Babies…no, wait, KIDS in general are expensive! Most of us are told going into parenthood that it would be a huge financial obligation, and typically the labor/delivery hospital bill is the first taste of that. If it’s your first child, you’ll likely receive plenty of baby gear and clothing at your shower or buy everything new. It’s totally understandable too. Having a baby is new and exciting, choosing specific items is kind of a rite of passage for new parents.
Here is the thing, you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of money to have a baby. Of course, it is a good idea to plan ahead and set aside money for expenses that will no doubt pop up after baby arrives. But aside from that, it mostly pays to have a thrifty and realistic mindset when raising children. Baby will not care or notice that the stroller is a hand-me-down, or that the clothing brand isn’t a high end label.
You, mom, are the only thing of true importance to that beautiful baby. Designer or brand new items mean absolutely nothing to your little one. So, with that said, here are some money saving tips that can really help a new mom out!
Second-hand shopping – This is definitely a big one, not only for gear, but clothing as well. Most of us receive lots of new clothing for baby at the baby shower and probably won’t need to buy anything for the first 6-9 months. But soon, baby will need new duds and shoes. Used clothing can be a gamble. Buying from the right place makes all of the difference. Find a consignment boutique or event where you can smell, inspect and even ask about the items you’d like to purchase. Most of these stores offer store credit when you bring in gently used pieces for them to resell in stores. You can easily bring in baby’s old clothing and use that store credit towards pre-owned items in the same store. I must have saved a TON of money by doing this with Ladybug’s clothing over the last few years. So worth it! These boutique’s often have gear too, such as high chairs, carriers, swings, etc.
Upcycling – If selling baby’s outgrown furniture and gear is just too much too emotional, perhaps recycling those items will work for you. Re-purposing a crib to a preschooler’s or a changing table into a toddler’s bookshelf can be a fun project that will also save you from buying even more furniture. Lucky for us all, there are tons of creative upcycling ideas on Pinterest.
Homemade baby foods – It sounds daunting, and for those like me who do not enjoy working in the kitchen, it might be. However, making your own purees can save money while also ensuring your baby is eating the very best foods. Pureeing can be simple depending on the foods, especially first foods like pears, bananas, sweet potatoes and peas. They can also be frozen in ice cube trays and stockpiled in your freezer. Voila!
Selling the goods – Before and during my pregnancy, I was told that once I became a mom I wouldn’t be wearing half of the clothes and shoes I owned. Either they wouldn’t fit, they’d be out of style or they wouldn’t fit my new lifestyle. They were so right! I saved my goods thinking I’d be sporting my pumps in no time. But sadly, half of my tops didn’t function for nursing my baby, pants wouldn’t fit over my new mom curves and my feet had grown during pregnancy and refused to fit comfortably in those heels. Had I listened to the warnings, I could have sold a few of my nicer pieces to women’s consignment boutiques or online and made a little cash. In addition, maternity wear can be sold that way after baby arrives. We all know maternity clothes are expensive!
D.I.Y. entertainment – Toys are great and we all need them for our littles. Toys can be whatever you want them to be. They can be things lying around the house or things you create such as these.
Toys can also be purchased used from thrift stores and yard sales and often in good shape! I am sort of a germaphobe and find it hard to trust toys that aren’t new, but there are so many cleaning methods and products available to ease my nerves. I scrub everything thoroughly before giving it to my Ladybug. The first year, she had everything in her mouth, so I opted out of used toys until she passed that stage. Books go a little along the same lines. Once baby is past the everything-in-mouth phase, check out local libraries for book sales. Used books can often be in excellent condition, so just give it a little wipe down and you are all set.
The obvious – There are of course the typical money saving tips. Cutting out cable is one. GASP! I know, a new mom, SAHM or any momma for that matter should at least have her TV. But there are so many alternatives out there now that can get you by, such as Netflix and Hulu. Let’s face it, you either can’t make it through an episode of anything when baby is awake or you fall asleep during it anyway.
And then there are coupons. Pre-baby you might have looked at a coupon wielding mom in the checkout line with complete judgement, but now that you’re a mom, you totally get it. Diapers, formula, medicine and baby bath soap put a huge dent in your wallet. Coupons, promos, and savings clubs/apps are very much worth your time. I look at it this way: If I save even just $3 on a shopping trip, that pays for my much needed afternoon iced latte. So worth it.
Find free activities – Mommy and me classes are great and I fully recommend them. Some establishments provide excellent programs for a large chunk of change, while other programs can be found within your community for little to no cost. Check out your local city recreational programs or sign up for a meetup group. This also goes for mommas with extra activities such as the gym. Try quitting the gym for a few months and sign up for a walking club or a stroller group. You’ll still get a workout while also saving money.
To conclude, while saving money is all well and good, and these tips are great for any parent, they may not be for everyone. If parting with a gym membership or buying baby food vs. making it at home is too much to handle, no problem. Life should be enjoyable and if penny pinching stresses you out, try something else. The bottom line is that while kids are expensive, they are extremely worth every penny. And as we parents know, we will do whatever it takes to afford them.
What are your super saving secrets?