Babies can cost you a lot! Mothers-to-be rarely realize the extent to which things add up until they have one. Hence, saving money with a baby is a real challenge. Mainly because you have no idea what is essential and what not for proper upbringing.
Luckily, you can try out different strategies to stay within budget while caring for your little one. The best approach is to learn from experienced moms. Here are thirty budget-friendly ideas you can implement without depriving your infants of the outstanding care they deserve. Learn how to save money when having a baby and enjoy motherhood.
Table of Contents
- 1 Get Freebies From The Hospital
- 2 Avoid Hospital Add-Ons
- 3 Borrow Or Get Cheap A Breast Pump
- 4 Breastfeed If Possible
- 5 Don’t Buy Clothes Beforehand
- 6 Buy Diapers In Bulk
- 7 Buy Generic Brands
- 8 Skip The Shoes
- 9 Buy White All-In-Ones
- 10 Buy A Baby Stroller With A Return Policy
- 11 Return Baby Gift Items
- 12 Subscribe And Save
- 13 Hit The Dollar Tree Store
- 14 Borrow Items From Family And Friends
- 15 Tell People What You Need
- 16 Make Your Own Baby Food
- 17 Skip The Bottle Warmers
- 18 Replace Diaper Bag With Backpack
- 19 Call For Medical Advice
- 20 Avoid Ear Thermometers
- 21 Use A Bath Towel Instead Of A Changing Table
- 22 Skip The Crib Pillows
- 23 Minimize Birthday Celebrations
- 24 Avoid Frequent Toy Purchases
- 25 Skip The Nursery
- 26 Buy Unisex Items
- 27 Get Free Advice From Family And Friends
- 28 Avoid Eating-Out/Take-Outs
- 29 Ask For Free Products From Your Pediatrician
- 30 Make Sure You Have A Baby-Care Bag In Your Car
- 31 Bottom Line
- 32 FAQ
Get Freebies From The Hospital
During your stay at the hospital, the staff will probably give you useful baby items. So don’t refuse the supplies when offered and take them home. However, since nurses are busy most of the time and forget to dole them out, it’s up to you to ask for the freebies.
Indeed, most manufacturers leave freebies, samples, and coupons in maternity wards. Some of the stuff you can get includes tubes of lotion and diaper ointment. Then, you can receive coupons for baby wash and a diaper bag to hold it all. Plus, it never hurts to ask for additional supplies to take along.
Another thing to consider is to take the toiletries. Most maternity wards allow moms to keep the goodies stored in the cabinet beneath the rolling bassinet. Look inside it, and you may find diapers, swaddling cloths, a nasal aspirator, disposable bottle nipples, and a thermometer. Anyways, before taking, always ask for permission. Or you can leave the supplies behind and then shell out about $40 at the drugstore.
Avoid Hospital Add-Ons
Most new moms throw money down the drain for extra conveniences like a private room and personal toiletries without knowing. Hence, it’s mandatory to check with the nurse about the additional cost of every aspect at the hospital. Some hospitals don’t charge extra for these services, while others do even for the TV set. In this case, avoiding television or using bathroom toiletries you bring from home can save you hundreds of dollars.
We suggest you give up the private room if there’s an extra fee. The cost for this convenience might range from $30 up to a $500 daily charge in Manhattan. By choosing a two-person room during your hospital stay, you will pocket the difference. With nurses popping in every hour, you can’t have any privacy either way.
Borrow Or Get Cheap A Breast Pump
If you’re uncertain how to save money for a baby on the way, borrow a breast pump. Electric pumps can cost you over the odds or up to $800. Why spend that amount when, for only $45, you can buy a starter kit of plastic attachments and borrow the rest?
Though breastfeeding is less expensive than using baby formula, working mothers can’t always make it. The best solution is to use a breast pump. This way, you can pump and store the milk. The good news is that many hospitals rent these items out at a surprisingly low price. So, consider checking with the hospital or borrowing from a friend before investing in one.
