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Whether you’re pushing a tight budget or you’re trying to make your savings last (hello maternity leave), you don’t have to believe it when people tell you that babies are expensive. It’s totally possible for you to have a baby on a budget and not miss out on any of the gorgeous baby items.
One of the best things you can do in order to keep your baby budget in check is to actually create a budget. List out the price of your one off pieces (think bassinet/cot, car seat) and then a budget for ongoing expenses (nappies, clothes) and work out how much you can afford to spend on your baby. And remember, just because you can afford items, it doesn’t mean you have to buy them. I wish I knew these things when I had my first baby (but was much savvier the second time around).
Here are some simple ways you can keep the cost of having a baby down and stick to having a baby on a budget.
Breastfeeding Is Cheaper
Benefits of breastfeeding aside, one of the biggest perks is that breastfeeding is significantly cheaper than formula feeding. Sure, some women might need to eat a little more to ensure they’re getting an adequate intake for the day, but aside from a larger lunch, breastfeeding is low cost, high impact nutrition for your baby.
If you need to return to work or need to pump breastmilk, hiring a pump is a great option or purchasing one second hand can be a big money saver. Be sure to research your pumps and always buy new parts and tubes for hygiene reasons. Some health funds will even offer a free pump depending on your insurance.
Some hospitals also provide access to a Lactation Consultant too, getting early advice and early coaching can save so much time and stress in the long run.
You can also save money by avoiding the expensive nursing clothes. Investing in two or three nursing bras, then using loose fitting tops, or double layering for easy access is a much cheaper alternative. Simple breastfeeding crops like these are fantastic to wear under just about any top and are relatively inexpensive too.
Buy Nappies/Diapers In Bulk
Your baby is going to poop and pee… a lot. On average you can use anywhere from 8 – 12 nappies/diapers a day in the early days and between 6 – 10 as babe gets older. So it’s safe to say you’re going to need a few nappies.
It’s a personal choice where or not you decide to use disposable nappies or modern cloth nappies, or a mix of both. I’ve used both and I love both for different reasons.
If you’re going to be using disposable nappies, buying them in bulk is one of the best ways to save a ton of money. If you see your favourite nappy brand on sale, stocking up is a great idea because you know you’re going to use them.
Be mindful of the sizes you buy, if you’re going to buy in bulk perhaps look at buying up a size sooner than you would if you were purchasing week by week.
Ditch The Pram, Use A Carrier
Prams/strollers are seriously expensive. They are a big buy and many mothers find what they thought they needed in a pram, versus what they actually needed are two very different things. Before spending a small fortune on a pram, use a carrier instead.
From birth, you can use these gorgeous soft, stretchy wraps that snuggle your babe close and are a lot easier to put on than they look. You can also use ring slings if they are more comfortable for you. As your baby gets a little older you can graduate to a structured carrier if you’d like. Even if you chose to go for all three of these options you’d still spend less money than you would on a pram or travel system.
A friend of mine never used a pram for her son at all, she loved being able to carry her son around and he loved being in the carrier. It’s totally possible if you need to stretch your budget and if I had to choose between a carrier and a pram, a carrier would win hands down.
Ask For Practical Gifts For Your Baby Shower
Baby showers are great fun to get together with your friends and celebrate your pregnancy and the upcoming birth of your babe, and often you’ll be showered with all kinds of gifts. Your loved ones want to give you gifts, they want you to feel amazing, and more often than not they want to give you gifts you want and need. So why not help them out and ask for practical gifts for your baby shower.
Rather than receiving 20 pairs of pyjamas, why not ask for a box of nappies? Instead of 20 different rompers or onesies, why not ask for a carrier, or swaddle blankets? A gift registry can help make this easier for you.
Think Simple Clothing Items
While it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and excitement of having a new baby, and those clothes are just so darn cute, investing in a few timeless pieces, or items that serve multiple functions is the best way to help your baby budget.
Buying simple white onesies then dressing up with a cute pair or pants or a skirt can be a great way to use less clothes and get more bang for your buck. You can also use these as pyjamas, or extra layers in cooler months too.
I don’t believe you need to go without the super cute baby items, but it’s possible to purchase ones that last longer than just one season (or growth spurt). We buy cute skirts in a size up with a stretchy waist so they last longer (and can be worn with leggings underneath in the cooler months) or adorable headbands that can be worn any time of year.
Forget The Unnecessary Products
Baby shampoo, baby wash, baby oil… eep! It’s all so expensive and you feel like you have to buy the organic fancy stuff because you don’t want to stress about what you’re putting on your baby’s skin… but here’s the thing… your baby doesn’t need shampoo, or soap, or baby oil.
If babe’s skin is a little dry, go for a natural gentle oil like coconut oil to help their skin (or pop it in their bath). As for soap, keep a bar of natural soap on hand for those major pooplosion days, otherwise, water is enough for their lovely soft skin.
Other products that are unnecessary include things like the diaper dispenser that uses so many extra plastic bags in cartridges (whyyyy??) and we even ditched the change table this time around, opting to put a simple change pad on top of a set of dresser drawers.
Join Local Mother’s Groups On Facebook
If you find a good local Mother’s group on Facebook it’s like finding gold! Some have offers of items for sale where you can nab a bargain, and you can often find information about local events in your area for cheap or free. Local mums are the best at giving information about what’s happening around you, your library may offer free classes, your local church might offer education groups – there are so many options.
Just because people are telling you that babies cost a fortune, and companies are telling you about the absolute ‘must have’ products, doesn’t mean you have to buy all the things and spend all the money. It’s totally possible to have a baby on a budget, you just have to be smart about how you go about it.