Get money-saving tips, frugal living ideas, and learn ways to save on everything for a new baby from a mother of 4! Learn how to have a baby on a budget!
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This is how you too can have a baby on a budget
Life-changing events are forever etched in our memories. On a moment’s notice, we recall where we were, what our surroundings looked like, and what the person who broke the news said. I am sure you have a few such events stored in your memory banks.
I have one that stands out, probably because it’s the pivotal moment when I went from dating a tall handsome guy to having a child with the hunk of my dreams. I was at the campus bookstore of my local collage, stocking up on the required literature for the coming semester when my doctor called with the results of blood tests she ran the day before.
While the news was a surprise, or rather, the pregnancy itself was a surprise, it was a happy one. Although the hunk and I had met only 6 months prior, we both immediately knew that “he/ she is the one!” We are both planners by nature, so having only 9 months to prepare for something others spend years planning was challenging.
We managed to get everything we needed for our firstborn – and then some. The best part was that we did it on a tight baby budget, and so can you!
There was also this other experience that completely changed me as a mother, as a person!
(This post was originally published in April 2016. It was updated for accuracy in October 2020.)
However, I did learn valuable tips on how to decorate for a baby, toddler, or young child, without breaking the bank.
Decorating for a Baby on a Budget:
Nursery decorating tips:
- It is said that “babies don’t keep”! Keep it in mind when you decorate your baby’s space. Before you know it, he will become a little Thomas-the-Train-loving toddler, who wants nothing to do with the cute teddy bear mural you painted on his walls.
- Decorate with colors rather than a theme.
- You can add bedding in the teddy bear theme or a few teddy bear accessories and then once Thomas the Train enters the picture the theme is easily updated.
- However repainting, buying new drapes and rugs will quickly add up financially.
- Pinterest is your friend! Look there to get DIY inspiration for decorations and refinishing furniture.
How to Save on Everything for Baby:
- Things to borrow from friends or buy used:
- Maternity clothes! A small group of my mommy friends passed our maternity clothes around. We called it our “traveling maternity clothes.” It saved everyone a lot of money, and over time, we bought a few new items for the collection – to replace things that were worn thin.
- Baby gear! Your precious bundle of love will spend his first year going through more baby gear than you can imagine. There are baby swings, bouncers, jumpers, pack-n-plays, seats of all shapes and sizes. I lovingly refer to these contraptions as “baby parking lots.” You don’t NEED one of each, and the ones you get don’t have to be new. Most of them come with removable and washable seats/ cushions, so buy or borrow used with confidence.
- Baby clothes! Just like with the baby gear, your child will blow right through the wardrobe you carefully selected – and some of the outfits he will only wear once, if at all. Accept hand-me-downs with open arms from friends and family.
- Nursery furniture! Cribs and matching dressers cost the equivalent of a year’s tuition at a local community college. Instead of buying new, consider getting a pre-loved set – and put the money you save in a college fund!
- Register for big-ticket items:
- Family, friends, and coworkers love pooling their money together to get the new parents the larger items on their registry.
- Don’t feel bad or greedy by wishing for pricier items, people expect it – and they WANT to give you something you otherwise wouldn’t get on your own.
- As a rule of thumb, the items you want new and good quality are the ones the baby uses beyond the first year: Stroller, car seat, breast pump (this may be covered by your health insurance), and a baby carrier.
- Shop smart with a baby budget:
- Compare prices online before you buy anything.
- Sign up for email newsletters from the companies selling the products you want to buy. The first email often gives you a discount code for your next purchase.
- Stock up on staples. Diapers and wipes are great items to buy in bulk.
- Get diapers in all sizes, as you WILL need them eventually.
- Don’t buy too much formula, or at least keep the receipt. A lot of babies have sensitivities towards certain ingredients, so it may be trial and error before you find the right formula for your baby.
- If you plan on breastfeeding don’t buy any formula. You can always run out and get it later if breastfeeding isn’t working.
- Shop post-season sales! Buy holiday decorations, crafts, and outfits immediately after the holiday has passed. Prices are often 50% off – or more. I always feel silly buying Christmas decorations after Christmas. But when the next season rolls around, I am thrilled to find my treasures.
- Use what you have:
- Instead of changing-table, use a changing caddy and change the baby on the floor, the bed, or couch. We only used our changing table for its intended purpose a few times.
- Instead of buying a big bulky diaper bag, use a big purse.
- Instead of nursing tops, wear a camisole under your t-shirts. You can easily feed the baby discreetly by lifting the t-shirt up, while the camisole is covering your midriff.
- Instead of a nursing cover, if you feel the need to cover yourself, use a baby blanket. You can either throw it over your shoulders or simply place it strategically when you are nursing in public.
The newness of becoming parents makes it tempting to want everything new for the baby. Trust me, the baby doesn’t care if his dresser cost $1,200 and is made of hand craved Italian wood, or if it came from your girlfriend’s house made out of pressed wood and cost $20.
I know “the REAL cost” of having a baby can feel daunting, but please remember saving money wherever possible may lower your longterm stress! Cut expense where you can now. There will be ample opportunity to spend money on your child, I PROMISE!
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