Every parent wants to make sure they spend time with their baby, having fun, and helping the little one grow up happy. However, not everyone is financially able to make childbirth a joyful experience. The cost of having a baby in your life is often underestimated, and many parents find themselves struggling to make ends meet once the new addition arrives. This blog post will discuss how you can save money on having a baby by following these 19 essential tips.
The average cost of taking care of a baby in the first year is $13,186. This is about $1098 per month. That’s like a mortgage payment! I wanted to take good care of my baby, but I could not afford to spend that much money on products for babies. Especially during the winter, you have to prepare your baby for the cold weather.
I researched and tried many ways to raise a baby on a budget. One way is to buy the best products for your baby, but they are not as expensive. You can get them for less money. Here’s a list of tips for having a baby on a budget.
Baby on a Budget Checklist
When you find out you’re expecting, it’s tempting to go out and buy a wonderful baby thing right away. You might prefer to wait until the kid is born to see how they appear.
Make a list of what you need to buy the greatest baby items for the best price. Then just buy those items.
Everything I needed for the baby was written down on a shopping list. The following information was written on each line:
- the product’s brand name and name
- a link to the item
- the price
- quantity I’ll need
- the total cost of the product (price * quantity)
- the period I’ll need it
- any important comments to consider
1. Only Buy Baby Essentials.
Baby products are a big industry. But you don’t need them all. Even if you don’t buy them, you can still be a good parent.
If you want to save money on raising your baby, get the basic things that newborns need like:
- Diapers: We use Pampers diapers as they result in fewer blowouts. But it depends on the baby. Some babies are sensitive and need different diapers, so the Honest Company Diapers or Pampers Pure Diapers are made from materials that do not bother them.
- Wipes: We use Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes from Costco because they are cheap and durable. These wipes are also the purest wipes available, with 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract.
- Diaper rash cream: One of the hospitals we delivered recommends using Vaseline on meconium and diaper rash. It worked for a while, but we realized it wasn’t enough when our daughter had bad diarrhea. Now we use this organic diaper balm that works very quickly! I have heard that you can use it with cloth diapers too!
- Baby clothes essentials: Here are all the clothes I used to take care of my baby in the first year.
2. Know Your Baby Budget during Maternity Leave.
Now, you know what baby items you need. But now you might be thinking:
On a budget, how much money do you need to have a baby?
This is determined by a variety of things.
When your maternity/paternity leave begins, you must be aware of the following:
- What income will be coming in
- What expenses will be going out
This way, you can understand how much money you will need to save.
You can use an Excel sheet to calculate:
- Household income: Add your spouse’s income to the money you think you will get from maternity or paternity pay.
- Regular expenses: Download and summarize all of your credit card and bank statement data from the last month. Add in any baby costs like diapers or formula if you use them.
If you don’t know how to budget, that can be hard. Do one thing each day, like download the numbers one day and then sum them up the next day.
3. Prepare a Budget-Friendly Financial Strategy.
If you find out that your family will not be able to cover their expenses when you go on maternity leave, think about:
- Can I build a savings account in time to tap into it if I need to?
- Is there a low-interest loan that I can use until I get back to work?
- Should I go back to work early?
- If I go back to work, will my budget still make sense?
- Should I go back to work or find other ways to stay at home if they don’t make sense?
When I was on maternity leave, we realized that we were spending more than we were making. We had no savings fund. So I couldn’t go back to work and pay for child care.
We wanted to make more money. We found ways that helped us save quickly, like saving on food and clothing. We did a no-spending challenge with savings tricks, and it saved us thousands the first year.
4. Have a Diaper and Wipes Budget Plan
Your baby will need a lot of diapers, which will cost a lot of money. Some parents think they can save money by using cloth diapers and cloth wipes.
We chose to use disposable diapers and wipes. We thought the time spent washing, the money for energy, water, detergent, and machine depreciation was not worth it.
You can use cloth diapers and wipes for some time, but you also have the option to buy disposable ones. You can start with disposables until you have a better idea of what kind of diaper your baby will need.
You can use cloth diapers. People might need to use them when their baby pees a lot. If you know your baby is going to do this, you might want to use cloth diapers at the time. Once you’ve gotten a feel for both disposable and cloth diapers, you may decide which is best for your lifestyle and budget.
