Having a new baby can be a super exciting moment for parents, but as I’m sure you know it can also be a terrifying time as well. The preparations that new parents have to make are stressful, worrisome and expensive things that you will ever make in your entire life. This is especially true if you’re having money troubles already. Advertisements and stores everywhere want you convinced that you need all the latest and greatest baby items. Don’t get me wrong, those extras are very nice but in reality, there are only 10 things you need for a baby.
When my Emma was born, money was extremely tight and I can remember very vividly those nights spent lying awake worrying over how I was going to manage everything. While I wanted the pretty baby items, the reality was that I simply couldn’t afford those pretty and trendy things that I wanted so bad.
The Only 10 Things You Need for a Baby
Those times were far different for us. I paid for diapers with pennies. I couponed every spare second I had. I ordered free samples like they were going to stop sending them.
But the biggest thing I did was keep the things I bought for her to a minimum. Yes, I wanted the pretty things, but the truth was that I just couldn’t afford them.
So I did not even try.
It isn’t all bad though. Having a baby is a joyous occasion and no matter what your financial picture looks like, there are things you can do to prepare for the birth of your new baby to ease the stress.
These tips HERE are a great place to start.
Part of preparing to have a baby on a budget is understanding which items you need and which you don’t.
You may have a moment like I did; where you realize that no matter how much you want those pretty things; having the necessary things you need for a baby is far more important.
You may not even need that moment. You may already know.
Items You Need for Baby
If you’re absolutely set on having one or two of those “pretty” baby items; that’s okay too. You can indulge a couple of times and still have a baby on a budget.
When you do your baby shopping just keep in mind; if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.
That, above any tip I could give you, is the only true way to have a baby on a budget.
What Do You Need for a New Baby?
Crib or Play Yard
Your baby needs someplace to sleep, but he doesn’t need a crib, bassinet, play yard and co-sleeper attachment to your bed.
Instead, buy a crib that will grow with him as he gets bigger. You can buy them so that they go all of the way up to a full size bed as he grows.
If you’re really strapped for cash is to buy a Pack ‘N Play and let your baby sleep in it at first.
Graco makes a few really nice models that offer a removable bassinet and a mattress area that changes height as your baby grows. It isn’t a permanent fix but it would work in a pinch.
You won’t be able to leave the hospital unless you have a car seat for your baby.
For the best savings, look for a convertible car seat that your baby will be able to grow with.
One quick word about car seats: Because you’re trying to have a baby on a budget, buying used baby items is absolutely okay, however, it is NEVER okay to buy a used car seat.
Actually car seats are just one of a handful of things you should never buy used. You have no way of knowing if it has been in an accident and once a seat has been – it is considered no longer usable even if it looks perfectly fine.
When you’ve got some place to go, you’re going to want some place to sit baby while you’re walking.
Trust me on this.
To get the best deal, try to combine it with something. Complete travel systems are a good buy if you’re looking for an infant seat as a car seat.
Another thing you may want to consider;skip the cheaper umbrella stroller. They’re cheap, but they’re more trouble than what they’re worth. You’ll pay more money out of pocket replacing them than you will if you had just bought a quality stroller.
You’ll also need some place to feed your new baby, especially once he or she gets older.
To help make your money last, buy a convertible high chair that will grow with them.
The reclining option will allow you to put your baby down when she’s too little to really sit up and of course, the other options will work when your baby is older.
Baby has to eat right and that means buying the needed equipment to do that.
If you’re formula feeding, work on building a formula stockpile, pick up both 4 oz baby bottles and 8 oz baby bottles, nipples and all of that jazz.
While it’s true that you could bathe baby in the sink, it’s much easier on both of you if you have an actual baby bath tub.
To make sure you don’t burn the baby with water that is too hot, either pick up a floating bath toy with hot water sensor or buy a tub that has one built in.
I used the floating kind with Emma and it made regulating the water temperature very easy. The ones with the built in sensors or thermometers tend to be a lot more expensive.
Whether you’re planning on using cloth diapers or disposables, diapers are a must. You can save on disposables by using coupons and building a diaper stockpile of “deals” throughout your pregnancy.
If you’re still on the fence about which to use, you need to figure out whether or not cloth diapers will really save you money or not. For some people, the savings will be enough but for others, it wouldn’t.
If you do decide to use cloth diapers, make sure to pick up plenty of the supplies you will need. These can include:
Buying used is a must when you’re trying to have a baby on a budget and since babies grow so quickly, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to buy an entire wardrobe new.
Instead, buy a couple of new outfits and the rest can be good quality used items. Also, don’t spend your entire budget on one size. They grow so quickly that you will likely end up with a closet full of clothing they never had the chance to wear.
Luckily, there are plenty of places you can get great deals on them from online consignment stores and your local thrift stores.
The major stores you shop daily almost always have great clearance deals happening. Combine those shops with other great deals you can find, cash back you receive through Rakuten, deals you pick up at yard sales and gifts and your baby will have a full wardrobe for cheap.
Oh and once they’re outgrown? You can either sell your baby clothes to make extra money or put them in storage for your next child.
Quilts are not a good idea for babies since they can be too heavy for your baby to remove from their face if the happen to get it covered up. This can lead to a very bad situation.
As with baby clothing, getting them at a thrift store or consignment shop is a good idea. You’ll pay significantly less than what you would if you bought them new.
My Emma wouldn’t use anything but specific blankets. They had to be knitted and since she was a “blanket baby” instead of a pacifier baby, I didn’t mind buying them for her.
Know where I got them all? The local thrift store for $3.00 each. It was well worth it for me, allowed me to still have my baby on a budget and was much cheaper than buying them new or having them made for her.
Plus? They have lasted far longer than any “regular blanket.” So much so that I still have three of them and they look brand new.
First aid/grooming kit
Your baby will need his or her fingers clipped, her nose suctioned if they get stuffy, help when she gets a fever and more.
Having an infant first aid and grooming kit on hand is a must for these situations. They’re cheap enough that you really don’t have much of an excuse for not having one.
If you’re really strapped for cash and ideas on how to have a baby on a budget, you can further cut down on your cost by making baby items such as a homemade diaper rash cream like this one HERE instead of buying it.
Not only will you have what you need on hand, but your baby will be healthier as well.
Making sure you have the things you need for a baby while sticking to your budget is not the hardest thing in the world, but; it will be harder if you spend your entire budget on your baby wants versus your baby needs.