Monday, November 3rd, 2008...9:39 pm

Frugal Baby: Special Edition – Expanding the family

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Baby and Big Sister

Creative Commons License photo figure credit: Yogi

As I enter my third trimester of pregnancy it is time to look at the family finances and the implications on our budget of having two children. How much did it actually cost to have our daughter? I think we did well on the financial front and tried to be frugal parents. In fact, we only attributed $818.38 directly to Daughter #1 in her first year. So then the next question is how much will it cost to expand the family? We saw how much it cost to have 2 dogs! Hopefully in the first year the 2nd baby won’t cost nearly so much. At least we have health insurance for the babies!

I read a blog recently and was shocked. Connie says in the post that they had spent $14,000 from conception to birth. I thought this amount was exorbitant. Read the breakdown of costs here. I can’t imagine spending that much on our first child, and I know the second will not cost that much either. Luckily for us we only had to pay one co-pay for all our prenatal care. A lot of the big ticket items are things we got from other people or things we will be reusing for the second baby, including nursery furniture, maternity clothes and diapers (we are using cloth). Diapers alone cost us a total of $156.78, though this doesn’t count the cost of water and soap. However, I know our high efficiency washer and dryer are not that costly to run

Some ways we have cut down on spending will continue with a second child, like using cloth diapers. This will save on the recurring diaper costs most parents face. We are also starting potty training early and have had some great successes. I would really like to only have one child in diapers at a time even if they are cloth! I do intend to breastfeed our next child. Not having to buy formula certainly was helpful in staying on budget. I also made my own baby food from normal foods that I would be buying for us (pureed vegetables, fruits, etc.) I have all the equipment, which was actually a very small to negligible start-up cost, consisting of covered ice cube trays, ziplock bags and a food processor that we already owned.

One huge consideration for us is how 2 children will change the dynamic for me and working from home. I anticipate it being fairly easy in the beginning when the baby will be napping frequently. After that it may be very difficult to line up naps in order to continue to get 2 – 2 1/2 hrs during the day and at first the baby will not have such an early bedtime and may require my attention in the evenings when I get a lot of work done now. There are a few options I can look into. Options like grandparents coming 1 day per week for a few hours to help out or mommy’s helpers. There is also a 9am-1pm nursery school up the street. If I can send my daughter there a few times a week I might be able to work while the baby naps as I did with our first. Of course this hinges on me being able to find hours to work, see my other recent post.

It will definitely be a big change. I suppose we won’t know how it will go until it happens. Until then we will run the budget numbers with and without my full income to see where we stand. I’m guessing we won’t be living on Ramen Noodles either way, but we might be taking some tips from some of the frugal mom bloggers, like “I’m an organzing Junkie” and “Simple Mom” out there and eating some vegetarian meals a few times a week to save money and round out our week of meals with less expensive options!

Let’s hear from our subscribers. If you have more than one child, how do you juggle your responsibilities and how to do you cut costs as your little mouths to feed, cloth and entertain increase?


  • Your baby might have an earlier bedtime than you think. I thought 8 was fine, but she was terribly cranky and took forever to go down. Then someone finally clued me in to look for the baby’s “I’m tired” clues and it turned out I was keeping her up waaaaay too long. I have the feeling many parents do this as well. I was helped out by the book Healthy sleep habits, Healthy Baby (or something like that) by Wiesbluth. (And ended up incredibly lucky, in a way, with a 4:30 bedtime. That’s right–my kid went to bed for the night at 4:30. Which also sucked because we (DH & I) went no where for over a year together….) But we did have a healthy, happy baby by making sure she go the amount of sleep she really needed.

  • Great comment AnnMarie. We read that book too (1 year too late!!) and it was a life saving for us. Our daughter is still sleeping 14+ hours on most days at 22 mos and is a different child when she doesn’t. I’m looking forward to getting started on the right foot with the new baby and making sure they get the sleep they need from the beginning. We like to entertain, so I have no problem with having people come to us in order to try to maintain a schedule, but still have some social life!

  • I think you’ve worked very intelligently on your budget. Keep up the good work! Remember to keep in mind long term planning as often there are INCREASED EXPENSES AS BABY GROWS: Groceries, DIAPERS, Doctors, clothes, toys, babysitting, child care, etc. You need to be very clear on your expenses that you have now and project how they might change so you have a plan. You will know what you can spend. A few money saving tips: swap babysitting with a neighbor or a friend who also has children, join a mom’s club — they sponsor lots of free and low-cost activities plus you meet a lot of people. Consider a used pump or other supplies on eBay.

  • Great links, thanks!

  • SFCFP:

    Thanks for highlighting a number of items we need to keep in mind for the future — as well as a number of tips for the nearer term. We’re already got a number of these items covered: mom’s club, low cost town sponsored activities, already have a pump, etc.

  • boy, where did you learn writing?