Jan 2020: Monthly Baby Costs – Saved $663.91

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Back again reporting on all our monthly baby costs in a Monthly Baby Spending Report. In January 2020, we spent $108.97 on baby items. We saved roughly $663.91 compared to retail prices by getting items secondhand. 

I started tracking our pregnancy and baby costs while on modified bed rest.  The goal of these monthly reports is to add transparency to how much a family spends on their baby in detail, outside the obvious costs like formula and diapers.

I also emphasize the financial benefits of going secondhand. Each recap includes reviews of items, benefits of getting certain items used, etc. 

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. 

Let’s check out an overview of our baby spending for the month.

DIAPERS – $18 spent, $74.43 saved

We did not spend much on diapers this month as we were given disposable diapers through a neighborhood Facebook group. The only diaper purchases I made this month were a couple cloth diapers in order to experiment with casual cloth diapering.

I like the idea of cloth diapering but exclusive cloth diapering wasn’t a good fit for us (and by ‘fit’ I mean my partner gave them a hard veto). My hope is that me doing very part-time cloth diapering will fit easily in our life and reduce the number of diapers we send to the landfill slightly.

I have had mixed luck so far in terms of leaks; but otherwise, it hasn’t been as hard as I expected. It hasn’t added to our laundry and I have so far been able to time it where I only have to deal with pee diapers.

Disposable Diapers – $0

I did not purchase any disposable diapers this month but was given over 80 Huggies diapers through a neighborhood Facebook group.

Cloth Diapers – $18

I got three secondhand FuzziBunz diapers and microfiber inserts.

First, getting the microfiber inserts used was a mistake. Like a lot of lessons in parenting, it took everyone ending up covered in pee a couple times before I learned that microfiber inserts loose absorbency over time and are basically useless when bought secondhand. I now stuff the diapers with flat diapers instead.

A big sell on this lot was their brand new elastics, which should give the diapers better longevity and fit over time. Still, I haven’t had great luck with the FuzziBunz diapers.

The Fuzzibunz diapers seem to have a steeper learning curve than the other cloth diapers I’ve bought. That said, they are by far the softest inside and even when leaking the soft layer next to the skin seems basically dry.

This was my first attempt at buying cloth diapers and in general, I think I overpaid by about dollar per diaper. I’ve since gotten other types of cloth diapers a little cheaper. The pockets are nice because they are soft against the skin but stuffing them is a little harder than I would have thought.

[EDIT: Since writing this, I started using cloth diapers full time and wrote a whole guide on buying cloth diapers used.]

I also picked up an All-In-One cloth diaper and that is definitely easier than the pockets, but takes longer to dry. The brand I got was BBCDC, which seems to no longer be active. I estimated savings from a different, reasonably priced All-In-One on Amazon.

Wipes – $0

No wipes purchased this month. We were still working through a few packs we got while I was pregnant and a 3-pack we were given by friends. We don’t use a lot of wipes because we don’t use them for pee-only diaper changes. Skipping the wipes for pee helps us reduce skin irritation and diaper rash.

Infographic of monthly baby costs and savings - January.

FORMULA / FEEDING – $49.97 spent, $26.65 saved

I bought 2 containers of Costco’s Kirkland brand formula this month. Generally, we use about 3 containers of formula in a month (30oz/day). By using Kirkland brand, we save approximately $63/month compared to Similac, and $13.50/month compared to Target-brand formula. To learn more about possible Costco savings for baby items, check out this post: Is Costco Cheaper for Baby Items?

I also got some feeding gear this month. We purchased some size 3 Dr. Brown’s nipples and were also given some by someone in a Facebook group.

I got the nipples by asking a question about nipple size on a for sale listing on Facebook. Someone else in the group saw my question and responded that she had a nearly full box of size 3’s that her baby didn’t like that she gave me for free. I always recommend engaging with Facebook posts because you never know who may see your comment.

In addition, I picked up some free cups and baby utensils to prep for starting solid foods. I was hoping for 8oz sized cups for open cup drinking practice but the ones I got were 10oz and are too big for our baby at 6 months.

I got a handful of Munchkin spoons which we haven’t needed yet and two ChooMee baby starter spoons. We love love these starter spoons. We started giving them to our baby around 4-5 months to practice getting it to his mouth, and they have become a favorite chew toy. He’s also able to practice finding his gag reflex without the fear of choking on food. We’ve just started using them loaded with a little food and they hold on to food well.

CLOTHES – $51 spent, $299.92 saved

Our clothing expenses were higher this month than usual. It included two thrift store trips and visits to a large consignment event and Once Upon a Child. I was also given a couple fleece sleepers free from a neighbor through Facebook.

