Want to know why baby supplies are so expensive?? Because companies know that we will buy them anyway! While I am a firm believer that there is a vast amount of garbage on the market for babies, I do know that there is just as much that is actually useful and necessary.
So, finding out how to save money on all those baby supplies can make a huge difference. While there are many, many things that a new baby will need, all those items don’t have to break the bank. Preparing for a baby on a budget is absolutely possible if you go about it correctly.
Check out these great tips for preparing for your newborn baby on a tight budget.
(This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through one of my links I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I will never suggest a product or service that I don’t use and love myself because that’s just wrong. If you like reading legal mumbo-jumbo then you can check out my disclosure policy HERE.)
How do You Financially Prepare for a Baby?
One thing that seems to escape many moms, is figuring out whether or not you can feasibly live off of the income that you currently have with a new baby. Even if you don’t buy all the bells and whistles, babies can get very expensive very quickly if you aren’t careful.
Budgeting for the new baby items in your life is a must to keep you from going overboard. Some key questions to ask yourself when planning your baby budget:
- Will you take maternity leave? For how long?
- What will you do for childcare when you go back to work?
- Will you go back to work at all?
Most companies in the US don’t offer paid maternity leave so having a savings account set up to cover the time that you won’t be working is a must. Using a tool like Every Dollar can really help you get started with your budget and figuring out how to build your baby fund.
It’s best to start planning for these things sooner rather than later to give you more time to build your maternity fund and to make sure that you’re shopping smarter for your baby supplies. Once you figure out exactly how much money that you need to last you through your maternity leave (plus a little extra for unexpected emergencies), find out if it’s possible for you to save up the amount needed to make your goals.
If you aren’t going to be able to put enough money aside during your pregnancy, consider picking up some extra shifts at work or a side gig like answering online surveys or even becoming a virtual assistant. Every little bit counts when budgeting for a baby.
Save on Baby Products
The number 1 way to save money on baby supplies is to shop smarter. Just because you see a cute onesie in the store, doesn’t mean that you have to buy it, or that that is the best price for it.
I am a huge, I mean HUGE fan of shopping online. Being able to shop around for the best price and deal without having to hit 30 different stores is so useful to me. Especially since that means that I don’t have to try to cart my baby into all of those different stores. That just sounds like a nightmare.
If you do have to venture out into the stores, then having the right tools at your disposal can make your money saving goal a breeze.
I’m sure by now you’ve at least heard about Ebates. I saw the commercials for a while before I finally broke down and gave them a shot. I just didn’t believe that they really did just give you money to shop, but you know what? They really do! I freaking LOVE Ebates!
They have an extension for your browser that will let you know if there are cash back options for any website that you’re on. They also have a way to link your credit or debit card for when you’re shopping in an actual store. It’s great.
They also typically have some really great coupon offers as well that they will apply immediately to your order. I have saved so much money shopping online with them and then they just send me a check for extra cash! Checks go out once a quarter and that’s it. So easy.
I have saved HUNDREDS of dollars on Ebates! Definitely give Ebates a try. You’ll be glad you did. Oh, and did I mention that it’s completely FREE to use and you get $10 just for signing up?!
Dosh is an app available on both Android and iPhone that allows you to get cash back instantly when you shop at participating retailers. The cool thing about it is you can just kind of set it and forget it. Link your cards, choose the places you like to shop, and BOOM cash in your pocket! It’s that simple.
There is a $25 payout minimum, but it won’t take long to build that up. They even give you $5 just for signing up and linking your first card. Check out Dosh today!
Ibotta is a really great app/website that gives you cash back for your store receipts. You basically just look through the list of items that have cash back options available before you go to the grocery store and mark what you want. After you’ve bought your items, you snap a picture of your receipt into the app and they give you your cash back. It’s that simple.
There is a $20 minimum before they will pay you out, but that won’t take you long to build up if you use it. They typically always have cash back items for things like diapers, wipes, baby food, diaper cream, children’s medicines, all kinds of things. And they definitely have options for food, even alcohol depending on the store.
The app is completely free to use and getting cash back on things I was already planning on buying is amazing! Definitely check out Ibotta.
Amazon is awesome! I got a Amazon Prime Membership a few years ago and now I’ll never go back. That free 2-day shipping has saved me more times that I care to admit and not having to actually go out and pick up my items is amazingly helpful.
I also am a huge fan of the Subscribe and Save options. I have things like diapers, wipes, and laundry detergent on my subscription to be delivered to my door. It’s great because I can choose how often I want the items to be delivered. I can even skip shipments if I don’t need it and you can cancel the shipments at any time with no penalties.
They offer great discounts by signing up for the subscriptions too. Typically 5% though if you have 5 items in your subscription for the month you’ll get 15-20% off instead. I love Amazon too because I can shop around a little bit to make sure that I’m getting the best deal.
I love that they tell me the price per unit rather than just the price. So I can tell if one pack of diapers is actually cheaper than another pack because they’ll tell me the price per diaper. It’s awesome! I love Amazon!
I also use Amazon for all of my pumping supplies because finding that stuff in stores can be a bit tricky. Try a Prime Membership for FREE for 30 days and see how you like it. You can also shop on Amazon through your Ibotta app and get cash back from most of your purchases. Win win!
Oh, and if you don’t already have a baby registry, Amazon has a great one.
Printed coupons are definitely one of the best ways to save money on baby supplies. The require a little bit of work, but it can really pay off.
Now I’m not saying you need to become one of those extreme coupon fanatics (though if you can, teach me your ways), but having a few here and there is definitely worth it. Every little bit counts, right?
