When people say that having a baby can be expensive it turns out they are not just talking about the initial preparation for a baby, or the hospital fees. Having a child is a cost that will continue to grow and grow as the child grows and grows. It is such a gift to become a parent, but it is also a non-refundable purchase that The Department of Agriculture estimates will cost new parents roughly $13,000 each year until their child is 18-years-old. That is A LOT of money.
But no one ever said that every new parent has to be a statistic. Being a frugal mom is in, and it can be a real penny saver. If all the zeros at the end of that figure send chills down to the center crease of the family wallet, it may be time to consider some money saving tips on how to live that mom life to the fullest, just on a budget.
Keep in mind everyone's lifestyle is different and what works for some may not work for all, but with these 20 money saving tips for the first time mom, Mom can be sure to at least elicit a few coupon clips here or there. Ready to get saving? Read on.
20 Hand Me Down
Hand me downs are a great way to do mommying on a budget, but I know what you are thinking, 'If I'm a first-time mom where do I get hand me downs?' Friends of course! Or Family or anyone who you know who has ever had a child that happens to be the same size as your child. You would be surprised how many friends and family members saved their son or daughters old baby clothes.
Think of it as vintage shopping for your little one.
While some mothers may prefer to get everything new, just try to remember that babies grow very quickly.
19 Second Hand
Consignment shops are a great place to find baby needs, every now and then you can get extremely lucky at a consignment shop and find some antique furniture. Think handcrafted dresser drawers, changing table, crib, maybe even baby shoes. Why spend hundreds of dollars on store brands with no character that "just aren't made like they used to be" when you can spend a fraction of the cost and get an original, durable, piece that's representative of the good ol' days? You wouldn't. We didn't think so. So do a quick search for the nearest consignment shop near you; you may have to do some digging, but you'd be surprised what kind of treasures you could find there.
18 List It
If the more hands-on approach to shopping is not really your thing, and you find yourself to be more of an online shopping kind of mom, consider checking out websites that list different offerings for babies. If you fancy yourself a tech-savvy mom, Craigslist.com is a great option for second-hand items near you at a fraction of the cost of Amazon and other popular sites. Several mothers I know have found their children's entire nurseries on craigslist for $50. Talk about savings!!! When it comes to having a baby every penny counts because you and your family will need it.
17 Reuse and Recycle
Oh, the neverending cloth diaper debate. Should we or shouldn't we? Will we have time? How will we ever get over touching our babies crap? How much more laundry will we have to do? Do we really want to save the planet that much? Wait! How much are disposables? Cloth diapering can save a lot of money. If you want to save the planet and save yourself a few hundred dollars a year, you may wish to consider wrapping your little one's bottom in cotton. On average cloth-diapering parents can expect to save $350- $600 a year on diapers, according to Forbes.
16 Rest Insured
Thinking about breastfeeding? Thinking about breastfeeding and not being with your baby every waking (and sleeping) moment of his or her life for the entirety of the time that your milk is his or her primary source of nourishment? You may need a breastpump. The thing is, breast pumps can be really pricey. Manuel pumps can range anywhere from $20 to $60 whereas single to dual electric pumps can range from $100 to $450. That is a lot of cash to shell out. Luckily there is a loophole, call your insurance and see if they will cover your breast pump. Most insurances do.
15 DIY At Home
Home births are becoming more and more popular for a multitude of reasons, namely they are less stressful, simply beautiful, and a whole lot cheaper than doing it in a hospital. The average cost for a doula or midwife averages $800- $2500 while new uninsured parents can expect to shell out around $8000 for delivery and postnatal care according to What To Expect. That is a lot of upfront costs before you even kick off your parenting journey. Though if you do prefer hospitals by all means, just do your best to find decent insurance before you get pregnant that will cover the bill.
14 Little Golden Tickets
Have you ever heard of those crazy coupon clipping moms? I'm one of those moms. And it has really helped me save hundreds of dollars on everything. You name it, I've found a coupon for it. From baby laundry detergent to diapers to pacifiers if it was for my little one I purchased it and used a discount code or coupon. Being a frugal mom takes serious dedication but once you get the hang of it it becomes second nature. You just need to find coupon clipping methods and consider joining a mailing list or adding discount extensions like Honey, to your web browser.
13 Go Straight For The Crib
Bassinets are the cutest things, they are small enough for your newborn and small enough for your space until you figure out where to put that huge crib. Some bassinets are even easy to place from room to room which is ideal for parents who plan to be home often with the sleeping baby. Want to save money? Borrow one or skip it all together.
The good thing about going straight for the crib is that you will save a ton of money, and you will also get your swaddle skills down pat since everyone says that kids really like sleeping in tight, confined places.
12 The Goodie Bag
When you are leaving the hospital be sure to ask the nurses for a few things to take home for your little one. Many hospitals give new mothers diapers, thermometers, baby lotion and some pads for mom, among a few other things. Try to enjoy the perks of the hospital goodie bag. If nurses do not offer these items, be sure to ask, it doesn't hurt. Having a few things to take home from the hospital really helps, since it will take a few days anyway to get adjusted to where you placed the other things that you stowed away in the nursery when you were frantically organizing during your nesting phase. Oh yeah, the best part: those items are free.
