How to Save Money for a New Baby

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Save Money

Speak to a new parent and one of the first things mentioned will almost certainly be how much it costs to have a baby. I should know, as my wife and I have three of our own.  The costs can be high, but they don’t have to be. If you have a frugal mindset, you can easily save money as you prepare for the arrival of your bundle of joy and set yourself up for success during his or her early years.  

Save Money on Clothing


It’s understandable for any new parents to want their baby to be dressed nice. But let’s be clear; “nice” doesn’t have to equal designer brands. Your baby can look cute sporting an off-name outfit or gently used brand name onesie and still save money at the same time. Being a parent I’ve learned firsthand that babies quickly outgrow outfits. Why put down money for new clothing when you can have equal quality with gently used clothing? There are a number of sources to find good, quality clothing at much cheaper prices, like:

  •           Garage sales
  •           Second hand stores
  •           Consignment sales
  •           Ebay

Not only will using some of these sources allow you to save money over buying at a department store, but it opens you up to much more variety. On a side note, you’ll find that an outfit is generally the favorite gift given by family and friends on the new arrival. Let grandma buy your baby’s threads and pocket the savings for the baby’s college fund.

Saving Money on Food


Having a new baby can have a major impact on a family’s schedule. One noticeable way is dinnertime. A hungry baby leaves few free hands around the dinner table. If you don’t plan accordingly this can drag on your grocery budget as you might just be tempted to order in a pizza or something else. Sure, that might work once, but it can quickly add up. An easy way around this problem is to prepare meals before the baby arrives and freeze them. This way you can just pull the selected meal out of the freezer and throw it in the oven. The upfront cost to buy the extra ingredients will help you save money in the long run by avoiding take out. On a personal note, my wife and I have an extra freezer in our garage and typically have 15-20 dinners pre-made before the baby arrives.

Newer is not Better


This is the same basic idea as saving money on clothes. Babies, in general, are not very rough on their clothing or toys which makes it very easy to find quality items for much cheaper than retail price. Marketers will play on your emotions with the belief that newest is best, but that is generally not the truth. Common sense should be your guide, but there is no reason why you can’t save money by purchasing used items for your newborn.

Babies can be costly, but it is possible to save money

My wife and I found ways to save money on the things our little guy needed after he was born.

Share With Friends


This is popular with my wife. We have many friends who are in a similar stage of life as we are. Why spend money on something you’ll only use for a month or two and might never use again? With this mindset you can borrow or lend things amongst friends that will allow you both to save money and not accumulate stuff just for the sake of having it. Additionally, once you begin having multiple children, you’ll be surprised how the “stuff” in your house multiples exponentially.

Be a Pack Rat


My wife will tell you that I hate throwing stuff out. Not that I am a hoarder, but I fear when something is thrown out that I may need it again in the future. Now, that feeling is generally unfounded, but not in the case of many things baby related. My wife will be the first to tell you that when having multiple children, we’ve saved considerable amounts of money just by saving things we used with previous kids. The kids don’t have any less fun with the toy because it was used by an older sibling and you save money to boot. The nice thing, when you’re done having kids, is that if you can find a consignment sale to be a part of you can make some good money selling many of those things you saved.

Having a baby can be a drain on the budget, but it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to have quality things for your baby without breaking the bank to do so.

With that said, what are some of the things you’ve done to help save money with a new baby?

Photo courtesy of: Mokra

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

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  • Greg@ClubThrifty says:

    These are great tips! We used all of these when we had our two kids. One other thing that we did was to use a bunch of coupons to buy premixed formula. The coupons were for 5 dollars off and we waited for the formula to go onsale for around 5 dollars. We spent about $100 for a year’s worth of formula:)

  • Kevin - Family Benefits says:

    It is quite common for couples starting a family to be two income households. Having a baby does raise expenses, and finding ways to cut costs is important.

    Don’t forget about mom’s lost income! If she is working, chances are that her income is needed to make ends meet. Buying employee paid short term disability prior to getting pregnant can return more in benefit than the premium paid, and provides extra help in case she misses work prior to delivery.

    • John says:

      Great point Kevin! You’re completely right. Thankfully my wife is able to work from home, so was not a huge consideration for us, but it definitely does require proper planning for many families.

  • Mandy @MoneyMasterMom says:

    Having a baby raises expenses and lowers your income if one parent works less, or stops working. Having a plan is essential to being able to celebrate your new family member, rather then struggling to survive it!

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    Great post John, having a baby on the way I can attest to how expensive all things baby are. Buying second hand can really make a huge difference to your overall budget.

  • femmefrugality says:

    Love these tips! We’ve used all of them. I do sell clothes at consignment stores, but only ones I’m sure I won’t be able to use again. With older toys, I’d recommend manufacturing dates post 2008, as before that not everyone cared about BPA in toys/bottles/anything made out of plastic.

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