Whether you are a first-time mom or not, there are many ways to save money and raise a baby on a budget. The arrival of a new baby brings parents feelings of joy and fear at the same time. How do you financially prepare for a new baby? Money is one of the things most parents are concerned about when a new baby is on the way. This is why many new parents panic and wonder how they will be able to afford all the costs of having a baby.
Before my little one was born, I remember searching online and reading lists of things parents are supposed to have before the arrival of a new baby. We bought a lot of stuff anticipating the big day. Sadly, we ended up not using many of the things that were supposed to be “baby essentials”.
Now that we are planning for our second baby, I’m glad I learned that there is no need to go overboard or spend a fortune on baby’s necessities. Yet, I understand, as parents, we want to give the best to our little bundle of joy. However, when money is tight, there are some things you can do and raise a baby on a budget.
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How to Save Money and Raise a Baby on a Budget
1. Start with a Budget
Regardless if you are pregnant or not, you need to have a budget. When you know where you stand financially, you will have more control of your money. Knowing how much money comes in and out will help you keep track of your finances.
When you are ready to expand your family, it’s time to re-evaluate your budget. Food, diapers, wipes, clothing, and toys are just some of the costs that go hand in hand with having a baby. There is no better time than now to cut out some non-essentials and to start putting some of your income towards baby necessities.
2. Create a Baby Emergency Fund
An emergency fund, that is solely dedicated to the arrival of a new baby, will be a huge help for those unexpected expenses that are coming up. Once you have decided how much money you can set aside, start saving up strictly for everything baby. Savings accounts can stay open for as long as you want, so the more you save, the better off you’ll be when it comes to covering any extra cost.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to set money aside for an emergency fund yet, then try to find ways to earn extra money. There are many different options to try and make extra income these days. Things like selling stuff online, organizing a garage sale, babysitting, and answering surveys are among these options.
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As a stay at home mom, I know how difficult it can be to find the best alternative to make extra money. This was one of the major reasons I started a blog. Blogging allows me to earn a passive income working from home while taking care of my little one. It’s definitely a great side hustle to start saving money.
If you want to start your blogging journey and make money from it, I’ve put together an easy step-by-step tutorial on how to start a profitable blog the right way! It’s super easy to start a blog and the best part is it’s cheap! You can find the step-by-step guide to start a profitable blog here.
3. Narrow Down your Needs
When you go to the baby store and see all the baby items out there, it’s very tempting to stock up on them. The reality is, not all that stuff is really a necessity for your baby right away. Yes, as a new mother you may think those items will be helpful, however, you’ll need to narrow your needs down and get only the essentials for your baby.
Every person is different and things may change from one family to another. So, you’ll probably need something that at some point I realized I didn’t need. That being said, here is a short list of items that you can probably avoid buying, saving you money:
Wipe warmers: These are just not necessary. If you are worried that your baby will get cold, then hold and warm the wipes in your hand before using them. your baby will be just fine.
Changing table: A changing table could be helpful at the beginning when your baby is still little, but honestly, babies grow so fast! Change your baby on the bed on top of a big blanket or towel.
Crib Bumpers: I know crib bumpers look nice and they may even match your baby’s bedding, but they are not necessary.
Fancy Bottles: Don’t overwhelm yourself with all the types of bottles that you can find at the stores. First, try some sample bottles until you learn which one your baby will accept (babies are picky!). By doing this you will save money and avoid ending up with many new useless bottles.
4. Maximize your Baby Shower
Baby showers are great for getting the most of your baby’s needs. When having a baby shower, create a baby registry for those items you think your baby will use the most. Things such as diapers, wipes, clothes or feeding supplies can really come in handy when your baby arrives. In the case of diapers and clothes, you can ask for different sizes and use them while your baby is growing.
Create a baby registry where you can take advantage of discounts or incentives. For instance, Amazon Family offers a 15% discount on your baby registry. I love their registry program because it’s universal. This means that if you see an item you like from other sites you can add them by using the Amazon assistant tool to your Amazon Registry. Plus, you get free two-day shipping on hundreds of items sold by Amazon. You can create an Amazon Baby Registry here.
5. Shop Second Hand
Much of today’s baby gear is outrageously priced. Save a little cash by purchasing some of your baby items from children’s resale events and thrift stores. Other places were you can find gently used baby stuff are Facebook or Craigslist. Be sure to always clean and sanitize your purchases.
There is no shame in buying second-hand items for your baby, especially if we are talking about clothes and toys. As I said before, babies grow so quick that before you realize it, they have already passed their first milestones in a blink of an eye. Shopping second hand can save you a lot of money. Just think of it being around 75% off, what you would normally pay for retail.
6. Save on Diapers
Many people advocate the use of cloth diapers to save money. I think it is a great idea because it would allow you saving a considerable amount of money. But, you’ll need to be willing to spend the time in the cleaning and washing of the diapers.
Personally, I prefer disposable diapers and I take advantage of our Amazon Prime subscription to get diapers at a cheaper price than the regular store. With the Amazon Family subscription, you get 20% off on diapers and free two-day shipping. Besides getting name brand diapers for a cheaper price, it gets delivered right to your door!
I just love how practical this subscription is and the amount of money I save on every order! It’s worth to mention that you also get additional coupons and other great deals on many other related baby items. You can join Amazon Family and try a 30-day free trial here.