Breastfeed If Possible
As for feeding, there’s no doubt that breast milk is healthier and more economical than formula. Yet, some mothers cannot breastfeed for various reasons. So what you should consider here is that both methods, whichever you choose, have associated costs.
Exclusive breastfeeding is always free and convenient. However, some moms tend to purchase breast pumps and associated gear such as breast milk storage bottles and bags. If this is your choice, the costs will increase proportionately. However, even with these expenses included, you can save anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a year compared to formula feeding.
Don’t Buy Clothes Beforehand
Avoid buying baby clothes far in advance if you’re looking for ways on how to save money when having a baby. Newborns usually have sudden growth spurts, but you don’t want to learn that the hard way. You may purchase a winter coat in September and then realize that your beloved one has outgrown it when the first snow arrives.
Don’t buy more than seven outfits per size at first. Most friends and relatives will bring you baby clothes so you’ll probably end up with loads of clothing gifts. Also, since babies grow fast, you never know what size they will be even at birth. We suggest you stay away from the baby clothes section. Baby things are so adorable, and it’s hard to resist buying them.
Another food for thought is to reconsider your breastfeeding wardrobe. Most moms buy several nursing tees and special bras, and then they give up breastfeeding a couple of weeks later. Since you’ll spend your baby’s first days indoors, wait and make sure you’re committed to breastfeeding. At this time, you will know whether you’ll need clothes for nursing in public. Finally, consider thrifting maternity clothes as you can find some barely worn pieces at seriously decreased prices.
Buy Diapers In Bulk
How to save money for a baby is not an easy topic to address. To begin, buying diapers is one of the baby-related segments that will waste most of your money. If you want to economize, buy your disposables in bulk. This way, if you don’t want to cloth diapers, you can save a lot of money by purchasing paper diapers in bulk bundles. It might also be worthwhile to shop for diapers from online sources.
Take advantage of frequent deals on diapers. For instance, Costco sells huge boxes of diapers, and Target offers ‘buy two get a gift card’ bonus deals. Lugging home a 228-count carton from the wholesale club is also worthwhile as it will save you about $170 a year. As for newborn diapers, start with one pack only and don’t go big there.
If you plan to have several children, consider using cloth diapers. The cost benefits of cloth versus disposable diapering will not be evident if you have only one child. However, if you give birth to multiple kids, the savings will be tremendous. Cloth diapering is indeed a hefty startup investment. Yet, by the time you train your first child to use the potty, you will return the investment.
Buying things in bulk, getting free goodies, and purchasing generic brands are among the best ways to save cash when having a baby.
Buy Generic Brands
If you wonder how to save money when having a baby, don’t listen to the commercials. Besides popular brands, generic diapers, wipes, and other baby supplies are excellent and usually cost half the price of the branded product. Likewise, just because Huggies has aggressive commercial campaigns doesn’t mean you must overspend to keep your baby dry and comfortable.
Further on, many products get branded as ‘for pregnancy’, such as vitamins and skincare products. In real life, the standard version of these products will work practically the same. As long as the ingredients are safe, it’s worth using a cheaper alternative for the same purpose.
Plus, you can always make use of items that serve multiple purposes. For example, your maternity clothes can double up as breastfeeding outfits. Or, the breastfeeding pillow can prove valuable both before and after the birth.
Skip The Shoes
Yes, you’ve heard well; your little one can survive without the shoes. You might spend up to $30 on leather footwear for your infant in vain. Babies learn to walk faster when barefoot. So, apart from being unnecessary, shoes can impede learning to walk. Use soft booties or thick socks that cost about $2 to keep your child’s feet warm when outside.
Once the child gets older, it’s time you bought them some high-quality shoes. Besides, you’ll probably have a couple of gifted pairs of shoes for special occasions. Save them for dinners, birthdays or family photos.
We will touch on the topic of special-occasion clothes here, too. To maximize your savings, visit the local consignment shop, and find a princess dress or a tiny tuxedo for a fraction of the selling price. Chances are the previous owner wore it just once or twice.
