For millions of people around the globe, raising children is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. It is also one of the most expensive experiences a human being can take on. It's absolutely astounding to think that such a tiny human being is capable of racking up such a hefty bill. Generally speaking, seeing a little person all the way into adulthood will set parents back about one-quarter of a million dollars! That is a lot of dough on diapers, clothes and infant products.
Parents can't wave a magic wand and make these parental expenses completely disappear, although that would be amazing, but there are some good suggestions out there for decreasing the baby bills during that first year of life. After all, every little bit counts right? Here are twenty infant products that can rack up the bills over time. Luckily for frugal mommies everywhere, these products can all be made in the comfort of their own home for a lot less money than their store-bought counterparts. It's amazing what a bit of elbow grease and creativity can do! Bring on the DIY folks. Let's get busy with the crafting.
18 Infant gym
It's important to help your little guy learn to stretch his muscles as he develops and grows. You can go out and purchase a snazzy infant home gym to pique your kid's interest and teach him to work his guns, or you can make one at home with objects that you likely already have lying around. Get creative and construct your own mini iron pumping space by following these directions. This design will give your tot countless hours of exercise and stimulation to help them be their very best selves, and you'll get a side of satisfaction knowing that you gave them such a cool toy on a dime!
17 DIY infant closet
Lots of families function on limited space, and nurseries often get assigned to the smaller rooms in a home. If your baby's nursery doesn't have a designated closet, worry not. You don't have to pay a contractor to build one nor do you need to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy armoire. You can create your own cute and functional storage space with some elbow grease and innovation. The one pictured is constructed from an old entertainment center that got a new lease on life as a makeshift closet and drawer system for the baby's clothes and toys.
16 DIY playpen
Pack and play systems most definitely come in handy during the baby years. They can be packed up and taken on trips where they can they be set up to keep infants playing and sleeping safely. We aren't suggesting that you forego a pack and play, because they do rock, but they aren't the end all be all of confining curious little ones. If you are at grannie's house and in a pinch, you can always pull out a laundry basket and fill it with toys. Rings and toys will even easily clip onto the edges for endless play. This is also a cheap and easy solution for parents who are desperate for a shower. No need to lug the baby gear into the bathroom for a ten-minute rinse. Simple whip out the laundry basket.
15 Busy boards
Busy boards are all the rage these days. Mainly they are large surfaces filled with different "texture" and noise experiences for youngsters. If you have a hot glue gun and a flat, sturdy surface in the home, you can make one of these all by yourself. Remember never to use objects that might have small, detachable pieces which could create hazards and to always secure the busy board to something so that it doesn't tip over. Babies are notorious for giving busy board components a good, old yank. This is like fifteen toys all in one. The best part? They are all glued down. No need to run around the house picking them up all day long. That's a win in itself.
14 Pain reliever for teething babies
Listening to a baby in pain will pierce your eardrums as well as your heart. No one wants to watch their bay experience teething pain. They are miserable, you are miserable, and in the end, you will do just about anything to soothe their misery. This recipe for a teething tincture claims to ease the pain of popping pearly whites while relaxing an ornery infant. The only ingredients needed here are water, vegetable glycerin, catnip, and cloves. This is a good resource for precise meausrements. Remember, anytime you are introducing something to an infant's system, you should run it by their pediatrician first, natural or not!
13 Baby powder
In recent years, the store-bought baby powder has garnished quite a bit of negative attention. Not only does the cost of this stuff add up, people are forever over using the cloudy puffs, but the DIY version is free of talcum powder. Talcum powder contains talc, which has been linked to some medical issues. For 1/4 of a cup of powder, you will need a few drops of chamomile oil, and a few drops of lavender, two tablespoons of white kaolin clay and two tablespoons of arrowroot powder. If you go ahead and purchase these ingredients in bulk, you'll pretty much pay once and always have the components on hand to make more.
12 Massage oil
Parents will do anything for a little sleep, and many turn to the powers of massage oils to lull their little ones into slumberland. You can choose to fork over large sums of cash for promising oils to lather up your baby with, or you can make your own for a fraction of the price. You'll need five ounces of sweet almond oil, two tablespoons of calendula and chamomile flowers, lavender, ylang-ylang, and patchouli oil. First, infuse the herbs into the carrier oil. Then strain the mixture and add the essential oils. Bottle it up and treat your kiddo, (heck! and you!) to a relaxing rubdown before bedtime.
11 Bath wash
You can make a super simple, infant body wash and shampoo that is both cheap and free of harmful chemicals right in your kitchen. This recipe is non-toxic, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck with this wash compared to comparable store-bought brands that can run you up to 12 dollars a bottle. Three simple ingredients can be combined to make a soothing baby body wash. Get the full ingredient list and instructions here and never worry about which one of the store-bought hundreds of baby body washes you should be buying.
10 Body lotion
No one wants their little one to be uncomfortable due to dry, itchy skin, so baby lotions are an essential item for many parents. Sure you can buy about a million different kinds from your local stores, but you'll go through the stuff fairly fast, plus many times these lotions have ingredients in them that we wouldn't choose to slather all over our tiny tots. The skin is the body's largest organ, so whatever you put on your baby needs to be something that you trust. You can make a big, old batch of baby lotion simply by mixing up some coconut oil, aloe vera and a few drops of essential oil. It's cheap, easy and you can use it on your own skin too!
