Author Topic: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low  (Read 2768 times)

Jedi_Monster

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Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« on: February 13, 2020, 02:21:28 PM »
Hey everyone

So I have my first newborn due mid March. Obviously everyone's first comments go along the lines of your life will change bla bla, and how expensive the kids are bla bla.
So far, we have almost everything we need including the "big ticket" items like car seat, stroller, pack n play... What we don't have is a crib since we have been reading on the Montessori child method.

I don't have the detailed list with me, but between all the items we have (some used and some new) we've only spent around $300 when they are worth well over $2000. It goes with out saying that a lot of the items were gifts, many others were gotten used at thrift shops or FB market, or were bought with gift cards from family members. We skipped on the baby shower cause I think it's silly and a waste of time and money, although the family got pissed at that decision.

We still have a few more items to get like baby wipes. We have enough disposable diapers for the first month, then we will switch to reusable which we already have and is included in the $300 already spent.

Getting to my point, what other recommendations do you have for raising a newborn thrifty and economically, yet providing everything he needs? I can post a detailed list of everything we have on what we spent if anyone is interested.

Thanks on the recommendations.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2020, 02:51:43 PM »
Newborns don't actually need much. Mostly mom! They really do eat, sleep, and poop for a while, so as long as you're set up to handle those, you're probably ok for a bit. Make sure you take care of yourself too.

Jedi_Monster

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2020, 03:01:11 PM »
That's what I've been trying the best, support the wife as much as I can.

trashtalk

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2020, 03:29:59 PM »
Newborns are cheap. It gets expensive when they're old enough to put toys down the toilet and coins in an important part of the car.

Cranky

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 10:37:46 AM »
My best hint is to remember that pretty much everything you buy for a baby is more for your convenience than something the baby needs, because they need to eat and sleep and be carried around and not fall down the stairs.

nereo

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 11:01:51 AM »
Little Kids don't have to be expensive, and newborns are downright cheap (except for the health-care costs, which someone pays... hopefully not you).

My biggest piece of advice is don't buy anything until you know you need it.  Whatever you *think* you need now will likely change, and it's different for every kid.

Ours slept in a baby-box for the first three months (no crib), got more hand-me-down toys than we she can possibly comprehend and we used the top of a dresser for a changing table (was ideal actually - top draw held all her changing stuff).  Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary.  A towel works as well as a play mat.

The only thing I'd buy in advance is a bunch of onsies, some changing/swaddling blankets and whatever you plan to use for diapers, and maybe a couple of bottles.  If you are breastfeeding then a breast-pump (typically covered under insurance).  We stored extra breast-milk in mason jars in the freezer.

Even today babies are born into families with almost no stuff at all, and they generally grow up fine.  Ignore the hype - you don't need all the crap.  When you do, you will know, and you can get it 2-day or from the mega-store down the road if you just can't wait to find it on CL or FB-Marketplace.

EricEng

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 11:38:25 AM »
Consignment sales.  Not just consignment stores, go the big resale events.  Most Metro areas have 1-2 on a weekend a month at a school gym.  You will get your baby gear for 1/10 the price of new or better.  You can buy things you might not need and not worry too much because you can resell it later or just be out the $2-5.

MsPeacock

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 12:22:22 PM »
Honestly, the expensive part of children isn't the stuff they need (at least for me) it is the cost of childcare, saving for college (if you intend to), medical care (braces!), the additional cost of hauling another person on vacation with you, and eventually the staggering cost of adult-sized clothing and shoes for shockingly young children.

Toys, furniture, and clothing for young children can also be had pretty easily at consignment stores, freecycle, etc.

rockstache

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2020, 12:24:46 PM »
I agree with everything you said except

Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary. 

Skip the crib! My kid is heading towards 1.5 years and sleeping great in the pack and play. It makes it easier when we do overnights somewhere too, because she's already accustomed to it. The pack and play is light, versatile, and takes up hardly any space compared to a crib.

Cassie

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2020, 01:30:22 PM »
I really liked having a swing as it kept them happy so you can get things done. It will be a while until the baby is old enough for it.

nereo

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2020, 02:19:05 PM »
I agree with everything you said except

Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary. 

Skip the crib! My kid is heading towards 1.5 years and sleeping great in the pack and play. It makes it easier when we do overnights somewhere too, because she's already accustomed to it. The pack and play is light, versatile, and takes up hardly any space compared to a crib.

