Baby on a Budget: Budgeting with a newborn can be done. I am here to share easy ways to shop with a baby on a budget. Learn how to save money without losing your mind when it comes to the long list of supplies you need.
BABY ON A BUDGET
Below are practical ways that are rather simple to do. These ideas below, when combined, can help you pinch pennies and still have the supplies you need for your bundle of joy. By using all these techniques, we’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years!
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Skip buying all new and look at secondhand items! This is the best tip (and the most undervalued.) Whether they are hand-me-downs from family, friends, or you thrift or yard sale, buying second-hand will save you the most money. I have got some of our best things secondhand–our baby swing, our winter stroller blanket ($35 instead of $195!)
Below, I’ve broken down all the places I buy second-hand items and what the best items are in each!
There is a huge market on Facebook Marketplace for slightly used baby gear and clothes–so look before you pay retail! Facebook is a great place to buy some of the high-value ticket items that kids only use for a short time.
Best Baby Gear To Buy on Facebook Marketplace:
- Jogging Strollers
- Baby Bouncers and Activity Stations (Jumpers)
- Baby Swings
- High Chairs
- Clothes–use Buy/ Sell/ Trade Groups
Things You Shouldn’t Buy Used:
- Breast pumps
- Crib mattresses
Babies grow super fast, so oftentimes you can get barely used baby clothes for cheap! When we were just starting out having babies, I would go to our church’s rummage sale each fall and I would spend $60-80 and have literally 4-5 garbage bags of clothes for the kids! We saved hundreds of dollars this way–and if you go to a nice parish, chances are you’ll get some nice clothes! This is also a great way to get slightly used dress shoes for children–they can be expensive new!
We bought a lot of our big kids toys from yard sales; but, I see less and less of them these days. Nevertheless, they are the lowest prices you’ll see for baby gear online–mostly because the owners usually want them gone fast!
Over the years, we’ve picked up baby carriers (a $200 baby hiking backpack for $25, a jogging stroller that retailed for $425 for $40, and a second booster chair for $3)! We also were able to find a practically new toy firehouse for our kids for $25 instead of the $145 it retails for new! And the kid we gave the money to was thrilled! When we were done with it, we gave it away and passed it on!
If you can, breastfeeding will save you a ton! Baby formula is rather expensive, and if you can breastfeed and pump, you can build up a stockpile to last you a whole year. On average, breastfeeding can save you around $1,400 in the first year of life. We’ve been really fortunate and I have been able to breastfeed all four of my children until they were 15 months old–completely avoiding formula altogether (and saved roughly $5,600 by that calculation!)
Some insurance companies will cover the cost of specific breast pumps. So make sure to check with your insurance before you purchase one! Additionally, breast pump supplies are FSA (flexible spending account or HSA eligible!) So use up those funds!
If you can’t or don’t plan to breastfeed, know that your baby might need to attempt multiple formulas until they find one their body can handle or agrees with them. You can sign up for free samples for Enfamil and Similac–our hospital sent us home with samples. Plus, most pediatrician offices have samples they can give you when starting out so you can see what works for your baby best.
If you do go the formula route, you can always look into buying formula at Costco or Sam’s Club. They offer the largest sizes and competitive prices–and don’t forget to check for coupons! Most stores will honor them, and many stores like Target will often have “buy $100 in baby and get $20 gift card” deals. I still find Amazon the most convenient though, and with their 20% off on food, diapers, and wipes I’ve saved hundreds of dollars.
Make sure to not invest a ton in a whole lot of bottles at first. Each nipple and bottle offers a different style. Until you know what your baby is going to like, don’t go and buy bottles in bulk–I made this mistake with my first! If your baby has reflux or is gassy, bottles like Dr. Brown are trendy but are pricier. So always make sure to start small until you know–try a few style of bottles to see which ones your baby prefers. Then only buy as many as you need–you don’t need a dozen, especially if you are only supplementing with formula!
