Baby on Board! New Parents Dish on ‘The Best Baby Money Decision I Ever Made’

Christine Ryan Jyoti

ThinkstockPhotos-474491668When baby makes three, all kinds of seeming “must-haves” can take a toll on your bottom line—from hand-knit nursery blankets to souped-up strollers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average middle-income family shells out about $13,000 in just the first year of a baby’s life.

So how can moms and dads navigate the budget-busting new-baby minefield?

By going to the source for nuggets of advice: parents who’ve been there, done that—and spent that.

First-time parents like the moms and dads we’re profiling have made decisions early on that are paying off now … and for years to come. 

Christie Gettler Family-1“We Buy Cloth Diapers”

Christie Gettler, 27, cofounder, Rhode Island
“When we learned that we were pregnant, my husband, Matt, and I had student loans, wedding debt, and astronomical monthly rent payments to make.

Financially speaking, it was not an opportune time to be procreating.

I wanted to use cloth diapers for financial and environmental reasons, but Matt wasn’t convinced. So our deal was that we’d try it, and if it became too much, we’d move on.

Now he’s a bigger advocate than I am!

Our stash of 40 washable diapers, 70 cloth wipes, two pail liners, and three wet bags cost less than $450—and will last us until Max, 1, gets potty trained. (And in terms of effort, we do a dedicated load of laundry every three to four days.)

Compare that to the cost of disposables over two and a half years (roughly $2,500), plus wipes, and we’ll save about $2,000. When you add in any future children, the cash really piles up.

Whenever we go past the diaper aisle at the grocery store, we have the satisfaction of saying, ‘At least we don’t have to spend money on that.’ ”

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  • amhp2

    “Approximately 50% of my paycheck would have gone to cover care for our son” Why do we assume that women are someone solely responsible for funding childcare when they have a partner? I have never heard anyone say that a father’s paycheck or labor is responsible for childcare. Why not calculate what percent of both parent’s paychecks would go to cover care when deciding? Childcare is no more the sole responsibility of women than the mortgage or the cable bill or groceries. I understand how difficult it is to figure out how to provide for children, but saddling women with the burden is ridiculous and also insulting to the father. The family’s income (both partners) should be considered responsible for ALL the family’s expenses….including childcare.

    • phdinprecarity


      I also really question how much this woman will “save” her family when she’s probably giving up a lot of money in employer-matched retirement savings.

  • Betty

    Would’ve been nice to see a single parent or non tradional family in the mix.