Last time in this series we discussed how having a baby really doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. If you didn’t get a chance to read it yet, be sure to go here and do so. The numerous comments left on the post were incredibly insightful–you all are one great bunch of wise people!
Today I want to talk about what I see as the basic essentials one needs to have and care for a baby. Obviously, there are variety of opinions out there when it comes to “must-haves”. I’m not an expert, just a mom who has raised two young vibrant little girls without spending a lot of money to do so.
First off, we must start by asking ourselves, “What does it really take to raise a baby?” I believe our society has become so materialistic and consumer driven that we hardly know how to even think in basic terms.
Aside from lots of love and nurturing, here are the essentials I believe you truly need:
–Clothes (For starting out, I think you can get by just fine with around six onesies, six sleepers, a few pair of socks, a few hats, and 4-6 blankets.)
–Bed (unless you’re planning to co-sleep)
–Diapers/wipes (either cloth or disposable)
(And if you are unable to nurse–as I know happens on occasion, or if you are adopting, you would also need to add formula to this list.)
And that’s about it, folks. Seriously. There are other things that are nice to have, such as a swing, a sling (or ERGO), a few nicer outfits for baby to wear out of the house, a diaper bag, and so forth. But none of those things are absolute necessities.
If you have any baby showers at all or get any gifts, you can see how easily you could accumulate the few items you really need for your baby. And that’s why I recommend you don’t buy anything until after your baby showers (if you will be having any). There is no point in buying a lot of items you don’t truly need if you can’t afford them.
That said, if you are going to be buying everything yourself, here are a few of my suggestions for how to buy the necessary items very inexpensively:
There is no need to buy name-brand, brand-new clothes for your child. If they are anything like most little children, they will likely be quickly staining them or growing out of them. So you might as well get them as inexpensively as you can! If someone offers to share their hand-me-downs, willingly accept them.
Sign up for your local Freecycle.org and watch for folks who are getting rid of baby clothes and other items in your area. You can often snag sacks of baby clothing and other baby things this way–all for free!
Freepeats.org is another online baby site which allows members to trade gently used baby and maternity items for free. Sign-up is only $1 right now, so this is definitely something to consider if there is a Freepeats group in your area.
Other great options are thrift stores and garage sales, of course. Also, check and see if there are any church rummage-type sales or consignment sales in your area. These are often goldmines! And if you start looking for items at least a six months before your baby is born, you’ll likely be able to accumulate everything you need for pennies on the dollar this way.
For the record, I recommend buying your baby’s bed and car seat new, just out of safety precaution. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend an arm and a leg. Start looking at least a few months before your baby is born for deals at local stores and online deals. The majority of the time, by hitting an online sale and combining it with a coupon code plus cashback from eBates, you’ll be able to get a pretty good deal.
Also, if you are in the market for deals on new baby items, be sure that you check out BabyCheapskate and BabyGoodBuys. Both are websites dedicated to alerting you to the best baby deals and freebies out there.
Oh and before I forget, The Natural Mommy has a great two-part series up on Reducing the Cost of Birth and Babies which I highly recommend you check out here and here. You might not agree with all her conclusions (just like you probably don’t with mine!) but hopefully it will give you some more food for thought!
That about covers everything on the list of essentials except for diapers. Next week, I’ll talk about saving money by cloth diapering and or stockpiling disposable diapers.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think is a list of absolute necessities for having a baby. What are your best ideas for acquiring these inexpensively?