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How much does a baby cost per month? To help answer that question, I report all our baby expenses at the end of each month. In February 2020, we spent $119.33 on baby items.
I also highlight how much we saved by using secondhand baby gear when possible. This month, we saved roughly $240.16 compared to retail prices.
I’ve tracked nearly all our baby and pregnancy spending, starting when I had too much time on my hands during bed rest.
My hope with these monthly reports is to give a detailed snapshot of how much a family spends on their baby.
I also highlight the financial benefits of going secondhand. With each recap, I detail how items are working for us, the pros and cons of getting certain items used, etc.
Below you can find some of my baby expense reports from other months. The full list of reports is available here: Monthly Baby Spending Report.
- Nov. 2019 Baby Costs: How I Saved $622 in a Month
- Jan. 2020 Baby Spending: How I Save $664 on Baby Stuff
- May 2020 Baby Expenses – $96 Saved
These savings would not be possible without the generosity of others, who took the time to pass along their used items instead of throwing them away. While the environmental and financial impacts of finding used goods are obvious, the strengthened connection to my local community has been a much appreciated bonus.
Here is an overview of our baby spending in February:
DIAPERS – Spent $41.99, Saved $82.25
This was a big diaper month for us.
Our baby diaper cost per month is usually much lower but this month I bought both disposable diapers and some cloth diapers to try out. We primarily use disposable diapers but I’m trying to rotate in a handful of cloth diapers each week to reduce how many diapers we are sending to the landfill.
It is not a significant amount for sure, but I figure every bit counts. There is some debate on whether cloth diapers are better environmentally because of the increased water consumption, but I’m able to wash ours with our regular laundry after a quick sink rinse. I also only purchase secondhand cloth diapers.
With how (in)frequently we are mixing in cloth diapers, I am not sure I’ll even break even on the cloth diaper costs (my cloth diapers costs were pretty high last month). For me, the benefit of getting cloth diapers was environmental rather than economical.
With the current state of the world, I’m now also glad my cloth diaper curiosity had me stock up prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus. I am hoping that peppering in cloth diapers helps us stretch out how often we need to buy more disposables. If there was a diaper shortage down the road, we’d have less worries.
When I was at Aldi yesterday, they did not have any size 3 diapers. While I’m sure they’ll get more in soon, it is a relief to not have our store trips, with their inherent exposure risk, solely dependent on diapers. In more normal times, having a couple cloth diapers seems handy for when you don’t realize you’ve run low on diapers too.
Disposable Diapers – $16.99 (~6 cents/diaper)
I bought two Up & Up jumbo packs in February. The first was a resale posted on Facebook for Up&Ups for $5. This was a great deal and I was very surprised when the two other people ahead of me in the dibs line fell through.
Since the package was pristine and Target is easy for diaper exchanges, I decided to swap it for a smaller size so we didn’t have to store the bigger size for so long. When I was doing the swap, Target was running a special where you got a $10 gift card when you bought 2 jumbo packs of diapers.
I had only seen this run on name brand diapers before and not on Target brand so I decided to take advantage. Honestly, I think it may have been a mistake because the tag was only on the size 3’s but customer service honored it no problem.
While the price for these diapers was great, over half off usual retail price, I’m disappointed with the redesigned Up & Up diapers.
We really liked the previous Up & Up diapers and I had no idea they had changed when I bought these. They don’t fit well and we started getting frequent blowouts and leaks.
At first, I thought our kid had changed when we started getting blowouts, but after trying other diaper brands I am convinced it’s the redesign. They also fit much smaller than competitor diapers of the same size. If you use Target brand diapers, I’d recommend trying a smaller pack if you haven’t bought them recently.
Cloth Diapers – $6
Of the cloth diapers I’ve gotten, these are my favorite. I wrap the insert with a flat and simply lay them on the cover. It’s easy and I’ve had the best luck with leaks so far. Hemp inserts are also supposed to last longer than the microfiber inserts I mistakenly bought before.
Related Post: How to Buy Secondhand Cloth Diapers
I’ve gotten cloth diapers now from three different people (see Jan. 2020’s report for the other purchases) and each time, they’ve been generic posts about having cloth diapers but don’t give any specifics about what they have, prices, or even if they are selling vs. giving them away.
Not sure if this was random chance or a common practice in the cloth diaper resale market. This makes it harder to gauge a good price of used cloth diapers, but I felt good about $2 a diaper, especially since they were new with tags.
