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Baby On A Budget – How We Saved On Baby Gear


Guest post from Kaitlin of The Mom On Purpose

Babies are expensive… or so they say.

I agree that for some, having a baby can be one of the most expensive life events. However, it doesn’t have to be. It is very possible to have a baby on a budget.

Babies don’t really need all that stuff! They aren’t going to remember whether their clothes were purchased from Baby Gap or the consignment store down the street. They won’t remember if they wore disposable diapers or cloth diapers. And they certainly won’t remember whether or not their parents purchased all top of the line gear for them before they were born.

Before both of our children were born, we created a written budget for baby purchases and we stuck to it! Here are 7 ways we were able to save on baby gear for our boys.

1. We utilized our baby registry.

We only registered for what we knew we needed and would use. We also registered for gift cards knowing that we could use them to purchase the most important things on our baby list after our baby shower.

We also saved a few gift cards for after our baby was born. This way we were able to see where our needs were and could purchase those items without spending any money out of pocket.

2. We purchased items used.

We purchased a few items used, including a high chair and jumper, from a family friend who was finished having children. They were in mint condition since they were only used a few months each and we saved about 80% off of retail price for each!

We were able to get a great deal on some baby items we needed and our friend was able to clear out some unwanted clutter from her home. It was a win for both of us!

3. We borrowed from friends and shared with relatives.

My sister-in-law and her husband are also in the “having babies” phase of life, so we share a lot of baby gear. We loaned them our bathtub and bouncer seat when their daughter was born, and are now borrowing their Bumbo seat and tray.

Since our babies have been at least 9 months apart so far, this has worked well. It also cuts down on what we have to store!

4. We took advantage of registry completion discounts.

Many people don’t know about registry completion discounts, but they can really save some big bucks if you use them right. We registered at Target and, both of which offer a registry completion discount of 15%. (Note: When you register, Target will also give you a welcome bag that includes a number of baby coupons!)

Most completion discounts can’t be used until you are within 60-90 days of your due date. We waited until after our baby shower since we received gift cards. We were then able to stack the gift cards with the registry completion discounts to save big and pay very little out of pocket for our Boppy pillow, jogging stroller, car seat, and swing.

5. We only bought what we had room to comfortably store.

Before making a purchase or adding an item to our gift registry, we considered if we would have room to store the item in our home.

We live in an average-sized home and baby gear can quickly take over! We didn’t want to have more than one large piece of baby equipment sitting out at a time.

A few things we considered when buying baby gear:

  • Could we buy something that would serve multiple purposes? (We have a swing/bouncer combo instead of separate pieces.)
  • Is there a mobile version that can be easily packed away when not in use? (We purchased a door jumper instead of a stand jumper. Bonus: It was about 1/3 of the price!)
  • Are there items that are very similar in which we can purchase just one? (We have an exersaucer instead of a walker.)

Just remember that if you don’t have a spot to put it, you probably won’t use it.

6. We used hand-me-downs from our first son.

So much of our baby gear for our second child came from what we had with our first! This is one of the joys of subsequent children! A few things that we saved and were able to reuse include:

  • cloth diapers
  • bouncer
  • clothing
  • crib
  • changing table
  • blankets
  • swaddles
  • sleep sacks
  • sheets

7. We saved up cash.

When we found out we were expecting, we began putting a small amount of money back to cover the necessary baby items we knew we would need to purchase. A small amount of money can really add up quickly over 36-40 weeks! If you can put back $10 a week for 40 weeks, you would have $400! If you take that cash and combine it with the other saving strategies listed above, you could easily get everything you needed for baby!

Having a baby doesn’t have to be expensive and can be done on a tight budget. Save up cash, use these frugal tips, and you will be well on your way!

Do you have any saving tips for having a baby on a budget?

Kaitlin is a child of God, wife, mom to 2 boys, cookie baker, grocery shopper, home DIYer, budget cruncher, and baby raiser. She blogs at The Mom On Purpose, where she shares about saving money, living frugally, simple ways to create a home you love on a budget, and ways to live life on purpose, especially as a mom of littles.

