Babies are expensive. The market is so huge for having kids because we think that we need to have SO many things in order to take care of them. Of course, many things definitely make life easier.
But take it from an experienced mother, not everything is essential. This alone can drastically reduce any upfront expense on baby supplies.
So What Are The Ways To Save Money On Baby Gear?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Determine What Is Truly Essential
- Deciding What’s Nice But Not Essential
- Ways Of Keeping Costs Down
You don’t have to expect dishing out thousands of dollars when you’re pregnant in order to prepare for the arrival of that baby. You do need to expect to shell out atleast a few hundred.
But here are all the ways that you can personally minimize any cost. Mind you, some of these ways take a shift in mindset, not just a shift in your wallet.
Determine What Is Truly Essential
Some things are an absolutely must. Other things are really just a convenience or make life easier, even though you will truly believe they’re necessary.
After going through the nesting mother phase a few times and really trying out a variety of items to assist my babies’ care, here’s what I deem truly essential.
- swaddling blankets
- baby bottles (if you’re not exclusively breastfeeding 24/7)
- clothes for all seasons
- stroller or carrier wrap (but not always both)
- diapers & wipes
That’s it. Take it from me.
Carseats & Strollers
Make sure it’s a convertible one that will grow with your child. We’ve gone through a variety of sizes and types and if I had to start all over again I would go with an all-in-one setup like this Graco All-In-One Convertible carseat.
If you are going to regularly use a stroller, it’s better to incorporate one that will allow you to attach the carseat right into the stroller. Many makes and models will make you think that they can only go with the same branded stroller and carseat together as a set. This isn’t true.
Most infant carseats can universally click into an adjustable stroller. Make sure that you read the fine print before you make any purchases to ensure that thinks will fit just fine.
The stroller that I have is this Contours Tandem that’s reversible and allows for an infant carseat set in. I hardly use it because it’s such a hassle to me to get it in and out of the car, set it up, and strap everyone in.
But if I know that I’m going somewhere that it would be MUCH easier to maneuver my kids with it, I’ll drag it along.
Related: Carseat Canopy Free Code
Swaddling blankets are really important, especially when your baby is a newborn and little infant. You can’t just grab any old blanket and expect them to stay tucked in it nicely. Swaddling blankets are usually much thinner, lighter, and flexible in order to keep things tucked in and comfortable.
My favorite swaddling blanket came from JJ Cole and I can’t find it anywhere online for sale! But their discontinued Muslin Blanket Set is the closest thing I’ve found that I can recommend off the bat. Sometimes when it comes to blankets you have to just give them a try and see how you like them.
Sometimes when it comes to blankets you have to just give them a try and see how you like them.
Now, you don’t need to worry about getting those super special burrito wraps or baby pocket blankets that are designed with velcro and try to fit things just perfectly. The problem with these is that they don’t adjust to your growing baby. And your baby is going to grow fast!
Using something more universal is preferred. Our favorite blanket is still used by my 13-month-old even though he’s not swaddled anymore because it stays with him while he sleeps.
It’s SO fun to go out and see those adorable little outfits on the teeny tiny hangers and NOT buy them. Thing is, a single outfit can run upwards of $20-30 depending on where you shop. What to do?
Wait until after you’ve had your baby before you get any clothes.
Because you’re going to be gifted many clothes up front. And because of the many different sizes and types of clothing needed over a short period of time,
- what if you buy all newborn stuff and then your mother gets you ten more newborn outfits? You’ll likely not even be able to put them all on your child while they’re still a newborn.
- what if you only focus on getting bigger toddler sizes because you believe people will gift you newborn and infant sizes, but then they think the same way as you and you’re overrun by clothes that are too big?
When I was first pregnant, we had so many clothes given to us, used and new, that I didn’t have to buy a single item of clothing for about six months.
Wait until you’ll collected everything that will be coming to you before you go out and shop.
Unless you’re 100% devoted to nursing your baby day and night until they wean (which is great by the way), you don’t need to worry about bottles. But most of us are in situations that require having baby bottles on hand.
I, for one, work outside of the home and have to have my husband feed our babies during the day while I pump. Then I nurse as soon as I get home and through the night.
There are a million different kinds of baby bottles and I’m not going to get into which you should or should not buy. It’s up to your own preference.