7. Consider Breastfeeding
Baby formula can really put a dent in your budget. Breast milk is not only a better alternative for your baby, but it will also help you save money. I know breastfeeding can be rough the first weeks or so, it was for me, but with time and perseverance, breastfeeding gets better and it’s so worth it!
Also, keep in mind that many insurance companies or other state programs will provide you breast pumps at no additional costs. The most you will need will be a doctor’s note to get a breast pump. So, do not hesitate and contact them!
8. Make Your Own Baby Food
There is nothing more simple than making your own baby food. You will not only be saving money on baby food, but you will feed your baby real food free of chemicals!
9. Use Cash Back Sites
If you are used to buying things online, take advantage of cashback sites such as Ebates. I like using Ebates because it’s super simple and you get cash back for most of the purchases you do online. After signing up with Ebates, you go to its site, find your preferred store, click on it and shop as you would normally. Ebates will pay you real money for just shopping from its site, simple as that. Click here and get $10 when you sign up with Ebates.
10. Stock up with Freezer Meals Before Baby’s Arrival
Time was one of the things I lacked after giving birth to my little one. Your baby will need you so much that you will probably have no time for cooking at all. Cooking meals in advance and freezing them before the arrival of your little one will help you not only save time but also money. By doing this, you will avoid the temptation of ordering food or eating out and spending money.
11. Hospital Bills
Hospital Bills can be one of the scariest bills you can expect. If you don’t have health insurance, the cost can really affect your financial situation. However, there are some things you can do to lower the hospital bills and save money when having a baby.
One of the best things you could do is knowing your delivery charges in advance. First, contact your insurance company and learn what the covered services are by your insurance. After that, call the hospital in advance or go in person and speak to a financial representative from the labor and delivery department and inquire for a quote on their delivery services. Because you don’t know what complications may raise, you may have to ask for both vaginal and c-section delivery costs.
Knowing this in advance will help you be prepared for any possible unexpected expenses your insurance may not cover. Also, it would help you to realize that there would be other extra expenses you could avoid while at the hospital. For instance, Do you know that you could save money on your hospital bill by staying in a shared room instead of a private one? Yes, some hospitals charge for many add-ons to patients.
12. When there is No Insurance
Unfortunately, here in the U.S.A, there are millions of expectant mothers who don’t have medical insurance to cover all aspects of pregnancy. If this is your case, look for government programs such as Medicaid where you could get help to pay for your pregnancy costs including doctors visits. The Kaiser Family Foundation provides a detailed list of income limits for each state that helps with the health coverage of women during pregnancy.
Another thing you can do to reduce cost when having a baby is to call the hospital and your physician in advance and ask if they offer a special discount or option for “no insurance” patients. Many times, doctors and hospitals are willing to work with you and provide special discounts, payment plans or other different alternatives so you can afford to pay for your delivery services.
13. Ask for Samples or Coupons
You can save money on baby items by getting free samples or freebies. Many manufacturers provide baby related freebies or samples to doctors, hospitals and maternity stores to be offered to patients. So, don’t be shy and ask for some samples! You’ll be amazed how many baby items you could get for free that would help you with your baby’s first months.
Also, there are many websites where you can obtain many baby items for free. I have put together a list of items that will be helpful for you, your baby and you can get for FREE! (you just need to pay for the shipping).
Use my special coupon code at checkout: smartcentsforlife1 (only for my readers!) and get any or all these items for FREE!
Car seat Canopy for free: www.carseatcanopy.com
Nursing Pillow for free: www.nursingpillow.com
Nursing Cover for free: www.uddercovers.com
Baby Sling for free: www.sevenbaby.com
Hooded Towels for free: www.hoodedtowels.com
3 Custom Pacifiers for free: www.custompacifiers.com
5 Milk bands (very helpful if nursing) for free: www.milkbands.com
The items listed above will help you save a lot of money in some baby and pregnancy items that are much needed when having a baby. Use the coupon code: smartcentforlife1 and get them sent to your home!
14. Combine Apps and Store Cards
Combine coupons with store cards or reward programs and save money on baby items. A powerful combo that I use every time to save money when shopping is the Target Red card and Ibotta App. With the Target red card, you’ll get 5% off your whole purchase! My red card is linked to my debit card so there is no temptation of using credit cards at all.
Ibotta allows you to save money and get cash back on a wide variety of products from grocery stores. Its participants’ stores include retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon. By using the Target Red Card and Ibotta together, you will be able to save a lot of money not only on your baby’s essentials but on many other products. Click here to get $10 bonus when you sign up for Ibotta.
15. Stay Financially Healthy
You can prepare financially for a new baby by staying financially healthy. Work hard on paying your bills on time and try not to get behind on anything. Don’t make any large purchases that you don’t think you can afford. Staying away from major purchases and credit card debt is a way to prepare financially. It may sound weird, but not taking on any new debt can be a huge help, when it comes to staying financially healthy and preparing money-wise for a baby.
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When you are on a budget, it can be hard to find ways to save money for a baby. Everything comes down to focusing on all financial aspects of your family. Don’t let the cost of a baby panic you. Also, don’t let time slip away in which you could be preparing for that new bundle of joy. I hope this list gave you some ideas on how you can cut costs and raise a baby on a budget.
Do you have other ideas to share and add to this list? How do you save money on baby items? I would love to read your comments!
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