Buy White All-In-Ones
One of the cleverest ways to save money with a baby is to be cautious with all-in-ones. Since you’ll layer them under other clothes most of the time, there’s no need for cute patterns and brands. If you abide by this rule, you will often find packs of high-quality all-in-ones at a discounted price.
When we speak of staples like undershirts, all-in-ones, and socks, the rule of thumb is to buy them in plain white. Then, when they get dirty and they will, you can bleach them for pennies instead of spot-treating stains with laundry sprays.
Buy A Baby Stroller With A Return Policy
Test drive strollers before you cash in and don’t hesitate to look for a used stroller, too. Strollers seem fabulous in advertisements and leaflets until you try them. In some cases, pushing a stroller might be like navigating a bus. Instead of purchasing a stroller based on word of mouth, try test driving them first.
Start your pursuit at second hand stores and see if anything they offer may fit your needs. First and foremost, you’ll use the stroller for several years, so it must be easy to push and navigate. Second, the ease of use and car fitting can vary based on height and other factors. Finally, it’s essential to ask for a return policy if something goes wrong with the buggy.
Return Baby Gift Items
If you don’t like an item, return it for store credit. But, ensure you do it quickly before the time limit is up. Though returning baby gifts because they double or you don’t need them may not fall very high on your to-do list, think twice.
Standing in the returns line is worth your time and budget. If you have the receipts, you can get some money back and set it aside for future baby-related expenses. Or, if you want to keep the item, but it’s a smaller size, you can exchange it for a bigger one you’ll eventually need next year. This way, you’ll keep both yourself and the person who gave you the present happy.
Subscribe And Save
If you wonder how to save money for a baby before its birth, plan accordingly. Get to know all stores that offer deals and discounts for new moms. The Boots Parenting Club grants extra points when you buy baby items and offers gifts at critical stages of your baby’s development. Also, the Asda Baby & Toddler Club members first receive alerts about discounts in the supermarket.
Further on, look for discount codes to get the most for your buck. Find and use coupons to save on the items you want. Before buying something in a store or online, do a quick search for in-store offers or voucher codes. For example, some shops, such as Mothercare, offer a 20% discount code on specific clothes when you sign up.
Hit The Dollar Tree Store
Another plausible answer to how to save money when having a baby is the Dollar Tree Store. Their stores offer so many baby items, and everything has a price tag of only $1. The Dollar Tree is also the perfect place to get amusing toys for your infant or toddler.
Save big on baby essentials when you shop at the Dollar Tree. You can procure anything from baby shower supplies to feeding gear, bath necessities, and diapering needs. Even better, you can snap up some superb deals on clothes and bedding.
Borrow Items From Family And Friends
Baby products don’t wear out very quickly, but you still don’t use them for long. So, if you have close friends or family with children, check if they can give you some baby gear they don’t need anymore. Most parents with grownup kids will gladly hand you over their kids’ stuff. Alternatively, you can borrow or exchange toys and clothes with your neighbors.
Bear in mind that some things should never get used secondhand out of safety reasons. These include car seats, as it’s impossible to tell if the seat has weakened due to a collision. Also, make sure you provide new bedding, mattresses, and helmets for your beloved ones.
Even though you want the best for your baby, you should learn how to prioritize when it comes to spending. Fancy baby shoes aren’t a priority, for example.
Tell People What You Need
Your closest family and friends will bring gifts for your baby. So, even if they don’t ask you, you’d help yourself by telling them what will most benefit your newborn. This way, you’ll take off the financial burden of buying all the necessities on your own. Plus, your friends and relatives will be happy to bring you something of use.
Encourage them to get items you need for your day-to-day life. For instance, a baby sling will be much more beneficial than the latest musical toy.
Make Your Own Baby Food
When you compare store-bought and homemade food, the difference in cash is always incredible. To save in the long run, prepare baby food in large bulk. Besides being effortless to do this, it will also save you time and nerves.
All you should do is boil a pound of the preferred vegetables until cooked and softened. Then, you have to puree the food in a blender and store it for further use.