But I will share that I’ve only used Playtex Nurser bottles with the drop in liner. I chose this type because they simulate the natural decompression of the breast via the liner instead of adding drastic suction against the bottle. It’s supposed to reduce the chances of colic too, but that’s really up for argument in another discussion.
Then once my boys were about 6 months or so, I switch to the regular Ventaire Playtex bottles so that I didn’t have to buy the liners all the time.
It may cost a little bit more than just getting the cheap plastic bottles from the grocery store brand, but the benefits on the back end were more important to me here.
It may cost a little bit more than just getting the cheap plastic bottles from the grocery store brand, but the benefits on the back end were more important to me here.
If you’re more keen on wearing your baby as much as possible and avoiding the stroller, there are a million options here too. And the hardest part is not knowing what type you will like until you’ve tried it.
I would recommend on getting two different kinds with different benefits so that you have flexibility there.
But I also wanted something more durable and easier to use when getting my baby in and out once they got bigger. So I opted for an inexpensive Infantino Flip carrier from a local department store. I use it when hiking mostly.
I never wanted to try the more complex Moby Wraps because of all the wrapping that you have to do to strap your baby to you. I just wanted something simple and easy to use. Getting something for free or cheap that works just fine is better in my book too.
Related: Free Gifts For You
Diapers & Wipes
I imagine that most of us will diaper our kids. I’ve read a few stories about the miracle babies that can go on the toilet because their mothers picked up on certain cues. But personally, with my husband home all day, I don’t ever expect him to pick up on such subtle clues. (Love you hun!) 🙂
I think that no matter which way you go with diapers, everything’s expensive.
Buying disposables are expensive.
Buying cloth is expensive.
Then running them through the wash every day is expensive.
I don’t care if people have broken down the cost of which versus which and say this or that is more expensive, it depends on a bunch of other factors rather than just the price of an individual diaper.
We use a mix of both. I get disposables by the wholesale case at Costco. Then I also have some cloth diapers. I only use enough cloth to do about a load of 10 diapers per week.
I personally don’t want to tote around dirty, smelly cloth diapers when we’re on the go. My husband hates taking care of them. And I don’t put cloth on my boys overnight.
However, when I’m home and we’re settled for the day, I’ll put cloth ones on to save some grocery money to spend on other essentials rather than piles of diapers as much as I can.
Only you can decide what you’re going to put on your baby’s bum. The same goes for wipes.
Deciding What’s Nice, But Not Essential
You may be thinking, “What?! What about the binkies, and the pack-‘n-plays, and the bouncy chairs ..?” Yada, yada, yada. Like I said, it’s really easy to get caught up in the feeling that you NEED everything. But sometimes, after awhile, all those extra things just truly become an annoyance and get in the way. They get shoved in a closet and gather dust until you’re ready to get rid of the baby stuff.
So of your budget is a little friendly to your wallet, some nice things that are worth the investment may be:
- pack-‘n-play (play pen)
- crib/bassinet/cradle (not all three)
- baby monitor
That’s it. An even shorter list! I’ll explain why.
A lot of those other things like toys and binkies are really just a distraction for your child. Yes, they may be calming and help give you a bit of sanity. But really, you can likely comfort and nurture your child in other ways that are just as beneficial.
Take binkies (pacifiers), for example.
If a binky calms your baby, it’s likely because they want to be held, comforted, or just plain fed because they’re hungry. I’ve never used binkies with any of my kids and don’t plan to in the future.
Or toys may be on your mind.
Sure, they’re fun and there’s no harm. But your baby is going to learn so much more about their world by playing and interacting with everyday things just found around your house, such as:
- your hands
- baskets of clothes
- measuring cups
- plastic bowls
- cardboard boxes
Our first son spent hours in front of a full-length mirror in piles of laundry and finds so much more joy in playing outside and being creative. Just a personal preference that I hope you consider.
Pack-‘N-Plays or Playpens
These come in a million different varieties, sizes, and types. With toys, lights, and music, or not. The main reason for having a playpen having a place for your baby to sleep when you’re traveling.
Yes, you can simply create a little bundle on the floor when they’re not moving on their own much yet. Or if you’re co-sleeping then this isn’t an issue. If you need to keep your baby out of harm’s way while doing certain activities, then they can easily be set in a playpen and you don’t have to worry about them.