5. Watch Your Hospital Expenses.
If you don’t have insurance, you should not choose a private room. Private rooms can cost $ 100’s/day. Even though I had insurance, I had to pay $50 for the 24 hours I gave birth.
Because he had a private room, my husband was able to stay in the hospital overnight and sleep on the pull-out couch adjacent to the bed. Other people were not allowed to stay overnight in a room with two or four beds at our hospital.
When you feel weak after having a baby, it is nice to have someone else take care of it.
I wouldn’t have chosen the private room if I didn’t have insurance. During those first few nights, you aren’t going to be sleeping anyway. There wasn’t a need for privacy during that time.
It might be tough to know what to expect in the hospital when you have a baby. You could be charged for a lot of things. To know what you might need in advance, ask your maternity ward for a list of all the potential things you could have to pay for when having your baby. This will help you plan ahead about which things not to get to have an accurate budget in mind.
6. Buy Used Baby Stuff.
Buying used things is not bad. You are preventing waste and saving money on your baby’s budget.
If you’re searching for a less expensive option, contact the people selling used items you want and see if they’re willing to barter. If you have things listed on the same site, it’ll be simple for them to search through and see whether anything you have is suitable.
7. Shop Online for New Baby Items
We bought some new items for our baby. For safety, we didn’t buy used items that had been in an accident.
When we bought new things, we went first to Rakuten. When you buy something on Amazon, eBay, and other sites, Rakuten gives you money back. It is free to sign up, giving 40% of the money back.
After buying your first thing online, Rakuten will give you $10 for US residents or $5 for Canadians.
8. Get FREE Baby Things.
Your infant will require many diapers, which will be costly. By signing up for baby registries like Amazon Baby Registry, Target, or Buy Baby, you can get FREE welcome gift bags as well as registry completion savings.
To get the Amazon Baby Registry gift box, you need to meet certain requirements. These include:
- A high-ranking official (You can get the Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial, which you can cancel at any time.)
- Spend a minimum amount from your register, which can be from you or others (in the US, it’s $10, and in Canada, it’s $25).
Noobie Box is a baby gift box that includes free samples. The shipping costs extra. It is for one mom, but the content varies. The box might include diapers, wipes, baby ointment, moisturizer, nursing pads, milk storage bags, breastfeeding drink mix, lanolin liners, or other things like bottles or pacifiers.
We went to many free baby circles and activities. The library also had a place for kids to play. It was good when we just needed to get out of the house and go somewhere that did not cost anything.
9. Buy Baby Items Early.
When is the greatest time to begin buying baby items?
This is a personal choice. I didn’t want to start buying until I was sure I was pregnant to avoid trouble. I also wanted to get a leg up on bargain hunting.
I started looking for things to buy for my baby at the end of the first 3 months.
Return policies are important. You can always return something that you don’t like or need. If you buy it close to when your baby is old enough, you can return the item and get a new one if the first one doesn’t work.
10. Minimize the Nursery Decor.
When I was pregnant, I thought we needed to decorate the nursery. But then I realized it was unnecessary, and we could cut it.
We painted her room light green because we read that it is a calming color and makes people feel better.
Your baby does not care what the nursery looks like. But when you are older, you might have to do some redecorating then!
11. Make Your Baby Toys.
I like the baby toys that we bought. They are like the Lamaze toys and Activity Mat. My baby also loved playing with everyday things around the house, like boxes or containers or cardboard rolls or wooden spoons. There are many things for babies to play within your house.
Your baby or toddler might enjoy playing with boxes. Put two laundry baskets on the floor. Fill them with socks, plastic containers, or lids. Let your child play!
12. Trade Baby Toys.
Kids grow out of toys quickly. You can have a party where you trade 2-3 toys with friends once a month. That way you won’t need to buy new toys often.
Since you know where the toys come from, you can be sure they are good. Attending swap parties is a great way to save money while also getting rid of clutter in your home.
13. Feed Your Baby What You Eat.
When your baby can eat solids, you can save money by
- creating your baby food
- letting your baby eat what you eat
You don’t have to feed your baby food from the grocery store. But you do not need to skip it altogether!
I fed my baby food that we ate (avocado, eggs, bananas, etc.) and baby food when he was 6 months old. I saved money by not giving them just the baby food alone.
The formula is expensive. There is a high cost of the formula, but also there are bottles and nipples and cleaning products for bottles.