I’ll even use it to stock up on things that I don’t need very often like children’s Tylenol. It isn’t something that I need all the time, but when I do, I definitely don’t want to be out of it. Buying it when it’s on sale for a rainy day is a much better solution. #teethingsucks
So, this one may require a bit of extra work on your part, but the payoff can be huge. If there is a particular brand of diapers, wipes, formula, etc. that you really like to use, reach out to that company and tell them that. Shoot them an email, sign up for their newsletter, get put on their mailing list and they will send you coupons. It totally works.
For instance, I like to use Pampers diapers and wipes. I’ll get emails every now and then for some freebies or some extra coupons. These are already things that I was going to buy so if I can save a couple of extra dollars then it’s definitely worth it.
Pampers also does a cool rewards program for their products. Every item has a code that you can put in their nifty little app that will rack up points. Though it takes a lot of points to get anything, it doesn’t take that long to really get them.
They offer free diapers and wipes, and also things like toys, gift cards, and services like products from Shutterfly. It’s pretty cool.
Similac and Enfamil are also really good about mailing out coupons, and since formula is expensive, the coupons are typically pretty good. I normally get sent $15 off coupons. If you can combine that with an already discounted item then you’ve saved quite a bit of moola.
How Can I Have a Baby on a Budget?
Use Your Baby Registry to Your Advantage
If you don’t already have a baby registry set up, Amazon has a GREAT baby registry. That being said, be honest with people about what you really need for the baby.
Most people are quick to buy diapers and clothes, but if what you really need is a bathtub and a stroller, then tell people that. If you don’t ask for it, how can you expect to get it?
I even went so far as to ask people not to get us cards, but rather their favorite children’s book. And you know what? Now J has a full library! He has a ton of books and I’m so glad that that’s one less thing that I didn’t have to spend money on.
Get Multi-Function Items
Things like cribs and car seats are down-right essential. So finding a way to save money on these things is vital. If you can, definitely try to get the crib second hand. Obviously just check to make sure that it’s sturdy before purchasing.
Car seats can be purchased used as well, though you’ll need to make sure that you trust the seller because a seat that has been in an accident is considered no longer safe. You’ll also want to make sure that the seat hasn’t expired.
If you can’t purchase these things second hand, then consider getting something that you’ll be able to use for a long time.
I ended up getting a convertible crib. Not only is it a crib (obviously), but it transitions into a toddler bed, and then transitions again into a full-sized bed. That means that I shouldn’t have to replace it for YEARS. I am a huge fan of that.
Pro tip: if you get a convertible crib that has a separate conversion kit, go ahead and get it now just in case your model gets discontinued or the store you bought it from closes *cough Babies R Us cough*.
I also picked up a convertible car seat. My husband and I went back and forth about whether to get an infant carrier or a convertible seat and finally chose the convertible. I didn’t want to have to replace the seat in a year and since the convertible seat can go all the way up to a booster, with that I shouldn’t have to replace it at all.
There is the downside that you have to have somewhere else to put the baby when out and about, but I just did a lot of baby wearing and never really minded. That and a stroller work wonders.
Another great item to save money on is a changing table. Instead of buying an actual changing table, just get a topper to go on a dresser. It’ll be so much cheaper and then you’ll have a great dresser for when you no longer need a changing table.
Planning out your meals for the week can save you so much money every month. I know that this is the one area where my husband and I have the most trouble. If we don’t meal plan we end up spending WAY more money that we originally budgeted for the month. Meal planning totally saves us. Then I just buy exactly what is on my grocery list, no deviations.
Prepping freezer meals are also great options for ways to save money for after the baby is born when you really don’t feel like cooking. I put a bunch of slow cooker meals together in the freezer with the instructions on the outside of the bag. That way I (or my husband) could just throw it in the Crock Pot and forget about it.
Doing that definitely saved us from eating too much take out while I was on maternity leave. Take out can add up quick!
Breastfeed if You Can
Breastfeeding can save you HUNDREDS of dollars a month. Formula is expensive. It can be even worse if your baby has any allergies or medical issues that would require a special kind of formula. Breastfeeding your newborn rather than formula feeding can definitely save you in that regard.
I’m not going to lie, breastfeeding sucks a lot of the time. There have been many, many times that I have wanted to quit and just have my body back, but then I think about all the money I’m saving and I make it through one more day.
If breastfeeding by directly nursing becomes an issue, being an exclusive pumper is always an option to. That’s what I did. Most insurance companies will also supply you with a free, yes, FREE breast pump since it’s considered a medical device. Just fill out this form with Aeroflow to see what kind of pump you qualify for.
Make Your Own Baby Food
Those cute little jars of baby food are a HUGE expense when you add it all up. Save money on baby food by just making your own. A blender or a food processor is really all you need.
Or you can skip the purees all together and just go straight to Baby Led Weaning. I know I definitely preferred that route. Though that’s not something you’ll need to worry about for a while, it is something to consider.
Consider Cloth Diapers and Wipes
Though having cloth diapers require a little extra work, the payoff can be huge when you think about how much money you could save not having to buy the disposables. They are obviously more environmentally friendly if that is a factor for you as well.
Looking back on things, I kind of wish that I would have done cloth diapers just to save the money because I don’t even want to think about how much money I have spent on diapers for the past 14 months.
I have also seen some great DIY options out there for making your own baby wipes. I’d have to think they would be gentler on that sensitive baby skin than the chemical laced ones. If you try it, let me know, I’m curious.
Raising a Baby on a Budget
While it may seem that having a baby on a tight budget is impossible, it’s not if you’re smart about your budget and your spending habits. It absolutely can be done.
The key thing to remember is to only buy what you absolutely need. Sure, that outfit looks cute, or those Bluetooth compatible toys are supposed to be the best, but if it isn’t something that you absolutely need, then why bother? Your kid is most likely going to outgrow it in a week anyway.
What other ways have you found for saving money on baby supplies? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!