The hard part I find in dealing with playpens are the new fancy ones that have every sort of entertainment imaginable for an infant that doesn’t need that much mental stimulation. Simply watching you go about your daily duties is fascination enough.
But I do have a simple playpen that I take when we’re spending the night at grandma’s or when we were moving and I needed to make sure the little ones weren’t trampled or in the way. I have this Cosco playpen that’s really simple to set up. It has wheels on the one side so that I can move it easily enough when needed.
Now I’m not talking about the little chairs you set your baby into with vibration to help them relax. And I don’t mean the full-out chairs that they can literally jump in.
I’m talking about the rigging that you hang in a doorway that your baby is strapped into as if they’re repelling through your doorway. We have this Jolly Jumper one, but I guess you can’t get it just for your doorway now.
On one hand, they can’t go anywhere and may get upset. But these jumpers are awesome because they help your baby get exercise beyond tummy time on the floor.
It helps them strengthen their legs by jumping and moving around in a safe way. They can’t get this sort of exercise in a swing, or a chair surrounded by toys.
My husband hangs ours up in the doorway next to his desk so that while he’s working on the computer, our baby can jump to his heart’s content. We’ll even put my exercise ball and foam roller close by that he can try to grab and push around as he’s jumping.
Movement is essential to your baby developing properly. Not a baby toy that makes them sit around all day.
Cribs, Bassinets Or Cradles
Now I put this category in the ‘Nice’ section because when it comes to your baby’s sleep arrangements, we are all very different.
- You may be co-sleeping or breast-sleeping with your baby.
- You may have all of your beds on the floor.
- You may only keep your baby in a cradle at your bedside until they’re a toddler.
Only you can determine your own unique circumstances.
I personally have a crib and cradle for my babies. They would sleep in the cradle next to my bed for the first 3-4 months. Then I would transition them to their own adaptable crib in their own room until they’re ready for a ‘big boy bed.’
I’m not sure what type of cradle and crib we have because they were hand-me-down gifts. But make sure that your crib is able to have the mattress lowered or down low to begin with so that the side rails are quite high. It’s a pain to reach in and get them out each morning. But it helps keep them safe so that they don’t fall out once they’re standing and pulling themselves up.
The cradle I would love to have is this Swivel Sleeper Bassinet from Halo because it’s so maneuverable. Quite often I would wake up to feed my baby and just want to reach over and pick them up. But because my cradle is the old-fashioned kind that’s pretty solid, I have to literally get out of bed in order to safely pick them up.
There are many arguments around baby monitors and if they do even help the prevention of SIDS. I cannot begin to say that I understand what it’s like to deal with losing a baby to SIDS. But I can say from my own experiences and anxieties over the past few years, and having a baby monitor was more about peace of mind, and then gradually became just a way to keep tabs on my little ones.
With my first boy, I used a monitor until he was one-year-old. But then down to my last little boy, I stopped using the monitor around when he was six months old.
- We’ve had the regular kind with a motion sensor pad under the mattress to detect breathing.
- We’ve used the wireless video monitors that were actually a bigger pain in my mind.
- I even like the idea of using this one from Mon Baby that just clips onto their pajamas and you blue tooth it to your phone.
It comes down to what your concerns are, if you even have any.
- You’re likely doing everything to help prevent SIDS anyway, so is the extra monitoring going to help you?
- Or are you more focused on just wanting to hear them when they wake up?
You can decide.
Ways Of Keeping Costs Down
So now that you’ve determined your list of essential (and maybe not so) essential items that you’re going to invest in, here are many ways to help keep costs to a minimum.
- buy used
- have baby showers
- asking others
- getting things free
Now there ARE things that you should truly spend top dollar for and get them new, like your carseat and baby bottles. But beyond that, you can easily and gratefully make do with less expensive items.
There’s nothing wrong with avoiding designer clothes for your baby. They’re going to outgrow those clothes faster than you can enjoy them. They’re going to get stained in a variety of bodily ways, and it seems a waste to shell out moola for new clothes when they’re not going to last that long anyway.
