How To Save Money When You’re Having a Baby

baby shoes and clothes, bringing a baby home from the hospital

Having a baby, just like every other big event in our western culture, has unfortunately become a huge marketing project for retailers. If you’re not careful, you can be subconsciously sucked into the mindset that you have to have X, Y, and Z (all carefully color coordinated of course!) in order to give your new little one the “right start,” and the “best life.”

Poppycock.

This post is especially for the soon-to-be mamas out there. I have a few tips to share that have really saved us big money over the past year as we prepared for Jungle Baby’s arrival. Most people probably won’t use all the information…but implementing just a few can really save you a bundle–ha ha ha, no pun intended.

So, here we go! Here are the top tips I’ve come up with for saving money while preparing for a new baby.

1. Buy gender neutral gear

If there is ANY possibility that your family will get to enjoy another baby in the future, go with stuff that you won’t mind using for either gender. Instead of the pink Bumbo seat, go with the green. {Of course, some of you wouldn’t care a bit about sticking baby-number-two-who-happens-to-be-a-boy into a pink Bumbo, and I applaud you! In fact, I’m right there with you. In that case, buy whatever color makes YOU happy!} Put gender neutral swaddle blankets, bath stuff, etc. on the registry. If you’re keeping the gender a secret, you’ve already covered this base.

2. Shop consignment

This was probably the biggest money-saver, in general, for our family. I bought baby stuff at yard sales, off of Craigslist, and at thrift stores. I got an excellent condition nursing pillow for $9 through Craigslist. {And by excellent condition, I mean excellent. Seriously, the people who owned it previously even put plastic wrap around the foam underneath the pillow cover to keep it from getting stained!} I found a Diaper Champ pail {fantastic because it doesn’t need special bags–any old trash bag will do} at a yard sale for $6. We found a high quality wooden bead maze for $5 at a daycare center that was closing. {These things run anywhere from $15 to $75!} Just yesterday, we pulled it out of storage, cleaned and disinfected it, and put it to use!

Two other great ways to shop used items: the free apps OfferUp and Letgo. These apps allow you to search for used items in your area, just like on Craigslist, so no shipping fees. What’s great about it is that you can communicate with the sellers directly through the app–in other words, you aren’t putting your personal contact info out there. It’s all done internally, through your app message system. You can put as little info about yourself out there as you want, which is a plus in these days of less and less online privacy. I prefer also these apps to Craigslist in general, because it’s focused. There aren’t several dozen categories to choose from, there’s only eight or so. OfferUp seems to generally be more pricey than Letgo, but both have tons of listings for baby goods and gear. I have used Letgo to purchase several things non-baby related {Like our first Christmas tree!! 4-foot, pre-lit, excellent condition artificial tree that fit perfectly in our little camper, for just $10!}, and have been very pleased with the experience. You have the opportunity to rate other sellers, so if they’re late or are difficult to contact, other buyers can steer clear in the future.

3. Get the cheapo stuff

Knock-offs are generally just as good as the name brand. For instance, when choosing a car seat system, I picked the cheapest I could find. I read this extremely helpful article, which explains that the safety features for the less expensive car seats are just as up-to-date as their pricier counterparts. BY THE WAY…car seats have expiration datesI’m not joking. Just another reason to get the cheaper options, because you may or may not be able to use it for the next kiddo.

Regarding diapers – I was given tons of different brands of disposables for Jungle Baby’s showers, plus we’ve always gone with whatever is cheapest or on sale since. So I have tried TONS of different diaper brands. And you know what? They are all the same. I really haven’t noticed any benefits to a particular brand. I have found that once in a while a name brand seems to edge out a generic brand on corralling a blowout…but just barely. Honestly, if they’re gonna leak, they’re gonna leak! I’ve found that what position I put him in–tummy, back, or sitting upright–when I hear him start working on a heavyweight diaper actually makes the biggest impact in preventing blowouts.

NOTE: I have several friends who say that using cloth diapers saves the most money! I haven’t yet gone this route, due to the fact that when Jungle Baby was born, I was sharing a washer with 2-3 other families. Plus, nobody needs extra laundry when recovering from birth! But I’m eager to try this option in the future! If anyone reading uses cloth, feel free to weigh in with your experience on the money it saves.

4. Cut wipes in half

I was given bukus of disposable wipes…haven’t had to buy a single package yet. And one thing that has extended the life of my stash is cutting the wipes in half. Seriously, a newborn baby does not need a full-size wipe for most diaper changes. {Messy diapers can be a definite exception to this.} So, every so often, I’ll whip out my scissors, cut a chunk in half, and put them back in the package. This was a lifehack from my mother, and it is awesome.

5. Be discriminating when purchasing items for yourself. Ideally, wait until after the birth

This is a biggie. You never know what people will be generous enough to give you for showers, or even just because they don’t need it anymore. So wait to make most purchases until after all showers, and even the birth. There are really only a very few things you need when the baby actually arrives {post on that coming soon!}, and honestly, you’ll have a better idea of what you really need after you and baby have spent some time together. {Plus, sometimes relatives just get so excited, they go out and buy you a bag full of stuff, just because they can’t contain themselves! I had this happen.} So be really deliberate with your purchases. The diaper pail was something I couldn’t pass up for $6, and I knew it would be a really good thing to have, even if it wasn’t totally necessary. So I snagged it, and took it off my registry. But most things that weren’t an absolute need, or a future investment, we waited on. You never know where free stuff is going to come from. My hospital even gave me a ton of gifts on the way out the door, including vouchers for free + shipping baby slings, and a travel bassinet! {“Free” is relative, of course…you could say we paid a pretty penny for these lovely extras through the hospital bills, but I digress.}

This is a big deal regarding clothes especially. All babies grow at different rates, so you may need a different size when the season changes than you thought you would. {All clothing labelled ‘newborn’ is not created equal. Ask me how I know!} You won’t buy things that won’t get use if you play this part by ear.

6. Feel free to go without

Our current residence does not have a bathtub, only a shower. And, I just haven’t felt like paying for/storing a baby bath. So, you know what we do? We give him exactly the same kind of bath he first got when he was born–a sponge bath. We get bowls of warm water, plenty of towels, put it all on the kitchen floor, and go to it! He doesn’t sit up well enough yet to enjoy playing in a tub {plus I don’t worry about him somehow drowning}, so this option is great for us for where we’re at right now.

I registered for a diaper bag, but when it arrived, it was defective. My sister and I went shopping for a new one, and I just couldn’t find one that wasn’t truly ugly, or the size of a duffle bag. Soooo, we went to the purse department, and found a lovely bag that is actually a businesswoman’s tote, designed to carry a laptop, paperwork, and purse essentials. It was pretty, way cheaper than a lot of diaper bags, fit everything I needed to carry, and suited me perfectly.

So just really think through what the industry tells you you’re “supposed” to have, and decide what you and your family truly want and actually need. 

 

Okay, what other ideas would YOU add to this list? What have you done or do you do to save money in the baby department? Share the knowledge!

::clears throat:: "This post may contain affiliate links!"  Just so you know, buying through a link on the blog could help me earn some money...at no cost to you. There! All is disclosed. ::ducks out::

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