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Don’t Let Your Baby Blow Your Grocery Budget

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There’s a lot to learn when it comes to how to budget for a baby. Between baby food and the cost of diapers, sometimes it feels like there’s just not enough money to raise a child. If you want to create a better budget for raising your baby and save on baby food, here’s what you need to know.

Baby Expenses for New Parents

As a new parent, there are several baby expenses you have to add to your budget. Babies need special care, so you have to budget for the diaper cost per month, baby food costs and more. Diapers and formula are the biggest expenses, but new parents also have to buy baby clothes and pay medical bills. So, how much does a baby cost per month? How much does a baby cost per year? We’ve got all the answers you need. 

Baby Food Expenses

Baby food can be one of the most expensive parts of raising a child. According to the USDA, 18% of the total cost of raising a child goes towards food. Pre-packaged baby food is expensive enough, but you also need to buy bottles, nipples, pumps and other breastfeeding supplies. Plus, some parents may need to use formula, which ends up costing even more money.

Our baby food breakdown helps you better understand the cost of baby food. It’s important to consider the cost of organic baby food vs. regular baby food. You can also save money on baby food by making it at home instead of buying pre-packaged brands.

Compare Baby Food Brands

The baby food brand you choose has a lot to do with the cost of baby food. Gerber baby foods are currently about 17 cents an ounce while Beech-Nut baby food is higher at 24.5 cents per ounce. The same Beech-Nut baby food in the organic variety is 28 cents an ounce.

Generic brands are also something to consider when it comes to baby food. You can save money by shopping for baby food from generic brands, but it’s also important to consider the content and quality of generic baby food vs. name brands.

Average Monthly Baby Food Costs

Creating a baby budget is important, and baby food is one of the biggest costs you have to account for. Baby food costs the average family between $45 and $115 per month, depending on the type and brand of baby food. Baby formula typically costs about $45 to $100 per month during the first year. When you’re preparing for a new baby, make sure you have some money set aside each month for baby food.

Average Annual Baby Food Costs

When it comes to baby food costs, things can vary a bit more when looking at annual numbers. The annual cost of baby food is between $540 and $1,380 for most families. If you choose organic baby food or the biggest name brands, you’re going to end up spending a little more. You can save money on the annual cost of baby food by making your own baby food at home or buying a generic brand.

Cost of Baby Formula

Baby formula is a huge expense when raising a newborn. According to The Plutus Foundation, babies will drink about 9,500 to 12,00 ounces of formula in their first year, which can add up to a total cost anywhere between $800 up to $2,500. In addition to formula, you also have to account for the cost of bottles, nipples and cleaning supplies. You can save on the cost of baby formula by breastfeeding, although that may not be an option for everybody.

How to Save Money on Baby Food

As a parent, it’s important to find ways to save money so your budget is big enough for your family. If you want to save money on baby food and lower your monthly baby budget, here are some things you can do.

Develop a Baby Budget

One of the best ways to save money on baby food is to get started on budgeting as early as possible. Having a budget for diapers, food and clothes will help you understand the cost of raising a baby vs. your monthly income. You can use the budget planner on the Mint app to make it easy to create a baby budget. Just remember to consider all your monthly expenses, not just the obvious ones.

Save Money through Breastfeeding

Formula is one of the biggest costs of raising a baby, so you can save a lot of money by breastfeeding instead of using baby formula. There are still costs you have to consider with breastfeeding, but breastfeeding can save parents up to $1,500 in just the first year, according to the Surgeon General. If you’re going to breastfeed, make sure you invest in a pump and some bottles so you can store milk for later. If you’re ever away from home or unable to produce, you have ready-to-go milk in bottles.

Homemade food

Most parents buy pre-packaged baby food, but there’s nothing particularly special about it. In fact, most pre-packaged baby food is made from pureed fruits and vegetables, which means it’s easy to make at home. Invest in a decent blender and try making your own baby food. Not only is homemade baby food cheaper, but some babies like it more and it’s typically healthier to make your own baby food.

Buy in Bulk and During Sales

Cost per item is important to consider when you’re budgeting for a baby. Although buying in bulk means spending more money initially, you get each item at a lower price which saves you money in the long run. Plus, you don’t have to worry about going to the store constantly.

Shopping during sales is also smart, and stores offer sale prices all the time. Sign up for the email newsletter from your favorite store and keep an eye out for emails about upcoming sales. Most stores offer sales around big holidays and other important dates, such as the beginning and end of summer.

Apply Coupons

Finding baby food, diapers and clothes at low prices can be difficult, but coupons can help you save money so you can afford more. Next time you go to the store to pick up formula or baby food, look at the coupons your store is offering for the week. You can also search for coupon codes for specific stores online, but those codes may or may not work.

Coupons aren’t the only way to save money. If you’re a new subscriber, you’ll often get a discount on your purchase. You might also get a discount for spending a certain amount or signing up for an email newsletter.

Shop Online 

Using a budgeting calculator to make sure you can afford things can be tough when you’re shopping in a store. When you shop online, you can look at tons of different products without having to walk from aisle to aisle or memorize prices to compare them. Plus, putting together a cart full of products online makes it easier to know how much you’re spending in total. Even better, most websites will offer free shipping (in as little as two days in some cases) when you spend a certain amount.

Reuse and Recycle Containers

While making homemade baby food can save you a lot of money, you also have to consider the cost of a blender and the containers you’re storing that baby food in. As far as the blender goes, the one you have in your kitchen is fine. Specialty equipment is overpriced and typically not something you need.


If you want to further reduce the cost of homemade baby food, reuse and recycle containers you may have from previous baby food purchases. These small glass jars can be expensive, but it’s easy to get a nice collection from buying baby food.

Borrow instead of buying

If you’ve got friends who had a baby in the past few years, ask them if they have any old equipment you can borrow so you don’t have to buy it. Whether you inherit an old playpen for kids or a mobile for your baby’s room, you can save a lot of money by simply borrowing things that people no longer need. The best part is, you can extend the same courtesy to your friends when your baby becomes a toddler and your friends are having newborns.

Welcome Your Baby with Financial Security 

Raising a child is expensive from the moment they’re born, so it’s important to plan ahead and create a budget before your back is against the wall. You need to consider how much diapers, formula, baby food and clothes are going to cost, plus you need to find ways to minimize those costs. As a parent, creating a baby budget is the first step to saving money and achieving financial security. If you’re a new or expecting parent and want to welcome your baby with financial security, use the Mint app to make sure you’re sticking to your budget and saving as much money as possible.

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