If you plan to use it in the next few days, store the mixture in the refrigerator. For long-term use, it’s advisable to pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze them. You can do the same thing with meat, as it takes longer to prepare. Besides always having almost ready meals, the cost per serving is way lower than the price of baby food at the store.
Skip The Bottle Warmers
One of the best ways to save money with a baby is to avoid buying a bottle warmer. You will spend some valuable cash and might end up not using it at all. The best approach when you need a warm formula is to use warm water.
If you think a bottle warmer is a must to thaw frozen breast milk, think twice. All you should do is use warm tap water to speed up the thawing process. There’s nothing the bottle warmer can do that warm water can’t, so skip this commodity altogether.
Replace Diaper Bag With Backpack
Diaper bags are regular bags with some baby-themed artwork and a substantially higher sticker price. So, why not use a bag you already have instead of a diaper bag? You can even use a backpack, and it will still do the work.
Plus, with backpacks, it’s much easier to carry items than with diaper bags. Besides allowing you more space to take things, you can use the backpack for hiking once your baby grows up.
Call For Medical Advice
Did you have a minor inconvenience with your newborn you’re not experienced enough to resolve? Well, call the nurse hotline or your pediatrician for instant and free advice without arranging for an appointment. Use the ‘first nurse’ line for prompt medical advice without having to take your baby in for a checkup.
Take advantage of this service if you want to clear some baby-related things up. Like most new parents, you’d probably panic over trivial events that can get easily explained and resolved by a medical professional. Indeed, there’s no need to take your baby to the doctor’s every time it sneezes or coughs.
Avoid Ear Thermometers
Those wondering how to save money for a baby shouldn’t bother with an ear thermometer. The biggest downside to ear and even skin contact thermometers is the inaccuracy. In short, they usually show more or less than a degree than the actual body temperature. When your baby is not feeling well, improper assessment of its condition can be detrimental.
An ear thermometer is also more expensive than an oral or rectal thermometer, which tends to be more accurate. We suggest you buy the cheapest traditional item. Often, nurses and doctors wouldn’t even consider the readings from a home ear thermometer.
Use A Bath Towel Instead Of A Changing Table
Changing tables are posh items that drain your wallet. Hence, get a different mindset and use a portable changing table or a bath towel. Besides being always at hand and multi-purpose, you can keep the bath tower in the diaper bag.
By doing so, you will have a changing table wherever you are at the moment. Why head to the bedroom to change the baby if you can do that in the living room? Plus, the towel can get easily washed in case of an accident.
Skip The Crib Pillows
Crib decorations are another segment you can avoid altogether. Apart from being expensive, they serve no real purpose and may pose a risk to the baby’s health. Instead, keep the crib bare, with only a fresh sheet to lay the baby on.
Moreover, forget about adding pillows, blankets, and bumpers to the crib. Your baby won’t get anything out of them, and you may increase the risk of smothering. So instead of splashing out on unnecessary but dangerous add-ons, save your money for some convenient baby stuff.
Minimize Birthday Celebrations
Those who are looking for ways to save money with a baby should reconsider lavish celebrations. We don’t refer to birthdays only, but also celebrating major holidays and organizing baby showers.
Minimize the celebrations until your child is old enough to appreciate birthdays and Christmas. Your baby won’t know what’s missing, and you can pocket the difference.
Avoid Frequent Toy Purchases
Besides being overpriced, kids get tired of new toys very quickly. Hence, allow your baby to play with everyday objects. You might have a ton of specialized baby toys, but your kid will still enjoy playing with other things at home. For example, babies love messing up with plastic cups and plates and banging on pots and pans with spoons. They particularly want to make noise with homemade rattles.
Honestly, you can save a lot on toys as you probably have many at home. Rely on the gifts from family members to cover the toys and focus on using household items for entertaining the baby.
Skip The Nursery
Don’t stress about having the perfect nursery if you ask yourself how to save money for a baby on the way. Even if the baby has a separate room, it only needs a safe sleep space like the crib. Babies don’t care about decorations, so you can also set up a kid pool instead of daycare.
