her sister, $1 from Dollar Tree in 2007.

  • And now for my final suggestion- I looked through hundreds and hundreds of pictures from this summer for more examples of great clothing buys, but honestly about 90% of our clothes are hand-me-downs from generous cousins and friends. If you know someone who had a child the same gender as yours and they are done having children, it doesn't hurt to ask if they'd be willing to sell you a large bag to you for a few bucks. They'd probably be happy to see them being used again!`

I have really enjoyed sharing with you today. I love helping others learn to save money! You don't have to follow all of my own personal "rules" for cheap baby raising, but the point is to get you thinking about how to save money for important things, like college! {oh, my!}

Oh, and don't forget to stop by my blog today to read Mandy's post about becoming debt-free!

Thanks, Kelli! I love those tips- I can’t believe I’ve never thought of the dollar store as a clothing option! I can’t wait to see what I find there! Thanks again! Don’t forget to check out Kelli’s big giveaway while you’re there! You won’t want to miss it!

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