Whether this is your first or your fourth, preparing for a baby can oftentimes be costly. That is, unless of course you’re like me and prefer to get ready for baby the frugal way.
If you’re a first-time Mom, frugal may not be part of your new baby vocabulary, but if you plan on adding to your tribe over the years to come…I’m willing to bet the tables will turn and frugal will become your favorite new word, lol.
With us having five children people often assume they come with a huge financial burden. And while it definitely isn’t cheap to raise a family of seven, I’ve been on the hunt for bargains well before my fifth (or fourth for that matter) child arrived. No matter how much money we have, I’ve always been one to try and shop wisely. But how do you do that when you’re getting ready for a baby?
Well with each new kiddo, there is definitely some type of preparation that takes place. And while some things may need to be bought brand new, this preparation can still be budget friendly. Preparing the frugal way doesn’t necessarily have to be bad or frowned upon. For me, it’s a game of chess. I’m the lonely pawn whose ultimate goal is to get everything my newborn needs without breaking the bank. Or as I like to call it, a checkmate!
Before getting to my frugal list, as I mentioned there are a few things that are better off new. I would like to list a few of those things and a give why:
Diapers and Wipes
If you don’t plan to cloth diapers, disposable diapers are something you’ll want to stack up on. I’ve used almost every brand there is. From Honest, Huggies, Target’s Up and Up, to Millie Moon, and Hello Bello. My top two are Honest Co and Millie Moon. However, depending on what you like in diapers (or not in them) and your child’s skin, your preference may differ from mine. I personally love any diaper company that has a mission to lower the amount of waste in our landfills.
Breast Milk Storage Bags
Something else that will be up to your preference, as there are disposable and reusable ones. The reusable ones are a newer product and something I haven’t been able to comfortably wrap my head around it. Call it stuck in my ways, but I prefer the disposable breast milk storage bags for ease of use.
Another thing that is up to your personal preference regarding reusable or disposable. I have a pair of reusable ones that I absolutely love. And while I typically only buy reusable, when baby and I are first starting out I opt for the disposable breast pads. For me, it boils down to the sheer amount of breast milk I’m leaking. Keeping up with laundry is not a top priority for me at that stage. So anything that means less clothes pilling up the better for me. Once we’ve settling into a routine (about 12 weeks or so) I opt for the reusable again.
Now on to my frugal list for getting ready for baby
Outside of keeping clothes from your older child, something I did was swap clothes with family and friends. Almost like clock work, there was always someone pregnant when I was. And sure enough, we typically were having children of the opposite sex.
So what does that mean? I’d give them my child’s bags of clothes in exchange for theirs. Since we had one of each gender, it always worked out great. But what happens if you don’t know anyone pregnant? With the hundreds of Facebook yard sale groups, Facebook resale groups, and places like Once Upon a Child, deals are just waiting to be found. And we can’t forget Goodwill or Salvation Army. I love shopping there for simple play pieces (think tons of onesies and soft pants for baby).
Now this is something I swore I needed with my first time around. I mean it’s on all the baby must have lis, right. And while we lucked up and got two different kinds with our first, I barely ever used either. It was so much easier for me to wash my babies up in the sink until they could sit up and then bathe them in a tub.
But if you are a fan of baby tubs, even if you’re not sure about having more children, this is one of those worth holding on to. They are easy to store away and one less expense to worry about if/when a new bun starts in the oven. Consider investing in a newborn to toddler tub too as those last longer and get more dang for your buck!
Cribs, like clothes, are something I am happy to buy used. Or be gifted by a family / friends who no longer need theirs. As I’ve found out, they barely get used anyway. I was blessed to be given a super awesome crib for our youngest. But before moving to California, my older three all used the same crib. One that we found at a neighborhood garage sale. With most cribs able to transition to toddler and some even to full beds, keeping your crib (no matter how much use you get out of it in the first couple of months) is a great frugal way to get ready for baby.
NEVER throw away bottles. Invest in some good ones in the beginning and you won’t have to worry about doing anything except changing the nipple size/flow. There are hundreds of different ones to pick from but I am particularly drawn to the Comotomo brand. My second favorite is Avent. All of my breastfed babies have loved these bottles.
This is another area where I spend practically no money. For some reason, the older kiddos get a kick out of playing with the young’ns toys. Because of this, I have held on to a nice stash of toys that baby can enjoy once he or she is old enough. Lovely makes some amazing toys that last for years. Not to mention, the first few weeks/months are spent eating, sleeping, and pooping – right? Psst… bundles and sets are the way to go!
Picking a good baby body wash and lotion is a pretty big deal. If having a baby shower, pick a few different “starter packs” to put on your registry. This will allow you to try a few different products until you find what works best. Once you’ve found it, buy in bulk whenever possible.
Bedding, Blankets, etc.
Unless you just want to get new bedding and blankets for your new baby, there’s really no need. We always manage to get a new blanket or two for each new baby but it’s not something that we have gone out of our way to purchase. Bedding and blankets can be reused over and over…. except for the sentimental blankets. My son has a blanket that he will NOT share (LOL)! Consider shopping on those same Facebook groups I mentioned above to save some money. Amazon is great too!
Car seats and Strollers
We’ve been blessed to be given these as gifts; however, this is one of those things that if you invest smartly in the beginning, you’ll save yourself in the long run. Consider purchasing a car seat and stroller that grows with your baby. That way you are not having to buy two to three car seats/booster seats over the course of the first few years! Most convertibles will get you there. But keep in mind, the pros of saving money over time (by purchasing a convertible) means having to take the baby out of the seat every time you exit the vehicle.
Pack-N-Play vs Bassinet
While I do not consider a bassinet a necessarily I would say pack n plays are. You’ll be surprised at how handy these folding contraptions come in handy. We usually use the top parts for baby the first few weeks, but before you know it, he or she will be using the bottom for sleep, play and everything else. Since they are super portable, they are amazing to have on trips too!
Snuggle Me Organic
One of my favorite things about this company is their Thursday afternoon Imperfects sale. The infant lounges and other items in this sale are cosmetically flawed items or like-new returns sold at a deep discount. I’ve owned two, and I promise I couldn’t tell them apart from my original full priced one.
Online places that you can shop for cheap, discounted, and clearanced baby stuff:
- Buy Buy Baby
- Toys R Us
- Swap (free shipping for your first order of $10)
That pretty much wraps up my frugal list. Anything else beyond this point may be purchased but I will always check with new-to-me resources first. The sales and deals you can find online and/or in your community can be amazing and pocketbook saving!
Again, if it’s your first baby, it’s totally understandable why everything will be in-the-package new… but trust me when I say that as you have more children, you’ll begin to see that purchasing every single thing brand spankin’ new may not always be necessary!