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.

how to plan for a baby on a budget

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Establish Your Budget for 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, baby’s 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.

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. Every little bit counts when budgeting for a baby.

Using a tool like Every Dollar can really help you get started with your budget and figuring out how to build your baby fund.

Budgeting every month and actually sticking to it is so vitally important. I managed to cut nearly $1,400 from my monthly expenses just by actually paying attention to where my money was going. If I can do it, so can you.

Shop Smarter for Baby Supplies

The cost of baby supplies can rack up very quickly. This isn’t going to do you any good if you’re trying to plan for your baby on a tight budget.

Using apps such as Ebates or Ibotta can save you tons of money on baby gear. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars already using Ebates, I absolutely love them!

In additions to apps, some great ways to buy items for a baby on a tight budget are:

  • Buy second hand items from thrift stores and yard sales.
  • Buy diapers, wipes, formula, etc in bulk from stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. Even Amazon has great deals.
  • Get donations from friends and family members.
  • If you plan on having more than one kid, store items for your future child. Most things can be reused, especially clothing.
  • Don’t take the tags off clothes. If you don’t end up needing that size then you can take them back to the store to exchange. Carter’s is great for this.

Related: The Easiest Ways to Save Money on Baby Supplies

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.

Meal Plan

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 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. If so, definitely talk to your insurance company about supplying you a breast pump. Even if you don’t go the pumping route, it’s better to have one and not need it than need it and not have it.

Most insurance companies will also cover extra supplies like storage bags and replacement parts as well, so definitely ask.

Related: The Best Breastfeeding Tips Every New Mom Should Know

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. Just 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 11 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.

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.

Have you found any other ways to save money on your baby budget? Leave me a comment Below.

Until next time!

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