If you’re wondering how to save money with a baby, you definitely aren’t alone! Babies are the smallest, most adorable little humans but the costs that come with them are huge and can add up quickly!
When I first started shopping for our first baby, I was totally overwhelmed with how much I needed and how much everything cost! Along the way, I found little ways to save money that helped our family save hundreds of dollars! From maternity clothes to food prep to diapers to free book programs, this list will save you money at every turn!
This post is all about how to save money with a baby starting from the very beginning!
This post contains affiliates.
How to Save Money with a Baby
Money Saving Tips for Before Baby Comes...
1. Don't buy a bunch of maternity clothes
Resist the urge to buy an entirely new maternity wardrobe. You will only end up frustrated when you have to find a place to store it all a few short months later. Get a few maternity staples like quality leggings, comfortable jeans, and some neutral colored tanks or tees. You can make so many different outfits with just these few things and a little bit of accessorizing. I worked as a teacher my entire first pregnancy (dressing nice every day) while only purchasing about five items.
2. Purchase a belly band or pant extenders to help you wear your pre-pregnancy clothes longer
Pant extenders are perfect for when your pre-pregnancy jeans are just starting to not fit anymore. As you move along in your pregnancy, having a comfortable belly band can also let you wear clothes longer while supporting your growing belly. Pant extenders and belly bands are the dynamic duo when it comes to extending the time you can wear your regular clothes.
3. Cook and freeze meals for after baby comes (avoid going out to eat)
When it to how to save money with a baby, not eating out is a financial game changer. When you are in the third trimester and newborn stage I know the last thing you want to do is cook. Trust me, I get it. But instead of eating out, try freezing meals ahead of time. When you are cooking dinner prior to baby’s arrival, double whatever you are making and freeze half for another meal later on. It’s a minimal amount of additional work but saves you so much work and money later on. If you aren’t a big fan of cooking and need ideas, check out my recipes page for some inspiration and super easy recipes to try!
4. Start your search for nursery furniture on Facebook Marketplace & Craigslist
I am personally a huge fan of Facebook Marketplace but there are tons of other platforms like this too where people sell their used items for WAY LESS than it would have cost you to buy it new. (and a lot of times the stuff IS new or it’s barely used at all!) I purchased my rocker glider on Facebook Marketplace for $60 and it is normally a couple hundred dollars! I also got a $300 crib for $25! It requires you to start shopping for your baby a little early to hunt down a deal, but I promise it will be worth it!
5. Don't purchase a ton of bottles
Every baby is different! Some babies don’t take certain brands of bottles, some don’t take certain types of bottle nipples, and some don’t take bottles period. This means you definitely don’t want to invest in a ton of bottles before you test them out with your baby. Make sure to only get two or three bottles before baby comes, test them out, and then get more of whatever they like.
6. You can get a free breast pump through your health insurance
If you are planning to breast feed your baby, a good breast pump can be a huge expense. Luckily, most health insurance companies will send you a free breast pump! All you have to do is fill out the form and it gets sent right to your door! I got a $200 breast pump for free doing this!
7. Don't skip the baby shower
I was so stressed during my third trimester that I told my mom (who was planning my baby shower) to cancel it multiple times. She luckily didn’t listen to me and by the time the party rolled around, I was so excited for it (and grateful she ignored me). Your baby shower is not only an amazing time to celebrate with friends but the stuff you receive at your shower will save you a TON of money. Even if you only want a small shower with a few friends, those are outfits and items that you can check off your shopping list! And the time to celebrate will definitely help ease any stress!
8. Ask for books instead of cards at your shower to build baby's library
If we were all honest with each other, we throw out most cards as soon as we read them. So while cards can easily be six or seven dollars, that money is quite literally getting thrown in the trash. Instead of having people bring cards to your baby shower, request that everyone brings a kid book with a note for your child written inside the front cover. It’s a fun alternative to cards that you will be able to look back and you also get to build your child’s library all at the same time!