Wipes – $19 (~2 cents/wipe)
I bought Kirkland wipes because I was at Costco and didn’t want to make another stop. You can find slightly cheaper store-brand wipes at Target (.016 cents/wipe) and Wal-Mart (.015 cents/wipe) vs. Costco’s .021 cents/wipe. And at those stores you don’t HAVE to buy 900 of them at once.
Related Post: Is Costco Cheaper for Baby Products?
Compared to Target, I spent $4.59 more on 900 wipes by getting them at Costco. That said, Costco baby wipes are made of natural fibers so I am okay with the extra costs.
For more on what baby wipes are made of, check out this post: How to Use Fewer Baby Wipes
FORMULA / FEEDING – spent $59.67
I bought 3 containers of Costco’s Kirkland brand formula this month. Our baby eats 30oz/day, so one container lasts us approximately 10 days.
As I’ve previously detailed, using Kirkland brand saves us approximately $63/month compared to Similac, and $13.50/month compared to Target-brand formula.
CLOTHES – spent $0
No clothes purchased this month.
GEAR – spent $13.19, saved $157.91
Here’s a rundown of the baby gear I bought this month:
- Pacifiers – Pacifiers are something that I don’t get used. They take a lot of wear and tear, and degrade over time.
- Expired car seat– The car seat itself doesn’t have value since it is expired (and car seats are on my list of things that I don’t buy used); however, I plan to use this car seat for the Target car seat trade-in event. Assuming we get a car seat that is about $140, this will be about $28 in savings.
- 5 Crib sheets – I posted a request for used crib sheets in preparation for daycare and one person gave me 5 well loved sheets. I don’t think we will need all 5 so I’ll probably pass one or two sets on down the road.
- Baby leash – We are a house divided on using a baby leash. I am for it, my partner, less so. I was leashed as a baby and three decades later my mom still revels in telling the story about the time I freed not only myself but another baby from their leash — a tiny savior! I wasn’t the first to respond to this item but I expressed interest if the first person fell through. I’m surprised how often things fall through, especially in the hyper-local groups where everything is around the corner so always express interest even if you’re not first in line.
- Pressure-mounted baby gate – Planning ahead for when the baby is mobile. In order to allow time to find items, I try to anticipate ahead at least a few months when looking for deals. Needing something at the last minute leaves us more at risk of having to get something new. I am also glad I have been working ahead on upcoming baby needs given the current pandemic. Many of our facebook swap groups have ceased exchanging items to help flatten the curve.
- Baby sunshade tent – A splurge but my pale, pale skin deserves it. I haven’t seen many of these go by and my worry about sun exposure, for myself and now for the kid, is constant. There are larger sun shade tents that would better fit a baby + an adult on Amazon for not much more than I paid for this one (such as this one) but I liked that the baby one was so light and wasn’t buying new.
- 2 Munchkin Miracle 360 cups – Got these in preparation for starting open cup drinking, per the recommendation of Feeding Littles. I haven’t seen these listed secondhand often in our area so I was excited to get these.
MEDICAL – spent $6.49
Medical supplies are something we buy new. This month we picked up Infant Tylenol, on the recommendation of our pediatrician.
RESALE – $2 recouped
I resold one romper that I got in a used bundle. I sold it for what I paid for it. I found listings where it sold for more on Poshmark but I didn’t feel like the hassle.
I am considering whether I should start trying Poshmark in the future for good thrift finds (note: I only resell thrift/consignment items for higher than purchase price, not items I get directly from other local families).
Total Baby Costs Per Month – Spent $119.33, Saved $240.16
February felt like a pretty average month in terms of spending and savings. Looking ahead, our next developmental milestones are introducing solid foods and our kid becoming mobile.
I’ve already gotten us basics for eating, but imagine we will have a better idea of gear once we are actually feeding. I have not gotten much to prep for a baby on the move so hopefully he stays a potato for a little longer.
I maintain a list of items I think we’ll need down the road and that helps me stay organized and mostly stay ahead on baby gear.
Caveat to this baby costs per month report: These baby costs per month reports are as accurate as possible but my baby costs record keeping is not always perfect. Reported savings are estimated are done to the best of my ability. Sometimes I am unable to find exact item online, account for fluctuating sales, or remember exact details budget entries with generic descriptions. These baby costs do not include gifts from friends and family. While gifts only account for a small part of the baby things we use (we requested no gifts), my reports may slightly underestimate baby expenses if you account for gifted items.
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