Preparing for Baby on a Budget
We all know that babies can be expensive. There’s an infinite number of things we can buy to prepare ourselves for a newborn, and the cost can add up real fast.
If you’re already on a tight budget, or you simply don’t want to throw down half of your savings on stuff you’re likely only going to use for a couple of years, you might be wondering how you’re going to make it all work. Thankfully, there are a ton of different ways to save money when you’re preparing for your baby’s arrival. You just need to know where to look!
- Kijiji is one of our favourite places to search for free/cheap baby items. It’s where we managed to get a bouncy chair, a swing, a jolly jumper, and a crib mobile for free. They were all in great condition and probably would have cost us close to $250 if we had bought it all new.
- Facebook groups can be another great way to get free baby stuff. When I was pregnant, we were part of a Facebook group in our city called Nifty Thrifties, which only allowed members to post free items. The group’s main focus was baby and children’s items, so we were able to snatch up a lot of stuff that we needed, including a diaper genie, change table, nursing pillow, nursing cover, baby clothes, and a few really great toys.
- I know it’s tempting to go out and buy all the cute little outfits as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. But chances are, you’re going to be gifted so many clothes at the beginning that your baby will barely get to try them all on! People love to buy baby clothes, so you’ll most likely get a fair bit if you’re having a baby shower, especially if you’ve made the baby’s sex public knowledge.
- Shopping at thrift stores was a no-brainer for us because we already do the majority of our clothes shopping there, but it’s also a great place to find baby clothes! The reality of having a baby, especially one who’s not mobile yet, is that they rarely wear out their clothing. It’s usually not too difficult to find baby clothes that are in practically new condition, but you do have to be patient. It might take a few trips to a couple of different thrift stores to find what you’re looking for.
- Another place we’ve found great baby clothes at is at garage sales. A lot of people don’t have anyone to pass their hand-me-downs to, so they’ll get rid of everything all at once at a garage sale. It’s almost like shopping at a thrift store, but you can see where the clothes are actually coming from and it’s usually even cheaper.
- While baby shoes are incredibly adorable, you really wont need to own more than one or two pairs before your baby is walking. For a long time, baby’s just going to be sleeping in his car seat anytime you go anywhere anyways, why does he need to be wearing shoes for that?
In the Nursery
- Skip the crib bumpers and pillows. Yeah, they’re pretty cute, but they actually increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Don’t feel like you need to buy a change table. If you already have a low dresser that you’re using in baby’s room, you can secure a changing pad to the top of the dresser. Alternatively, you can set up a changing station on the floor. While we didn’t do this ourselves, our pediatrician recommended it as the safest way to change a baby once he’s able to roll.
- Buy the big pack of diapers. While you’re spending more in the moment, it’s more cost effective in the long run, as the cost per diaper is less in the bigger pack.
In the Kitchen
- Make your own baby food. Not having to buy the prepackaged purees and cereals will save you money, and there are a ton of baby food recipes online if you need some inspiration. As long as you have a blender or a food processor, you’re good to go!
- Sign up for formula and baby food coupons. Three programs that you can sign up for in Canada when you’re pregnant are Similac, Enfamil, and Nestle. They’ll send you coupons, free samples, and Nestle will even send you a diaper bag and a travel change pad!
- I mentioned this in my last post, but if you’re planning to buy a breast pump, make sure to check if the cost of the pump can be covered by you or your partner’s health benefits. Being able to claim a large portion of the cost, which will range between $100-$350 if you’re looking at electric pumps, will make a huge difference. Another option, if you don’t want to buy a breast pump, is renting. Depending on where you live, you may be able to rent a pump from your local health center for way less than the cost of purchasing one.
In Your Own Closet
- Maternity clothes are generally pretty expensive, and we don’t all have the money to buy a whole new wardrobe for nine months. Again, thrift stores and Kijiji can be great places to find maternity clothes if you’re okay with wearing secondhand clothing. Otherwise, you might consider finding more reasonably priced clothes that aren’t specifically maternity clothes, but will still be able to grow with your belly. Stretchy knits, flowy dresses, and anything with an empire waist will usually work well.
- Nursing tops are also extremely overpriced and unnecessary. All you really need are some stretchy tank tops that you can pull down to nurse, and some normal tops that are easy to pull up over your chest. Layer the two, and you’ll be able to nurse relatively discreetly without even using a nursing cover. Shirts that button up or have a zipper down the front work really well too!
A Few Extra Ways to Save
- When you’re visiting your child’s pediatrician for his checkups, ask if they have any samples they can give you. We’ve never had to buy baby Tylenol or Motrin because our pediatrician has given us bottles of each for free.
- If you’re looking for something fun to do with your baby outside the home, you don’t necessarily need to sign him up for a baby gym or an indoor playground. Libraries often have free programs during the week that are designed specifically for babies, with lots of music, stories, and sensory play.
- Accept hand-me-downs whenever you can! This is probably how we were able to save the most money. If you have siblings, friends, or coworkers who are willing to give or lend you their baby items, it’ll help in a big way.