Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in the life of any parent. A precious child is such a gift, and parents can’t wait to bring their little ones home. However, another truth about parenting a newborn is that it’s expensive. Children have many needs, and parents are meant to fill them all.
Most women have friends and family members who will throw them a shower or two, and that can definitely help bring down the costs of raising a baby. It’s not enough to cover everything though, and babies need many items all the time, such as food, diapers, and wipes.
What should parents do so they can save money for college while also giving their newborn everything he or she needs? There are plenty of practical tips and pieces of advice to follow if you want to have a baby but don’t feel like you have the funds. It takes some planning and discipline, but it is possible to make it through the baby phase without completely draining the bank account. Follow these simple steps and watch the costs of raising a baby go down so you can have peace of mind about getting them through this phase.
20 Accept Hand-Me-Downs
There's no need to buy everything new if people are willing to offer hand me downs. Whether it's clothes, toys, or equipment like strollers, taking hand me downs will save mom and dad a ton of cash. It’s also an environmentally friendly option.
Always make sure if taking a stroller, crib, or car seat that it hasn't been recalled and that it works for your child based on their weight and age. Clothes are a big win because children go through them so fast, and toys that are fairly new should meet all standards for safety, though it's a good idea to check.
19 Don’t Go Toy Crazy
Babies don't really need a lot of toys. They need a lot of attention, food, and diapers, but they can live without all the gadgets and other items well-meaning parents shower them with. It's not a good idea to spend money on tons of toys when diapers, formula, and wipes are where the money really goes early on.
A newborn is going to be learning to master the basics, like holding up his head. The only entertainment he will need is mom and dad close so he can investigate their faces and hear their voices. Any toys sitting in the nursery when the baby is brought home will go unused for a while, and even when kids are old enough for toys, they need a few quality items, not a ton of junk.
18 Shop Second-Hand And Consignment
There are wonderful second hand and consignment shops out there to help parents buy what they need without paying full price. Visit as many of these as possible, and be on the lookout for expos that are huge and have tons of baby items.
Buying second-hand means getting more for less, and though mom may have to compromise on exact designs or colors if they are not available, consignment stores today tend to have a wonderful variety of items. Paying full price means spending more out of pocket than most parents want to, and consignment shops help parents avoid this.
17 Breastmilk Instead of Formula
It’s not possible for every woman, but breastfeeding is a huge money saver for the women who can do it and want to. Formula can cost thousands of dollars a year, and that is a lot to spend when mom has the food she needs in her breasts.
There are obviously countless other benefits to breastfeeding, but the money saving potential can’t be ignored. Even if mom has to supplement with formula on occasion, it’s still cheaper than using formula full time. Breast pumps can be rented or offered as a shower gift, and nursing bras won’t break the bank. It’s a winning financial situation.
16 Check To See If The Pump Is Covered
For the mom who chooses to breastfeed, a breast pump will be a necessary item. Before splurging on pumps that can cost hundreds of dollars, make a call to your insurance company and see if the breast pump is covered. Some plans cover breast pumps at 100 percent and will send it straight to mom's home.
If that's not an option, renting pumps is another way to go that can be cheaper than buying one. Some hospitals rent them out, and all mom has to provide is the necessary attachments to use them. Breast pumps are still cheaper than formula in most every situation, so look into how to make them even more cost effective if possible.
15 Don’t Buy A Ton Of Baby Clothes
It's so tempting to go into a store and stock up on baby clothes. They are tiny and cute, and many parents equate good parenting with a more is best mentality. Sure, babies need clothes, but they don't need near as many as most parents have waiting for them, and they sometimes outgrow clothes they haven't even had a chance to wear yet.
Buy a few essential onesies and some long pants, but that's about all that is needed in the clothes department. Socks are fine as long as mom and dad know most babies hate socks and will fight to get them off immediately.
14 Skip Out On The Baby Shoes
Newborns don't walk. Those teeny tiny baby shoes may look precious, but they serve absolutely no practical purpose. Mom or dad will be holding the baby when they are newborns pretty much all of the time, and even if they are on the floor they aren't going to take off and jog in their trendy little shoes.
These are another consumer trap, so don't fall for it. Baby shoes aren't necessary, most babies don't like having them on, and early growth spurts ensure that they won't fit for any amount of time at all. Simple is best, and no shoes is about as simple as a parent can get.
13 Look For Double-Duty Furniture
Designing a nursery can get very expensive, and babies pretty much just want to be with their parents, not alone in their very fancy nursery. For must have items, see if double duty uses are possible. There are dressers that store clothes, diapers, and wipes that also serve as changing tables. Mom and dad simply put a thick changing pad on top of the dresser and secure it, and it's a two-for-one situation.
Many cribs can convert to toddler beds when it's time, so buy one that will last longer than just the newborn and infant stage. This saves money in the long run.
12 Always Ask For Gift Cards
It's perfectly acceptable to ask a person who wants to buy a gift to purchase and pass on gift cards. Most people want to show up with the cute dress or baby shoes, but letting them know gift cards would be much more appreciated is a good idea. They can be used on diapers, wipes, and anything else mom and dad need for the little one.
Some women even have gift card showers. Instead of bringing gifts, those who come to the shower bring a gift card and give it to mom. It's simple and extremely cost-effective for mom and dad both in the moment and in the future when purchases still need to be made.