My point was you donít need a crib or a pack and play for several months. Then, get what fits into your life best.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2020, 03:43:42 PM »
I really liked having a swing as it kept them happy so you can get things done. It will be a while until the baby is old enough for it.
My girls both hated the swing. Thankfully each time I was able to get one for free so it was no big deal when I turned around a dumped them. Thank heavens for Craigslist/FB marketplace

ysette9

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2020, 03:46:41 PM »
Little Kids don't have to be expensive, and newborns are downright cheap (except for the health-care costs, which someone pays... hopefully not you).

My biggest piece of advice is don't buy anything until you know you need it.  Whatever you *think* you need now will likely change, and it's different for every kid.

Ours slept in a baby-box for the first three months (no crib), got more hand-me-down toys than we she can possibly comprehend and we used the top of a dresser for a changing table (was ideal actually - top draw held all her changing stuff).  Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary.  A towel works as well as a play mat.

The only thing I'd buy in advance is a bunch of onsies, some changing/swaddling blankets and whatever you plan to use for diapers, and maybe a couple of bottles.  If you are breastfeeding then a breast-pump (typically covered under insurance).  We stored extra breast-milk in mason jars in the freezer.

Even today babies are born into families with almost no stuff at all, and they generally grow up fine.  Ignore the hype - you don't need all the crap.  When you do, you will know, and you can get it 2-day or from the mega-store down the road if you just can't wait to find it on CL or FB-Marketplace.
I pretty much agree with this. With two prior losses and a high-risk pregnancy leading to premature birth I had zero baby stuff before my oldest was born. Friends stepped up with lots of used stuff to lend us and we then used google express to fetch us whatever thing we decided we couldnít live without in the moment. It helped a lot to only get things when we realized there was a true need.

rockstache

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2020, 07:37:48 PM »
I agree with everything you said except

Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary. 

Skip the crib! My kid is heading towards 1.5 years and sleeping great in the pack and play. It makes it easier when we do overnights somewhere too, because she's already accustomed to it. The pack and play is light, versatile, and takes up hardly any space compared to a crib.

My point was you donít need a crib or a pack and play for several months. Then, get what fits into your life best.
Well you donít need ANYthing. But if youíre going to buy anything, a pack and play is pretty great. Itís a bed (used ours from the get go), a changing table, a playpen...everything. Itís the only ďbig thingĒ besides a car seat that we got, and I wouldnít have traded it for any other piece of equipment.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2020, 10:57:15 AM »
We got a pack n play free from some friends. We don't have a stroller said but won't get it until we actually need it.

nereo

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2020, 11:34:37 AM »
I agree with everything you said except

Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary. 

Skip the crib! My kid is heading towards 1.5 years and sleeping great in the pack and play. It makes it easier when we do overnights somewhere too, because she's already accustomed to it. The pack and play is light, versatile, and takes up hardly any space compared to a crib.

My point was you donít need a crib or a pack and play for several months. Then, get what fits into your life best.
Well you donít need ANYthing. But if youíre going to buy anything, a pack and play is pretty great. Itís a bed (used ours from the get go), a changing table, a playpen...everything. Itís the only ďbig thingĒ besides a car seat that we got, and I wouldnít have traded it for any other piece of equipment.
Respectfully, I think you misinterpreted my point. Clearly you get a lot of use out of your pack-and-play. Thatís great. But for us we didnít find it terribly useful - it sat unused for the first 4 months, and then we have used it just a few times in the last year. We simply found that stuff we already owned served all the functions.
Broader point is: you can get a pack-and-play in a day at any point, but for the first few months the baby will be fine in a box, or dresser drawer, or any number of other things. So OP - donít worry about what you ďneedĒ until you genuinely ďneedĒ it (or at least have a need for it). As you become a parent other parents with slightly older children will constantly jettison their baby gear onto you, if your experience is anything like ours.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2020, 11:49:01 AM »
I was very excited for Montessori approach also, and your kiddo may love the floor bed unlike ours. We moved DD out of her box after about 4 months, then she slept terribly on the floor bed and great in the pack and play until she was 2.5 years old (which we got mostly for travel). She just really loved being contained. Never got a crib.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2020, 01:46:17 PM »
I totally agree that you should avoid anticipatory buying.  Lots of things people say you "need" you don't need.  What you need is different for everyone.

I think people spend a lot of time thinking about the little costs of raising children (diapers, wipes, formula) and forget about the big costs (childcare or opportunity cost of a SAH parent, more expensive housing, and saving for college).  If you can figure out how to deal with the second category, you don't need to worry much about the first category.  But the second category is MUCH harder to figure out economically, and the tradeoffs are really complicated.

