So you’re pregnant, or you know someone who is pregnant and is on a tight budget. You are browsing all the “Things to get baby” blogs and listening to all the stuff people are telling you need. It seems like a never ending list! You aren’t sure what is going to come your way at the baby shower and you are just stressing out how are you going to get everything together before baby gets here all while keeping your budget as intact as possible. I was in your shoes. I was on a budget and living in a room in a small Brownstone in Brooklyn. How am I supposed to fit a baby in there too? I honestly think I got even more anxiety when I would see this one ad on the subway train ad saying “Who says a baby takes up only a little space” and then it shows all the baby stuff in the background and boxes of other things. I started making this list when I realized it wasn’t just me as I helped a friend get the stuff she needed for her little one. So what do you really need and where can you save? Here’s a few ways that I saved some big money 🙂
Crib Vs. Pack n Play-
I was crushed for space and money. This was a super easy savings for us when we decided to ditch the crib and use a pack n play and it was the best. It was smaller and the best thing was it being portable. You can find pack n plays $30+ though we settled on a $69 one from Graco. And yes, some of these cribs are 3 in 1 and convert to a toddler bed but in the end I wanted something portable that could fold up and move along with being easily stored. Here’s a link to one of the cheaper ones I could find. We personally spent a little extra money to get one that has a second level insert which was great for nursery days.
Clothes & Diapers- I know clothes shopping is fun but be real here. Babies grow like weeds, so buy only a few things at time. Don’t feel bad buying things that are an extra size up or two. The best thing is within a couple months they’ll probably fit it. Diapers too! Buying in bigger sizes make it great so when you are not having time to get to the store to buy a new size you have something to try. Your baby doesn’t need a million outfits that they’re only gonna wear once. Look at the sizes, there’s a reason they only go in 3 month intervals, because odds are, you baby will only wear them for 3 months and then you gotta get new ones so spend wisely here.
Changing Table Vs. Changing Pad– This was probably one of my biggest saves. I didn’t have the space nor the money to include a changing table. I often wondered if I was making a mistake by not getting one and honestly, I think I made the best decision. We decided to save space and money by investing in two fold-up changing pads that were $13. One for the diaper bag and one for our room. Whenever we needed to change a diaper, we would put it either on our bed or on the floor. When we were done we fold it up and put it away. Perfect space and money saver.
Bathtub- You’ll see all kinds of crazy fancy bathtubs. You don’t need anything that fancy. In fact, this can technically even be a splurge item that you only really need one if you don’t feel like bathing them in your own tub or in a bathroom/kitchen sink. We got a white plain tub and it’s even lasted us even up until now. She’s almost 2 but afraid of the big bathtub and she still fits enough to sit in it. You don’t need any of that fancy self warming, tubs with shower heads, bubbles, or whatever other stuff some of those crazy expensive tubs have. Go simple, save money.
Bath Stuff & First Aid- Must have items include the Nose Frida, baby nail clippers, thermometer (I invested in Braun), Baby Tylenol. Buying a big bottle of your chosen baby shampoo or body wash will last you awhile. We started with Johnson and Johnsons and I swear it lasted us 6 months or so. Getting a tub of diaper cream also is a great use. We use it nightly and at 2 years, we haven’t even hit the half way mark! Little note, even baby nail clippers can be a splurge because plenty of people actually bite their babies nails. I got all my clippers through in baby first aid pouches which can be a great deal for all the stuff that comes with it.
Rocking Chair– Okay, this is optional but to me this was the best money I spent. But here was my hack and this can be used for a lot of this stuff. Like I mentioned in clothes, babies grow like weeds, and with that a lot of stuff gets used for a couple years then gets rid of it. If you are on a tight budget don’t be afraid to check your local craigslist or baby consignment store for used items. I decided I really wanted a chair but couldn’t afford that $200-$600 price tag. I ended up finding the exact wooden chair I wanted for $50. Now if you don’t have the space I understand but if you can do it, I’d totally invest in a rocking chair since you’ll be spending a lot of nights in it. Below is one of the cheapest chairs I can find, everything else is much higher. But again, check craigslist and other consignment stores to see if you can score one for a lot cheaper!
Feeding– You don’t need to go crazy here at the beginning. I’d buy 1-3 single bottle samples so you have a few types to try since your baby will choose the bottle. Even if you plan to breastfeed, I’d have a container of formula on hand just in case. This has nothing to do with it possibly make you give up earlier but a fed baby and happy mama is a good pair. Breastfeeding is hard and sometimes you will need a breather while you try to find your groove and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. Having formula there can be a stress reliever at least it was for me, and if you end up never using it, you can give it to a mom in need. Other things is a bottle brush. Don’t stress about sippy cups, utensils, plates and bowls, high chair, all that stuff because you will likely not use it until a minimum 4-6 months old. Easy budget for later.
Riley’s Bottle of Choice Mam
Other Suggested Bottles : Comotomo . Tommee Tippee . Munchkin Latch . Playtex Ventaire (Don’t limit yourself to these! There are plenty more out there, these are just some of the popular ones!)
Diaper Bag– You don’t need to invest in some fancy diaper bag. If you have a good back pack with some pockets, that will last you just fine. I had a hand me down diaper back that was nice for a while, but then I found this super cute one at Walmart that I grabbed since it was only $15. It was fun, but in the end, sometimes it was just easier to use one of my old backpacks. If you need to keep things extra organized, buy some gallon plastic backs and put things together in them. You can see exactly what’s inside and you still can stay very organized even if it’s just thrown in there.
Diaper Genie– This is another optional item but so worth it. When Riley was born, I was very stubborn about not needing one of these. I found it stupid to invest in a special trash can that you then have to buy special bags for, doesn’t hold as much, and you have to get those extra air fresheners with it too! Well after a couple months of truly horrid diapers, I gave in. If you have a little bit of money to splurge on, this is one I’d use it on.
There’s always items on “Must Get” lists, but really you don’t need them. I didn’t get a wipe warmer, bottle warmer, crib bumpers, nursery decorations, tons of toys, and books and all that other stuff. In the beginning, they just need a toy or two to touch and chew on, and maybe a couple favorite books you grew up with if you want to read to them that early. I really focused on the bare minimum. What do I really need and what is more of a luxury item. Remember parenting has been around for ages and they didn’t need all that stuff to survive before. Relax, it is completely okay to find out you need something extra and to run out to the store and get it. That’s what those giftcards are for! Deep breaths mama. You got this!