Are you pregnant and worried about the added expense of a baby? The joy of being pregnant can often be overshadowed by the worries of finances. Before you were pregnant you might have had your budget all figured out and now bringing another human into the world will (and should) shake things up!
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The worry can be overwhelming. Oh, girl, I’ve been there! When I got pregnant we were determined that I be able to stay home with the new baby for a few extra months. Then we found out I wouldn’t be getting disability leave. (Who knew California teachers don’t automatically pay into disability? Not this girl!) We poured over our budget trying to find places to scrimp so that we could save extra money for those few months.
But the problem with being pregnant and trying to save money is that you are also preparing for the arrival of a tiny little nugget of a human. And those nuggets need so much stuff! Or so the advertisements, commercials, and the media tell you. To be honest a baby requires very little.
A newborn baby really only needs a few things. Diapers, wipes, a few changes of clothes, some warm blankets, a safe place to sleep, a car seat and a milk machine producing Mama (Or formula if you are won’t be breastfeeding).
Wait! You are probably saying, what about a stroller? What about a swing? What about a crib? A changing table?
Yes, those things make life with a baby EASIER, but they aren’t required. I’m going to give you a few tips so that you can buy the things that the baby needs and save money on the things that you want.
Tip #1 Set a budget
Having a baby is anything but cheap, however, setting a budget is going to give you the most control possible. This is tricky to do when you are unsure how much it is going to cost to buy the things you need/ want. But a budget isn’t made to allow you to buy absolutely everything you want a budget is meant to allow you to buy everything you can afford.
I recommend sitting down with your partner and discussing how much money can actually, feasibly, be put away each month for baby preparations. Keep in mind that you should also be talking about how much you are saving for maternity/ paternity leave and medical bills as well. My husband and I made mistakes and, in all honesty, under saved and overspent on certain things. We should have been much more particular about our budget and determined how much money was being set apart for baby supplies, maternity leave savings, and medical bills. Learn from our mistakes!
Tip #2 Make a list of all the items you can think of that a baby will need/ want for the first few months.
This is the time to list out EVERYTHING you want. Think of it as your dream list.
You can use download my free printable here.
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After you have determined your dream list, rate them in order of importance. For example, the car seat should probably be #1 because you can’t take your baby home from the hospital without one. Go on down your list rating top priority items first.
When shopping over the course of your pregnancy you will be buying things, generally, in the order that you specified. This will help control your spending.
(side note: We rated our car seat as #1 priority but didn’t want to store it for the 7 months before Baby came so instead of buying it first we bought an Amazon gift card for that amount. We tucked that gift card away and bought the car seat closer to my due date.)
Tip #3 Research Big Ticket Items
Researching big-ticket items will be one of the easiest ways to see if you are going to stay on budget. Big ticket items usually include car seats, strollers, swings, and furniture. Write down your top brands and prices for these items. Now look back at your budget. Did you just blow your entire budget on those items?
That happened to us.
I realized that the nursery furniture I wanted was going to almost blow our budget! Add in the car seat and stroller we wanted and our budget was completely wiped out! There was no room for diapers, clothing, and all the other little things!
Something had to give!
My husband was pretty non-negotiable about the car seat and stroller system he wanted. It was actually really cute, he watched countless videos and did tons of research before picking them out. These happened to be higher priced items in this categories but I felt that his justifications were valid.
You can read my review of our stroller and car seat here!
I realized that I didn’t really want the furniture set I had picked out that bad. Which was good because I knew we would have to economize in other areas to make up for the car seat and stroller. Which brings us to Tip #4.
Tip #4 Shop Used Items and Repurpose Items you already have
Look at online marketplaces like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook for gently used items.
I was able to buy a used crib and changing table off of a local Facebook Market. My mom scored on a free little dresser for the nursery. We threw a beautiful quilt over an old stuffed rocker of my great grandmothers instead of buying a brand new glider. $200 later the nursery was furnished and it looked great!
We bought many other used items as well. I got a Rock n Play, Swing, and bathtub all for $25.
You might also want to let friends and family know that you are on the lookout for used items. I had friends who assumed I wanted all brand new stuff. When they found out I wanted used items as much as possible were willing to give me things their kids had out-grown. We ended up with another really cool swing this way. We also ended up with three strollers that we were able to pass on to friends who needed them!
Tip #5 Try to wait to buy things until after your baby shower (if you have one) to buy the smaller items
You will most likely be blessed with many items at your baby shower or (showers!) Use your wish list to build your registry. The wonderful thing about having a new baby is that many people often want to “shower” you with gifts. You will hopefully receive some of the items on your list and so its best to wait until after your shower to buy any of the smaller items that you will still need.
After your shower review your list and check to make sure your priorities are covered. Decide what must still be purchased. If you have leftover money in your budget, great! You can buy some of the nonnecessity items that you still really want.
You can (and should) continue looking for used items during this time!
Tip #6 Remember that all the little items will add up quickly!
These little items like diapers, clothing, baby toiletries, are all affordable on their own but when you put them together they add up! Hopefully, these are the types of items that you are blessed with at a baby shower. However, it’s possible that you won’t receive all of the things you need/want. You need to be prepared in your budget to buy some of those things at the end of your pregnancy.
For example, we didn’t find out the gender of our daughter so we were given basically no clothes. We did, however, receive 17 handmade blankets! Those blankets are definitely treasured and we truly appreciate the love that went into making each one! I say this only to remind you that while you might receive many gifts there will most like still be some “little” things that will need to be purchased.
If you have been careful and following your budget you should still have money left at the end of your pregnancy to get those last things you need.
If you liked these tips and want some more as you prepare for your new baby check out my other post 5 Things New Moms Should Know before Bringing Home Baby.