Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Real expenses: one year of formula & diapering

There are many figures tossed around about how much it costs to have a baby.  Basically a lot.  There are so many variables though that it's impossible to nail down a number for everyone (i.e. paying private school tuition will greatly change things as well as things like medical costs).  We're pretty frugal people (and rather proud of it) and I found most of the estimates for first year costs pretty high.  We didn't spend a lot on furnishing his nursery or on gear.  We got a lot of clothes as gifts and some hand me downs so we haven't had to spend much there either.  But there were two numbers I was interested in comparing.  Formula.  Diapers.   Here are my real world amounts, one year in.


We mostly bought either Gerber Soy or Prosobee (Enfamil Soy) for Luke throughout his first year.  He came home at 2 weeks old and we finished up his last can of formula days after his first birthday.  We were very fortunate that we got many donations of breast milk (I think 3 different people).  We also had a lot of people pass on formula coupons (those wonderful checks) and free samples they received.  The hospital sent us home with a bunch (on two different occasions, become instant parents and people take a little pity on you) and our doctor's office too.  We very rarely bought a can full price (maybe twice) and stacked coupons, checks, sales as much as we could.  So with all that we spent $679.49 on one year of formula.  That works out to only $13.58/week that he was home which is honestly much less than I expected.  I've heard estimates of around $1,000 to formula feed a baby for one year so having so many people share with us really really helped.

The only "baby food" we ever bought was Target puffs as he got a little older.  Since we did baby led weaning we didn't buy any jarred baby food or even ingredients to make our own.  He's been pretty much eating what we eat for the last 6ish months (with more crackers and cheerios in his diet than ours).


I've talked about cloth diapers quite often.  I love them as much as you can love diapers and am really happy with our decisions to use them.  Going in we knew we'd have a big initial investment but assumed it would pay off in the long run.  We've spent $309 on cloth diapers & accessories (mostly detailed here as well as another $9 on two hemp inserts a few weeks ago.). Our general method has been cloth diapers except for overnights away from home (as in, anytime we spend the night anywhere else he's in disposables the entire time).  Most sitters prefer disposables but I don't think we've ever been away from him long enough to go through more than 2 each time.  We also switched to disposables overnight late last year.  Right now (until lake season starts) that's most of the disposables we use.  Total spent on cloth diapers and disposables in one year was $427.33.  That's not including wipes (since we just use disposable Target wipes) or creams, just diapers.  The number I had heard to compare was $500 for a year of disposables so I'm pretty excited we've made up the cost already and we still have awhile to go until potty training!  That number even includes a big disposable stock-up (a really good sale + coupon stacking opportunity) right before Luke's birthday that pushed it over $400. 

So that's it.  Our costs to feed and diaper Luke in his first year. Being willing to cloth diaper and watching sales/coupons/deals really helped us save a nice chunk of money. 

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