Today's post is brought to you by my new friend, Caroline at CarolineVencil.com! Enjoy!
Having a baby is one of the biggest life changes that you can go through! You go from extreme excitement to paralyzing fear of the unknown in the blink of an eye.
Back when I was pregnant with my first son, I remember shopping for all of the things I “needed” online and finding out that it all added up to close to $1,500! And that was with the “cheapest” options for all of the baby gear!
Those precious little bundles of joy can add up very quickly into a HUGE expense before they’re even born. But there is some good news; you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to pay for your baby and everything that he or she will need when they arrive.
You might be laughing right about now, but I really mean it! My husband and I have had 3 sons on a shoestring budget while he was making $17,000 each year. If we can do it, you can too.
Here’s what I did to save money on a new baby:
1. Cut down the list of “NEEDS.”
When you go to Amazon or BabiesRUs, you’ll see that they basically make recommendations for what you need for your baby. And the truth is that they’re not trying to save you money… they’re trying to make money for themselves.
Here are some of the big-ticket items that you really don’t need:
- A changing table (you’re going to wind up changing the baby on your bed, the floor or the couch anyway)
- A bassinet (Yes, they are adorable… but your baby will outgrow it in a month)
- 6 different kinds of strollers (pick 1 that you can use as the baby grows… don’t get those prams that are only good while the baby can’t roll over)
- Tons and tons of newborn clothes (your baby might not even fit into the newborn clothes and you’ve wasted your money… speaking from experience, here!)
- Only buying expensive baby clothes (gross but true – newborn poo goes everywhere and it will ruin all of those nice clothes… it’s Murphy’s Law for babies)
There are plenty of other things that you don’t need for a newborn, but these are the biggest ones that stuck out to me. Trust me, you don’t NEED almost anything on the registry suggestions.
2. Shop second hand.
Have you seen how expensive baby clothes are?! It’s insane! And going back to my point from before… babies poo… a lot! (Sorry for the TMI, but welcome to motherhood 😉 Go to your local children’s consignment store and shop around instead of buying new. You can find cute outfits for a very reasonable price.
You can also shop Goodwill and Salvation Army for even better prices. You can spend $100 on second-hand clothes and have enough clothes for your baby to last for a long time.
More than just clothes though, you can find strollers, cribs, pack and plays, swings bouncers and almost everything at consignment stores. These things are all safe to buy second hand (I definitely don’t encourage you to buy car seats second hand, as you don’t know if they’ve ever been in an accident).
Tip: Want to save money when shopping? Ibotta is a free money-saving app that gives you cash back at almost any store. You get real cash – not points. Ibotta is my go-to app for saving money on groceries (even fruits and vegetables!), clothes, travel, and a lot more. You even get $10 in your account just for signing up through my link here.
3. Skip the crib altogether!
A big money and space saver is to avoid getting a crib and get a great pack and play instead! They have pack and plays that can be turned into bassinets and then be used again for the child until they don’t need a crib anymore.
Cribs are expensive and then you also have to buy a mattress along with it, so you’re looking at more than $200 right off the bat. Not to mention how painful they are to assemble!
But with a pack and play, it’s usually less than $100 and is ready to go right out of the box. It also helps if you travel a lot. Your baby will already be used to the pack and play and won’t struggle to get used to a new environment (as much…).
It also helps to save on space. You can keep the pack and play bassinet in your room with you and then move the baby into his or her own room when they are ready for it without needing to buy 2 pieces of equipment (and, again… no getting baby used to a new bed).
These things might sound small, but you’ll thank me when it’s time to move into their own room!
Tip: Do you shop online? If so, you’ll want to use Ebates from now on. Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for your purchases, giving up to 40% cash back. All you have to do is log on to Ebates, find out which store you want to shop at, and you’ll start getting cash back. You get $10 for signing up through my link here.
4. Cloth diaper your baby!
I know, it sounds gross. But it’s really not. Especially with a newborn! The supplies you need are very limited (diapers, a bag for storage, and detergent), but they do cost a lot upfront. In the long run, though, they will save you so much money (plus, they’re much better for the environment, too)!
You don’t need the super high-end ones, either. I’ve been using these much less expensive diapers now for 3 and a half years on 2 kids and they are still holding strong!
They are cute and highly effective and cost about $25 for diapers that will last you from the time they are born to when they are potty training.
Where to find help getting started with cloth diapers (the easy way!):
- How to get cloth diapers for free
- Everything you need to start cloth diapering
- How to make cloth diapering affordable
5. Be careful about what you put on your registry!
This goes back to point #1, but your registry will set the tone for the kinds of gifts people will bring to your shower and send to you. If you have only cute dresses on your registry, people will get you cute dresses.
But if you put down practical things like a car seat, receiving blankets, standard onesies, crib sheets, a glider/ rocking chair, a Boppy pillow, a breast pump, and other practical things that you really need, then you’ll be setting yourself up to get things that you’ll use regularly.
You can also mention to people that they can buy things second hand. Giving people this kind of permission saves them money plus then they don’t feel so bad when they want to get you something that isn’t exactly in new packaging.
Don’t worry though – you’ll still get plenty of cute outfits from friends and family! But don’t forget to add things that you really need, too!
There are plenty of things that you can do to save money on a new baby. These are just the tip of the iceberg. But the real thing I want you to remember from reading this is that you don’t need to “do it because everyone else did it.”
Just because everyone else got the $500 stroller that will only be good for 3 months doesn’t mean that you have to. Or just because everyone else got the expensive nursery setup doesn’t mean that you need to do that.
When you’re trying to save money on a new baby, it’s important to know that you can say “no” to things that don’t make sense for you. Having a baby is scary enough (jk – it’s a magical, sleepless journey that you will love), you don’t need to add in the fear of going broke to the equation!
Keep it as simple as you can! You’ve got this!
Caroline is a mom of 3 boys, writer, business owner, cloth diapering hippie, and extreme cheapskate. She lives in Central Pennsylvania and loves finding new ways to save money and live frugally that she shares on her website, CarolineVencil.com.
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