Expecting a child is a wonderful, exciting, and also very stressful time. There are so many things that must be done, and preparing for a new baby — whether it’s your first or your fifth — costs a lot. While there are some expenses that you just won’t be able to get around, there are many costs that can be trimmed or even eliminated.
Here are some easy and thoughtful ways to slash your budget when a new baby is coming into the family.
Buy Baby Clothes from Thrift Stores
It’s normal for expecting parents to want to buy lots of cute, new outfits for baby. But trendy, fashionable outfits can cost a lot compared to the actual use you’ll get out of them. Babies not only grow out of their clothes very quickly — think just a couple of months — but they’re also prone to staining their outfits frequently. It’s not hard to spend hundreds of dollars on a beautiful newborn layette, only to find that those items no longer fit in a month or two.
Instead, consider shopping for the majority of your baby’s clothes at a consignment or thrift store. When you spend just a few dollars on each item of clothing, it’s not so frustrating when they grow out of it or ruin it after just a few times of wearing it. Feel free to buy a few special occasion items new, such as a holiday or christening outfit, and sock away the money you’ll save on clothes for other expenses, like diapers and wipes.
Realize You Don’t Need Absolutely Everything
Most parents-to-be head through the aisles of stores, making a list of all the items they’re going to need for their new addition. This list can get out of hand fairly quickly, because many new parents don’t realize that there are a lot of things out there that are marketed for babies that aren’t really necessities.
For example, you’re not going to need a high chair right away. Your baby will likely not be sitting up and eating until they’re at least four months old, and that’s even a little early. You’ll need a stroller and car seat for sure, but ask yourself if you really need a swing and a bouncer, or if baby will really need a fully decked out nursery before they can even open their eyes. A lot of things that are marketed for babies are really for the parents, and babies do just fine with the bare minimum and lots of love.
Borrow Maternity Clothes or Shop Plus Size
Maternity clothes can be a huge expense for expecting mothers, and it’s a frustrating one, because once the baby is born, those clothes aren’t needed anymore. Spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on a posh maternity wardrobe that you won’t need for more than a few months is one of the fastest ways to drain your baby budget.
Instead, reach out to a few friends that have recently had babies and see if you can borrow any of their maternity clothes. You can also shop second hand stores, or you can just shop in the plus size section and pay half of what you would for clothing in an actual maternity store. Avoid shopping for all your maternity clothes at once, and only buy what you need, when you need it. Depending on how your pregnancy progresses, you may only need new clothes for the last few months and you may be able to get by with a few standard outfit staples.
Register For the Things You Need
Sure, the 6-way baby carrier and whisper quiet swing with a dozen settings seems like an absolute must have, and it’s easy to register for these glamorous items when you know someone else will be buying them. However, it’s smarter to try to make that money go as far as possible, even if it’s not your money.
Register for more basic essentials, and let friends and family buy what they can afford. You’d be surprised at how many of your loved ones have a set dollar limit in their mind of what they will want to spend on your baby shower gifts, and if your items are less than that dollar amount, they’ll buy more than one thing or pick up a few packs of diapers and wipes to round out the purchase.
The most important thing when budgeting for a new baby is to recognize that how much you spend on your baby has no influence on how much you love him or her. Babies don’t need much more than the simple stuff, and they won’t care if their clothes came from the thrift store or if their swing only has three speed settings instead of seven if they’re surrounded by the love and warmth of their parents. By being frugal and spending only what you need to on a new baby, you can provide your new family member with a strong foundation of smart money management.