March 2020: Monthly Baby Spending – $86 Saved

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March saw very little baby spending due to the current pandemic. If you’re interested in more representative months they’re available here: Monthly Baby Spending Reports.

In March 2020, we spent $45.91 on baby items.

I also highlight how much we save off retail by opting for secondhand goods. This month, I made a thrift store trip before social distancing, but otherwise have stopped getting anything non-essential.

That one thrift trip saved roughly $52.57 compared to retail prices, and I also resold one item bringing our total savings to $85.82. 

I started tracking our all baby expenses and gear when I was stuck on bed rest. The goal of these monthly baby spending reports is to give an honest view of how much a family spends on their baby each month, as baby expenses include more than just diapers and formula.

I also highlight the savings potential of buying used. With each recap, I detail how items are working for us, the pros and cons 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. 

Here is an overview of our baby spending for March:

Monthly baby spending report for march 2020

DIAPERS – Spent $0, Saved $0

No diapers or wipes for us this month.

I grabbed about ~120 diapers towards the end of February when I first got a hint that people may be panic buying because of the pandemic (had a very confusing middle-of-the-day midweek Costco trip which was SO packed and everyone had toilet paper, little did I know what was to come!).

I had been trying to keep from having much of a diaper stockpile on hand since it felt like we were changing sizes pretty unpredictably. Now that we are in size 3’s and the weight range is bigger, I have less worries about stocking up.

I’d save on average, we use about 5-6 diapers a day, so about 40 diapers in a week. I’ll pepper in a cloth diaper about 3-4 times a week (I picked up some cloth diapers in January and February).

FORMULA / FEEDING – Spent $38.98, Saved $0

I bought 2 containers of Costco’s Kirkland brand formula this month. In March, our baby was mostly eating 30oz/day, but he stop gaining weight so we’ve gone up to 35oz/day at the end of the month. One container lasts us approximately 10 days.

As I’ve previously detailed in my analysis of whether Costco baby items are cheaper, using Kirkland brand saves us approximately $63/month compared to Similac, and $13/month compared to Target-brand formula. 

Monthly Baby Spending Infographic

CLOTHES – Spent $6.93, Saved $52.57

Clothes are the main monthly baby spending to report this month. I made one trip to the thrift story before we started social distancing. We transitioned into 9 month clothes a little earlier than expected so I wanted a few more sleepers for chillier Spring days.

I picked up 3 long sleeve onesies (two with grandparent graphics and a Halloween one), 1 toddler size fleece sleeper, 1 terry cloth sleeper, 1 Burt’s Bees sleeper and 1 SwaddleMe newborn sleep pod.

Overall, the Burt’s Bees was the best find. It is really, really soft and well-fitted compared to other brands we have.

We also like the Carter’s terry cloth fabric sleepers since they’re a good in-between weight for chilly but not cold weather and the fit seems more forgiving than fleece. This one was particularly nice because it’s little feet looked like dinosaur feet and the cuteness kills me every time.

As for the Halloween onesie, I like to pick up holiday outfits out of season when they are easier to find and cheaper.

The newborn sleep pod is too small for our baby now but we loved the one we had when he was little. It was only 50 cents so I picked it up in case we find ourself with another newborn one day. It’s easy to store and I know I can resell sleep gear easily if we don’t end up needing it.

GEAR – Spent $0, Saved $0

No gear this month. The pandemic has made me thankful that I have been working ahead so much on possible baby items we’d need.

The only item that I felt like we could have used this month that I hadn’t gotten yet was a small cup to practice open cup drinking once we started solids. I had gotten some small cups in January but they turned out to be too big for tiny baby hands (they’re ~10oz for reference).

I am pretty pleased with myself for figuring out an easy alternative that we already had around the house – bottle lids!

The Dr. Brown bottle lids work perfectly for this stage and we definitely didn’t need a whole different cup for this purpose. I recommend giving this a try before buying a cup new.

MEDICAL – Spent $0

No medical spending this month.

RESALE – Recouped $18

I resold a Zipadee Zip that I had bought at a huge kids consignment sale event. I knew Zipadee Zips had a good resale value so I grabbed them when I saw them.

I had tried posting them on a facebook Zipadee Zip resale group but didn’t want to deal with selling them separately with multiple post office trips. I ended up selling this one locally and still have two to sell eventually.

Total Monthly Baby Spending – Spent $45.91, Saved $85.82

Obviously our monthly baby spending really isn’t the big theme of this month when we are all living in these crazy times.

I have been picking up baby items in advance of when we’d need them as this makes it easier to get a good deal and avoid in-a-pinch buying new. I’m now thankful that I’ve been doing this as society has gone into hibernation with COVID-19.

I know that big box stores and Amazon are still operational, but we personally don’t feel like many of the baby items we are currently using are ‘essential’ enough to warrant purchasing at the moment.

For example, we’ve been using a silicone bib we were given all. the. time. but I wouldn’t order one from Amazon right now if we didn’t have it already since I don’t want to add to their current workload and employees possible exposure.

No one knows how long this will be our situation but looking into the next months, I am anticipating only purchasing diapers and formula, or picking up something we could really use in the neighborhood if it can be left outside and sterilized (when it would save us a store trip).

How are you handling baby things in these uncharted waters? Obviously there are far more pressing concerns but you do still have to cloth a baby and teach them how to do things like eat, you know?

The little life things don’t go away under the weight of greater troubles, unfortunately. Depending on how long this goes on, we’ll keep reevaluating how we proceed with the baby and will share accordingly.

Caveat to this monthly baby spending report: These 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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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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