First off, you’re on the right track! Simply reading this means that you are expecting, or already have a little one and are looking for ways to save money. This is technically the first step, wanting to save money doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to take away from other things in your life.
Step 1: Start now. Start saving for your baby today. There’s little things that you can start doing right away, and that includes either setting aside money every week or purchasing something small every week. Start with the little things, this week when you go buy groceries add in a bottle of baby shampoo, or baby q-tips. Think of things that aren’t going to go bad by the time baby gets here, and are things that you will continuously use. I know a lot of mom’s want to go out and buy a bunch of clothes, but don’t! If this is your first and you are having a baby shower then you will most likely receive a bunch there. If it’s not your first or you’re not having a baby shower, wait and shop the off-season sales for clothes.
Step 2: Make a plan. Most people think this should be step one, but I think getting in the mindset for saving, and actually saving is most important. Plus, my plan isn’t how am I going to pay for this baby, but rather what products are we going to use with this baby. You need to decide, but always be ready to change your mind on a few things:
Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers
Nursing vs. Formula Feeding
Baby Shower vs. No Baby Shower
Co-sleeping vs. Crib Sleeping
Now, you don’t have to make a final decision on these things, and you could decide to do one and end up doing the other. Just start somewhere! I highly suggest doing what’s right not only for your family, but what also feels right for you. Do a little research, you’re going to get plenty of advice from others on all of these topics, just make sure you’re doing what’s right for you and your baby.
Step 3: Make a registry. Even if you are not going to have a baby shower, register for the items that you want. Why? Most places offer you a registry discount when your baby is born. This can range from 10-15% off anything left on your registry. Plus, most places give out registry gifts, which means free items for baby and sometimes even mom! Another great thing about a registry, besides letting others know about the items that you want, it also allows you to keep track of what you still need. If you decide that you have to have a specific item, then you can watch the sales for that item. At the same time, be flexible. I knew that I wanted a white crib, and the one I had picked out was gorgeous, but Amazon had a similar crib on sale for $80 vs. the $150 one I had chosen, so we purchased the $80 one. Does Baby Budget know, care, or sleep any differently than had we chosen the more expensive crib? Absolutely not!
Step 4: Get thrifty. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to shop at thrift stores, but there’s nothing wrong with buying something second hand, as long as you’re mindful of recall’s and outdated items. Getting thrifty means that you are not only watching the sales, but also purchasing wisely. Often times Toys R Us will offer something for free if you reach a dollar amount threshold. Last year they offered a free Dr. Brown’s bottle for each holiday if you spent $15. I took advantage of this by buying gifts during this time for other family members, or by picking something up for Baby Budget. Between the bottles I received through the promotion, and the bottles I received from baby registries, I never purchased a bottle. Another way to get thrifty is to follow a coupon/deal site that does weekly drugstore roundups. These are great ways to get diapers for pretty cheap if you are going to use disposables. I also recommend checking out Amazon Warehouse.
Step 5: Be realistic about the items you need. Papa Budget hates stuff. If it doesn’t serve a purpose on a daily basis, he tries to get rid of it. So, this meant that we planned out each and every item we purchased. If you have a very small budget, or just wish to raise a baby in a more minimalist approach, then just buy the needs. We also tried to purchase things that would serve multiple purposes. We don’t have a changing table, but we have a dresser with the pad you buy for a changing table on it. It serves as a changing table and storage, plus it can be used until the day Baby Budget moves out.
That’s it for now. Follow this page, take a deep breath, and prepare for an amazing time in your life. There’s a ton of more tips and tricks to help you save money that I’ll be discussing, but those are the basics. Do you have any additional tips, or tricks that you used to help you save for baby? Share them with us!