I love this blog! I read it all. the. time. I’m subscribed. I even comment! Anyway, Stacy and Barry run a great blog and are super-friendly. For example, yesterday she had a guest post on a crockpot meal and I asked the dumbest question ever, which was answered quite quickly and courteously even though it was plainly addressed in the article!
Anyway, planning for baby expenses is just smart. Especially for those of us (*ahem*) who are not so great at planning the actual babies. Barry addresses how to save for the hospital bill, but I wanted to add some other thoughts in there. While I acknowledge that not everyone wants to birth outside the hospital and that finances should NOT be the main reason you choose where to have your baby, it IS a consideration. So, here are my go-to money-saving tips for pregnancy/birth/babies. I’d go on to older kids, but, um, my ten-year-old is eating us out of everything, every day and my twelve-year-old grows every five minutes. Seriously! Oh yeah, back to the savings:
1. Have a Midwife-attended home birth. The cost savings is tremendous! Well, to be fair, my last hospital birth was twelve years ago. BUT, twelve years ago, her uncomplicated, vaginal birth cost $16,000. That was doctor fee and hospital fee. NOT prenatal or postpartum care. BIRTH ONLY. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of money! In comparison, two years later (in Florida), my prenatal/postpartum care and the birth of my son cost $2500. No, that is not a typo. $16,000 vs. $2500. In addition to being cheaper, midwifery care is whole-woman-centered as opposed to medical care, which is notoriously NOT whole or woman-centered. Home birth isn’t for everyone (although I believe every woman could benefit from a midwife’s loving presence), but it’s certainly worth checking into.
2. Decline routine tests, procedures and interventions. Many parents seem unaware that some tests, procedures and interventions are not required and/or may not be necessary depending on personal circumstances. In addition, each may come with its own set of risks/benefits. Taking some time to familiarize yourself with the routinesset forth by your care provider (and hospital or birth center if going that route). It is possible that there are some prenatal tests you can or want to opt out of. For example, during my third pregnancy, we chose not to have an ultrasound (without insurance, these can cost up to $700). We didn’t want to know the sex, had no risk factors for complications, knew that we would not choose termination if we were told our baby had a birth defect or other issue and felt that we’d prefer to look forward to meeting our baby instead of being concerned if we saw a potential problem, so we chose not to spend the money on that procedure. In addition, when thinking about your birth plan, keep in mind that each intervention will be an additional charge. An example of this would be an epidural analgesic, which (according to an online search) runs anywhere from $400 to $2000. If you have insurance, I suggest calling them beforehand to find out what/how much they cover.
2. Breastfeed. This is hands-down the most wonderful and most effective way to reduce the cost of having a baby. It really doesn’t get any better than this. Breastmilk is what babies are designed to eat and what mothers are designed to give. It doesn’t get much better than FREE. It costs you nothing. Lift up your shirt and bam! dinner time. Plus, it’s super easy. No bottles to clean, no formula to mix, no worries about whether the water is clean or the right temperature or whatever. As long as your breasts are there, your baby has his/her food source.
3. Cloth Diaper. I have now mostly cloth-diapered four kids. I added up once about how much I thought I spent on them and came up with less than $500. I did buy many diapers used, have been given some, etc., but still….how much do you spend on dipes at the store? Remember, that’s $500 for four kids! If you haven’t checked out cloth diapers lately, have a look…these aren’t your grandmothers diapers. These days, cloth is just as easy as disposable, plus there is pretty much a diaper out there for every taste/style. You can get ultra fancy or keep it minimal. I have a mixture of both, but I prefer any kind of all-in-one diaper. This just means that there is nothing to do but put the diaper on and take it off. Easy peasy. If you want to get really crazy, you can try EC. 😉
4. Buy used and wear hand-me-downs. Garage sales are your best friend when kids are involved. In case you didn’t know, they grow out of everything super fast, especially if you grow mega babies are born wearing 3-6 month clothing. Anyway, garage sales, thrift stores and friends with kids just a wee bit older than yours are three ways to keep the clothing costs down. Occasionally, I buy something that’s on sale cheaper than I could get it used, but the majority of my kids (and my) clothing are used. One great bonus of having three boys in a row is that the clothes that aren’t totally dilapidated get passed to the next one. I mentioned having friends in larger sizes and this has been a life-saver! We are involved in a homeschool playgroup, and have been blessed to have so many hand-me-downs. I always ask the group before I go out and buy something…often, someone has exactly what I need sitting around their house. Don’t be afraid to ask!
I’m sure there are many more things that can be done, but these are (in my humble opinion) the biggest money savers. Saving all that money means you have more to splurge on your baby carrier obsession….or is that just me? 😉