Ultimately, we did try to keep costs down on the smaller stuff.  Cloth diapers and wipes saved us a bundle.  We bought almost all our gear used.  We always tried the cheapest and easiest thing first, and moved on if it didn't work.

rockstache

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2020, 03:17:44 PM »
I agree with everything you said except

Kid won't crawl for 6 months (+/-) so a pack and play isn't necessary. 

Skip the crib! My kid is heading towards 1.5 years and sleeping great in the pack and play. It makes it easier when we do overnights somewhere too, because she's already accustomed to it. The pack and play is light, versatile, and takes up hardly any space compared to a crib.

My point was you donít need a crib or a pack and play for several months. Then, get what fits into your life best.
Well you donít need ANYthing. But if youíre going to buy anything, a pack and play is pretty great. Itís a bed (used ours from the get go), a changing table, a playpen...everything. Itís the only ďbig thingĒ besides a car seat that we got, and I wouldnít have traded it for any other piece of equipment.
Respectfully, I think you misinterpreted my point. Clearly you get a lot of use out of your pack-and-play. Thatís great. But for us we didnít find it terribly useful - it sat unused for the first 4 months, and then we have used it just a few times in the last year. We simply found that stuff we already owned served all the functions.
Broader point is: you can get a pack-and-play in a day at any point, but for the first few months the baby will be fine in a box, or dresser drawer, or any number of other things. So OP - donít worry about what you ďneedĒ until you genuinely ďneedĒ it (or at least have a need for it). As you become a parent other parents with slightly older children will constantly jettison their baby gear onto you, if your experience is anything like ours.
I didnít. I agreed with your point. No need to buy literally anything at all.

Jedi_Monster

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2020, 02:17:58 PM »
Thanks on all the feedback everyone. I agree on not getting anything until I need it. But I've also found good deals on a few things I think I might use for dirt cheap. Example a hiking carrier sold new for $280 I found it used for $5. That was a no brainer to buy. If I never use it, it's easy to sell again. Simplecycle is right on the 2nd category. Wife's current job pays less than the cost of childcare, so she will be a sahm. I'll need to come up with something to increase the family income.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2020, 07:19:57 PM »
Reusable diapers yikes, I can't image cleaning those daily. It already sucks when they have blow outs and have to wash the poop off the clothes. You can find some cheap diapers for 10-15 cents a piece. We usually buy luvs on amazon with the subscribe and save discount.  We find these are the cheapest ones that are still good quality. Definitely don't go for the cheapest no name brand ones you find since not all diapers are created equal. Look for deals and stock up.

Everything else you can find them used for dirt cheap. Toys, furniture, strollers, clothes ect. A lot of parents are like me after their little ones grow out of things it just either goes in the trash or it's sold on craigslist or somewhere for pennies on the dollar. All the stuff is usually still in great like new condition too. I'd just buy a crib mattress, you can get those new for $35 at walmart. Then you can get a crib used for like $20 or even free if you find someone tossing theirs. Baby can sleep in a pack and play for first year. For baby clothes I usually donate it or give it away to friends who might need them. Ask around with friends or friends of friends if you know they have toddlers, they're always looking to get rid of clothes, furniture, toys ect. Most of the clothes are wear once or twice and the kid grows out of it already.

The car seat probably better to buy a new one since they say car seats expire and if they've been in an accident or dropped they might lose integrity and be less safe? who knows maybe that's just a marketing scheme to sell more car seats. I'd jump straight to the convertible seat, can get a good one for around $100 or less. The infant ones that you can take out of the car are pretty useless as the baby outgrows that after a few months. Convertible one can be good from new born until they no longer need a car seat/booster.



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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2020, 09:57:16 PM »
Thanks on all the feedback everyone. I agree on not getting anything until I need it. But I've also found good deals on a few things I think I might use for dirt cheap. Example a hiking carrier sold new for $280 I found it used for $5. That was a no brainer to buy. If I never use it, it's easy to sell again. Simplecycle is right on the 2nd category. Wife's current job pays less than the cost of childcare, so she will be a sahm. I'll need to come up with something to increase the family income.

You are doing it right with the stuff. If you are saving anything at all on one income, I'd focus on time spent caring for your newborn (and wife) over increasing family income.

nereo

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2020, 06:17:44 AM »
Reusable diapers yikes, I can't image cleaning those daily. It already sucks when they have blow outs and have to wash the poop off the clothes. You can find some cheap diapers for 10-15 cents a piece. We usually buy luvs on amazon with the subscribe and save discount.  We find these are the cheapest ones that are still good quality. Definitely don't go for the cheapest no name brand ones you find since not all diapers are created equal. Look for deals and stock up.

