How to Have a Baby on the Cheap (Frugal Friday)

Every year you hear statistics of how much it costs to raise a child. The number is staggering, but I think sometimes misleading. While some costs are non-negotiable in life, there are things we can do to cut expenses and not go into hock while we raise a family.

Here are some of things couples can do to make ends meet a little more easily as they grow their family:

1. Start budgeting each month.

Give every dollar a name. Expenses will rise as your family goes so practice financial responsibility as soon as you can.

2.  Create an emergency fund.

This can provide tremendous peace of mind, especially if you are moving to one income. Sock away whatever extra cash you have. Even consider selling stuff to develop a cushion between you and disaster.

3. Buy used.

Babies don’t need fancy cars — or strollers. They need to be safe and they need YOU. Pretty simple. Check up on the recall status of items you’re buying, but you can save a bundle buying second-hand items.

4. Live frugally.

Babies can “cramp your style” or give you permission not to live beyond your means. Ask yourself:

  • do I need it?
  • can I make do without it?
  • can something else serve the same purpose.

5. Try out coupons and stockpiling.

With the last FishBaby, I used coupons combined with sales to buy months’ worth of diapers and other baby supplies for just a few dollars. I started stockpiling as soon as I knew I was pregnant to not feel rushed later. Follow a good deal blog, like Money Saving Mom, to get updates on baby sales and coupons.

6. Read good money books alongside good parenting books.

Teaching our kids healthy attitudes about money certainly falls in the realm of good parenting. Keep yourself sharp when it comes to dollars and cents. Two books that have helped us over the years are Larry Burkett’s Women Leaving the Workplace and The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

What do YOU do to save money?

Share your favorite money-saving ideas today. Leave a link to a post that shares some frugal wisdom. (Please no giveaways or deals posts. Teach us how to fish!)

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Comments

  1. I definitely agree about your suggestion of, “Do I need it?”. I purchased so many unnecessary items the first time I was pregnant. I wish I had asked more friends and family about what they really used or didn’t use and why.

    I would also add shop at consignment stores since so baby/kid items are only used for a short amount of time and are usually in good condition.

    Plus ask friends and family for any unwanted items. I received many like new toys that she wasn’t using anymore from my friend’s, friend (a person I have never met).

  2. Buying used is always a great way to save money (and the planet), but ESPECIALLY on baby gear, which you only use for a short period. I’ve had such great luck finding stuff on Craig’s List.

  3. I second Craigslist. I got a barely used non-recalled (I checked 100xs) carseat for $40! The retail on it is $110! There is no way I would pay that much in this season of our lives! Some things, like tubs, clothes, and accessories, don’t have to be new. And with research on recalls, cribs, carseats, high chairs, and swings can be found cheaper on Craigslist or garage sales.

    • @Lindsey,

      Please use caution in buying carseats used. If the carseat has been involved in a crash, the belts were washed incorrectly, it was reassembled incorrectly, etc it may not provide the maximum protection for your little one.

  4. Great tips. Wish I’d had resources like this back when I was having my first child. I had to quit work while pregnant due to being so sick. We adjusted to single income living several months earlier than expected.

  5. Great post, I totally agree that having a baby doesn’t have to cost a fortune. (It’s when they get to be older, but… that’s another topic for another day, right?!) I’d also add breastfeeding and cloth diapering to the list of money savers (although odds are we’d do them both even if they weren’t!).

  6. I would add to not turn your nose up to hand-me-downs, which is the same as buying used. I have friends who don’t like hand-me-downs though. We received quite a bit of hand-me-downs like our crib, high chair and running stroller.

    Instead of buying a changing table, I used a dresser and just added a changing pad. It has worked great. I am almost 5’11 and the dresser sits higher than any bed or store-bought changing table.

    I agree with pp Mara, if you can do it, nurse as long as possible. My kids didn’t have a drop of formula and that saved me a bundle.

    Thanks for the link-up.

  7. One thing I would caution against buying second-hand is a carseat. Carseats which have been involved in accidents should never be re-used, and it’s impossible to know if that’s happened when you’re buying from Goodwill or a consignment shop. I did accept a hand-me-down carseat from a trusted friend, but my husband wasn’t even comfortable using that, so we purchased one brand new.

  8. No babies here, but I’ll be passing this post along to my sis-in-law

  9. Do you need it has been a phrase of mine for awhile?
    I buy nearly all baby stuff used. Or it’s been given.
    Thanks for the challenges!

  10. We don’t have any children yet, but we are taking Dave Ramsey’s class, “Financial Peace University”. There are so many classes available, at least where we live, so we go to one 5 minutes from our house! We have learned so much already!!!

  11. elizabeth says:

    I agree. When they are little they don’t need a lot. There are a lot more expenses as they get older. Glasses, braces, tutoring, etc. Save when they are babies so you afford it later on.

  12. We also found breastfeeding and cloth diapering to be money savers, as well as lifestyle choices… At one point, I wasn’t up to washing my own diapers, but used a diaper service, which still came in cheaper than disposables. But, washing our own, even given the cost of buying the diapers and outer wraps, came in at a much lower cost.

  13. All those great parenting books and baby dev books? They are at the LIBRARY! I went to Borders and wrote up a list of the books I liked and then I did inter-library loan. You can also get them from friends who are between pregnancies or are done with the baby stages.

  14. Another tip is to ask other’s before you buy something. Put it on Facebook or send out an email to your moms group asking if anyone has the item you are looking for. Most moms are happy to pass on something, either to borrow or to get rid of.

  15. For anyone who uses formula, give store brand formula a try. It is significantly cheaper than name brand and has to conform to the same quality standards. The price difference is mainly due to marketing costs.

    Make your own baby food. Freeze pureed veggies or fruits in ice cube trays & warm up when needed- super easy and cheap!

  16. I am a volunteer and teach “Budgeting for Baby” classes. The biggest way to save money is to never let yourself fall intot he trap that your baby needs all of the things that sellers start pushing on you. Comapnies prey upon our desire to be good parents. But babies don’t need all of the gadgets, toys, fancy clothes, picture clubs, book clubs, life insurance and classes that are pitched to new parents. Okay, stepping off my soap box. :)

  17. I second breastfeeding as a huge cost saver. Of course, not everyone can breastfeed, and formula is better than a starving baby. But, if you can make it work it’s a huge money saver.

    Cloth diapering can also save a lot of money, but only if you go into it with the idea that you are doing it to save money. You can easily spend a fortune on brand name cloth diapers. But, you don’t need to to make it work.

  18. Siobhan.Russell says:

    Soups! Making soups can really stretch out the dollar and save alot of money as well as being healthy!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] at Frugal Friday and Food Renegade // October 28th, 2010 in Food, Frugality, [...]

  2. [...] Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things Frugal Friday at Life as Mom Vegetarian Foodie Friday at Breastfeeding Moms Unite Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum Fight Back [...]

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jessica G Fisher, Tiffany Allgood. Tiffany Allgood said: How to Have a Baby on the Cheap (Frugal Friday) — Life As Mom: What do YOU do to save money? Share your favorite m… http://bit.ly/avRp3D [...]

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