Prepare for a New Baby When You are Broke – How to Have a Baby on a Budget : Loving this outlook that babies don’t have to be expensive. This really breaks down how you can save and stock on necessary baby items. Families really can grow without breaking a tight budget and keeping their financial well being in tact!
Having a baby can be expensive. If you start a baby registry on Amazon and let them suggest all of the things that you need, you’re looking at more than $1,500 in baby gear! But there are inexpensive ways to prepare for a new baby when you are broke.
First you need to know something really, REALLY important…
The first thing you need to understand is that there are a lot of things that you really don’t need… and only a handful of things that you do need. Companies are built on telling you that you need this and that for a new baby. But the reality is that there are only a few things that a new baby will need:
- A car seat (you can get this one under $100)
- A place to sleep (skip the bulky crib and get this! That way, if you ever have to travel, baby is used to his own bed!)
- Clothes (do not buy clothes new! Get them from friends, family, or a second hand store)
- A baby carrier (and even this might be asking you to get too much. This saved my sanity though)
- Diapers (I love cloth diapering, but only because I have a washer and dryer and time to do extra laundry. If you don’t have those things, disposable diapers are fine. I’ve tried TONS of diapers over the years, and Target’s Up and Up brand is the best for the price. In second place is Luvs. Shockingly, I didn’t like either Walmart or Costco’s diapers!)
(Side note: I will NOT get into a debate about this, but if we’re talking purely from a cost standpoint, breastfeeding is SO much less expensive than formula feeding! I highly encourage trying breastfeeding or pumping as hard as you can. Formula is expensive and if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, it’s a real drain. Breastfeeding is free. Not mom shaming! Just stating a fact here.)
I’m currently expecting baby #4 so I guess you could say I know a thing or two about getting the house ready for a new baby while on a budget.
For every baby that we’ve had in the past, my husband and I were on a shoestring budget. I was 18 when we had our oldest, so we really had no money. So as far as the things we “needed,” we had to keep it to the bare minimum in our tiny 1 bedroom apartment.
Let me tell you what NOT to do if you want to know how to have a baby on a budget…
Do NOT feel like you need everything that you see “suggested” in the registry. The reality is that you don’t even need a full crib, changing table or all of those toys! Keep it simple, keep it easy, and keep it on the budget.
Don’t buy into the hype that you need to go into debt to afford everything for a baby. I mean it! Whole companies are built to try to throw “mom guilt” all over if you don’t get all the things for this little 8 pound person!
It’s ridiculous. Don’t buy it – the marketing tactics OR the mom shaming.
But back to the point…
I’ve got to get real with you… I know your situation probably isn’t the way you imagined you’d be bringing a new person into your life.
Maybe it was unexpected or unplanned. Maybe you are alone and scared out of your mind! Or maybe you’re at a crossroads and are experiencing job loss or income loss of a partner.
Whatever it is, no one plans to be struggling so hard when they are pregnant. And it’s truly shocking when you see all of the expenses stacked up! I know I was shocked by how much it was going to cost to get all of the “recommended” gear for this small person!
No matter how you are here – whether you are choosing to live frugally or if you are just at that place in your life by circumstance – you are not alone and there is hope. You really don’t need to kill yourself to get ready for the baby.
Here are my tips for how to prepare for a baby on a budget or when you are broke
Get as much from friends and family as you can!
Chances are – even if you’re isolated from family like I am – you can still reach out to your community to find people who have had babies recently and are looking to get rid of their extra clothes that they kiddos have outgrown. Whether it’s cousins, friends, ladies at church or in a moms group, there are always people looking to get rid of baby items that they aren’t using.
Start here! This is a free way to stock up as much as you can. It’s especially great if you can find someone who is completely finished having kids and will give you everything they have.
This is also the only situation where I feel like getting a used car seat is ok (they have expiration dates and if they’ve been involved in an accident before, they need to be thrown out and never used again – both of which are hard to know if the person giving it to you isn’t a close friend or at least someone who wouldn’t lie to your face).
