Here are 40 money-saving ways to have a baby on a budget
Having a baby can drastically change your life mentally, physically and of course, even financially.
It can be overwhelming to think about how to have a baby budget for the first year and try to research what expenses to expect and where to allocate your money.
If you’re panicking on how to make sure your baby won’t cost you a fortune, this article will hopefully help you plan and prepare budgeting for a new baby.
You’ll see here some ideas on:
- how to cut down your expenses
- how to save on hospital stays and visits (even on diapers and milk)
- what to check with your insurance
- how to get affordable baby items, and more.
Let’s start with evaluating your current financial situation.
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40 Ways to Save Money to Have a Baby On A Budget
Review Your Finances
• List down everything
Review your retirement plans, education and credit card debt, insurance, emergency fund, utility, and grocery bills.
Even entertainment bills (theater, bars, dining out) and personal shopping expenses – list them all down.
Include your paid maternity and paternity leave (if eligible), as well as their stipulations.
Think also of your kid’s education plan.
List down all your bills, expenses, and even earnings, just so you have a general overview of your current finances.
• Use financial apps
Track and control your spending by using a money management app like YNAB or a tracking expenses app like Mint.
• Cut down expenses
Cancel subscriptions that you don’t need such as an unused gym membership, mobile app subscriptions, etc.
Try downgrading your lifestyle as well, such as trading your car for a more practical model, avoid dining out/ ordering takeouts/ watching in theaters, etc.,
• Sign up for financial assistance
If you’re eligible, sign up for programs or accounts that can help you financially, such as:
- Child Tax Credit
- Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- The New Parent Support Program for active-duty service members
- National Diaper Bank Network
• Find and create side hustles
You can consider freelancing, selling items, baking or catering, tutoring online, etc.
Check Your Insurance
Now is the time to start reviewing your insurance and healthy policies meticulously.
See if it covers prenatal and postnatal visits (for both mom and baby), sonograms, viability scans, ultrasounds, even vitamins, and supplements.
Check if they can also include immunizations and a few regular visits for illnesses.
Find out the cost for extra premiums, the out-of-pocket cost for hospital stays, NICU, etc.
In short, ask for a Summary of Benefits and Coverage.
Talk about billing and payment options with your healthcare specialist
And remember to add your baby to your health insurance ASAP to get some coverage.
Save on Hospital Stays and Clinic Visits
- Prepare a C-sect emergency fund, just in case.
- Say no to private rooms
- Check out hospital freebies, they usually have some prepared for new parents.
- Ask for formula and diaper samples. And coupons if they have any.
- Ask additional charges, eg. “skin-to-skin contact” is chargeable in some hospitals
- If it’s okay with them, call your pediatrician for a routine question, instead of setting up an appointment. Call only during office hours.
Stay-at-Home Parent or Daycare?
Discuss with your spouse which is a better option – financially and mentally.
Some parents are not up for the stay-at-home gig so make sure you’re on the same boat with it to avoid future resentment and jealousy in the other working parent’s career.
You also have to factor in having only 1 income if one of you stays at home to take care of your kid.
If you’re planning to go for daycare, start looking for one ASAP as most would have a really long waiting list.
Save on Maternity Items
- Buy oversized clothes
Don’t go overboard with maternity clothes.
In fact, you don’t need specially made maternity clothes.
Just get clothes that are a few sizes bigger.
It will still be appropriate to wear them even after a few years of having your baby.
- Get second-hand nursing clothes
Buy only a few nursing-friendly dresses and shirts plus a couple of elastic/ adjustable shorts and pants.
You can get them at Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Goodbuygears, etc.
- Buy multifunctional office clothes
You can get clothes that serve a lot of purposes and can still be used even after your baby is all grown up.
Items like cardigans, sweaters, oversized shirts, and dresses are a staple. You can wear these for day or night, for work or just running errands.
Most importantly, you can wear them during or after your pregnancy.
Save on Baby Items and Gears
• Make a list of newborn essentials
Stick to items that your baby really needs, if you really want to save a lot of money.
There are so many baby items out there that are not necessities, such as pillows, ear thermometers, baby shoes, changing tables, etc.
To give you an idea of what you’ll need when the baby comes, download my list of newborn essentials here.
• Create a baby registry
Baby registries are helpful to let your family and friends know what baby items will help you out the most.
You can also get a lot of rewards and bonuses by creating one.
Check out this baby registry list:
• Have a simple baby shower
No need to splurge on a baby shower.
Just think of it as a simple party where you get to celebrate becoming a parent with your loved ones.
And where they can also help you with getting some items for your baby.
Send out e-cards as an invitation.
DIY the decorations, games, and make the food.
Have it at your house or backyard, if you have the space. Or rent out a park gazebo or have a simple beach party!
• Ask for cash or gift cards
It’s not tacky if done the right way.
Especially if you’re inviting only close friends and family and they know your financial situation or they’re aware of it.
Check out these tips on how to ask for cash or gift cards in your baby shower.
• Look for used baby gear and furniture
You can check out second-hand websites or those that offer “open-box” baby items.
Keep a look also for sales, discounted and used but quality baby gears at garage sales, Facebook marketplace, Gumtree, Craigslist, eBay, etc.
Don’t forget to also ask friends or relatives if they have some baby items they don’t use anymore.
But check if these used baby items have been recalled or have any dents, missing pieces, or anything that might compromise its safety.
