Practical tips for new parents on a budget trying to save money.
Are you an expecting mama trying to stick to a budget for your baby? Having a baby is expensive but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
I didn’t have a cent to my name when my first baby was born. I was a young mom. Most of the things that helped me prepare for the birth of my son were from other people.
This was not the way I imagined bringing my baby into the world. I felt totally unprepared and helpless.
I used Medicaid and WIC because we had limited income and resources. Most of the cost associated with my son’s birth was covered. WIC covered the cost of his formula and essential food items as he grew. (Thank goodness for these programs, they really helped my family during a season of hardship!)
Most of the stuff I needed for my baby, people bought for us or donated.
To say I was grateful for their generosity is an understatement. We never would have made it otherwise.
Fast forward 9 years.
My husband and I were over the moon with the news we are expecting! We already had two children between us and this would be our first baby together! This go around was so different.
I was shocked at how much it “costs” to raise a baby!
(Don’t get me wrong I had done it once before but remember, it was 9 years ago and I was a young mom. Basically a baby having a baby.)
We also had several BIG financial goals. Pay off our debt and start saving money. (Great time to have a baby, right?!)
We were determined that we could do both at the same time. We set out to figure our how to budget for the baby and save costs.
Here is exactly how we were able to save big on our finances and afford a baby!
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Avoid Extra Hospital Costs
As a postpartum nurse I know how expensive items can cost when the come from the hospital. You would be surprised how much a simple maxi pad or Tylenol could cost!
I chose to bring a lot of my personal items to the hospital to avoid getting expensive charges on my bill.
I brought my own:
- Depends and pads
- Peri bottle
- Hemorrhoid cream
- Nipple Cream
- Stool Softners
- Perineal cold packs
- large comfy undies
- my own breast pump
Have a Diaper Shower
This is SUCH a cool idea! You can have this be your only shower OR a second shower with your closest friends.
Ask everyone you invite to bring 1 package of diapers. You can even create a registry of only diapers so people who are coming can see exactly what size was already bought.
Ask for diapers from newborn all the way to size 5! However newborns tend to use a lot more diapers than an older baby will!
Some ideas for diaper showers could be:
- Doughnuts and diapers
- Diapers and drinks (mocktails for mom of course)
- Pankcakes and pampers
Or give the Dad to be an excuse to have a party for himself with:
- Dudes and Diapers
Commit to the Affordable Use of Cloth Diapers
Ok, stay with me. This isn’t for everyone. BUT, when our baby was due and our finances were tight we chose to cloth diaper.
However, it’s really not as hard or scary as it seems.
Learn how to
There are some really great resources out the that teach you the basics of cloth diapers on Youtube and Fluff Love University.
Disposable diapers are a huge cost when your caring for a baby. On average parents spend between $70-$80 per month on diapers. That adds up to about 900-1000$ per year.
If you add in disposable wipes that’s another 240$ per year!
Tips for saving money on cloth diapering:
Don’t freak out!
Buy gently used cloth diapers from local cloth diaper groups. You can save a ton of money this way and that is how I started my diaper stash!
Most moms who cloth diaper take great care of their diapers. Cloth diapers can also last way beyond one kid, that’s an added bonus!
I only buy used diapers that are not stained and make sure to strip my diapers before using them on my kids. Basically, that’s a lot of heavy duty washing.
I love these cloth diaper starter sets from Amazon. You will need to purchase more diapers than the kit comes with but if you are not sure if you are ready to commit and just want to try it out it’s a cheap option.
Alvababy and Green Mountain Diapers are other resources I love for budget friendly cloth diapering options.
Green Mountain Diapers also has a lot of videos to demonstrate how to cloth diaper.
Fluff Love University is my go to for how to care for and wash cloth diapers.
Shop Consignment Sales for Baby Clothes and Gear
This tip was a game changer for me! Don’t get me wrong, I love to dress my kids up in cute outfits but new baby clothes are sure to drain your wallet quickly.
Find high end quality consignment sales in your community. These sales typically take pride in the clothing they offer to the buyers and don’t offer to sell ripped, torn, stained clothing.
They often sell brand name clothes at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay from the store.
The outfits are usually in great shape and this is where I start for ALL of my kids clothes. I can easily say I have save hundreds of dollars this way and my kids are still dressed cute!
Plus you can usually find big ticket items like strollers, car seats, baby carriers, high chairs and cribs for as much as 50% off of the original price!
Once my kid outgrows the clothes or items I have purchased from the sales, and if they are still in good shape I can re-sell them in a consignment sale and get cash or credit towards the next size I need for them.
Make Your Own Baby Food Super Cheap
This is something I STILL DO even though now we are not living paycheck to paycheck.
I refuse to pay the high prices in stores for a jar of baby food when I can make my own easily and save lots of money.
Each jar of baby food can cost you from $.67 – $1.50.
That means if your baby eats one jar of baby food at each meal 3 times a day (some eat more) a month of baby food could cost you from $56- $126 per month!
You can prep your baby food in one afternoon for the whole month for $20-$30.
That’s big savings!
This is NOT to spark a debate. But the fact is breastfeeding is free.
On average you will spend $1,600-$1,700 a year on formula depending on the kind you choose or your baby needs.
Now, there are costs associated with breastfeeding like milk storage bags, nursing bras and a quality pump. However most insurance companies will provide you with a pump for free these days due to the Affordable Health Care Act.
Any cost of breastfeeding is minimal compared with the cost of formula feeding.
Return Gifts You Don’t Need
This may sound crass BUT you are going to get gifts you may not want or need, maybe even duplicates of items.
Anything you don’t need or want can be returned, even if the store will not give you cash back you can always exchange the items for store credit.
This may sound harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures when money is tight and you are pinching pennies.
Skip Special “Baby” Versions of Regular Items.
Don’t feel like you need to purchase every product out there made specifically for a baby.
These items tend to be overpriced and unnecessary because the people who market them and advertise know that parents want THE VERY BEST for their little one.
They want you to believe this is the only product you “should” be using for your baby.
- Laundry Detergent (Tide Free and Gentle vs Dreft)
- Baby Food Processor (Nutribullet Baby vs small food processor)
- Bottle Warmer (Tommee Tippee Bottle Warmer vs insulated cup)
Keep a Second Diaper Bag in the Car
There is nothing worse than realizing you left your diaper bag at home. What do you do?
Have a back up option in the trunk of your car with the most important items to avoid having to buy extras out of necessity.
- Change of clothes
Having a baby does not have to be expensive. Remember the most important things that a baby will actually need we already have (love, attention, bonding, time, care, thoughtfulness).
Our culture tricks us into thinking what we have isn’t enough and we will always need more.
Do you have any money saving tips that helped you stay within your budget with your baby? Let us know in the comments below!
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