Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saving Money pre-baby

Nothing brings out my consumer instincts like baby items. When the first of my friends to get pregnant had her baby shower I may have gone a little crazy in Target. Chris may or may not have had to have a talk with me about the appropriate amount of money to spend on shower gifts:) Everything was so cute, and soft, and fun to buy, I couldn't help it.

Now that we are expecting our own baby one of the challenges for me has been to not buy things. It has helped during the past 5 months that I don't know if it's a boy or girl. But that will soon change and my resolve will be tested.

The thing is we are on a budget. And while there will be things we would like to buy for the baby there are other more pressing realities like our mortgage and paying for the baby's health insurance and my pre-natal care. As much as I'd love to go out and buy soft cute baby things I logically know that we need to be careful with our money. We agreed to not buy things for the baby until after our showers. We have thought a lot about how we can save money and not get swept away in baby purchases. I though I'd share some of what we've found for others who may be in the same boat.

1. Used baby items: some baby thing are best to buy new due to recalls and safety concerns but many things can be purchased used. Our area has a number of baby consignment stores and there is of course Craig's list. Once we've had our showers and know what we still need to buy these will be the first places we look.

2. Reassess what the baby needs: some people, books and stores will lead you to believe that baby needs 2x as many things as they actually do. When I first started looking at things we'd need to get I was so overwhelmed. But once I started going through that list with my Mom and other Mom's I soon realized not everything was necessary. We are taking a hard look at what is a priority and necessity for us and what we can perhaps do without. Some of the items we will not be registering for are: a baby bath tub, a diaper genie, a wipe warmer, a bouncy seat, a walker, and a jumperoo*. The jury is still our on a swing. We will be investing in some high quality slings/carriers (either the ergo or bijorn), a new car seat, a new crib and a cradle for the first few months.

3. Avoid buying clothes at first: this is the hardest thing for me. But logically I know that we will get a lot of clothes as gifts and that the baby will move through sizes quickly. Further these are so easy to get second hand.

4. Investigate your parent's attic: Turns out my Mom kept a ton of our baby things. She has a lot of our nicer clothes, blankets, handmade sweaters, hats, booties and coats. These things will help us a lot. She also has toys, books and movies from when were kids as well. Besides most of these items are higher quality than a lot of what is on the market today and they are timeless.

5. Be creative with nursery furniture/decor: One of the items we will be getting new will be our crib but we found a less expensive safe classic design. We will be pairing it with a garage sale dresser that we are refinishing and a rocking chair from my Mom's garage. My Mom and I are sewing the crib linens and curtains ourselves. And I plan to use framed story book pictures as wall art along with some things I'm making. The total cost of our nursery will be around $450.

6. Maternity clothes for less: Maternity clothes have been a challenge. I hate the idea of spending the little money we have to spend on maternity clothes. I'd so much rather spend it on baby clothes. Luckily I have been able to stretch a lot of my n0n-maternity wardrobe due to the bellaband. I have filled in the gaps with a handful of Goodwill purchases. I will be honest looking for second hand maternity clothes is not easy. Often I have 3-4 trips with out a single item. A lot of the used clothes are ugly, stained or not even close to my size. But when I do find something that works it is worth it. I have bought one pair of shorts, one pair o pants, and two tops for $15 dollars.

We will also be taking advantage of my birthday which is in august. We have asked my Dad to buy us the crib for my birthday present and my Mom is going to buy the material for the nursery linens for my present and then help me sew them. I will be using birthday money I get for other things we need. Someone said this was sad but I can't think of anything I want more then the things we need for our baby.

These are just some of our ideas. I would love to hear ideas or tips you have for saving money on baby things.

*I'm not saying these are good or bad items and if they were a life saver for your baby that's great. I'm simply saying these are some of the things we are going to try and do without.


  1. You are definitely right, babies don't need too much. However, if I were you, I would most definitely register for a bouncy seat and/or exersaucer. I don't know of one baby who did not love the bouncy seat. In fact, most moms I know have a bouncy seat on every level of their home! They are not that expensive. You will need to put the baby in something when you shower, go to the bathroom, etc... The one I registered for was about $25. You are right on the swing. Some babies (like my baby) loved the swing; other's don't. Definitely look into the Bjorn and Ergo. I have both, and I love love love them. We purchased the Bjorn with our Babies R Us coupon, and I found the Ergo barely used via a mom in my mom's group for less than half the cost. I found the Bjorn excellent for babies 0-5 months, but the Ergo better after that. If you are only thinking one carrier, I would learn towards the Ergo because of the weight distribution. Oh, and check out for other bargains. Feel free to email me anytime with baby questions; my husband and I are on a tight budget, so we are careful not to spend much on our daughter. (Oh, and sign up for Amazon Mom - free two day shipping on all items and the lowest prices on diapers.)

  2. I think you're on the right track Laura. We found there really wasn't a whole lot we needed and we received so many things from generous friends and family we didn't need to buy much ourselves. Buying used is definitely the way to go--in addition to Craig's List and consignments stores garage sales are great for baby stuff. There is a huge kids consignment sale here in town twice a year that has a lot of great stuff ( Some of the consignment stores/sales also have maternity clothes.

    You might also see if you can borrow something you're undecided about or that you might only need for a few months. We borrowed a swing from a friend for the first six months and that worked perfectly.

    We have also saved a ton of money using cloth diapers. AND if you keep them in good shape you can use them for any future children or resell them. There are lots of places you can find great deals on used cloth diapers as well.

    There are several forums on where you can buy/sell cloth diapers and baby carriers--I have done both with great success. That can be a great way to save some money. I have heard ebay can be great for buying kids clothes as well.

    If I could only choose one baby item for purchase it would absolutely be the Ergo--we still use ours nearly every day in the house and outside (Lydia just came cherry picking with me today in the Ergo, in fact!)I also LOVED having a stretchy wrap (like a Moby wrap or Sleepy Wrap) for the first few months. I found a used one online, but you could also make one yourself with a long piece of knit fabric (there are lots of tutorials online) and it would only cost a few dollars.