Related Post: The Only 5 Things Your Newborn Really Needs
Buy as much second-hand as you can
If you’ve already exhausted the option of everybody that you know who’s had kids, the next best thing that you can do is to shop at a secondhand store. This can be either a thrift store, a consignment shop, Salvation Army or Goodwill.
These stores are an invaluable resource for you! This is a fantastic place to get great baby clothes at huge huge discount. For example, every Wednesday, our local Salvation Army has a half-off sale. It is the only time that I buy clothes for my family. I was able to fill a wardrobe for this baby for less than $50. The clothes are cute, they’re functional, and they usually run about a dollar per item. Sometimes they’re even less!
Kid and baby consignment stores are also extremely useful. This is usually the only place that you can get baby gear as Goodwill and Salvation Army don’t usually sell them. These consignment stores are a great place to get Pack & plays and swings and even baby carriers for a great deal.
A tip for any kind of consignment store shopping: Find the consignment store or thrift store that is in the nicest neighborhood close to you.
Every area has a rich neighborhood. This is where you will find the best quality items at a huge discount. You might have to do some shopping around to find these things, the ones you find the great consignment stores and thrift stores, make sure to visit them whenever you need anything for your baby.
Use the resources that you can that are specifically for women like you
This is a controversial one but I’m going to go there. There are tons of resources out there for women who are expecting babies or have just recently had babies who are in financial trouble. And there is nothing wrong with using them.
WIC and SNAP, just to name 2, are specifically designed to help moms with kids and families financially until they can get back on their feet. I know that there are a lot of people who would feel some kind of shame in the idea of getting government help, but if you’re facing a rock and a hard place, it’s an option that you can explore.
Be realistic with the space that you have
Except that I have is to be realistic about the space that you have. It’s easy to go on and see the registry is where they recommend that you basically buy an entire furniture set and then some for this new little person.
We’re talking a crib, changing table, rocking chair, dresser, rocking ottoman, brand new covers, matching decor… and the list goes on and on!
What I mean by being realistic about how much space that you have is this…
If you are living in a one-bedroom apartment, there is absolutely no possible way that all of that stuff is going to fit in the same room. That means if you will have to get a bigger apartment with another room for the baby and all of the stuff. Which means that it’s going to cost you more money. And this isn’t just a one-time expense, this is every single month now.
Is that really worth it?
Don’t buy tons of stuff for the baby that is going to compromise the quality of your life. If you’re already feeling like your squished in the space that you have, don’t feel pressured to go out and get tons of big bulky furniture items.
Closet organizer shelves are perfect for baby clothes. Not only do they hold things in an already out of the way space, but it also keeps you on track with how many baby clothes you have.
It is so easy to overbuy baby clothes! The chances are if you buy too many clothes for your baby, they’re not even going to wear half of them.
Buy less than you think you need. This will help you a lot in the long run.
Be realistic about how much you have to spend on things out of pocket for a new baby if you’re on a tight budget!
And of course, set a budget for how much you have to spend on things for the baby. Sure, there are these big one-time expenses like a carseat and a pack and play, but it’s more than that.
It’s every month getting diapers. It’s getting more food for breastfeeding mom. Or maybe it’s getting formula. It could be that you have to get bottles. Maybe you need to start accounting for child care expenses. Or maybe you need to take into account a loss of income from one of you.
No matter what it is, having these kinds of conversations before a baby is born is huge! Because honestly, no one wants to talk about hard things when they’re running on an hour of sleep every night. Life with a newborn is difficult. And having to have difficult conversations doesn’t make your life any easier during that period of time.
Just start working on a budget for the items that you still need for the baby. Make sure that you’ve stocked up as much as you can on things from thrift stores and from friends before you ever buy anything yourself.
Plan ahead with meals and other necessities if you want to save a lot of money when baby comes!