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  • Amy says:

    You’re so right! Great article. Sadly though, I don’t think it’s the baby that the parents are trying to impress with all of the expensive gear – it’s the other parents around them ?

  • Christine says:

    Thanks for this! We’re thinking about having a baby soon and I’m worried about how expensive everything can be and getting overrun by baby stuff. It’s all a little intimidating. Advertisers make it seem like you need so much! But hopefully we can get by without purchasing every single baby item available 🙂

    • I promise it can be done on any budget! 🙂 When our first was born we were on a beans and rice budget. He didn’t have brand new anything, but that was fine!

      Even though you can get by with very little, you will still have some baby items in your home. It’s all about creative concealment! 🙂

  • Angel says:

    Another money saving tip. If you can breastfeed your baby, there is substantial savings in formula. Also, avoid buying and preparing too much too soon. Babies quickly outgrown newborn diapers and clothes. Getting sizes just a little bigger helps baby to grow into items and stretch the length of use. With our first she was too big for newborn diapers in a week and we had extra boxes. Luckily we could exchange all but the open one. We washed ALL the cute 0-3 month clothes we received to be prepared for baby’s arrival and she sized out of them within a month.

  • My number one tip to save money on baby gear and clothes: garage sales! You can buy awesome stuff for cheap cheap cheap! I got our high chair for $10, toys for 25 cents, baby swing for $5, Gap & Gymoboree outfits for $1. Everything is usally in excellent shape too because babies grow so fast and move on to the next thing! Also, post on Facebook groups to find used & free baby stuff. Lots of moms of older kids (like myself) just want to get rid of things and are happy to pass things along to someone who can really use it 🙂

  • Rosanna says:

    My kids are all past baby stage, but we certainly used many of these tips. Having babies was not expensive for us. We had a crib, baby bathtub, and bunch of other stuff given to us from our Pastor and his wife. Someone gave us money to buy a stroller and play pen. My parents bought us a brand new high car. We got a used booster seat from someone at church. I bought lots of baby clothes from thrift stores. All these things were used for all three of our kids, some of them are also now being used by my brother and sister-in-law for their kids. It doesn’t have to be expensive to have babies.

  • Jessica says:

    These are great tips! When our son was young we knew that we were going to have another so we decided to keep as much as possible. Three years later I am so glad that I did! I cant even imagine how much money we are saving. The only thing we really need is a stroller system. I find myself saving clothes that he grows out of now just in case we have another boy. Another thing I’ve found helpful is to start buying diapers before the baby is born. It’s easier to budget them in before the baby is born and you can be extra prepared.

  • Christie says:

    What kind of a deal could you find on that beautiful Tula?

    And one of the biggest saving areas i recommend is buying gender neutral large items. If your car seat is pink for your first child, you might not want to use it for your second if it’s a boy–not because the baby cares, but it’s exhausting telling people over and over that your baby is a boy (even if he’s in a pink car seat)
    However, my 9 month old wore his big sister’s pink PJs last night as my husband and I don’t care when we’re at home 🙂 Although I don’t really take pictures when he’s wearing girl clothes!

    • 🙂 Thanks for sharing that awesome tip, Christie! Gender neutral is such a great idea. I’ve stuck with that for all of my gear as well.

      And the Tula was a large purchase we saved up cash for before our baby was born. I justified the purchase after a ton of research and knowing that the resale value of Tula’s is incredible (sometimes more than retail of a new one because of how they retire their prints). It has seriously been the very best “baby” purchase we have ever made! Our son, Ben, is in it daily! I highly recommend them to everyone I know who is having a baby!

  • Ll324 says:

    As much as we appreciate the generous gifts friends and family gave us, we are not opening a lot of items and keeping the tags and gift receipts just in case. Places like Babies R Us have a 1 year return policy so if we don’t end up using it (opening it, cutting the tags off), we can return those items and use the money towards something else we need.

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