You can find TONS of baby clothes, practically new, at second-hand stores like:
- Deseret Industries
- Salvation Army
- Kid to Kid
And I’m talking about getting an outfit for a couple of dollars versus $20 new when they look almost exactly the same! I NEVER buy my kids clothes brand new unless it’s something that truly needs to be new, like durable snow clothes.
You can even scour yard sales and garage sales in the summer time for endless amounts of clothing and other items that people no longer need.
In most cultures, the women-folk get together and rain down gifts, support, and encouragement to a new mother that’s expecting. Many businesses like Amazon have even made Baby Registries that you can use for such events.
Often whoever is hosting the shower for you will ask if there’s certain gifts or items that you’d like. Some mothers may pool their money and get you a bigger gift beyond what you even thought. You can humbly request things that you are in need of and you’ll likely get so many more things you didn’t even plan on.
When I was first pregnant, I literally had three separate baby showers, all planned by others beyond me.
- My local neighborhood church ladies,
- my mother and family,
- then my coworkers,
hand put together separate baby showers. And I was flooded with everything I needed.
Even my next door neighbor showed up on my porch without being asked and handed over many items and a stroller that her kids had grown out of. I got my first carseat and playpen from gifts.
People are so generous because they DO know how much change is taking place in your life, and they want to help.
I’ve had to get on the bandwagon with this one just recently. Many of us often do not want to directly ask others to give us their stuff. And I’m not suggesting that you go door to door and ask for people to give you their baby items.
You can use
- local Facebook groups,
- neighborhood meetups,
- or church organizations
to simply ask if anyone no longer needs something.
For example, our stroller that we have now, I asked ladies in our neighborhood if anyone no longer was using theirs. Our three boys had outgrown the single infant stroller we had and I wanted something bigger and more functional for our current needs. But I didn’t want to dish out at least $300 for a new one.
So I asked my local ladies’ Facebook group if anyone would be willing to part with a stroller. I offered to pick it up. One lady was excited to have hers taken off her hands! So I picked it up and she even had two other gently used carseats that she didn’t need either. So I took everything. Easy. Asking can go a long way and it’s not selfish if done in a polite manner.
Feel free to ask your siblings with older kids too. My sister in law gave us an entire bag of shoes once and I didn’t even have to ask for them. 🙂
Getting Things Free
There are tons of places online that will offer to send you free baby stuff … if you sign your life away.
Then you can get sucked into a junk mail promotion for life because of it. If that doesn’t bother you, then by all means, sign up for all of those offers. I have a Pinterest board full of them that you can check out.
But there are other ways to get things free that you may be more comfortable with.
- ask your pediatrician or maternal care provider what free samples they have – often many brands dish out all sorts of free items to give to new mothers
- ask the birthing center or hospital staff what free items your stay provides – depending on your location, you can get even more samples of things like bottles, wipes, creams, etc. I even got a free diaper bag once!
- use free codes – I have nine free gifts that you can enjoy on the Free Gifts page all by using a simple coupon code at checkout
- check certain registries – many places like Target will give you many items for free just by creating an online registry with them
- join reward programs – depending on what brands you buy, brands like Pampers or Huggies have programs that allow you to accumulate points or coupon dollars toward future purchases of their product
- trial subscriptions – a number of companies like The Honest Company will send you free things like diapers if you try out their service for a certain period, but make sure that it’s worth the effort
- coupons – many places offer coupons for free baby items if you sign up for their service, just google any baby product companies
- WIC – if your income qualifies, you can receive free food for you and your kids through your state’s Women, Infants & Children program
All in all, I think that you have plenty of options for ways to save on baby and childhood supplies. You certainly don’t have to implement all of these methods at once. You’ll quickly learn what will work for you or not.
I personally don’t dig into getting free coupons or subscriptions because I don’t want to deal with canceling things or getting flooding by spam.
But with many family, friends, and local places to get things super cheap for high value, we definitely take advantage. A little goes a long way and it doesn’t hurt to ask, try, or do a little research to find the best ways to save, like when looking for a diaper bag.
In the end, I think of something this Lamaze instructor told me in a birthing class I took years ago. It was something along the lines of, “Do you have a dresser drawer? There’s your baby’s bed. Do you have a floor? There’s your baby’s changing table. Have dishes? There’s your baby’s toys.”
It’s a little laughable in the extreme, but she made a good point.
How do you save on your baby supplies?