When you find out you’re having a baby, it’s so exciting! You immediately start dreaming of all the things to come, from ultrasounds to designing the nursery. But once the excitement winds down, you begin to realize that you will have to pay for many things soon.
That’s why having a baby on a budget is essential!
When you take the time to figure out how much you can realistically spend and you learn how to save as much money as possible on baby things, it will feel like a weight off your shoulders.
I have always been passionate about budgeting. I love saving money wherever I can! When my husband and I found out we were having a baby, I felt anxious after hearing everyone tell me how expensive having a baby is.
I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and I was dedicated to saving as much money as possible before our baby arrived. I learned a ton of great money-saving tips during those nine months of pregnancy, and I can assure you that you can save money too!
Here are my best tips for having a baby on a budget, from birth throughout their first year!
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Create a Baby Budget ASAP
One of the first things to do when you’re pregnant is to create a baby budget. But really, you can create a baby budget before you even try to have a baby! The more you know about your finances before you have a baby, the better.
When making a baby budget, you will want to know how much money you have leftover each month after all of your essential bills and necessities have been paid. This will give you an idea of how much money you have to spend on baby things monthly.
Now, it’s a great idea to start saving that extra money you have left over as soon as possible. Before your baby is born, that extra money you save up will come in handy to pay for essential baby things. After your baby is born, that additional sum of money will go to things like diapers, wipes, and whatever else you need.
Know Your Budget For Maternity Leave
Another excellent thing to keep in mind when having a baby on a budget is your maternity leave. Depending on where you work and how long you’ve worked there, you might not have a fully paid 12-weeks off with your baby.
If you are allowed to take the full 12-weeks off, but you won’t be paid for that whole time, you will need to confirm that you can financially do so. It could be devastating to take some time off unpaid and then realize you have to use savings that you hadn’t planned on using.
To ensure that you are prepared for your maternity leave, check with your HR representative on how much paid leave you have. It’s best to do this at least one month before your due date. Then, you can add on any vacation hours that you may have saved up.
After you know how much time you’ll be paid, you can figure out how much time you can take unpaid. You will want to determine how much money you’ll be short during the unpaid period and then decide if you have enough savings to cover it.
Will you be switching to one income?
If your family will be going down to one income after the baby arrives, it’s tremendously helpful to start living on one income now. That means you will start putting the second income into a savings account while making one income work for your family.
By adding the second income to a savings account, you will see any changes that need to be made to your current budget. If you are short on money, you can try cutting different things out, or you can start thinking of ways to add a little income after your baby arrives.
What’s great about acting like you are living on one income is that you can bump up your savings a lot faster. Plus, acting like you only have one income can get you in the mindset to be more frugal, while you don’t have the stress of actually not having that other income. By the time your baby comes, you will already be more comfortable living on one income.
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Start A Baby Emergency Fund
There are always added expenses that seem to pop up out of nowhere; keep in mind that these surprise expenses can increase after having a baby. That’s why it’s crucial to start a baby emergency fund!
A good emergency fund goal to start with is $1000. When you read that, it might seem pretty intimidating, but it’s not! Reaching a goal of $1000 is very reasonable if you start saving money weekly throughout your whole pregnancy.
If you can save $25 every week of your pregnancy, you will have $1000 saved up when your baby arrives. If you double it to $50 a week, then you’ll have $2000, which is even better!
How To Save Money At The Hospital
Snag Those Toiletries
Chances are, your hospital will provide you with things like pads, nipple cream, diapers, wipes, and other simple necessities. Please don’t leave them behind when you go home! Having spares of toiletries you already use will save you some money.
Plus, if these items are in packages that you had to open, the hospital won’t be able to use them for someone else, anyways.
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Ask For Samples
Many hospitals get samples and coupons for popular baby products. Not only do these samples and coupons help you find products that you enjoy, but it saves you more money!
How To Save Money On Feeding Baby
Breastfeed If You Can
If you can breastfeed and want to, it will save you the considerable expense of buying baby formula.
I know firsthand how hard breastfeeding can be. But breastfeeding can be an enjoyable bonding time for you and your baby once you get past those initial hurdles. Plus it will give you more money to use for other essentials!
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Get A Free Breast Pump
Excellent-quality breast pumps can be upwards of $200, which can be discouraging if you are having a baby on a budget. The good news is that most insurance companies will cover the cost of your breast pump!
As you are getting close to your third trimester, you will need to call your insurance company to find out the details. Some companies will take care of everything for you, while others will want you to buy the breast pump and reimburse you.
While you are on the phone with your insurance company, find out if they cover any pumping essentials that you might need. While most of these essentials are small costs, they all add up!
Don’t Buy Too Many Nursing Clothes
It can be tempting to buy all of the cute nursing shirts, but it’s best not to! Like pregnancy clothing, nursing clothing can be expensive, and you might not wear them for too long.
While nursing tops are convenient in the first months of frequent breastfeeding sessions, you won’t wear breastfeeding shirts for long in the scheme of things. I breastfed my kiddo for close to two years and found that I stopped wearing nursing tops around the six-month mark. I just wanted to wear my regular clothes again!
It’s a good idea to get enough breastfeeding tops for a week’s worth of wear. If you find that you enjoy wearing them after a while and you need more, you can buy more! But typically, I find that I would rather have less than more.
Sign Up For Formula Coupons
Whether you want to exclusively formula-feed or breastfeed and use formula, coupons will help you save a lot of money.
Companies like Similac and Enfamil have places on their websites where you can sign up to receive recurring coupons in the mail.