Breastfeeding has the advantage of being completely free. You don’t have to spend any money on bottles or formulas. And it also takes less time because you do not need to feed the baby every few hours.
Breastfeeding is hard. It can hurt. But you can use things to make it better, like breastfeeding essentials.
15. Make a Baby Photographer Out of a Family Member or a Friend.
Newborn or baby photos can cost $100 per session. That is a lot of money, and it does not include printing the photos!
Nowadays, the newest iPhones take great pictures. If you have a nice camera or phone, you can ask a family member or friend to take pictures of you for you. That way, they can be clear and fun at the park. Bring some props and make it a great experience!
We did a professional photoshoot, and my sister-in-law took some pictures. Both were nice, but I liked the ones my sister-in-law took better. They were outside in the open air, with plenty of natural light. We didn’t feel rushed in any way. She managed to capture some fantastic moments!
If you are looking for ideas for props, one common prop is the wooden blocks. They are nice. You can also use the chalkboard sign to document your pregnancy and baby’s growth. For example, you can write how old they are at different times in their life.
You can teach your children when they are older. You don’t need to use regular chalk. You can use markers with ink, like those in white and color. You may easily erase it with a moist paper towel or a baby wipe. They make it simpler to see photographs.
You can wear these types of clothes and props. Here are some textured blankets and settings, one with suspenders and another with a robe. We used blankets as well as some artificial flowers. It was adorable!
16. Create a Pregnancy Budget Checklist.
Your pregnancy budget can get out of control. This is especially true for maternity clothing. You need to buy a few things, not an entire maternity and nursing wardrobe.
Maternity leggings are a good thing to wear when you’re pregnant. They look like skinny pants, so you can use them at work. Maternity leggings are thick and have fake pockets that look like real pockets on the back.
I recommend getting a nursing bra. It is comfortable and not expensive. I have tried other nursing bras without underwires from other stores, but this one is the cheapest with good quality.
17. Ask for Baby Necessities As Gifts.
There are numerous times when you might purchase gifts for your children. These include birthdays, Christmas, and your baby shower. When these occasions come up, tell people that you only need things for babies like diapers and wipes.
It might feel awkward to ask for what you want. But it will be better for everyone. Some people are unsure what they want, so they don’t buy the gift. That is not good for anyone because there are wasted goods, and it takes more time to get refunds or deal with problems.
Some people buy a gift a month ahead of time. Be sure to check on the receipt and return it right away. You can trade it in for money or another item your baby needs more when you do this.
18. Don’t Pay for Babysitting.
If you want a date night or some time by yourself, you can ask a family member or friend to watch your baby. You will save money from hiring a babysitter.
I understand that you might not want to ask people for help, but if you have children and your family or friends also do, offer to watch their kids.
19. On Your Baby, Avoid Using Shampoo or Soap.
This might be controversial, but I have never used shampoo, body wash, or body soap with my baby. Her hair and body have only been cleansed with water for baths. She did, however, wash her hands with soap.
We’ve found that washing with just water is enough to keep her clean. We also save money because we don’t use beauty items like shampoo or soap.
Having a baby doesn’t mean it’s expensive. You can save money by shopping ahead and using strategies to help you save money.
For more information about money-saving tips for your baby, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby on a Budget Checklist: 19 Essential Tips to Save Money
If you’re new to budgeting, we recommend dividing your money with the 50/30/20 approach: 50% for needs such as household bills, minimum loan payments, and expenses such as child care, diapers, and formula. 30% for financial wants.
The cost of a baby is higher than most people think. It can be $20,000 to $50,000 for the first year of your child’s life. This costs more in certain places and if you have a low income.
Every state’s average cost of having a baby is different. The range is between $5,000 and $11,000. If you need a Cesarean section (when you need surgery), the range increases to between $7,500 and $14,500.
Before you decide to have a baby, you need to look at your finances. The average person needs $1,500 per month the first year after the baby is born. Babies are very important, and they change your life, but they also cost a lot of money.
You can have a baby if you are on minimum wage. You just need to save money first. Ask your boss for more hours of work. Request some family-friendly work hours if possible, too! Try to get free baby items by visiting the food bank or asking friends and family for help.
To enter this new part of life, you need to have a budget for new expenses, plan for child care costs. Review your employer’s policies and get enough insurance coverage. You also need to balance long-term savings goals.