Just a quick Google on how much it costs to have a baby is enough to make your eyes water! It’s inevitable that there’ll be costs incurred when you have a baby, but are they really THAT expensive?
According to research:
“The average middle-income family will spend roughly $12,000 on child-related expenses in their baby’s first year of life.”Parenting.com
That’s in the first year alone!
Putting medical costs aside, there are so many baby associated products available that you could buy if you wanted to; it’s not difficult to believe that it’s possible to spend the crazy amounts people say it costs.
The good news?
Whilst it’s clearly possible, it’s definitely not necessary! There are so many money saving opportunities when it comes to babies, it absolutely is possible to provide everything you need for a baby, even on a tight budget.
This article is going to show you how, in 7 simple steps, you can save money on baby expenses whilst still providing everything your baby needs.
These are easy and actionable ways to cut down the cost of having a baby including great tips and shared experiences from other parents.
1. WORK OUT YOUR BABY BUDGET
Before you think about anything else, look at your budget. If you haven’t yet made a budget you can find a free budget spreadsheet to help you get started here.
Look at your monthly income and your outgoing expenses, particularly what you expect them to be after your baby arrives due to maternity/paternity leave and possible changes in salary. (If you’re going to incur any medical expenses, don’t forget to include them).
Include everything you spend money on, down to your TV subscription and take out food. You want to get a clear overview of your financial situation.
From there, it’ll be easier to work out how much money is realistically affordable to spend on baby costs. Once you’ve got your budget worked out, you’ll have a much better idea of where you stand financially.
Having your budget right in front of you will not only give you a better overview of your fixed outgoings, but also more insight into which areas you could potentially adjust to make savings.
Make a list
Then, make a list of all your baby essentials. Working out a list will help both with budgeting and getting organised. Once you’ve got your list sorted you can try and source the best price for everything. Don’t assume that you’ll need everything either – whilst some things are necessary to have straightaway, others can wait:
Save by NOT buying things before baby is born. You don’t really know what you will use and what you won’t use until you HAVE a baby. I own (but do not use – AT ALL) 5 baby beds, 3 baby baths, 1 change table. The babies sleep with us, bath with us, and get changed on the living room floor.
Don’t fall for all the ‘baby product’ hype. I have a beautiful crib my daughter doesn’t sleep in because she prefers the Pack n’ Play. Also tons of toys are totally unnecessary.
2. SAVE MONEY ON BABY ESSENTIALS BY BORROWING OR BUYING PRE-LOVED
One of the best ways to save on baby expenses is to borrow or buy second hand where possible.
Obviously the most money saving route possible is to borrow things. If you have family or friends that have babies a little older, it’s worth seeing if they’d be happy to lend or pass on anything.
We saved money by borrowing a few baby items (like a bassinet) from family. These things seem small, but can really save a lot in the long run!
Also ask friends with older kids about baby gear they’d like to get rid of. I scored some really great expensive items like a baby carrier, baby rocker and jogging stroller from friends who were just going to give it to Goodwill.
The next best way to save money is to buy preloved:
With just under 4 million babies being born in the US every year, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of baby items being sold on as preloved.
The best part?
Babies use things for so little time because of how quickly they grow that pre-loved items are often in such good condition you might not even be able to tell they’ve been used.
From cribs to clothes and slings to strollers you can pretty much find almost everything you need for your baby second hand and save yourself huge amounts compared to what you would have spent on brand new equivalents.
With my first I bought everything new and couldn’t believe how much didn’t get used (and how much I spent!) Now, I shop the Facebook Mom to Mom groups and save money on things that are often new or at least as good as new! Saves the landfill and my wallet!
THE BEST PLACES TO BUY SECOND HAND
- Facebook Marketplace – Using Facebook to source second hand items is a great way both to avoid any fees and find things that are local to you and avoid shipping costs. You can also search for and join local Buy/Sell groups on Facebook.
- Consignment and Thrift Stores – Check your local stores regularly to see if you can spot any great bargains.
We saved so much money. I think I’ve managed to get almost everything secondhand! There are a few consignment stores around us that I shopped at for baby’s clothes, and other small items. Also, I used the Facebook market site to get some clothes, a bassinet, and other baby items as well! These things were practically brand new for super cheap!
Reseller stores are my jam! I stumbled upon Once upon a Child when my baby was 12 months and made $70 from clothes we never used (but good stuff) while there I looked around they had baby Bjorn carriers, jogger strollers, everything for like a fraction of the price! I was amazed and now I shop there all the time.
- eBay – If you don’t have any luck finding anything locally, eBay gives you access to a huge marketplace full of baby items for sale.
- Resale and Nearly New Events
There is a semi-annual resale event that I go to in our town. It’s huge! I’ve gotten most of my daughter’s baby clothes and toddler clothes second hand from the resale event. Search around your area for resale events, and stock up.
- Craigslist and similar sites are another option to search for your wanted items.
- Yard Sales
I went to yard sales on Saturday mornings for months before our baby arrived. I was able to find toys that just needed to be cleaned, baby accessories like an ergo carrier at a fraction of the new cost, and was able to stock up on clothes for the first year of our baby’s life for prices you can’t even find in consignment shops!
One quick note:
There are certain things it’s recommended not to buy secondhand for safety reasons, such as mattresses and car seats.