It was my first time in a Once Upon a Child and I went with one of the grandmothers. I picked up a few things that were $4, which is a couple bucks higher than thrift store prices. Having someone else shopping with me was a good reminder that sometimes I shouldn’t stress about an extra $2, which led to this trip being a little more expensive than my usual shopping ($19 total).

I got 10 onesies, including a mix of short-sleeved onesies, long-sleeved onesies and ‘my first’ holiday ones for Valentine’s Day and 4th of July. I also picked up two hooded fleece jumpsuits, one of which looked like a penguin and maybe was the best purchase I made all month. Our kid wore it to a wedding as his ‘tuxedo.’

I did two thrift trips totaling $16.50. Some highlights include finding the exact 3-piece outfit set we had just been given for Christmas that I was then able to return. I also found a like new Love to Dream swaddle that I flipped on Facebook, 6 sets of pjs, a couple bodysuits and two BabyGap outfits.

Lastly, I went to my first large kids consignment event. We mostly went to check it out but ended up finding 3 zipadee zip’s for an amazing price. I already resold one for $20 (responded to someone else’s ‘in search of’ post) and plan to sell the other two. I also picked up a St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween outfit, fleece pants, and a two-romper Cat & Jack set (I resold one).

The consignment sale was convenient if you have lots of things on your list but the range of prices was wide. Some items were listed at near retail prices. For those new to the baby resale market, I’d recommend doing some research on usual costs before hitting up a big swap event.

GEAR – spent $0, saved $262.91

Through FB group giveaways and curb alerts, I was able to pick up all the following baby gear for free:

  • Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up chair: We love this chair. Our baby isn’t able to sit up well yet but wants to be sitting up so this fills a specific function for us. It folds downs, is machine washable, and light and easily transported between rooms. I was specifically looking for something small that would be easy to bring in small spaces like the bathroom when we shower. The only issue I have with this is that it is a little hard to get a baby in and out of it, but not harder than it is to get out of a high chair.
  • Chicco C6 Umbrella stroller: I picked this up as a curb alert so we could each have a light stroller in our cars. We were able to take all the fabric parts off and run them through the wash. It involved taking out some screws but it was easy enough to do and put back together. Being able to wash it thoroughly in the washing machine was a big sell.
  • Fisher Price Jumperoo: I got this item when someone else posted an ‘in search of’ request and there were multiple available, so I expressed interest in the extra. We use the jumper for short period (<20 minutes) when we need to do something else. Our kid loves it but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend our model for people in small spaces or those looking for something light. I linked one that would have a smaller footprint in a room instead.
  • Water Table: I noticed last summer while watching Facebook groups that water tables seemed like a hot commodity when the weather warms up. I put it on my radar to try to find one in the winter to beat the summer rush. I searched local Facebook groups for old posts about water tables and found one from a few months earlier where the person who posted the ‘in search of’ water table request never responded. I replied to it and a table was still available for free.
  • Bath Toys – This lot included letter and number foam bath toys, and a few other small bath toys. I estimated savings only on the letters & numbers. I hadn’t given much thought to future bath times so these will be good to have on hand as a start.
  • Crib liners and changing pad liners – I wasn’t sure what these would be but I picked them up at the same time as the bath toys since no one else wanted them. They were a little thicker than I felt comfortable with for sleep at this age but I think they’ll be great for a toddler mattress. We use the changing pad liners regularly so we don’t have to change our changing pad cover as frequently.

MEDICAL – spent $0

No medical spending this month.

RESALE – $8 recouped

I resold a like-new Love to Dream swaddle I found on a thrift store trip. I don’t resell things I get directly from families for anything higher than what I paid but will resell from thrift and consignment to offset the time finding the items. Baby sleep items resell well in general so I felt fairly confident that I’d resell this easily.

Total Monthly Baby Costs – $109 Spent, $664 Saved

January had some big savings compared to retail from a couple big ticket items like the Zipadee Zips and the Jumperoo. The Sit-Me-Up chair and the penguin fleece jumpsuit brought us the most joy this month.

The Sit-Me-Up chair filled a specific, temporary need we had to contain the baby in a seated position (so he’d yell at us less) before he was able to sit himself. This type of item I feel is particularly great to get used because it isn’t a must have and has a short window of use, but having one has definitely improved our lives right now.

Caveat to this monthly baby costs report: These reports are as accurate as possible but my baby costs record keeping is not 100% perfect. Reported savings are estimated to the best of my ability. Sometimes I am unable to find exact item online, account for fluctuating sales, or remember exact details of 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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How I saved $664 on Baby Expenses in a Month

About the Author

Elizabeth Jon is a Ph.D. researcher whose work focuses on pregnancy and education. At Shoestring Baby, she uses her skills to research baby name trends, in-depth baby gear reviews & money savings ideas for parents.

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