We live debt free on a tight budget and don’t do debt or credit cards (thanks to Dave Ramsey‘s Total Money Makeover). When each of our two children came along, we knew there would be added expenses but did our best to minimize them. Jed and talked through our favorite frugal tips for saving money with a baby to share with you today. You could easily spend a fortune on baby gear and clothes, but you don’t have to. Having a baby will completely change your life, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. We are not experts, just a family thriving on one teacher income and living life to the full without spending a ton.
1) Buy gender neutral.
The best way I’ve found to save money on baby gear and clothes for baby is to buy as much gender neutral as you can. We did not find out the gender of our first child until he was born, so everything we got during his pregnancy was gender neutral. Most of our newborn and 0-3 month clothes, all of our baby basics, and even our nursery decorations could be used for either gender. This ended up saving us a TON of money. The baby industry has made it possible to get everything your baby could ever need or want in pink or blue, meaning you might want to buy another one if the next baby is the opposite, and making it more difficult to resell gear. Even if you’ve already found out the gender or had your sweet baby, you can still save money by investing in gender neutral pieces that will work for future children and for the long haul.
2) Buy used.
Most baby gear and clothing is used for such a short period of time that you can save a ton of money buying used. Big ticket items like strollers are a dime a dozen on Craigslist, Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups, and at consignment sales. I’ve written about my love for big kid consignment sales on several occasions. You could truly buy almost everything your baby will ever need at one of those big sales and pay about 25% of retail. You might be thinking, “My baby deserves to have all new stuff!” No, your baby deserves to have a stable home life and financial security. They will NEVER know their stuff came from a consignment sale.
3) Pay cash.
Did you know you spend less when you use cash? It’s true. You feel it more. Also, you can offer cash to pay for larger expenses and usually get a discount or a deal. We paid cash for the Bear’s birth and saved 20% off the hospital bills. Seriously. Cash is also super helpful when you are bargaining for a Craigslist find. Create a line item in your budget for baby needs and create a cash envelope for baby expenses. We follow the Dave Ramsey plan for financial freedom, and our whole world has changed since we started paying cash.
4) Consider frugal parenting practices like cloth diapering, breastfeeding, making your own baby food, and babywearing.
We have saved thousands of dollars by using cloth diapers most of the time with both kids. I struggled with breastfeeding the Bear, so we did have to buy some formula, a breast pump, and pay a lactation consultant. We still saved several hundred dollars by breastfeeding both kids to one year and making baby food at home. DIY baby food is not difficult and you can totally do it. How is babywearing frugal? You are less likely to need an expensive stroller if you wear your baby, and most babies love it.
5) Don’t buy in to the hype.
Your baby does not need EVERY baby item you see. They will be happier with a sensory bin or a cardboard box than most of the toys in their closet. I’m not saying don’t buy fun stuff for your kids. I’m just saying if it isn’t in the budget, do without. All of those precious outfits will be covered in spit up and those super cute baby shoes won’t stay on. Please don’t go in to debt to fill a play room. Buying generic is a great strategy for baby gear. Your baby has no idea about name brands.
Interested in reading more about our frugal lifestyle and money saving tips? Here are a few of my favorite posts:
Living on a Budget
Frugal Pregnancy Tips
How do you save money on baby and kid expenses?
Follow Dayna :: Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Everything Baby on Pinterest.
Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of New Parents ~ Lemon Lime Adventures
- Taking Time For Mom
5 Things New Parents Really Need ~ BPhotoArt
Ways to Reset When Suffering From Postpartum Depression ~ Trust Me, I’m a Mom
Ways to sneak in me-time when you have a new baby ~ Mom Favorites
Look Better Feel Better ~ Plain Vanilla Mom
5 Fast Ways to Refresh as a Mom ~ Peace but Not Quiet
How to be Supportive When Birth Doesn’t Go as Planned ~ The Realistic Mama
Getting Through the First Months: 5 Golden Rules for New Parents ~ Let the Journey Begin
10 Post Baby Must-Haves That No One Talks About ~ Pink Oatmeal
- Gift Ideas For New Parents
Gift Ideas for Parents of a Newborn Baby ~ Powerful Mothering
Mother Blessing for Expecting Moms ~ All Done Monkey
Little Mommy Luxuries – Must Haves for Every New Mom ~ The Eyes of a Boy
Tips for Newborn clothes~ La Cité des Vents
- Helping Hands
How to Plan a Meal Rotation for New Parents ~ Still Playing School
Hand the Baby Over to Dad: Fun Bonding Activities for Dads and Babies ~ The Jenny Evolution
What is a Mother’s Helper and What to Look For ~ Lalymom
- Frugal Tips for Parents
6 Tips for Getting Dinner on the Table After Having a Baby (or babies!) ~ The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide
Frugal Living: Our Tip Five Tips for Saving Money with a Baby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard
- Tips for Parents of Multiples/Preemies
5 Things You Need to Know About Preemies ~ True Aim Education
Parenting Multiples ~ Bambini Travel
WE had so many things from kid #1 that I donated, even though we are expecting kiddo #2’s arrival soon. There are just things that we didn’t use, didn’t need, or didn’t work for us. Every parent will be different — but we even got rid of our “luxury” stroller in favor of an umbrella one that has been used maybe 4 times in the past 3 years (good to have in case, but we would’ve been fine without).
Another good source is freecycle. It’s amazing how many people are looking to share freely things that they don’t need. We gifted clothes etc to others this way, received useful items, and the like.
I agree wholeheartedly with your article! I did the majority of these things for my kids, especially my youngest. I breastfed her for 2.5 years, made my own baby food (My son saved his money and bought me a Magic Bullet–that was a dream!!), shopped the thrift stores (amazing, simple AMAZING finds there!!!) The only expense I had really for my youngest were the diapers. I could not find any cloth diapers at a reasonable price for shipping to Canada, which is a shame. But I stuck to natural diapers. Cash is the way to go. If you don’t have the $$ for it, save, but don’t go into debt for something you want for your little bundle of joy. Great post!
We love thrift stores, too! It really is amazing what you can find there. We’ve found gold mines of clothes and books especially.
We are living in Honduras right now, and you just don’t see all that extraneous baby stuff down here. It is really amazing how much stuff we have been convinced we cannot live without!
I really wish breastfeeding had worked out with my little one, sadly it didn’t, and not from lack of trying. So I’m stuck paying $16 for formula. A lot of moms have difficulty in breastfeeding and end up spending money on pumps and bottles when they try to give breat milk alternatively. So making it seem like breastfeeding is the only choice that makes sense to those moms is a bit of a slap, even if unintended. But, almost everything else in this article is great advice, and definetly woth trying/considering.
Hey Becky, I too struggled with nursing my first baby. I’m so sorry it didn’t work out when you tried so hard. I definitely didn’t intend to insinuate that breastfeeding was the only choice, just the most economical one. We had to spend money on a lactation consultant, so it definitely wasn’t free. Thankfully pumps are included with most insurance plans now, so that helps. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.