11 Don't Skip The Baby Registry
Don't skip a baby registry. Not only is it fun to go around stores and pick out items that mom and dad can imagine for their little one, but it's also practical. Family and friends who refuse to offer gift cards can at least buy something from the registry, ensuring it is something that mom and dad actually want.
Put essentials on the registry, and don't be afraid to register for diapers and wipes. They are needed, and many people like to offer practical gifts that they know will be used. Register for a range of items in different price categories, and try more than one store. This offers variety and availability to anyone who wants to offer a gift.
10 Use The Library
Babies absolutely need to be exposed to books, and it's never too early to start reading to them and showing them picture books. However, not all of these books have to be bought. Mom and dad can utilize their local library and save buying books for the ones they know the little one will want to chew on, making it difficult to return them to a library.
Local libraries also offer free entertainment and reading programs for kids, so mom and dad don't always have to spend money to meet other parents or keep their little one entertained. Show up for story times and puppet shows and watch your little one interact with the world.
9 Keep The Freebies
Pregnancy offers mom freebies that she may not see the value in at the time. Most OBs receive free samples of formula and bags full of coupons to hand out to patients, and mom should keep every one of these until she knows for sure what she needs. Some of those bags make great diaper bags, and even the mom who plans to breastfeed may need to supplement with formula on occasion. Those free samples will save her money.
Moms are viewed as consumers and companies market to them. Though this isn't always in a parent's best interest, mom can at least take the freebies and use them if needed.
8 Talk About Birthing Costs
Giving birth is going to cost some cash, no matter how mom does it. Whether she chooses a hospital birth, a home birth, or a birthing center experience, doctors and midwives will be involved, and assessments will have to be made of mom and the baby's health.
Check with insurance providers before going into labor so you will know what to expect when it comes to birthing bills. Ask what birth costs, what medication for birth costs, and how much the cost will rise if mom has an emergency situation, such as a C-section. Knowing this early on will help mom and dad plan for the costs instead of being surprised when the bills start rolling in afterward.
7 Buy Diapers In Bulk
Diapers are a must for any parent unless they are one of the few who tries elimination communication where children don't wear diapers. Since most people opt not to use this method, cloth or disposable diapers will be needed until a child is potty trained, and a lot is necessary for those early days when meconium is making its way out of the baby's body.
Buy diapers in bulk from retailers that offer large boxes, and have them delivered to your door if that is an option. If using cloth diapers, buy enough so when they need to be washed, there is plenty left over for when the baby needs one. Buying more up front is sometimes more cost effective.
6 One Word: Coupons
Not every new mom wants to put the work into couponing, and that's understandable. It takes time and sometimes more than one trip to different stores to get the best deals. However, even just using coupons minimally can make a difference over time. Coupons for formula, diapers, and wipes are very helpful since these are needed items for babies.
Even if mom can't find baby product specific coupons, using coupons on other items, like toilet paper, cleaners, or adult food will free up money that can then be used on baby items. Saving a dollar or two here and there will make a difference when mom and dad have a newborn in the house.
5 Stay Away From Advertisements
Companies heavily marketing to moms has a good and bad side. There are a ton of products on the market now that are meant to make life easier for mom and baby. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unnecessary items that are marketed as must-haves just to try to make money off of moms.
Don't fall for every advertisement that you come across while pregnant or in those early days of parenting. For sound advice on what to buy for the newborn years, talk to a trusted mom friend who knows what is necessary and what isn't useful at all. This will save money by keeping mom away from items that were never needed in the first place.
4 Don’t Buy Useless Items
Once mom and dad know what items are money traps, avoid them. Friends and family members who have children can warn mom and dad against that new trendy item that is expensive and serves absolutely no purpose. While there are plenty of popular items that deserve all the buzz because of how awesome they are, there are just as many that don't.
Don't fall for the idea that a child is deprived if he or she doesn't have everything it's possible for a child to have. Kids really don't need much, and people have parented for centuries without the luxuries we now believe are necessities.
3 Wait On The Stroller
A nice, safe stroller is wonderful to have, eventually. However, during the newborn days this expensive item will likely not be used at all. Babies don't like being away from mom early on, and investing in a sling or carrier is both more practical and economical in those very early days.
Most strollers are not built to hold up a newborn's rolling head during the first 30 days, so mom and dad will pay a lot of money for an item that sits and serves no purpose for months. Wait until a stroller is needed and then see about buying one second hand.
2 Keep The Baby Items
If more babies might be in the future, throw nothing away. One of the best ways to save for the next baby is to not get rid of all the newborn things from the first baby. Some parents even attempt to purchase neutral clothes and do a non-specific theme when it comes to gender for the nursery. That way the next child can just come use the same items, though it's fine for boys to wear pink and girls to wear blue anyway.
Many items will go the distance, such as breast pumps, strollers, and car seats. It's best to keep whatever can be used and is still safe so the next time prepping for a newborn will be easier and much cheaper.
1 Don’t Overdo The Nursery
Parents often care about how the nursery looks, but babies really don't. In fact, babies don't have great vision for a while after being born, so they won't notice the cute signs, textured walls, or color coordinated designs. Since the new recommendations now say infants should room in with mom and dad for at least six months, they also won't likely be sleeping there either.
Don't overdo the nursery. It's fine to add some cute, personal touches, but these need not be expensive or outrageous. Keep it simple, and know that what a baby wants most is to be close to a parent, not stuck in a very over decorated nursery.
Resources: Parents.com, TheBump.com, Todaysparent.com