Adjusting to your new life as a parent is difficult enough without the massive bills that comes along with child rearing. Babies can be expensive, and it’s enough to keep most parents awake at night wondering how they can afford the newest stroller or baby lotion.
We love our bundles of joy and want to spoil them with all the great things that life can offer. However, cash-strapped expectant parents can suffer parental anxiety and worry that they won’t have enough or be enough for their newborns – and this is not true.
You will be relieved to learn that every new parent goes through this prenatal anxiety, regardless of their budget. Making sure you have enough diapers, bottles, changing mats, wet wipes and all that goes into raising a baby can be stressful. The list can feel as long as the pregnancy itself.
Not to mention having your friends constantly remind you of the latest “need to have” gadget isn’t helpful either. Especially when every new “must have” costs over $250.00.
Thankfully, there are several tips and tricks that new parents can do to keep new baby costs at a minimum while ensuring that their new arrival has everything they need.
We talked to new parents, and we were (and are) new parents ourselves, and together we came up with the five most frugal strategies for expecting moms and dads that help save money on newborn essentials.
We know that many new parents are not into hand-me-downs, but newborns gain between five and seven ounces per week. Translate that weight gain into clothing sizes, and you’ll be out shopping for new threads every seven days or less if they have a growth spurt.
Our advice is to take those hand-me-downs that friends, family, and coworkers are desperately trying to give you. They have been there and learned the hard way about overspending on newborn baby clothes. Even reserving hand-me-down items to houseware or sleepwear can cut the clothing budget in half.
Take any size. Collecting a few items several sizes ahead of your baby’s age ensures that you always have something to put them whenever they hit those unexpected growth spurts.
Hand-me-down toys and blankets are also great. Baby spit-up and spills stain almost anything. If your baby has a nasty bout of colic or reflux, then wrapping them in a clean second-hand blanket that you don’t care about staining is one less thing you need to worry about while trying to soothe a restless baby at 3 am.
Homemade Wipes and Muslins
Baby wipes can be expensive when you need a mountain of them. Especially if you have a baby with very sensitive skin, finding a gentle baby wipe that is chemical-free, stays moist, and doesn’t break the bank can be a challenge.
Homemade baby wipes are a great money-saving option that gives you peace of mind that your baby wipes are free from harmful chemicals and unknown irritants that can dry out your babies’ super soft skin.
How To Make Homemade Baby wipes
You Will Need:
- A sealable plastic container.
- A gentle baby wash of your choice.
- Clean water.
- Olive or baby oil.
- Soak gentle paper towels in two cups of water or just enough so the paper towels are moist but not falling apart.
- Add two tablespoons of baby wash and one tablespoon of baby or oil and allow to soak.
- Please place them in the sealable container and use them as needed.
Muslins are thin pieces of cloth that you buy to wipe up spills, dribbles, sick, and whatever other liquids that may be spilled or projected at you while caring for a baby.
Muslins can be a saving grace. It doesn’t matter what you get on them or how they stain. They can protect your baby’s clothes (and yours) from permanent damage.
However, muslins are not cheap for what they are. Packets of three muslins can cost up to $15 in some cases, and you may need quite a few around as we can guarantee that some will get lost!
Instead of paying out for an expensive piece of cloth, it makes more sense to make your own.
How To Make Your Muslin
This is a simple process that needs very little explanation.
- Find a piece of clothing (t-shirts work best!) or bed linen that you no longer need.
- Cut out square pieces in various sizes. We suggest making large (30x40cm) and small (20x20cm) muslins available for different spills.
- The key is to use linen wherever possible. Linen is the easiest to clean and lightweight, and easy to pack among the millions of other things that babies need. Thick materials may be extra absorbent but are challenging to wash and dry quickly. On the other hand, linen absorbs well and is the easiest to clean.
Do a quick google search for “free baby stuff,” and you will be given access to a treasure trove of products and essentials that are free to expectant parents – read more on this from the Sweet Frugal Life.
Baby product companies are always on the lookout for parents to test their new products and provide feedback. As a result, baby boxes have become the new norm for most expectant moms and dads.
You may have to sign up for a lot of spammy emails to get your free box, but it can be worth it. Good quality freebie boxes have free diapers, baby lotions, baby vitamins, a top or baby grow, blankets, muslins, baby bottles, food samples, baby wipes, cuddly toys, and much more.
However, a word of warning: signing up to these sites means that you will be spammed with many emails after signing up. Our advice is to make a burner email address and send the emails there where you can check in on them infrequently or as you wish – unless you want to be constantly harassed with updates and marketing sales every hour.
It’s always a good idea to check with your employer about what is covered under your maternity pay. You may be surprised with what additional benefits come with your insurance policy, which can save you tons on prenatal classes and check-ups.
Some expectant moms had free Pregnancy Pilates and yoga classes included in their health insurance! Unfortunately, companies tend to keep these freebies quiet from customers, and your employer may not even know that they exist! So check your policy by contacting them directly before spending out on pregnancy courses and treatments.
Pay As You Go
As much as you can, please don’t buy anything until you know that you need it. You may have a plan about what you will need and what kind of routine you would like to have, but your baby may have other ideas!
We spoke to so many parents that paid out for essentials only to find out they were not essential at all. So many items went unused and were either sold, donated, or left to collect dust and regret.
Sure, buy one or two if you plan to allow your baby to have one, but don’t stock up hundreds in case your baby doesn’t take to them.
Likewise, if you plan to formula feed, buy one can of the formula. There is nothing worse than purchasing a cupboard full only to find out that your baby doesn’t like that brand, or they may need a slightly different version.
Our advice is to buy the bare minimum upfront. Stick to essentials like diapers, wipes, and blankets – but limit how much stuff you buy from the non-essentials.
Preparing for a newborn is demanding, both physically and emotionally. Therefore, take some of the emotional weight off your shoulders and invest a little time in frugal hacks that can make the experience a little easier on your bank balance.
It is natural to want to provide only the best for our babies, but what is most important is to be a stress-free parent and ready to provide all the love and attention their baby needs.
Babies are more understanding than you may think. They don’t care about designer strollers and tailored baby bags; all they care about is the warmth and comfort of their parent’s arms and all the love and laughter you will share.
Luckily, loads of helpful and frugal resources are available to help new parents get to grips with their baby’s needs. These resources provide practical advice and complimentary products to help you decide what will make those early days as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Image by Flamingo Images