Everything else you can find them used for dirt cheap. Toys, furniture, strollers, clothes ect. A lot of parents are like me after their little ones grow out of things it just either goes in the trash or it's sold on craigslist or somewhere for pennies on the dollar. All the stuff is usually still in great like new condition too. I'd just buy a crib mattress, you can get those new for $35 at walmart. Then you can get a crib used for like $20 or even free if you find someone tossing theirs. Baby can sleep in a pack and play for first year. For baby clothes I usually donate it or give it away to friends who might need them. Ask around with friends or friends of friends if you know they have toddlers, they're always looking to get rid of clothes, furniture, toys ect. Most of the clothes are wear once or twice and the kid grows out of it already.

The car seat probably better to buy a new one since they say car seats expire and if they've been in an accident or dropped they might lose integrity and be less safe? who knows maybe that's just a marketing scheme to sell more car seats. I'd jump straight to the convertible seat, can get a good one for around $100 or less. The infant ones that you can take out of the car are pretty useless as the baby outgrows that after a few months. Convertible one can be good from new born until they no longer need a car seat/booster.

The caveat Iíd put towards the car-seat choice is to consider your environment and whether you have a covered parking spot (garage or car-park).  We live in snowy New England and we didnít have covered parking at the time.  Trying to put a crying infant into a car seat outside when itís 10ļF outside and the car seat is freezing cold isnít fun for anyone, and very hard to do wearing gloves. Just being able to bring the seat inside and strap her in there while we gathered our own coats and gloves was worth it to us.  It was also really nice to be able to take her in/out when she was napping without waking, which was often. 
Our kiddo was in her infant car seat until around 10 months (per manufacturerís guidelines). 

If you have a heated garage and/or live in a mild climate this might not matter much to you.

As for cloth vs. disposable... we just couldnít tolerate the waste from using disposables, plus the cost. A kid will go through roughly 3,000 diaper changes in the first year.  We got over the yuk factor pretty quick, though it did mean another load of laundry each week. YMMV.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2020, 09:07:49 PM »
I'd jump straight to the convertible seat, can get a good one for around $100 or less. The infant ones that you can take out of the car are pretty useless as the baby outgrows that after a few months. Convertible one can be good from new born until they no longer need a car seat/booster.

The caveat Iíd put towards the car-seat choice is to consider your environment and whether you have a covered parking spot (garage or car-park).  We live in snowy New England and we didnít have covered parking at the time.  Trying to put a crying infant into a car seat outside when itís 10ļF outside and the car seat is freezing cold isnít fun for anyone, and very hard to do wearing gloves. Just being able to bring the seat inside and strap her in there while we gathered our own coats and gloves was worth it to us.  It was also really nice to be able to take her in/out when she was napping without waking, which was often. 
Our kiddo was in her infant car seat until around 10 months (per manufacturerís guidelines). 

If you have a heated garage and/or live in a mild climate this might not matter much to you.

As for cloth vs. disposable... we just couldnít tolerate the waste from using disposables, plus the cost. A kid will go through roughly 3,000 diaper changes in the first year.  We got over the yuk factor pretty quick, though it did mean another load of laundry each week. YMMV.

I think we also used the infant seat for about a year.  We had 3 adults (mom, dad, grandma) regularly driving the kid around in different cars and it was way easier to keep a different base in each car and have just the 1 seat.  And I loved that if baby was asleep and I was going into the grocery store, or home, I could leave him asleep in the seat and bring the whole kit inside.  Advice is not to let them sleep in seats, but I felt fine leaving him in the seat asleep where I could see him, and much preferred that to waking him up.

(We also cloth diapered and were very happy with it, not a big deal...)

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2020, 09:34:03 PM »
We also used an Uppababy car seat that clicked into a base in the car and also clicked into the stroller. It was expensive, but the ability to pull them in and out of the car and stroller, and take them inside and put the seat on the floor if they were sleeping, without waking them up was worth it to us, and we live in a perfect climate. He used that for 10 months (and he's big, a less tall kid would last even longer.)

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2020, 12:47:32 PM »
I got a convertible car seat for my infant, it can be a bit of a pain to get him in and out each time rather than unclicking from a base, but we don't drive a whole lot, so it's not the worst thing.  It was probably worth it to us to just have to get one car seat his whole life.