Another great thing about signing up with these companies is that they send out sample boxes in the mail. These boxes include things like different formula samples, bottles, and more coupons!
Make Your Own Baby Food
Making your own baby food sounds intimidating, but it’s so straightforward! Plus, you don’t need any fancy gadgets to make baby food at home.
The two things that helped me the most while making baby food were this food processor and this baby food recipe book! This book has so many versatile recipes, and they are all so easy to make! Not to mention, I loved knowing everything that was in my baby’s food.
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How To Save Money On Baby Clothes
Buy Gently Used
A huge way to save money on baby clothes is to buy gently used items. Many times, you can find baby clothes that still have tags on them in thrift stores! Plus, you will want to wash all baby clothes before your baby wears them anyways.
Another great place to find cheap baby clothes is on sites like Facebook Marketplace. There are always local listings for large bags full of baby clothes that are only $10! At a low price like $10, you can go through and only keep the outfits that are up to your standards.
Ask Friends And Family
If you have friends or family who have children a little older than yours, talk to them about their old baby clothes! They might give them to you, or you could offer to pay for them; either way, you will be getting a great deal!
Know How Many Baby Clothes You Need
A vital part of saving money on baby clothes is not over-buying. When you know how many baby clothes you actually need, you will avoid spending money on too many clothes that your baby will never wear.
Always Check The Clearance Section
I have scored so many cheap baby clothes just by checking the clearance section whenever I shop in-store. For example, my best clearance score was a whole toddler outfit for $3 from Target! You really can’t beat that price for pants and a matching shirt.
When shopping in the clearance section, make sure you check the regular price before buying. Often, the clearance price starts at only a few dollars cheaper than it originally was, which is not the most fantastic deal.
Also, if you have the space in your home, don’t be afraid to buy a few sizes up when you find a good deal! When your kiddo moves to the next size, you’ll be happy to have an excellent start to their wardrobe.
Check out this article for even more ways to save money on baby clothes!
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How To Save Money On Diapers
Watch The Sales
Similar to checking the clearance section for cheap baby clothes, you will want to keep an eye on the diaper section, too. Like any grocery item, diapers go on clearance, and you’ll want to snag them up when they do!
Another thing to watch is the weekly store sales, as well. For example, Target often has deals where if you spend so many dollars on baby products, like diapers, you will get a $20 gift card.
If you do more online shopping than in-store, make sure you check out things like repeat delivery discounts! If you have Amazon Prime, you can sign up for Subscribe & Save, giving you 5 or 10% off!
Buy Store Brand
Buying store brand diapers is much more budget-friendly than pricey brand name diapers. I have found that Costco brand diapers are so much cheaper than Huggies, for example, and the quality is pretty similar!
Know How Many Diapers You Need
Hopefully, you will be able to get a good amount of diapers at your baby shower. But if not, make sure you know how many diapers you need so you don’t buy too many.
Consider Cloth Diapers
There is quite a debate on this topic, but cloth diapers really can save you a lot of money! Yes, you have to use energy, water, and soap to wash them, but it still ends up being less than disposables.
If you don’t want to use cloth diapers, don’t worry. You can still save a ton of money on disposable diapers by using the tips above.
Try a Diaper Raffle
If you’re having a baby shower or sprinkle, try having a diaper raffle! A diaper raffle is a very simple baby shower activity where guests bring the expectant mom packages of diapers in exchange for a raffle ticket to win a fun prize! To find out more about diaper raffles, check out this post!
How To Save Money On Baby Gear
Buy Gently Used
Just like with baby clothes, buying gently used baby gear can save you hundreds of dollars!
When it comes to used baby gear, you will want to do a thorough check before buying. For instance, you will want to ensure that there are no cracks or broken parts on anything. Also, don’t forget to check with friends and family to see if they are getting rid of anything you need!
One thing to keep in mind is that there are things that you should buy new. You should always purchase a new car seat because you can’t ensure that a used car seat hasn’t been in an accident. Also, you should buy things like baby bottles new for hygienic reasons.
Know Which Baby Items You DON’T Need
Knowing what baby items you should skip buying is essential when having a baby on a budget. It will save you so much money and space in your home!
Plus, when you know what items you should buy instead, you can put those options on your baby registry and hopefully receive them as gifts.
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Only Add Essentials To Your Registry
Like avoiding the baby items you won’t use, you should only add essentials to your baby registry. When you add only must-have baby items to your registry, there is more of a chance that your baby shower guests will get you things that you need. Then, you won’t have to spend your own money on those items!
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Return Unwanted Gifts
When you get duplicate or unwanted gifts, don’t hesitate to return them! Getting store credit or cash for gifts that you don’t need or want is much better than the gift sitting in your closet for two years.
Use A Registry Completion Coupon
If you still have essential items leftover on your registry after your baby shower, you will want to have a completion coupon to use! A completion coupon is a discount that you can use just once to buy anything left on your baby registry.
When you have an Amazon Baby Registry, they will give you a completion coupon to use. (Amongst many other great things!) If you are a Prime Member, you will get 15% off your registry and 10% if you aren’t a Prime Member. It’s worth it!
Babies don’t have to cost you a fortune! When you prepare yourself with these tips before your baby arrives, you will be surprised at how much money you can save. Not to mention, when you’re saving money, you are stressing less. Less stress equals a happy mama!
Before you go, check out these related articles:
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- Formula vs Breastfeeding: How To Decide
- The Best Snacks To Pack In Your Hospital Bag
What are your favorite tips for having a baby on a budget? I would love to know in the comments below!