Hence, don’t transform an entire room into a nursery. Babies don’t need a whole room to be happy. For instance, you can place some bookshelves or a computer desk in the baby’s room for practical reasons. Later on, as the baby grows older, you can migrate it to share a room with its siblings.
Buy Unisex Items
Another great hack to save over and over again is to buy unisex baby clothes. Then, you may swap them with friends, neighbors or keep them for future children. In short, avoid buying only girly-colored clothes (pink and violet) if you have a daughter. Instead, go with yellow, red, and green since these colors are unisex, and nobody will notice the difference.
Also, the toys you give your kids to play with should be unisex, if possible. That way, you’ll make the most of your money and save the environment. Unfortunately, that’s a trick many parents neglect to put into practice and end up paying through the nose for their babies.
Get Free Advice From Family And Friends
Make friends with parents who had children in the recent past. They will provide excellent advice and support for you in challenging times. Plus, recent moms can help you find local resources that will save you the trouble of locating them yourself.
Even better, experienced parents may pass along some of the items they no longer use to new parents. Finally, get to know a mom who has a large family in the neighborhood, as there are many ways you can save your buck.
Your plan on how to save money for a baby on the way should get rolling before the delivery. Start by skipping that latte you are so fond of each morning on your way to work and make yourself one at home. You should also prepare most of the meals at home, now that you’re spending most of the time with your baby.
Plus, you can make use of money-saving apps to keep track of your expenses. Besides food, these apps will help you save on groceries, gas, and cleaning supplies.
Ask For Free Products From Your Pediatrician
If you’re planning to bottle feed, the formula cost probably has you feeling a major case of sticker shock. Hence, remember to request freebies from your pediatrician. They usually cooperate with major brands and can load you up with items ranging from formula to eczema cream. Ask for some supplies each time you arrange a checkup for your newborn.
Make Sure You Have A Baby-Care Bag In Your Car
Always keep a ‘backup’ diaper bag in your car. This ‘emergency’ diaper bag in the vehicle should contain diapers, cloth wipes and a few changes of clothes. Ensure you also take along a few snacks for the baby.
Keep these essentials in a regular bag to avoid shopping for clothes or diapers in an emergency. As a result, you’ll keep your money and save a ton of time on a road trip.
Raising a baby is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but it can also exhaust you financially. Overall, the best thing you can do for your baby is to show them love and take care of their simple needs. You don’t need tons of expensive stuff to keep your baby well-fed, clean, and safe. Follow our ingenious budget-friendly hacks above, and you’re halfway there.
What about your experience as a parent? Do you have some tricks on how to save money when having a baby? Share your ideas in the comments below and register for our newsletter.
Should you save money before having a baby?
Having saved a lot of money for a baby isn’t essential. However, you should have a decent amount set aside for emergencies and in case of job loss. What matters more when you have kids is cash flow. Arranging insurance may be another smart option.
How much money should you have saved to have a baby?
There’s no generic reply or magic formula to tell you the exact amount. Your baby cost will depend on your preferences, income, and needs. However, you can use a baby cost calculator to round up the cash you’ll need each month.
How can I afford a baby on minimum wage?
Start by visiting local food banks and thrift stores. Next, organize swap yard sales and exchange clothes and toys with your friends. Then, apply for the special supplemental nutrition WIC program, SNAP, and Medicaid. Finally, consider subsidized housing as this way you can purchase a modest home for your family.
How much does a baby cost in the 1st year?
Costs can range, but budget at least $1,000 to cover what you’ll need before birth. Then, the first month of the baby’s life is usually the priciest and can reach $10,000. The average middle-income family spends between $20,000 and $50,000 on child-related expenses for newborns in the first year.
How much does a baby cost per month?
You’ll need about $1,500 a month in the first year on average. The first month will cost you the most as you need to pay for the delivery, postnatal care, and a hospital stay. Childcare could take up the lion’s share of your budget the month you return to work.