11 Stock Up
If you have ever heard a group of yoga-pant-wearing, stroller-pushing moms talking, you've probably heard of a diaper stockpile. If you own a pram and are currently wearing yoga pants, just take it as a compliment, it means you are really in the know. Diaper stockpiles are actually pretty genius, let me explain. Diaper stockpiling means shopping in advance, like waaay in advance, think as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. Then purchasing the amount your newborn will need through potty training by using discounts, coupons and shopping around for best deals. This one mom only spent about $100 on ALL of her son's diapers by stockpiling.
10 Delay Bottles And Pacifiers
There are at least 100 baby bottle and pacifier brands available on the market today, choosing just one is kind of impossible. Sure, some babies and toddlers may have a preference, but how will you really know what he or she likes until you try out at least a dozen? The reality is you won't. So take it from us, hold off on buying more than one bottle, pacifier, or teething toy from each brand until you discover what your little one likes. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of money on one brand and then later discover that your little one actually prefers the one from the dollar store.
9 Ask For Samples
If your family has decided that formula feeding is best for your family, be sure to ask for samples from different companies and from the hospital. Many companies are happy to provide new mothers with formula samples since samples usually help drive sales. Hospitals also typically have no problems offering sample sizes of formula to new mothers, actually, due to the contracts many hospitals have with formula companies, they will be more than happy to provide some formula to get rid of some of their stock. Though it won't be much at first if you ask enough companies and the hospitals you may come away with enough formula for at least a month.
8 New Kind Of Change
Instead of buying a changing table, consider using the top of a dresser. Dressers provide the right height and width of a changing table and you can place all your babies needs in the drawers instead of a shelf, so you never have to worry about dust, simply get a changing pad and strap it on. Chances are you will more than likely have a dresser at home, than a changing table, so using this little tip can save you roughly $150 and give you some more space as well. Ready for a new kind of change? Enjoy a makeshift changing table and save a few hundred, Mom.
7 Free Cycle
Freecycle.com is an initiative sort of like craigslist, but where everything is free. In Canada, Moms use an application called Bunz. Many moms use these communities just to swap or give away the things they no longer need for their little ones. It is a great way to find free things near you, especially clothes. The site is not wildly popular everywhere but it never hurts to give it a try, you may be surprised to find some people in your area who are already using it. You can even go onto the site and make requests for the things you need for you or your family. Talk about a cool service!
6 Go Convertible
When picking a crib that has the most bang for your buck, go convertible.
It may cost a bit more up front, but convertible cribs that will take your child from infancy through at least 4th grade will really save you a lot of money.
Convertible cribs are also really beautiful pieces of furniture, today most of them transition from cribs to day beds, to toddler beds with a rail to a single or full-size kid's bed. Talk about all in one. One of the best perks of these types of bed, aside from the cost, is the flexibility. You never have to feel like you are jumping the gun on transitioning your little one too soon.
5 Belly Band
Calling all mothers to be, are you tired of perusing the isles of ugly maternity wear and expensive floral moo-moos? Instead of spending an arm and a leg on maternity bottoms, consider getting a belly band or button adjuster. Belly bands and button adjusters allow future moms to wear their regular jeans, pants, skirts, and bottoms without popping a stitch, hem, or button. Belly bands also cover your growing tummy. Belly bands will also save you a ton on clothes. Though maternity tops may still be a nice thing to consider purchasing, with a belly band there's no need to spend a ton on bottoms.
4 Save & Sell
We mentioned before just how fast babies grow. Well if this is your first and you are not too worried about having a second, or maybe you are just hopeful that the second will be a different gender than the first, you may want to consider saving and selling the gently-used or never worn clothes that your little one grows out of. Facebook groups and sites like craigslist will let you post and sell your items pretty painlessly, so you have more cash to buy more baby stuff later. Think of it as frugal mom recycling. Pretty genius, we know.
3 Forget Baby Shoes
Did you know they make socks that look like shoes? Did you know that these socks often come in packs and are able to be washed, stretched and worn over a period of several months, unlike shoes? If you want to cut costs consider ditching baby shoes except for truly exceptional occasions. Babies lose, throw, and eat their shoes all the time. Baby shoes also rarely come in packs and are much more expensive than socks. So get a few packs of cute baby socks instead, the ones that expand over a few months. You will be glad you did.
2 Wash Them Up
If you have decided that breastfeeding is the way to go, or even if you have not there is a pretty good chance you will need nursing pads, at least for a short while. Instead of going the disposable route, try washable nursing pads like bamboobies. You can just throw them in the wash and slap them on again when they are dry. You will only need the one pair, two if you take a while to do laundry. And the best part is you won't have to keep buying nursing pads until your milk finally gets regulated. Nice, right?
1 Make Your Own Or Buy A Lot
When it comes to baby wipes you will quite literally be astonished by how many you go through. Seriously, in the first few months, you will feel like you are always wiping something. So in order to save some extra cash, either make your own cotton wipes using essential oils or buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is one of my favorite past times. I have long been a member of the few membership-based warehouse stores available and it has been so worth it. While making my own would probably save me even more money, bulk deals are also amazing.
Happy saving, Mom.
References: Forbes, Joyfully Thriving, What to Expect, Honey.com, Craigslist.com, personal experiences, Wellness mama