How Parents Can Save Money on Baby – Tips on Spending & Budgeting for Newborns

April 29, 2008

This advice is a guest post from a money smart mom.

Having a baby is one of the most precious times in your life.  It can also be one of the scariest.  Even though your baby is such a small person he or she can make a huge dent in your bank account.  What can you do to budget for baby and save a bundle?

The first thing you need to do is realize that hardly anyone truly feels prepared to bring a baby into the world where finances are concerned.  You can wander through the baby isles at even the most discounted of discount stores and still get sticker shock.  The good news is that baby needs less than you think and there are ways for you to lower your costs all around.

Baby Gear That’s Worth the Money
There are a few things that you’ll need to work into your budget that it’s not a good idea to skimp on. 

Car Seat
You should never buy a car seat second hand or even accept one for free from a friend.  There are several reasons for this:

  • You can’t be 100% sure the seat was never in an accident
  • There are actually expiration dates on car seats
  • They are being made with new technology all the time making them better and safer

With that being said you can still save money and save your budget.  Keep an eye out for circulars in your mailbox and discount codes online because you can save money when stores hold sales.  That way you’ll have the latest and safest car seat for your baby at a lower price.

Baby Crib
It’s not safe to use some of the older cribs, even if it’s a family heirloom that you love.  Some of the slats on the cribs that were made years ago are not safe, and you can never be sure that the hardware will last.  When you buy a new crib from the store you can still save money when you look for special sales. 

You can also save by getting a simple crib without all of the bells and whistles.  In fact, a great crib can be had for around $100!  Keep in mind that you can get a convertible crib that will last with your child into his later toddler years.  That can save you some money over getting a toddler bed.  The choice is yours you just have to weigh the different options.

As long as you make sure you are following safety guidelines with the crib and car seat you can really start to have fun budgeting for the other “Stuff.”  There are so many ways to cut down on the money you’ll spend.

Saving Money on Baby Purchases
The first place to start is in the nursery.  While it might be a lot of fun and really cute to buy comforters and pillows for the nursery it is also very expensive.  And while you want those kinds of things for your own bedroom your baby doesn’t need them!  In fact, it is recommended that your baby’s crib be totally clear except for a mattress pad and fitted sheet.  You’ve just cut your cost in half or more.

Changing Tables
Another way you can save money is by not buying a changing table.  They might look cute and you might be really tempted if you can get this as part of a matching crib set, but they are hardly necessary.

In fact, many mothers and fathers fare just fine by changing their baby on a pad of the bed or even the floor.  You can save hundreds by nixing the changing table.  If you still want a specialized place for changing you can buy a Pack N’ Play with a changing attachment.  These are a lot less expensive and serve a great purpose as a changing table, bassinet, and play yard.  The more use you can get out of one item the better.

Diapers can also be a burden on your wallet.  You can get just as much use out of the budget brands as you can out of the big name brands.  Another great thing to do is cloth diaper.  You can just wash these diapers and reuse them for a huge cost savings.  You’ll be doing something good for the environment as well!

You can also consider the cost of formula.  If it is possible for you, you might enjoy nursing your baby.  This is free and better for the baby health-wise.  If you are not able to nurse and are on a very limited baby budget you can look into the WIC program, which provides mothers with food for their babies.  You can clip coupons and buy in bulk if you do not qualify for WIC.

Avoid Extras
There are also many products that are touted as “necessary” to parents that really are not necessary at all.  Wipe warmers, crib bumpers, and other things might be something you want, but it’s not something your baby needs.  Put your focus on those necessities because that is what your baby will love you for and benefit from.

Baby Saving Summary
You can truly cut corners without sacrificing anything that your baby needs.  If you are still finding that money is tight you might want to sit down with your spouse or partner and think of other areas you can cut down on. 

Budgeting for baby is not an easy thing but it can be done.  If you take the time to build your budget and focus on your baby’s needs instead of what Babies R Us is trying to promote then you, your baby, and your wallet will be just fine.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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5 Responses to How Parents Can Save Money on Baby – Tips on Spending & Budgeting for Newborns

  • Mari Bekhit

    Safety is paramount when choosing a baby crib. The best baby cribs will have Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This certification ensures that it meets and surpasses many US safety regulations. So, only looking at brands with a JPMA certification is a good place to start. Brands like Munire, Bellini and Bassett cribs as well as others have JPMA certification.^

    Stop by our personal blog site as well

  • Danielle

    Budgeting for the increase in expenses a new baby will bring is one of the smartest decisions a new parent can make. There are different expenses to consider at each stage – pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post pregnancy.

  • Emily C

    Ah, it’s nice to say that budget diapers hold up just as well, but NOT IF YOU HAVE A BOY. Because of where the absorbent material is placed, name-brand may be the only way to keep your boy from consistently leaking out the top of his diaper. So, if you’re willing to do extra laundry or change diapers as soon as they become wet, budget diapers can work.

    Otherwise, get a Costco membership or buy your Huggies or Pampers at Wal-mart.

    And I’ve always changed my son on the floor on dishtowels to protect the carpet. That way, there’s no fear of him squirming off a table.

  • Rachel @ Master Your Card

    I would advise not to buy more than necessary until the baby is born. This will not only help to spread the cost, but you never know what you will be given. I will given lots of lovely clothes as well as toys, vouchers and toiletries for my babies. Several people passed clothes on to me as well.


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