9. Don't buy too much of anything before your baby shower
It will be tempting to not buy an outfit (or twelve) every time you walk past a baby section. But do your best to wait to buy until after your shower. You never know what sizes of clothing you will receive, what big items will still need purchased, and who will simply give you cash to purchase some of those fun things you’ve been wanting. Plus, after your shower date has passed, many sites such as Amazon will allow you to purchase the remaining items on your registry for 15% off!
10. Exchange stuff from your baby shower to get the sizes that you need
You will probably receive a ton of one size at your shower, most likely the tiny newborn or 0-3 month clothes that no one can resist. However, don’t forget that most stores will let you exchange clothes you received as a gift for different sizes. I did this myself after my shower to get some bigger sizes for later down the road. Some stores even let me return without a gift receipt. It never hurts to ask. If you do have your baby shower later on in your pregnancy, you might even be able to exchange sizes after your baby is born and you know what you need.
11. Don't invest heavily in newborn diapers or clothes- they won't be in them very long
For most babies, the newborn clothing/diaper stage is very brief (a few weeks at most!). Some babies go straight into 0-3 month clothes and size one diapers! As far as newborn diapers go, most hospitals will send you home with a pack of newborn diapers and that may be all that you need to get into the size one stage.
12. Register for free samples online
There are a number of websites that give free samples for expecting moms. Here is a list of just a few sites where you can get free samples of things you actually need sent to your door.
– Free Enfamil Formula Samples
– Free Similac Samples & Coupons
– Babylist Welcome Box (when you create a registry)
– Target Welcome Kit (when you create a registry)
– Amazon Welcome Box (when you create a registry)
– Buy Buy Baby Goody Bag (when you create a registry)
– Free Noobie Box (you will have to pay shipping on this one)
– Imagination Library– Free books sent to your child until they reach age 5 (not available in all areas)
– Medela’s “Mom’s Room” breastfeeding product samples (things like nipple cream, nursing pads, and breast milk storage bags)
13. Join Freecycle.com
Freecycle.com is a website with the goal of recycling items and keeping things out of the landfill. You can register for an account for free with your email, select the town you want to search in, and everything you see on there is free. There is often baby stuff on there that moms are simply looking to get rid of and give to a good home. In fact, I saw a $200 walker on Freecycle this morning!
14. Borrow a bassinet from a friend or skip it altogether
Bassinets are short lived and somewhat unnecessary. If you are looking to save a little bit of money, I suggest borrowing a bassinet from a friend or putting up the baby’s crib in your room for a while if you have the space. You could also opt to use a Pack N’ Play in your room as well. Many Pack N’ Plays have newborn inserts that lift them up closer to your level, so you aren’t bending over so much to put them down when they fall asleep.
15. Opt for Luvs Diapers or Cloth Diapers
I received a mix of diaper brands at my baby shower. After test driving them all, I honestly felt like I had just as many blow outs and leaks with the more expensive brands. So when it comes to disposable diapers, I personally buy Luvs diapers and have not been disappointed by them. They rival in price with even the Walmart brand, but work WAY BETTER. Okay, I’ll get off my Luvs soap box now.
If you want to save even more money, I would encourage you to look into cloth diapers. I didn’t do this right away with my first and I wish I would have! It was actually so much easier than I thought it would be and saved us a ton of money! If you want to find out just how much you would save compared to common disposable diaper brands and what you need to get started, check out my article on disposable vs. cloth diapers.
16. Buy convertible items
There are all kinds of convertible baby items that will save you both money and the space that it would have taken to store unused items away. Some examples include convertible cribs, travel stroller systems, convertible car seats, and even play toys like this skip n’ hop activity center that goes from a baby bouncer to a toddler play table! I have linked some of the top rated convertible items, but make sure you do your research and find what is best for your family! I have also linked a metal convertible crib because metal cribs are a great way to save money in the long run! They are a little more pricey upfront, but you won’t have to replace your crib for your next baby after your first has used it for a teething toy.
17. Skip the baby bath towels
Baby bath towels are insanely cute but become insanely impractical rather quickly. Despite the adorable hooded towels I bought, I ended up wrapping my baby in a normal towel anyways so that he would stay warmer and dry off faster. My personal opinion would be to just skip the hooded towel craze.
