When you are pregnant and planning the arrival of your first child, it may remind you of planning for another event -- your wedding, at least where the cost is concerned.
According to the Canadian Finance Blog, online at canadianfinanceblog.com /2009/10/13/how-much-does-raising-a-child-cost.htm, it will cost $182,190 from birth to age 18 to raise the average child.
This, of course, is a number you can plan with. The first year includes food costs, whereas you can subtract if you are a mother who breastfeeds the first year. Also the costs can vary if one parent stays home to be the main caregiver.
I've even seen numbers as high as $300,000 to raise a child from birth to 18 years. Yikes! Well, there are things that you can do to save money, or even try things for free.
1. Diapers. I'll save the real debate between cloth and disposable for another column, but in sheer costs alone, cloth diapers, including laundering costs will pay for themselves over the cost of disposable diapers in six months, hands down. So if you invest in cloth diapers and then reuse them for your second or even third child, you're really laughing. Even if you're on your fourth child, buying cloth diapers will still save you bundles over disposable.
2. Breast feed. If I'm sounding a bit like I'm harping on the subject, well, I am, maybe just a bit. Nursing your baby is free, no need for bottles, or warmers or sterilizers. While the cost of powdered formula alone in the first year, not including bottles, nipples and other bottle-feeding paraphernalia, can cost around $2,000. Even if you just nurse the first six weeks, that will still give you some significant savings in formula.
3. Baby clothes swap. If you have friends, siblings who have had a child before you, ask if you can borrow their clothes. And then return the favour when someone has a baby after you. This can save you loads of money! Even toddlers need their clothes changed multiple times a day. Make sure you take care of those loaners though!
4. Free stuff and coupons. There is free stuff out there or at least coupons for discounts. One of my girlfriends even cut out coupons that she wasn't going to use and gave them to me. That sure helped a lot! For a free backpack style mini diaper bag full of samples, go to nestle.ca. Also if you do decide to use disposables, you can get great tips, as well as coupons for diapers and wipes, mailed to you by visiting pampers.ca and huggies.com.
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week inthe Community News.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 8, 2010 A7