When you purchase items, look at the long term thing. Look for items that convert and grow with your child. You can buy a car seat that starts out for infants and goes all the way up to a booster. Same thing for cribs that later convert into a toddler bed to twin size bed. They are more money upfront; but, it is a one-time purchase, instead of upgrades as your baby grows.
We did this with our stroller: instead of buying an expensive one-seat stroller, we bought a convertible stroller that could fit up to three children. Seven years later, we still use the same stroller! All we had to do was buy a second stroller seat when we had our second, and a roller board when we had our third!
Homemade Baby Food
Instead of buying baby food, start by making your own. All you need is a blender and sealable containers. While it’s easier to use the expensive baby food maker, you don’t necessarily need one–you can use a steamer with your pans and your regular food processor.
Or try baby-led weaning (that’s what we did!) It’s way cheaper than buying baby food! We found we didn’t really need to buy any special food for the baby either because we were eating a balanced diet. Albeit, we did see our family’s organic yogurt intake go up when we had kids (it’s our kids’ favorite!)
Maximize Your Baby Registry
We purchased very few items on our own and were gifted many of the things we needed from our baby registry. We chose to have the gender of our babies a surprise (all but the last one) so people were less inclined to give us gender-specific clothes, and instead bought straight from the registry. Several of my aunts went in together on buying us a stroller and a car seat. And several other aunts even bought us cloth diapers (you’ll read why next!) By registering for only the items we really needed (not many baby toys, clothes, or books) were on there; we got just the items we needed! You can always get cheap clothes, baby books, and toys elsewhere!
Use coupons for formula, diapers, and more. If you can clip a coupon or print on a website, this is a great way to cut corners on the things you will need. You can even find coupons for 20% off for stores like Target to shop for clothes that help you to save money on items you might need to purchase. Lots of stores will honor competitors’ prices–Nordstrom is one of them, as will Buy Buy Baby!
If you have a friend or family member who has small kids as well, consider swapping babysitting. This is a great way to get to go out and spend time with your partner without having to pay. Then you both can swap watching each other’s children so you don’t have to pay a babysitter (which can get expensive!)
Your newborn will grow fast, so you don’t want to buy a ton of newborn diapers. Instead, buy one large box of newborn diapers, and then two boxes of size 1s. You can always make a diaper smaller (by folding down the back and the front–but you can’t make it larger!) We buy all our diapers with this service and save 20% on everything! It adds up when you have multiple kids in diapers!
I save 20% on all my diapers by buying them HERE. 20% adds up and over the years, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on diapers by using this one hack–plus, I never run out! I bundle it with our dog food, toilet paper, and paper towels and save so much money! (Plus there are coupons that you don’t even need to remember–they are automatically applied if you click it!)
If you are concerned about saving money on diapers but have access to a laundry machine–consider cloth diapers! The average family spends $90 per kid in diapers per month–that’s nearly $1,100 a year! We used cloth diapers exclusively for our first. We spent roughly $500 on them, so we saved about $600 the first year, and then $1,100 every year after (since we had already made the investment.)
Did we use cloth diapers forever? No. As time went on and our lives got crazier, I wanted to take things off our list–so we stopped cloth diapering. We only cloth diapered our first two children exclusively and then did about 50% with our third and 0% with our fourth. But we still saved several thousand dollars over time! And, I was able to resell our used cloth diapers and recouped some of our investment costs!
Simple is best and minimal. Baby’s don’t need a lot to entertain them. You can buy a few rattles and then get creative with toys. Give them a wooden spoon and pan to make noise and play. Some of my kids’ favorite toys are hand-me-downs from friends and neighbors! When kids outgrow toys, parents are always eager to offload bulky (and expensive) ones. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to score deals on these big-ticket toy items that kids grow out of quickly!
Freebies and Deals
Check out sites like freecycle.org, where you can find free items that are in your area. Also, use buy, sell, trade groups on Facebook, eBay, and even Craigslist to find deals or even freebies on baby items people no longer are using.
There are so many ways to save money on supplies, without feeling consumed by dollar signs. Just be smart in the purchases you make! Kids need a whole lot less than you think they do and by being creative with the money you save, you’ll have more money to make memories!