When I was pregnant I just scoured the local buy nothing groups, garage sale groups, for stuff that was either really cheap or free.  A few things I got for free or cheap that I really like are:
Newborn tub that fits in the kitchen sink--easier to bathe him this way for me
Vibrating bouncer chair--gives me a place to put him that's safe and easy to move around.  We use this daily.  I even use it in the bathroom, I put him in it in there while I shower. 
Changing table mat--we just strapped this to a table we already owned that was the same width.
Crib--I insisted on having him sleep independently.  We paid $60 for the crib which turns into an infant bed plus the mattress.

This is used every day for hours and he absolutely loves it
https://www.amazon.com/Infantino-Milestones-Memories-Twist-Light/dp/B07PXHHH1S
We got it at aldi for less than that but I forgot the price

One thing we bought new was this stroller https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZJ6MQI?creativeASIN=B00OZJ6MQI&imprToken=1Dh4-b0cFUx3OLepZQuNFQ&slotNum=10&tag=experiencedmommy-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1
I absolutely love it, I find it easy to use, and since we don't have the infant car seat that you can lock into a base, this stroller was easy to use from week 1.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2020, 12:09:07 PM »
Thanks on all the feedback everyone. I agree on not getting anything until I need it. But I've also found good deals on a few things I think I might use for dirt cheap. Example a hiking carrier sold new for $280 I found it used for $5. That was a no brainer to buy. If I never use it, it's easy to sell again. Simplecycle is right on the 2nd category. Wife's current job pays less than the cost of childcare, so she will be a sahm. I'll need to come up with something to increase the family income.

You are doing it right with the stuff. If you are saving anything at all on one income, I'd focus on time spent caring for your newborn (and wife) over increasing family income.

I think I'm saving about 40% of income right now. Will have to check how these numbers change with the reduced income and added baby expenses later.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #27 on: February 29, 2020, 06:29:20 PM »
We are doing cloth diapers, and I just thought of a small bit of advice!

If you haven't already, you'll want to think through your whole diaper-changing set-up in terms of collecting the dirties, minimizing stench, and doing laundry. 

Instead of getting a special "diaper pail" (an overpriced plasticky item that will serve little purpose after your baby is out of diapers), I would suggest acquiring a regular, medium-sized stainless steel trash can with a pedal that opens the lid (reducing the need for an extra hand to open the can during changes). 

You can line the can with re-useable and clean-able bags. Get two of these bags -- one to use while the other is being laundered.  (And of course, make sure the bag you get will be the right size for your can.  We got the ones from Planet Wise, and they fit well in a 30-liter can.)

After the baby is grown, the stainless steel trash can can serve some other purpose in your house.

Cloth was a challenge at first -- there was such a temptation to lean on disposables and just chuck 'em all in the trash.  But after a couple of weeks, cloth just became a regular routine, and we are glad to be minimizing waste.  Stick with it! :-)

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #28 on: February 29, 2020, 07:15:35 PM »
the biggest cost of our kiddo so far (1.5ish) has been loss of income.

Either loss of income or childcare are the big hitting costs.

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #29 on: February 29, 2020, 08:00:19 PM »
Instead of getting a special "diaper pail" (an overpriced plasticky item that will serve little purpose after your baby is out of diapers), I would suggest acquiring a regular, medium-sized stainless steel trash can with a pedal that opens the lid (reducing the need for an extra hand to open the can during changes). 

You never know.  A friend of mine uses a diaper pail (that she got from us, which we got from the neighbors) for her kitchen trash, to keep her dog out of it.  Just because it was once a diaper pail, doesn't mean you can't reuse it as a plain old trash can.

Look, a lot of these this are YMMV.  For example, I'm really sensitive to smells, so using a diaper pail was important to me.  Other things, not so much.  We also only registered for one pail, but my MIL bought us two, one for each floor.  Totally unnecessary, but a delightful and handy luxury in the end that we used for 2.5 years for my son, and presumably will another 2-2.5 years for my daughter.  Other items, we'll have used for much shorter and much less impact.  Luckily, we got a lot of them for free from friends. 

nereo

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Re: Newborn due soon, Keeping costs low
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2020, 07:01:55 AM »
the biggest cost of our kiddo so far (1.5ish) has been loss of income.

Either loss of income or childcare are the big hitting costs.

Our experience as well
Total out of pocket costs for us at the 18 month mark has been a couple grand at most excluding child care. We have spent almost $6k this far on childcare, and lost an estimated $40k in lost wages