10 “Preparing for Baby” Tips for the Frugal-Minded

As his readers most likely know, Pinyo and his wife are expecting a baby. In fact, why you’re seeing this post I wrote for Pinyo is most likely because they’ve had the baby and are off in the hospital or at home enjoying their new little bundle of joy. Having had two babies of my own, I’ve picked up a few tips on saving money in feeding, clothing, and raising your new bundle of joy — at least in the beginning. Babies are expensive — it is just a fact of life. But they don’t have to be as expensive as you think.

Pinyo and nephew

Photo of Pinyo and nephew taken by his wife

1. Tell everyone you know you are having a baby

Seriously — people love babies. People love buying things for babies. No, not everyone, but a LOT of people. I got gifts from people I hardly knew (and never expected a gift from) after I gave birth to my first child. So spread the word!

2. If you can, nurse

Yes, I do know, first hand no less, that not everyone can nurse their child. My first child had more nursing problems than I can really enumerate here, and we struggled for a long time. He did eventually go on to have a successful nursing relationship with me, but it wasn’t easy. Not everyone can nurse, and that is okay. But if you can, and it works out — it is a lot cheaper than formula. Trust me. A lot cheaper.

3. Hand me down clothing is trendy for babies

It may be taboo to hand down adult or even children’s clothing, but there is no such taboo on baby clothing. Babies hardly wear their clothes before they grow out of them, and parents end up with boxes of adorable things they have no use for. Hit up a few friends for hand me downs. Or visit a yardsale or a consignment shop or two. No need to buy new — they’ll look adorable and a baby doesn’t care what they wear.

4. Cloth diaper

It is a bigger initial investment but then you can keep reusing them over and over and it ends up a lot cheaper. But not everyone has spouses agreeable to cloth diapering (mine flat out refused) so in that case…

5. Try different brands of diapers and find what works for you

With one of my children, only the most expensive brand worked without constant leaks. However, my second child wore very inexpensive generics with no problems at all for the entire first year of her life. So buy small packages of four or five different kinds and try them out. If you find a generic that works for you, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.

6. Hand Me Down or Used Baby Gear (Just Not the Car Seat!)

Most baby gear is still in great condition because babies use it for such a short time. Ask friends with toddlers if they have bouncy seats, swings, play yards, or other random baby items. But buy a new car seat. Car seats only last 6 years and you never know if it has been in an accident unless you own it.

7. Don’t Buy Everything Baby Books Suggest

The baby books have lists a mile long of “must-haves”. Don’t. Buy the essentials and then as you perceive a need for something, then buy it. We never bought a changing table. We don’t miss it. Wipes warmer? That’s what I have hands for.

8. Make Simple Toys Out of Household Items

My son’s favorite toys were an old cell phone (batteries removed of course) and a plastic Tupperware container. Really. He had lots of toys because my relatives doted on him, but he didn’t need them. My daughter loves an old remote control and an old calculator (again, batteries removed from both). Simple pleasures. :-)

9. Make Your Own Baby Food

It really is not very hard at all, and there are tons of websites to help. But really, all I did was microwave-steamed or steamed on the stove veggies or fruit until soft, and then mashed it up (in a food processor when baby first started eating solids). Simple. Seriously simple. And then I froze in ice cube trays and stored in plastic baggies. Couldn’t be easier and it was cheap and fun.

10. Ask Your Friends For Useful Gifts

Good friends, when they ask what you want, tell them the truth. Get diapers. Get bigger clothes. No one needs 500 newborn sized onesies and outfits. Seriously. Your friends will understand. We asked my in laws for diapers for Christmas. And we even got some.

So there are my 10 frugal baby tips. Hopefully it helps Pinyo and anyone else out there expecting a little one in the near or distant future. And if you’re having a girl, hit me up for some baby clothes.

About the Author

By , on Dec 13, 2007
Paidtwice
Paidtwice blogs about frugality, budgeting, and her family's journey out of significant debt at I've Paid For This Twice Already. If you enjoyed this post, give her RSS feed a try!

Leave Your Comment (21 Comments)

  1. Jonathan says:

    I couldn’t agree more with your post, there are some excellent helpful pointers. I definately think that point 1 is the strongest, as people generally do love babies and it’s amazing what equipment, clothes and other things people have lurking in their garage, that has hardly been used.

  2. Pinyo: yes…. 1+1 did NOT equal two.

  3. Pinyo says:

    @David – That’s true. I am lucky enough that all I needed to do was tell my sister. Having a nephew who’s two years older and born during the same time of the year is really good for hand me downs.

    @JHS – Thank you for hosting! I hosted quite a few carnivals in the past and I will definitely consider hosting more in the future.

    @Paul – Thank you for the congratulation. Yeah, we are getting a lot of barely used clothes, and I am sure that our son will barely touch them before he outgrows them.

  4. Paul says:

    Congrats on the little one and yes the gifts are plentiful. We received so many outfits that some actually went unused.

  5. JHS says:

    Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted by Adventures in Juggling. Be sure to visit on Monday and check out some of the other wonderful entries!

    Have you considered serving as a host? Check out the schedule and drop me an e-mail telling me which week would be best for you!!

  6. David says:

    #1 – Tell everyone you know you are having a baby – is KEY.

