For some women, the tradition of the baby shower helps offset some of the costs of baby supplies when friends, relatives, and/or coworkers graciously provide gifts for expectant mothers. Also, some women have the opportunity to accept used items from family members or friends whose children no longer need them – it may help to ask around with your friends and relatives to find out if they have any baby supplies they are no longer using. If you prefer all new items, you may want to purchase supplies over a period of time instead of buying everything all at once.
Whether or not you receive gifts or hand-me-downs for your baby, there will still be a certain amount of essential items that you’ll most likely have to cover on your own or with your partner. If you get a jump start on pricing out these items – or even purchasing them – while TTC, you may be able to find some deals and avoid having to buy so many things all at once before your baby arrives.
The first step in budgeting for your baby’s must-have items is determining what you should consider “essential.” In the UK, the average family spends at least $4,500 on their first baby in just one year, but it’s possible to spend less than $300, if you stick to the absolute bare necessities.
For instance, the items you’ll need right away include a significant supply of maternity pads, a set of onesies and/or babygrows, a blanket, a car seat, and cloth diapers or disposable diapers. You’ll also need a place for your baby to sleep, such as a bassinette, crib, or cot, as well as a hat and other warm clothing items during the winter months. Those are the items that will get you by in terms of absolute basic necessities.1
Reusable cloth diapers can save a significant amount of money – even hundreds of dollars – over the course of your baby’s first year. You’ll spend more time doing laundry, but because disposable diapers could cost between $1,500 and $2,000 within the first year, you may prefer to use reusable cloths instead. If you do decide to purchase disposable diapers, consider buying them in bulk at wholesale clubs to save money.2
One of the easiest ways to save money on infant care items is to choose to breastfeed your baby if that’s an option available to you. Bottle-feeding is costly, especially due to the expenses of sterilizing equipment, but if you do choose to opt for bottle-feeding, you can use the traditional boiling-water method which is more affordable.
If possible, buy larger items such as strollers and car seats when stores are offering sales. There are also many “like new” or “barely used” baby items for sale in secondhand shops and online.
- Baby Centre Staff. (2014 April). Buying for your baby on a budget. Retrieved from http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a559811/buying-for-your-baby-on-a-budget#section1 ↩
- Hatfield, Heather. (2012 October ). Budgeting for Baby: 13 Money-Saving Strategies. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-gear-guide-9/baby-budget ↩