18. Go secondhand
I used to think that all the baby clothes at second hand stores would be worn out and stained. However, tons of the baby clothes I’ve got at second hand stores still have tags on them! Babies grow so quickly that many outfits don’t get a chance to be worn. Many times people end up donating these items with the tags still on them! I left a second hand store this week with 10 adorable baby outfits for 12 dollars…you can’t beat that. You may also have friends who offer their child’s old clothes to you. Take them up on it! The worst thing that happens is you have to go donate it somewhere else!
19. Don't buy Baby Shoes
It’s pretty ridiculous that we buy shoes for babies who can’t even walk yet. As much fun as it may be that is pretty much the definition of a waste of money. Rather than buying all the adorable tiny shoes when they are super little, wait until they are learning to walk and opt for these sock shoes! They will make learning to walk so much easier for your toddler than normal shoes! They also come in 51 different colors and designs!
Once Baby is Born...
20. Breastfeed and pump if you can
If you are able to, breastfeeding is by far the best choice for both your baby and your budget. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months before introducing other foods. That’s a lot of formula… and good formula is expensive and can add up quickly. However, I do recommend having some formula on hand for emergencies. You can do this cheaply simply by sending in for free samples from the different formula brands (see #12 for some free formula sample options). I got the flu four days after my delivery and threw up all night long, trying to feed my baby in between my sessions on the bathroom floor. I definitely wish I would have thought to have some just in case… I have bought some to have on hand since then.
21. Buy washable nursing pads
If you are breastfeeding, I hate to break it to you but you will leak. If you don’t have nursing pads, you will stain bras and clothes and may possibly embarrass yourself leaking through in public. But if you buy disposable nursing pads you will go through a ton of them. Not to mention, I find them super itchy and uncomfortable. These washable nursing pads have a waterproof layer to keep your bra dry and a super soft layer against your skin. As a bonus, they come with an adorable carrying bag for when you are out and about.
22. Go big or Go Home
Always always buy both diapers and wipes in bulk, as it decreases the price SIGNIFICANTLY! Plus, as an added bonus: buying in bulk decreases the number of times you have to drag you and your little one out to the store.
23. Have back up stuff in your car
Having an emergency stash of back up baby stuff in your car avoids having to purchase stuff to deal with the inevitable throw-up/blow up disasters that happen the day you forget to refill the diaper bag. Here is everything that I keep in my car caddy.
24. Save clothes for future kids
Keep bins in your baby’s room to store outgrown clothes in. I like to keep a bin in the bottom of my baby’s closet that is labeled with the size that he is starting to outgrow (0-6, 6-12, etc.) and I place them in there as I go. Saving those clothes for future kids is a great way to save money on baby #2. 🙂
25. Make your own baby food
Making your own baby food may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to and it will save you SO MUCH money! I’ve found making my own food to cost about a 1/3 of the price of store bought baby food. Here’s a guide on how to get started making your own baby food at home!
26. Don't Buy Fancy Toys
Buy toys and books second hand whenever you can. Just make sure to clean them with Lysol wipes and/or wash them with soap and water first. I also have a friend who deep freezes toys from thrift stores in Ziploc bags before using them to kill any germs. Clean them however makes you feel comfortable.
But, also remember that babies love toys that aren’t toys. A whisk alone can entertain a baby for quite some time (trust me on this one) and my silicone basting brush is one of his absolute favorite teething toys.
27. Save money on baby sitters by asking friends and family to help out
Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for help. You will be overwhelmed at times and need a break (and that’s okay!). Don’t spend money on a sitter. Instead, ask a friend or family member to help you out for a few hours. I’m sure they would be thrilled to get some cuddles in with your sweet little one and save you some money in the process!
28. Make sure to include baby in your tax deductions
I like to call babies the world’s cutest tax deduction because….well they really are! Making sure you claim your baby on your taxes is a great way to put away some money for next year’s diapers!
This post was all about exactly how to save money with a baby from the very start! I hope these help you stress less and spend more time excited about your sweet little one! Don’t forget to share this post with your new mom friends and follow along on Instagram and Pinterest! Motherhood is a wonderful adventure and I can’t wait to take it on with you!
-Beautifully Busy Mom
Don’t forget to save this for later 🙂