  7. Pinyo says:

    @Paidtwice – I have 4 grandparents at my house right now. Two live here permanently and the other two will stay for a few months. They are great help thought.

    And, thank you.

    @Aaron – Welcome to Moolanomy. Wow, 3. I can’t imagine. I barely get any sleep the past 2 nights. I just couldn’t figure out what to do.

    @Adam – Welcome to Moolanomy. Good point. Personally, I have thought about it, but don’t think I can deal with it — although, I do have a laundry machine at home.

    @Michelle – You’re welcome

  8. Michelle Dawn says:

    Thanks for the tip/post!!

  9. Aaron says:

    Hi..I have Abby and she made 3 .

    Yes, people love babies!!! and yes, i get showered with gifts all year round…and hand me down clothes are good enough as they are normally still brand new especially baby wear for 0-12 months! However, must say that commercial baby food are nutritious and very handy for a working mum like me!

  10. Adam Snider says:

    One question about cloth diapers: are they really cheaper once you factor in the cost of a cleaning service?

    I mean, they’re much better for the environment, so that alone probably makes it worthwhile, but with the cost of cleaning, does it still work out to be cheaper?

  11. Pinyo says:

    @Madison – Thank you. Wow two boys. Is it a lot harder with the second one?

    @Harris – I hope you mean “everything”…”anything” would be a bit rough for the little one. :-)

    @Michelle – Congratulation! Here’s an idea: you can start 529 Plan for your baby before birth.

  12. paidtwice says:

    Thanks! I am glad people enjoyed the tips.

    @Harris – I was thinking more about newborns/infants, but I do agree when they are old enough to start demanding things, don’t get them everything they want ;)

    Pinyo – focus all you want on buying few toys – just um… expect the grandparents to ignore you. Seriously. Huge plastic slide in my playroom. More playdough than I can shake a stick at. it happens. ;)

    And congrats btw!!

  13. Michelle Dawn says:

    I’m glad I found this post today. I’m pregnant with my first baby and have just finished a post about the same subject. I’m looking forward to seeing what other great ideas get shared in the upcoming months :)

  14. Pinyo says:

    @Free From Broke – I agree, Paidtwice did an awesome job on this one. We have a 2 years old nephew who was born in the winter as well. This meant we got a lot of free stuff from my sister that works perfectly for our baby.

    We are also nursing our baby. Great way to save money, but I feel bad for my wife. The best I could do is make her comfortable and take care of all the diaper changes.

    @Raymond – You will enjoy the little one when you have one.

    @Mrs. Micah – Ha ha, if I wait to be financially ready, we will never have a baby.

    @FourPillars – Thank you. The baby boy and his mom are doing well and I am super happy.

    @ChristianPF – Don’t wait too long :-) Personally, I plan to limit the number of toys as much as possible. I want him to value his possessions. So I will focus on buying useful, high quality, and durable toys.

  15. Harris says:

    11. Don’t buy your child anything they want, especially junk food- it’s a complete waste.

  16. Congrats Pinyo! You’ll love being a dad. We have a 3 month old and 23 month old and they are the best little guys ever! These tips are great and right on the money.

  17. Raymond says:

    I’m trying to hold off throwing myself in front of the path to eternity just a while longer….I know one day it’ll happen but I want to enjoy the simple peace and quiet just a bit more :)

    -Raymond

  18. ChristianPF says:

    Great list – I will have to save this one for a few years, when we have our first!!

    I especially love the one about the toys you had for your babies – they don’t know how much things cost and they could care less!! They just want to have fun, so why not give them the tupperware if that is what they want anyway?!

  19. FourPillars says:

    Congrats to Pinyo on the new baby.

    Mike

  20. Mrs. Micah says:

    That’s a great list! I know someone who was worried she couldn’t afford having a baby (after reading books) and then everyone gave her what she needed. :)

    I like to give people 3, 6, or 9, month cotton onesies because they’re easy to clean and you never know when the baby’s going to get there. I’ve seen some babies at the hospital who are newborns and well on their way to 3-month-old size (we had a 2-day-old 9+ pounder today!). :)

  21. Glen Craig says:

    Great list! Our little guy is going on 11 months now. and we can relate to most of these.

    #1 We were fortunate to get a LOT of clothes as gifts. We’ve hardly had to buy anything so far. Pick one place for your registry to keep it simple. In fact we’ve found that many will buy a gift and then get an outfit on top of that.

    #2 Nursing is just better for mommy and baby. The bonus is that it’s cheap (though a good pump isn’t).

    #3 Babies hardly get to wear their clothes. We had items our guy wore maybe twice as well as some he hasn’t worn at all before he grew out of them. It’s so worth getting hand me downs.

    #5 Different diaper brands fit differently and your little one will change as well over the months. We tried a cheaper brand at one point but they leaked too much. Was probably due to size and we may try them again.

    #6 Same as the clothes in that some items hardly get used before they grow out of them. At least half our toys come from my niece who’s two now.

    #7 Don’t go crazy. Lot’s of items were created as luxuries. The whole baby market is still relatively new so many items are not really must haves.

    #8 There should be a study about this! Little guy would rather have an empty box than most of his real toys! Going back to 6, a lot of toys is a lot of clutter.

    #10 Use the registry. And get gift receipts. You will get duplicate items and need to return them. The registry helps in this case since the store knows where it came from.

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