• Get generic brands
For the most part, you don’t need expensive brands for you and your baby.
So it’s okay to get cheaper, generic brands that have the same function but are affordable.
• Get high quality and saleable items
On the other hand, you shouldn’t be scrimping on some baby gears.
Yes, you can buy used strollers, second hand baby carriers, even used cribs, bassinets, etc.
But for certain items, it’s much safer to get it new for safety and hygienic purposes, such as car seats and crib mattresses.Get a Lifetime Warranty & Risk-Free Trial on CAR SEATS only at MaxiCosi.com!
See also if the item can be used for multiple babies and is saleable
For example, the Uppababy Vista V2 stroller can be used for multiple kids all at the same time and has a high resale value.
• Look out for sales and promos
Hunt for discounted items, clearances, special promotions and take advantage of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, and Holiday sales.
You can get a lot of quality, even branded, expensive items such as cribs, furniture, high chairs, etc., at a much lower price during those periods.
• Join special reward programs
Many offer special gifts, discounted items, and even some free products and classes, such as:
- Enfamil Family Beginnings
- MyGerber account
- Similac StrongMoms rewards program
- Pampers Rewards
- National Diaper Bank Network
- United Way
- official Safe Kids website
- The Honest Company
Diaper Saving Hacks
- Use cloth diapers
Reusable, cloth diapers will save tons of money in the long run.
But of course, you have to factor in the time and effort to wash and maintain them.
Check out the pros and cons of using a cloth diaper here, as well as the comparison between cloth diapers vs disposable diapers.
- Don’t buy in bulk
This is for those who prefer disposable diapers.
Try out several brands first before getting a monthly subscription or stocking up for 1 or 2 months.
Don’t buy too many diapers as your baby’s size might just change in a few weeks.
Nursery Room Tips
- Minimize the design
If you’re really keen on dedicating and designing a room for your little one, just go for a minimalist design that’s not too heavy on the budget.
Just get the bare essentials for your baby’s room and DIY some decorations.
• Look for multipurpose furniture
Get something that has a lot of uses and will also save you space.
For eg., a dresser can double as a changing table.
Or get a convertible baby crib with storage drawers that can turn into a toddler bed or full-size bed.
• Repurpose items in the house
You don’t need to buy new baby furniture for the nursery room.
Just look around at what you have and repurpose them!
For eg., you can use baskets to store diapers, toys and other baby items.
You can use old blankets and place them on the bed and voila, you have an instant diaper changing area!
- Make nursery room decoration a lesser priority
Or just don’t do any nursery decorating at all.
Use what you have and just add some flair by displaying some photos, flowers, and some DIY decor.
Save Money on Milk
• Learn breastfeeding tips and techniques
You can save a lot on milk formula if you breastfeed.
But if you think that nursing a baby will come naturally to every mom, think again!
It’s quite a struggle for most and some even require some help from lactation consultants.
If you’re really determined to breastfeed your baby, read a ton of nursing tips, techniques, and whatnot.
So you can prepare yourself mentally and physically for breastfeeding.
- Don’t buy a breast pump YET
Ask your insurance what breast pumps they fully cover first.
If you like the reviews about it, then just go for it.
Otherwise, if you have a different hospital-grade brand in mind, find out if you can rent it and if your insurance can cover the rental fee.
Or how much is the upgrade fee to get a particular brand that you like.
Shop around for the cheapest upgrade fee before settling on where to buy your breast pump.
Then remember to get a prescription/ order from your doctor before purchasing your pump.
- Borrow or buy a used breast pump
It might sound like a bad idea but breast pumps are used by different moms in hospitals, such as the Medela Symphony, Spectra S3, Unimom Opera, and Ameda Elite.
So it’s perfectly fine to borrow or use a second-hand breast pump. As long as it’s hospital grade, has a closed system and you have your accessories.
Postnatal Money-Saving Hacks
• Make your own baby food
Prepackaged or jar baby food can cost some money. So just make your own by steaming and mashing fruits and certain vegetables.
• Do baby-led weaning
The best way to save money on baby food is not to make any!
Just let your little ones eat what the whole family is eating.
Get to know tips and hacks on baby led weaning right here.
• Keep a freezer milk stash
There will be days where you might need to leave your baby for a few hours to your spouse or caregivers, to do some self-care time or work or errands.
You can skip on the formula milk when you’re not around and just pump and keep a freezer stash.
• Prepare freezer meals
Freezer meals can save you from ordering takeout and spending unnecessarily.
So start planning and cooking a few weeks or days before you have your baby.
- Ask a friend for a family photo
If you have a talented photographer friend or family member, don’t hesitate to ask them if they can spare some time to take your family photo.
You can arrange a photography fee with them. But if they’re okay with not having one, give them something that you know they’ll use and appreciate.
• Ask friends or family to babysit
If you have loved ones you know you can rely on and trust with a baby, ask them to babysit every once in a while.
It’ll cost less than hiring a babysitter, plus bonus bonding points if it’s the in-laws or your parents looking after your baby.
Takeaway on Having a Baby On A Budget
The biggest expenses in having a baby are labor, hospital stays and visits, and childcare.
So focus primarily on those things then turn to other ongoing expenses such as diapers, milk, food.
The other items such as baby furniture, gear, and clothes are easier to deal with. You can just get cheap ones or ask for a hand-me-down from friends and relatives.
Remember to use your network and to stay calm and flexible and you’ll be fine with having a baby on a budget.