Daniel and I are on a super tight budget these days and we have been thinking of lots of ways to prepare for baby on a budget! I am currently not working and Daniel is still finishing up his Masters Degree so money around here is pretty tight. When I first got pregnant, my parents freaked out telling me how expensive babies are and that there was no way Daniel and I could afford it. I found it hard to believe that babies were THAT expensive. Since Daniel and I live in The Netherlands we get a lot of benefits for having children and the free healthcare for children isn’t bad either. These things are different here than they are in the States and it makes it a little easier to raise a child.
Anyway, Daniel and I have managed to prepare for our little girl without spending too much money at all! We have been pretty stingy but overall it has really paid off. Our situation is a little bit different from other soon to be parents as we are planning on moving to England shortly after the baby is born so we are actually not buying that much stuff. But because we want to keep the amount of ‘stuff’ we buy to a minimum we have really focused on what we NEED versus what we WANT for the baby!
So here is my guide on how to prepare for a little baby on a tight budget!
1. Figure out what you NEED
This is probably my number one tip! It is oh so easy to get caught up in all the cute little baby clothes or all the fancy baby gadgets on the market these days. There are some pretty cool things! I really wanted one of these baby swings with all these different settings and vibrations…..but that was a WANT and not a NEED.
I am not going to go into detail in this post about the things you NEED to buy because I really think its different for everybody. There are some baby essentials like clothes, blankets, a place to sleep, feeding supplies, bathing supplies, diapers, etc. Most importantly, figure out what you absolutely need for the baby and go from there. If there is room left in your budget you can buy some extra things that you don’t NEED but that you WANT.
Don’t forget about maternity gear! You may need to buy some maternity clothes, prenatal vitamins, oils/ lotions, or other pregnancy related items. Be sure to check out my list of pregnancy essentials. These should also be included in your budget!
2. Set your Budget
Now, once you have figured out you can set your baby budget. I suggest doing some research first to get a rough estimate about how expensive some things are. From there, you can set up your budget. When you first find out you are pregnant I suggest setting aside some money every week to go towards your baby budget. Once you have a good idea about how much you will need to spend to prepare for your baby you can start saving. You may have to adjust your current spending style a little bit in order to accommodate. Daniel and I had to make some changes in order to afford some baby things (see my post about Our Weekly Meal Planning, where we revamped the way we spend money on food and ended up saving a ton of money per week!)
3. Shop Second-hand
Don’t be afraid of buying things second-hand! We bought a second-hand stroller for half the price of the original and it is seriously as good as new. We also got second-hand baby clothes from some friends and family. Daniel’s dad even gave us an old (but really nice) baby changing table, dresser, and bathtub all in one! There are some things that you should not purchase second-hand, like car seats, unless you are absolutely sure that it has not been in a car accident or altered in some way. Other than that, baby furniture and clothes can all be bought second-hand. This can save you a lot of money in the long run!
4. Search for deals online
It pays to do a little bit of research before you buy things. It is worth the extra time it takes to look a little bit longer for deals on baby items. Shop the sale section at your favorite stores. Daniel found a HUGE deal on Pampers diapers online and we ended up buying 3-4 months worth of baby diapers (in multiple sizes) for about 40% cheaper than buying them at our local grocery store! I can’t stress enough how much it pays off to spend a little extra time searching the internet for deals. Also remember, that things like diapers and baby wipes can be bought in bulk which may cut down on your total diaper expenditure =)
5. Create a baby registry
If you are planning on having a baby shower be sure to create a baby registry. I didn’t have one because we live in Holland and its a totally foreign concept to people here. But I suggest creating a registry with things you think are really important and essential. That way you don’t end up with a thousand baby dresses that your little girl will never ever wear and instead you will end up with things you actually need! Ask for things like diaper pails, swaddling blankets, muslin clothes, breastfeeding supplies, essential clothes, etc. If you do end up with a ton of items that you are sure you will never use, you can always return them for items that you need. Hopefully you were left with a gift receipt.
In our case, we didn’t have a baby shower and I didn’t have a baby registry but all of our family members really wanted to help us buy things we needed and asked us what they could buy that was useful. We were always very honest with them by telling them exactly what we wanted. I even messaged my mother-in-law a link to the exact baby sleep sack that I wanted (I am planning on using the HALO SleepSack ). This way we would end up with the exact things that were on our list! I know this may sound rude, but people seriously want to help and they will appreciate your honesty! We also asked Daniel’s brother for these aden + anais swaddle blankets.
This one may be a little bit of a stretch for some of you non-crafty folks out there (myself included). I do, however, have a whole arsenal of people (aunts, grandmothers, great aunts, etc) who want to make things for the baby! Take advantage of this! Making baby blankets or baby clothes can be a big money saver. Also, if you have a handy husband like I do, why not make some things for the baby. Daniel really wanted to make a baby crib for the baby! We eventually decided against it because we are going to move shortly after the baby is born. I’m all about him making a baby crib (or changing table) in the future though! But for all you crafty folks out there this is your time to shine and get creative.
7. Buy multi-functioning products
There are a ton of products on the market these days that can be used for many different functions. There are also products that can grow with you baby (so you can save some money in the future). For example, this Graco Pack ‘n Play doubles as a bassinet, play pen, baby changing table, and even has a baby rocking seat! Not to mention its portable and can be used as the baby grows older. Products like these can get you more bang for your buck! Instead of buying a separate changing table, crib, and baby rocker, you get all of these in one single product.
I hope this helps you mommies out there prepare for your little one on a small budget! Stay tuned for my list of essential baby items and also my 37 week pregnancy update. Make sure to subscribe by filling in your email address to the right!
Until next time good luck with all your baby shopping =)