Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Baby Needs on a Budget

Babies can be expensive, especially when you’re trying to be less wasteful and more environmentally friendly, but there are ways to cut corners. Because you’re living frugally, you’ll do a few things to ensure you will be able to afford getting through the first few years more easily.

Planning for more than one child

If you keep things that you get for the first baby, you’ll save money because you wont have to buy as much for the second, the third, and so on.

If you’re planning on having multiple children, you already know to get some things that are interchangeable so you can reuse them. These items include furniture, bedding, onesies in all sizes, and bottles and other feeding needs. They also include strollers, car seats, and booster seats. Pick these items up in colors, patterns, and styles that can be used for either a boy or a girl, even if you already know the current baby will be one or the other. This way, you’ll save more money over time.

When a child is done with an item, clean it well and store it for use with your next child. The longer stains set, the harder they are to get out. So cleaning them well before storing is important even though you’ll clean them again before using later on. Even boy or girl specific items can be saved, just in case you can use them again.

Build up your stock of a some items, such as bottles and cloth diapers. When you’re trying to be less wasteful, these are a huge deal.

You can still get the packages of old-fashioned white cloth diapers, diaper pins, and plastic pants. This is the more affordable way to go. But you can also get the new versions that look better and are easier to use; and not have to worry about sticking the baby with a pin accidentally.

The new cloth diapers come with liners, and look nice. Some will even fit a baby at multiple sizes. The downside? They cost more. But is the cost worth it? Only you can say for your situation.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuckAs an example, this Gerber cloth diaper is a snap – literally. It comes as a three-piece set, and includes the diaper with liner and two inserts. While this is a starter pack, you can also get extra liners.

The diaper shown adjusts to fit babies 8 to 30 pounds, meaning you wont be buying new diapers every time your child grows a little. How convenient! The It’s a Snap! all-in-one diaper costs $13.99 each, or you can get two for $23.99.

I love that there is elastic inside and around the upper back, and the inserts get inserted in the opening between the diaper and the liner.

The outer fabric is waterproof (yay!), and the 100% cotton liner has soft-dry technology. You wont have an emergency situation on your hands as soon as your baby goes; you’ll have plenty of time to find a place to change him or her.

Besides orange, these diapers also come in pink, sage, and blue.

I did receive this starter pack to check out before writing this article, and plan to buy some when my daughter decides it’s time to have another baby. In the long run, these will be more economical than other brands I’ve seen.

Here is a slide show with more pictures, so you can get a better idea of what the diapers and inserts look like: (Be sure to read the rest of the article below!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I understand just thinking about how much these and diapers like them cost can cause some anxiety but, if you know you want to use cloth diapers you can set things up so you will not have to buy as many yourself.

And if you can’t afford all the cloth diapers you need this time around, but are planning to have more than one child, you can add to the collection with your next.

If you don’t want to use the old-fashioned white ones but someone gets them for you anyway, they make great burp rags.

Baby showers help you to cut costs

A baby shower is a fun way to celebrate your pregnancy with loved ones, and is a great money saver for you. You can write things on the inside of each invitation like “Mary is planning to use cloth diapers for the baby. Each person bringing in a cloth diaper is entered in drawing for a gift card to ________!” or “Janice would like to feed her baby organic foods. Every person who brings in a jar or box of organic food will be entered in a drawing for a door prize!”

Most people will ask what you need for the baby at some point before the shower, so it’s great if you have a list available. Be sure the person throwing the shower has a copy. You can also insert slips of paper into the invitations with your registry information.

I generally think it is a great idea to do the bulk of the shopping after the baby shower, that way you wont end up buying things others get for you. This includes yard sales and whatnot. But there are definite things you can pick up before hand when you find a good deal. For the busy mom, extra diapers, bottle, onesies, and sleepers are a blessing, so feel free to pick some up. Don’t just concentrate on new-born items. Think through toddlerhood if you find good buys.

Hand-me-downs are awesome!

When people want to give you hand-me-down items, accept them with a smile, clean them up real well, and set them in the nursery. If you find out you’re having a girl, then anything definitely male can be stored to use with future babies.

Hand-me-downs are free. Most stained items will come clean with a little elbow grease and a good cleaning, so very little will be unusable even if it comes to you with stains. When I was given clothing for my grandson, I scrubbed and washed some things two or three times before the stains came out. Pre-treating is another option. There were only three items I was unable to get the stains out of.

Usually, as soon as friends and family find out you are pregnant they will start throwing things together. These items could save a huge amount of money for you.

Deals are a blessing for the new mom

When you’re ready to shop, you’ll want to be organized. Get a decorative journal or notebook, a pencil, and a calculator, make a list of all you’ll need, and create a budget. How much are you really willing to spend on each item?

Once you have all this information, you’ll be able to get only what you need and not be guessing about whether or not you needed two or three of a certain item. You’ll also know the most you’re willing to pay for each. Knowing these things will help you to save money.

When you buy an item, immediately cross it off your list. If you need 10 of something but are only buying 5 at the time, make note of how many more you need so you don’t buy extras the next time.

Where can you find great deals on baby things? Try places like:

  • yard and garage sales
  • thrift stores
  • consignment stores
  • clearance sales at other stores

When they ask what your baby needs

Come the first (and maybe second) Christmas and birthday, people will start asking what your baby needs. The important thing to remember is that your child is not even going to remember these first couple of years, let alone what people gave him. Because of this, you can safely let people know what you need for him. This is rarely, if ever, toys.

My mother used to get the girls each a case of diapers. This was so helpful! So, yes. Ask for what is needed. You can say, “Gee, I’d really like a couple more of those cloth diapers we got at the baby shower.” or “Well, we don’t have spoons, plates, and sippy cups yet.” If you know at Christmas that you’ll need something before his next birthday, ask for that as a gift for the baby.

People do like helping out when they can, and it makes them feel good to know they have contributed something you need for your baby. You’ll be less stressed knowing you have the things your baby will need, and your baby will get good use out of gifts that are given to him.

Again, clean up and reuse everything you can with your next baby.

More budget-friendly tips for the mom-to-be

There are so many ways to save money on baby things, including:

  • If you knit or crotchet, use all those small balls of leftover yarn to make an afghan for your baby boy.
  • If you quilt, use scraps to make your little girls first blanket.
  • Use wool dryer balls rather than fabric softener.
  • Search online for swap sites to acquire some of your baby’s needs.

20170424_152003Another great product I’d like to share is the SockDock. Created by Kevin Bunn, a father and stay-at-home entrepreneur, this marvelous invention saves you money because it provides a way to prevent the loss of socks during the wash and dry processes. This saves money in the long run. Take it from me, those machines eat socks! I can’t tell you how many odd socks went missing while my daughters were growing up.

The SockDock saves you time as well. You don’t have to fold the socks and put them in the drawer. Two SockDocks come in a package, so you use one to collect dirty socks, and the other to hold the clean socks until you need a pair. Hang the clean socks in the closet for easy access. This helps you to stay organized.

20170424_152213I was lucky enough to receive a set, and have been using it regularly since. The socks stay fitted into the SockDock as they wash, and then as they dry. The socks come out clean, and dry well.

I’ve already told Zowie she can have my set once this article is written, so she can use it for Little Man’s socks.

There are color choices to match bedroom decor: Red and white, light blue and black, dark blue and white, purple and gold, and light blue and white. Sold in pairs, they go for $19.99.

Do you have any tips for new moms on how to save money? Please share!

Shannon

 

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