We did not have to pay for childcare.
This is the biggest one that could have dipped into our wallets. Daycare really only makes sense if you earn a ton of money and/or you love your job. If I was still working full time, I probably wouldn't be making more than $25,000 a year with my little associates degree doing administrative jobs.The average cost of childcare in Alabama per year is around $6,000. Factor in a car to get to and from my job (we are currently a one car family), spending more on gas and food (I would lack time and energy to cook), and that $25k job would not get me very far!
We used cloth diapers instead of disposable.
Not only did we save money by choosing cloth diapers over disposable, but we received our set of cloth diapers as a gift which saved us even more! Taking the average amount of diapers Josiah went through from the beginning on, and adding in the cost of not having to invest in cloth diapers, we saved about $900.
I made baby food.
I actually bought a few jars of baby food when I knew Josiah was ready to go beyond the cereal. That same month he had a docor's appointment and the pediatrician said to me, "You know, you could just mush up some banana for him to try." I bought about 4 jars of baby food total for Josiah. After that I mushed up bananas, fed him baked sweet potatoes, blended veggies, etc. I saved about $300 in a 6 month period of not investing in jarred baby food.
We bought off brand formula.
Formula is not the ideal choice and breastmilk is free, but Josiah is adopted so I pretty much had no choice in the matter (unless I took some weird pills or took a chance on a stranger's breast milk). I started out by ordering free samples of formula. I used coupons for what I had to buy in the beginning, but got sick of that quickly. (It was not fun to have to find a coupon before I ran to the store while sleep deprived with a newborn.) I switched Josiah over to Costco's offbrand formula and saved the same amount I had with those brand name formula coupons. My estimated total savings here is about $150.
We embraced hand me downs.
We requested and received basic neccessities as gifts.
When we found out about Josiah and people started making known that they wanted to give, we asked for more things we knew we needed than wanted. Shane's parents bought Josiah's car seat and stroller. My mom bought Josiah's crib linens. Friends and family gave us wubbanubs, bottles, bibs, burb cloths, etc. The only thing Shane and I bought out of pocket was a crib, but it was not something we really needed. Josiah spent his first 3 months in a hand me down bassinett, and a friend gave us a pack n' play. We saved easily $500 by asking and receiving what we needed.
To be honest, Shane and I never had that $8,000 to begin with so "saving" money on Josiah's first year of life was more a neccessity than an option for us. However we did keep ourselves from digging a deep money pit in debt had we not saved in these areas. I don't talk much at all about my faith here, but this is an area of my life where God was definitely involved in providing for my family. I love saving money and I am grateful for times like these where I've had to learn to save and in the process better differentiate my wants from my needs.