Congratulations mama, you’re expecting! However with inflation at an all time high, preparing for baby on a budget may seem impossible. The high costs of everything may have you second guessing if now is the right time to have your precious little one, but don’t worry. There are tons of ways to have a baby without spending every dollar you own in the process. As a momma of five, I’ve learned a few things about taking care of littles without breaking the bank and I plan to share them with you.
For the mom-to-be who wants to keep her costs down, but may not want hand me downs consignment sales are the best option. Consignment sales are kind of like yard sales. Groups of moms sell their gently used baby gear, clothes, and toys, but think 30 – 50 moms at a time. And depending on the type, some even have rules / requirements for the items. Must be used but look new, can’t be missing any pieces etc… I’ve visited a few and love the ones that are typically held two to three times a year. These sales are always jammed pack with goodies, last several days, and have discount days towards the end.
Even if there isn’t a consignment sale in your community, chances are there is one within driving distance. The savings you will find definitely make it worth traveling. Don’t know where to find one? Look in your local community Facebook groups and you can also look here.
Yard Sales and Thrift Stores
Yard sales and thrift stores are wonderful places to find many of the baby items that you will need. Things like cribs, swings, bouncers, and clothes are constantly being donated to local Goodwills. Babies grow out of many of these items (except for the crib) fairly quickly. Which means it’s easy to find gently used items that are still in great condition. Don’t be afraid to make it your own either. For our third child we found a few crib off of Facebook Market place and painted it. While it had some paint chips missing there was lots of life left in it. That crib last until he was ready for his toddler bed.
The baby industry is HUGE, which means brands are always looking to win your business. And what better way to do this than with SAMPLES. You can find lots of free baby samples with a quick internet search, and they will mail them directly to your home. You might want to consider setting up an email address just for your sample search to keep your real inbox from being flooded with emails though.
Another great way to stock up on samples is through your baby registry. A lot of stores (online and brick and mortar) offer goodie bags full of fun stuff for using their registry. Some even offer coupons which help save on items you can’t find elsewhere or have to buy. new. Like diapers.
You can also get free samples for baby products from the hospital and oftentimes your pediatrician’s office. It never hurts to ask! You can get samples for diapers, wipes, formula, diaper rash cream, and other baby essentials like shampoo and baby wash. Many hospitals will even send you home with a free diaper bag stuffed with samples.
Plan to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding your baby can save you quite a lot of money because formula can be expensive. Some estimates of formula costs for the first year of your baby’s life exceed $2000. This is not to say that breastfeeding is “free” because there are costs associated with breastfeeding too. You will need nursing bras, nursing covers, flanges for the pump, nipple cream, and breast pads to soak up excess milk. Breastfeeding can definitely be less expensive than formula feeding but you still may have to spend some money.
If you plan to nurse your baby, then you should definitely take advantage of the free breast pump provided by most insurance companies. There will be times when you will need to pump and breast pumps can be costly. You can learn more about getting a free breast pump and how to qualify for one here.
If you have problems going through your insurance, there are other agencies out there (such as the one below) who can help. Additionally, it is considered a medical device so if you ever have to fly with it, it does not have to be checked and does not count as a carry on.
Women Infants and Children Supplement Program (WIC)
Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not, you should see if you qualify for the Women’s Infant and Children supplement program. Also know as WIC. The program provides formula, baby food, and infant cereal. Once baby is old enough it will also give vouchers for milk, fruit, juice, and vegetables for baby. If you are nursing you would be eligible for some of these same items as well. In addition, they can also help with a breast pump if needed.
Coupons are a great way to save on baby essentials like diapers, wipes, rash cream, and more. And all of the major baby brands will be more than happy to send some directly to your mailbox.
Luvs, Pampers, Enfamil, Similac, Huggies, and Gerber will all send you coupons a few times a month if you sign up via their sites. And most also offer points programs where you can earn even more coupons, dollar off and other goodies. If you have a willing family member or friend, you could also have them sign up for additional savings.
Hand me down can get a bad rep, but truth be told this is one of the best ways to prepare for baby on a budget. Chances are you know someone who recently had a baby. Check in to see if they have anything baby may have outgrown. Such as clothes, shoes, baby gear, and toys.
This is a great way to get ready for your bundle of joy without spending a dime. And you’re helping them out by getting rid of some clutter in their. home. Remember anything that you don’t have to buy is money that can be put towards other baby needs as they grow.
If your local grocery store has a baby club make sure that you join it. This can provide significant savings on baby essentials. If they don’t have a baby club, see if they offer a membership club of any kind. These programs will often send you coupons for money off, or even free items that you purchase regularly.
Cloth diapers are another great way that new moms can save considerably over the first few years of their baby’s life. Yes, there is an initial cost that comes with acquiring cloth diapers and covers but once you spend that money you won’t have to continue buying diapers. You can also use those cloth diaper covers and inserts for any children you might have down the road.
Registering for baby gifts is so much fun, but it can also be overwhelming. You may be tempted to put items on there that aren’t really necessary. Focusing on items that you know you are going to need or items you may not want to buy yourself is a good route. Things like sheets, diapers in a variety of sizes, cloth inserts, and covers (if you are going that route) wipes, baby gates, and pacifiers (if you plan to use them) or even the crib. Don’t worry about registering for items like clothes because you will get plenty of those whether you register for them or not. Everyone loves to buy tiny human clothes!
Consider starting a registry at more than one store. Target will send you a diaper bag packed full of baby goodies if you register with them. And Amazon will give you a discount to buy any items that you don’t receive at your shower.
As you can see there are lots of ways that you can save on baby gear and essentials. It is possible to have a baby and still stay on budget if you use these tips. Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family help out a little. Babies are a gift and most people love to help celebrate them. Do you have any other useful tips for having a baby on a budget?