3. SAVE MONEY HAVING A BABY BY BREASTFEEDING
“Breastfeeding is beneficial for both moms and babies, and experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. But, while almost all women can breastfeed, there are a small number of mothers who cannot or should not nurse their children.”Verywellfamily.com
Bearing in mind that not everyone is able to breastfeed and it doesn’t work out for everyone; breastfeeding is obviously the most cost effective way of feeding a baby! It allows you to feed your baby for around 6 months, essentially for free.
Breastfeeding is one of the single most effective ways you can save yourself money. Saving money was a huge driving factor to keep me going when I wanted to stop breastfeeding.
Infant formula milk is pretty expensive, and then you need to factor in the cost of buying bottles, and sterilsing equipment, all costs that can be avoided by breastfeeding.
I saved money by breastfeeding through the first year and doing baby led weaning once we started solids. I didn’t have to buy baby food or baby snacks, I just gave my baby food that we already had in the house. We saved a lot of money this way!
If you do need or choose to formula feed, you can still save money by shopping around for the best prices, using coupons and bulk buying.
4. SAVE ON BABY COSTS BY USING CLOTH DIAPERS
Using cloth diapers can be a HUGE money saver.
Cloth diapers were a huge money saver for us. It was a big cost upfront, but they paid for themselves in under a year. Now with my second, we are using the same diapers and saving even more!
Maybe you’re thinking:
Boiling up nappies, folding, pinning, scraping – no thanks!
But the truth is:
Cloth diapers have improved massively in recent years, and they are actually really simple to use and wash. They also come in cute designs and are styled in the same shape as disposables. No boiling required either – you can just pop them in your washing machine.
Whilst they do require a more significant upfront investment, the savings are definitely worth it in the long run, especially if you plan on having more children, as the diapers can be reused for subsequent children.
When my partner brought up cloth diapers I thought he was nuts but after a little research I decided to try to find some good used ones. 2 kids later we have spent $250 on cloth diapers and they are a few months away from going on to our third. I couldn’t imagine how much money we would have spent on disposable diapers in the last 3 years.
Another great benefit to using cloth diapers is that they retain value, so you not only can you buy second hand to save even more, once you’re finished with them you can sell them on and get some of your money back – you can’t say that for disposables!
To save money, we bought quality modern cloth diapers secondhand from some cloth diapering sites. We are using the stash with our second, so it has saved us thousands and I LOVE all the cute prints.
I’d always been interested in cloth diapering and I was so excited when two different friends offered me their cloth diaper stash for free! If you don’t know anyone who’s through with their cloth diapers, there are online cloth diaper marketplaces and swap groups that can help you build a cloth diaper stash for next to nothing.
If using cloth diapers just isn’t for you, reusable breast pads are another money saving alternative for breast pads:
I am all about reusing and reducing the cost of disposable things, however cloth diapers weren’t ever convenient for our sort of lifestyle. My way to contribute to that since I also breastfed was buying bamboo cotton reusable breast pads! I went through several pairs of disposables a day before I had purchased the bamboo ones on amazon, and I was impressed at how well they actually worked! Game changer!
5. MAKE GOOD USE OF COUPONS, FREEBIES AND SAMPLES
“Never pay full price for diapers, wipes, baby lotions or even baby food. There are tons of coupons to help you save money on even the big brands. The coupons can be found in sunday papers, online to print or even in many of your store rewards apps. If you can’t find a coupon try this trick; email, Facebook message or write the company about how you love the product and many times they will send you back coupons for free products.”David, Printable Deals and Coupons
A great way to save is to make sure you take advantage of all the available freebies and coupons you can find to give you a good discount.
Getting free baby samples can save you a ton of money! Many of the diaper and formula companies will send you free samples if you contact them. You can also sign up for the big diaper and formula companies rewards programs. You can “earn” points by scanning previously bought baby stuff and taking surveys or watching little videos and when you have enough points they’ll send you a free pack of diapers, or a free formula.
For a more in depth look at this you can read Stormy’s great guide on where to get the best baby freebies and samples.
Don’t be shy about asking for samples! I asked our pediatrician if they had any extra samples lying around and they ended up giving me a year’s worth of diaper cream, an entire box of formula cans, and a few other goodies! The nurse told me that they have so many samples delivered a lot expire before they even get handed out. My OB’s office had even more and also were extremely generous!
6. SAVE MONEY ON BABY ESSENTIALS BY BUYING IN BULK
Generally speaking, the more of something you buy, the cheaper it will be.
Stocking up on larger packs of diapers, baby wipes, and choosing larger bottles of things like baby wash and shampoo will usually mean you pay a lower price overall.
This is true at most stores, but you may be able to score even bigger savings by trying some of the larger wholesale stores such as
Costco, Sam’s and BJ’s.
If you’ve got the space, this is an easy way to make savings – and also means less trips to the store!
Not only did we stock up on diapers before our baby was born, we bought them in bulk through Amazon (as it’s usually cheaper to do it this way). Also – skip the newborn size or only purchase one small pack. Your baby will likely grow out of them quickly or may not fit into them to begin with.
I bought diapers in bulk from Target when they had offers, and got back gift cards which help reduce costs!
7. SAVE MONEY ON BABY PURCHASES BY SHOPPING THE SALES
For those items you do want to buy new, it’s always worth shopping around to get the best price, or waiting for a good sale. You can also check out the clearance section in stores to find a good bargain.
One other tip for saving on new baby clothes is to buy out of season:
I saved money by buying out of season! At the end of winter ALL the winter stuff goes on sale! So I bought a ton of stuff for next years winter. Same for the summer clothes!
I hope this post has helped show you some great money saving tips for having a baby on a budget. Let me know if you’ve got any other ideas to save on baby expenses!