Diapers, formula, daycare… it’s no secret babies are expensive! Especially when your local Children’s Hospital charges $125 per casting session for your club foot baby and you have to change the casts every 2 weeks! And the special shoes they recommend for correction go for about $1,000 with their bar – when they outgrow them you have to spend another $500 on bigger shoes. Here is some info on ways we cut our expenses and got saving.
First, if you aren’t a Couponer (shame on you!) there is no time like the present to start learning! Here is a guide to learn how it all works. As long as we’re pinching pennies, why not visit some local Consignment Stores or Kids Consignment Events? Paying retail for children’s clothing is just silly unless you find something on great clearance! If you’re buying disposable diapers, you might want to consider purchasing them at Target – they are almost always offering some sort of gift card with a purchase of so many boxes. I’ve also heard great things about Amazon Mom though I admit I never got into it.
This might seem like a really bad time to try and save money because you are already short on resources, but if you look at it from the perspective that you need to pay yourself first by setting some income aside for yourself you might have a change of heart. If not, and you aren’t already taking advantage of the tax savings that Retirement Savings, College 529, Dependent Care Spending & Health Care Spending accounts offer you might want to look into them. We missed the opportunity to take care of the DCSA our first year because as new parents we didn’t know that we had to opt into it during my work’s benefit enrollment period.
As it turns out, the first year we filed our taxes with our child we had over $3,000 in daycare expenses but because we took them as a deduction we only got $600 back toward our taxable income because we did not use the DCSA. As the law was for 2015, we could only get 20% if we spent over $3,000. This was a fun revelation. Reducing your taxable income PRE-TAX is a wise move and all the aforementioned options could be your life saver!
Many states, including the one that I live in, offer tax incentives on college savings plans. If your state doesn’t offer a plan with tax savings, you can always sign up for an account that is managed out of another state to reap some benefits. We started saving in our first year and are still behind on the balance of our account. Did you know college savings accounts can be transferred to other members of the family to use if your kid decides not to go? The funds can also be used for trade schools. If you are behind, or just want to put a little extra scratch in your reserves you may want to check out UPromise which is a service that gives you back a percentage of your everyday spending by contributing to a college savings account.