A really big thing that you can do in order to make sure that you save money as much as you possibly can with this new baby is to plan ahead with your meals. Yep, that means meal planning.
I know that you’re exhausted and I know that you probably don’t even want to think about food right now, but being able to know that you have delicious food inside of your fridge or freezer that all you have to do is throw in the oven is a huge blessing. Like everything though, this requires some planning.
My big recommendation is to stock your freezer with freezer meals that all you have to do is throw in a slow cooker when you wake up and then you’ll have dinner ready. Seriously, my slow cooker and my instant pot have saved me during my postpartum periods of time.
If you’re one of those super moms who has the strength and energy of like 80 people (first off – good for you, you rockstar!), but I definitely recommend looking into this awesome meal planning service that I have! I paid barely nothing and I get four different complete meal plans with a pre-made grocery list every single week. It’s absolutely the best money that I’ve ever spent!
The same thing can be said about planning ahead for necessities.
And by “necessities,” I’m talking things like toilet paper and cleaning products. You can get these kinds of things without ever having to leave your car if you use Walmart grocery or Target grocery. It’s really easy to use they always have coupons!
You can also grab a free 5 piece Mrs. Meyers cleaning set right here! It’s the little things. Just having your house smell like a delicious fragrance that makes you happy can really change your mood. Plus, you can get these things delivered to your door as often as you need them without ever having to leave your house!
(Did I mention that I’m lazy? That doesn’t just apply to you whenever I had a baby! 😉 )
Find some ways to bring in extra money (both before and after the baby comes)
This is a BIG one that I wish I knew when I was struggling with money! There are so many ways that you can make money online without ever needing to leave the house or even talk to anyone.
I know, you’re probably thinking “UGH! One more thing for me to do!” But I really mean it. An extra $100+ a week from doing some super easy tasks online (and it could be more than that if you have the skillset for it!) could really make a big difference!
Here are some of the best ways to make money online:
- How to Become a Virtual Assistant and Make a Full-Time Income Doing It!
- 30+ Real Ways to Earn Money From Home
- How to Start Selling on Amazon FBA and Make a Full-Time Income
- 6 Easy Ways to Make Money From Home
- 5 Side Hustles That Pay For My Groceries (and More!)
- Side Hustles That Work: Make Money Freelance Writing
- How to Earn a Full-Time Income from Etsy
- Side Hustles That Work: Make Money Taking Surveys
- 7 Survey Sites that Are Actually Worth It
- How I Earn Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
- Make a Full Time Income From Home Proofreading
- How to Work at Home as a Transcriptionist
- Make $40,000 per Year From Home as a Bookkeeper
- 10+ Easy Ways to Earn $500
There are tons and tons of ways to make some extra money online, but really anything at all really adds up! Give it a try and see if you find anything that you think you could do long-term.
Here’s the bottom line for how to prepare for a baby on a budget or when you are broke…
Do your best to find ways to save money. Try your hardest NOT to spend before you know that no one has the items you need. And don’t believe that you need to buy tons of stuff to be a good mom or to be prepared for a baby.
The reality is that no one – NO ONE! – is every fully prepared for a baby. No matter how much they make or spend on a nursery or buy for the baby… there’s nothing that you can do to fully get ready for a baby. So don’t feel like just because you don’t have money or live on a tight budget that makes you any less prepared than someone else who has a lot of money! It’s all scary and crazy. 🙂
You can do this!
More resources to help you save money money and live a fuller life on a budget:
- 11 Expenses to Stop Spending Money On
- 13 Apps That Will Help You Save Money Easily
- What You Need to Make Starbucks Recipes at Home to Save Thousands
- 10 Purchases That Will Save You Thousands This Year
- 10 Money Saving Challenges to Start Today!
- How to Save Money When You Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck
- 10 Crazy Money Saving Amazon Hacks
- We Live on ONE Income
- How to Talk With Your Husband About Money
What have you done to save money on your baby?