Burp cloths, binkies, bottles, OH MY! The numbers add up VERY quickly. According to Baby Center’s First-Year Baby Costs Calculator, the average cost of me having a baby when I plugged in my most basic needs during that first year of life is $2,154. That is if I exclusively breastfeed without supplementing, use disposable diapers, and plan to keep my child properly clothed. What that amount does not include is toiletries, medicines/first aid, formula, baby food, baby snacks, books, toys (Seriously, why do we even buy toys for babies? My baby just wants to play with an empty water bottle…), childcare, savings for college, or any other things you may or may not choose to spend money on for your baby. The numbers could be (and realistically are) MUCH higher than $2,154. Let’s just look at diapering needs for a minute… You have diapers (cloth/disposable), diaper pails, diaper cream, diaper bag, wipes, wipe warmer, changing pad, changing table, changing pad for the changing table, changing pad cover, the list goes on and on. Now personally, I do not consider all of these items to be needs, but rather luxuries. Nevertheless, we end up wanting, buying, or having these items gifted to us. My point is, babies are expensive.
Before Eliza Jane was born, there were certain things that I wanted to do certain ways. Believe it or not, I had put a little bit of thought into this whole motherhood thing before I got pregnant. Granted, I knew that things would not always go as planned (experienced that firsthand before I even made it to the hospital), but I think it makes good sense to at least have a general plan…you know, in life, or just like a dinner plan (which I often don’t). One of the “plans” I had before Eliza Jane was born was that I wanted to make her baby food from scratch, rather than buying it at our local grocery store. Now this is not to say anything negative about store bought baby food, so don’t even go there. Feed your kid. That’s what’s important. This was simply a personal decision that I made for myself and my baby. We are not even a full month into introducing solid foods, but I wanted to share my experience thus far.
When the time came to introduce solid food to Eliza, I decided to go to our local farmer’s market to get as many local, fresh vegetables that were available to us. In my first trip I spent less than $10 and left with sweet potatoes, green beans, acorn squash, and eggplant.
For each of these foods (except for the eggplant, because I let it spoil in my fridge) I simply washed, prepped, and steamed in a microwave safe dish with two tablespoons of water covered with plastic wrap. Next, I puréed the steamed vegetables in a food processor, adding water as needed to get my desired consistency. I then spooned the puréed food into a baby food tray (or an ice tray) and placed in the freezer overnight. Preparing each food (sweet potatoes, green beans, etc.) took an average of 30 minutes. The next morning I simply ran some water over the underside of the trays of frozen food and popped out the frozen servings into a freezer bag and immediately placed them back into the freezer.
From that initial trip to the farmers market alone, I made 24 servings of sweet potatoes, 12 servings of green beans, and 12 servings of acorn squash. All for under $10. Altogether, I spent one and a half hours preparing and making the food. I was able to go onto Kroger’s website and fill my cart as if I were going to buy the same amount of the same type of food from our local Kroger. 24 servings of sweet potatoes, 12 servings of green beans, and 12 servings of squash (they didn’t have acorn squash) came to a grand total of $24. I spent less than $10, and I didn’t even make the eggplant that I bought because I forgot it was in my refrigerator (Is mom brain an appropriate excuse?). I like math, so I’ll do the math for you on this one – THAT’S OVER FOURTEEN DOLLARS LESS THAN I WOULD HAVE SPENT AT KROGER…FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF FOOD.
In addition to the obvious money that is being saved by making Eliza Jane’s baby food at home, I find satisfaction in knowing exactly what is being put into my tiny human’s tiny body – whether that be food, medicine, etc. It is my responsibility to take care of her wellbeing, and I don’t think that I can take that too seriously. I want to do my best to help her grow and strive physically, mentally, and spiritually. Part of that includes being aware of what enters her body.
What are some simple ways that you have found to save money when it comes to your tiny humans? Comment below!
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