9 Diaper cream
All parents want to keep those precious buns comfy and clean, but store bought diaper cream can cost a lot over time. A tube of the good stuff will set you back around eight dollars, with is almost forty bucks a week assuming you don't encounter severe bum rash. That's a lot for diaper cream! You can make your own with a few simple ingredients. Homemade diaper cream isn't only easy to make, it's cheap and free of questionable chemicals. All you need is some beeswax, coconut oil, and zinc oxide powder. Snag the full recipe here. (Side note: this stuff works great for chafing grown-up legs during the hot, summer months).
8 Baby proofing hacks
All parents would agree they want to avoid accidents and sudden trips to the ER. Accidents happen even when you do your very best to avoid bumps and boo-boos, but there are a lot of creative baby-proofing hacks that parents can do for really cheap. Heading to the store and buying up all of their baby proofing gadgets will add up quick. Try out a few of these simple, genius ways to keep your kiddos safe all while spending next to nothing. Thinking back to the days of babies, I wish I would have known about a few of these.
Any mother who has lived through the teething phase will tell you that one teether is not enough. Teethers might help soothe angry infant gums, but they often get misplaced, lost and even chewed through. Plan on stocking up on several of these guys. If you don't want to shell out money for plastic ones, try making your own. Heaven knows that everyone has about twenty mismatched socks lying around the house at any given time. Take a clean one and ball it up. Stick it in another clean sock and tie it off. Wet it, freeze it and voila! Now you have teethers that cost nothing. Plus you finally have a purpose for keeping all of those rogue socks around.
6 Furniture Cleanser
It is almost guaranteed that at some point in life, your baby will throw up on your armchair or couch. Infant vomit isn't the best smelling stuff on the planet, and if your baby is formula fed, the stains can become pretty set in cloth. Instead of loading up on expensive, chemically-laden fabric cleaners, combat baby vomit with this cheap and straightforward hack.
After cleaning up the worst of the milky mess, mix up a paste of water and baking soda. Spread the mixture all over the stain and then leave it overnight. In the morning simply vacuum up the crusty mixture and get ready for the next spit-up disaster!
5 Baby wipes
Once you become a parent, supplies like baby wipes will become part of your life forever. Just because your baby graduated to undies doesn't mean that you will kiss the expense that is baby wipes goodbye, My youngest kids are four, and I still use the wipes. I keep them in my car, and in several parts of the house for quick wipe-downs. I even use them to remove my make up when I am in a pinch.
If you are like me and you love yourself some wipes, then save a buck and make your own. All you need is a roll of paper towel, one tablespoon of baby shampoo and one of olive oil and a cup of warm water. Get the full directions here.
4 Mosquito repellant
We have all been bitten by a mosquito a time or two, so we know how itchy and irritating those bumps can be. Most of us parents can't deal with the notion of our kiddos getting feasted on by these bugs. Parents who live in states where mosquitos are unavoidable end up buying repellant by the gallons! When you have a whole family that you want to protect, you will be running through a ton of this spray.
You can make your own insect repellant by mixing a carrier oil with essential oils that the bugs will steer clear of. Shoot for cinnamon oil, castor oil, citronella oil or eucalyptus oil. Remember, if your child is very young then check with the doctor before exposing him or her to essential oils.
3 Baby Food
Once your little guy figures out that there is life beyond the baby bottle, there is no turning back. They will become little eating machines, consuming jars upon jars of colorful baby foods. If you don't want to pay a couple of dollars per jar of fancy baby foods, then feel free to make a couple of batches of your own.
You can buy fresh fruits and veggies in bulk quantities, cook and puree them and set them aside to cool. You can even set aside some of the baby food to freeze for a later date. It might take a little bit more time to make food as opposed to buying it, but many people think it's worth it.
2 Household cleaners
Parents usually want to keep a clean house for their tiny tots. Germs aren't anything that we want invading our sweet little lambs' systems. While keeping your home neat and tidy is a great thing, using too many household cleaners can get pretty pricey and can expose your baby to many harmful chemicals.
Try making your own all-purpose cleaner by mixing one tsp of Borax, 1/2 tsp of washing soda, one tsp of liquid castile soap, and a few drops of the essential oil of your choosing. Store the solution in a glass bottle and spray away! This cleaner costs less than the fancy store bought ones and is better for everyone's health.
1 Laundry detergent
Fact: Having children means committing the rest of your life to living in the laundry room and kitchen. Those are the only two rooms I seem to spend any time in these days. Babies especially seem to run through outfits at warp speed. They soil them, throw up on them and smash peas in them. Multiple outfit changes are a part of every mother's daily routine.
Once you become a mother, you'll notice that you are going through laundry detergent like never before, and that stuff can run up your monthly grocery bill. Try making your own out of a few simple ingredients. Get the full rundown on how to whip some up yourself here.
Sources: manvsdebt.com, sheknows.com, babychakra.com, wellnessmama.com, therealisticmama.com