Upon learning that one of my dear friends was pregnant, I lamented that I had no special skills (like my doula friend) or large gifts (like all the furniture and clothes we were handed down) to offer. So, instead, she asked me to tell her the ways I've found to save money on a baby. Thought I'd share them with you, too.
How To Save Money on a Baby
Let People Spoil YouPeople love babies. They want to buy you things. If someone wants to throw you a shower, let them. If someone asks you what you need for the baby, be honest and tell them. Set up a registry.
WaitDon’t go out and buy tons of stuff. I know it is fun (and you should allow your self a little Mommy buying), but people are going to buy you things (see above). Plus, many things you buy might never get used. Some babies don’t like swings, while others live in them. Once your showers are over. Buy only what you really need. Then, only buy things as you actually need them.
BorrowThere are lots of other Mommies out there with tons of baby stuff in their basement that they aren’t currently using. If you need something temporarily, check to see if anyone has one to lend you before you buy.
Buy UsedSome things should only be purchased new. Academy of Pediatrics tells you not to buy used mattresses or car seats. Beyond that, if it can be washed or cleaned, I think it can be bought used. I am always careful that the item can be completely cleaned (I don’t want anything from the previous owner lingering if I don’t know them personally). Most baby items are made to disassemble and clean. Buy on Craigslist, at consignment events, etc.
Don’t Buy Into the GimmicksYou don’t need a lot of the things that marketers say you do. Take it from someone with a marketing degree. One marketing tactic is to “create a need”. I REALLY don’t think you need a potty with a place to put your iPad, but the marketers will try to convince you that you do. There are lots of baby things like this. Seems like a great idea, but if it doesn’t solve a need you are currently experiencing, you don’t likely need to buy it.
Realize That Kids Don’t Need a Million ToysThey really don’t. My little man is happier playing with remotes and blankets and spoons and pots than a lot of his toys. Buy a few key toys and some good books, and then let them explore the world around them.
Ditch the DisposablesThis goes for diapers, wipes, the little bags that some bottles require, breast milk bags (although I find the convenience and sanitation of these worth the expense), etc. Anything disposable requires a reoccurring expense.
Buy Versatile Items
If an item can be used for many uses, it means saved space and saved moolah. I would gladly pay $160 for a car seat/high back booster/backless booster and not have to buy another car seat. This means I only have to store one item in my basement, until next time. AND, I don’t have to buy 3 separate items, likely costing more than the $160 I spent.
Don’t Use Day Care (If you can avoid it)Some day cares are affordable, but most of them are crazy expensive. Plus, on top of that, kids are more likely to get sick in day care, meaning more time out of work for you and more doctor expenses.
BreastfeedOK, besides the extra food you will require (breastfeeding makes you crazy hungry), this is FREE food for your baby. And, in my opinion, it’s way simpler than dealing with bottles. Mama’s milk is already warm, already in it’s “bottle”, and doesn’t require any prep. So, get a nursing cover, get comfortable with feeding your baby in public, and realize that most people don’t care, and those that do can just deal with it.
Remember to use your judgment and your intuition.
You have it for a reason. There are things I would rather pay more for, because I think it’s better for my child. Although frugality is important, it isn’t all about money.