Updated: Mar 12, 2019
So you know when you’re young, ambitious, just starting out and you have all these grand plans for your life, everything is going to be great. You’re going to get this great job, get married, travel the world, and then God’s like “Ha, you thought you had it all planned out” and throws you a major life curve ball.
My husband and I were not even a year into our young married lives when to our surprise we found out we were pregnant. Definitely not in our 5 year plan, but ultimately we came to grips with the idea that we do not decide what happens in our lives. God does. And God decided we needed a baby girl.
Let me tell you though, as scary as it was to comprehend, we were pretty dang excited. But let me also tell you, a couple of 24 year olds, fresh out of college, just starting out in “adult” jobs, we did not feel we were in any financial state of which we could support another human being. But we both firmly believe in the fact that God provides and with that in mind as well as a strong family support system, we knew we could make it happen.
That also meant finding some clever ways to maximize our budget every month where we could handle that extra cost of baby as well as still meet our savings goals each month.
So here it is. My list of ten things you can do to help you prepare for having a baby on a budget.
1. Get a Registry + Have a Baby Shower
I feel this is kind of a no brainer, as most women I know typically have a baby shower, because let’s be honest, it’s a fantastic way of getting those goods. There’s many options out there the most popular I believe being Amazon or Target (Target is a universal registry, which means you can add products from any other website out there, it’s amazing). There’s also other fun options that are building in popularity like Babylist. With both Amazon and Target, you get 15% anything that wasn’t purchased for your shower, so if you want that new Nikon camera (the one that no one is going to buy for your shower), throw it on the registry anyways, just be sure to do so before the shower otherwise they cut you off from adding things at a certain point.
2. Get signed up with a Discount Program
Both Amazon Family (with Prime membership) and Target Red Cards have their unique benefits so you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. The idea behind this is you can order those reoccurring baby supplies you’ll be needing on a subscription basis while getting a discount. With Amazon Family, you need a prime membership but you can receive up to 20% off on diapers, wipes and other supplies. With a Target Red card you always save 5% your purchase but you can also get an additional 15% on certain brands of diapers and wipes when you make it a subscription. If you’re looking for more discounts, Huggies and Pampers both offer discounts and coupons through their site.
3. Find the Freebies!
This is one of the first things I did when I was in my overwhelmed, panic state of just finding out we were pregnant. I went online and searched for mom freebies and I was pleasantly surprised my friends. There’s a lot of companies offering free gear if you pay the shipping. Most I found worth pursuing I did so through other blogs, like this one, that offered a coupon code for a variety of items.
4. Reach out to Family and Friends!
The people that love you and wish to support you are a great resource! I have many mom friends that are a few years older than I (and have completed the childbearing stage) wish to pass on down some of the goodies that have stood the test of time with their kiddos. These people are also a gold mine of wisdom and knowledge, they’ll have heaps of advice to pass on so use them wisely.
5. Use Facebook Marketplace
As great as baby registries are, you won’t get exactly everything you want or need. And if you desire not to pay for brand new, the Marketplace aspect of Facebook is great for finding a gently used version of what you’re looking for. There’s also Craigslist and Ebay, but I’ve typically found that on Marketplace it's a little less sketchy because you can Facebook creep the person selling the item. In my instance, I knew our healthcare would not cover a breast pump and if you’ve ever researched breast pumps, those buggers can be expensive. I really wanted a Medela double breast pump, which comes with a hefty price tag of $200 -300. I could have gone ahead and invested in a new one, but I ended up finding one of Marketplace, “used once”, for only $100. Plus the very nice lady threw in a bunch of extra bottles, coolers, and nursing covers. If the idea of using a breast pump that was once used by someone else, you can definitely buy new replacements for the used parts.
6. You Do Not Need Every Gadget and Gizmo
There are a lot of tools out there nowadays that are supposed to make the process of raising and caring for a baby easier. While they are not totally useless, they are also not totally necessary. Just think back to simpler times when your grandparents were raising children and just how well they got along with much less than what is available today. Don’t feel like you need to register for every gadget out there, the more unnecessary things you register for, you’ll get less of those basic necessities you’re going to wish you had gotten. Check out this blog post with an ultimate list of what you need and what you really don’t.
7. Track your Spending
By tracking your spending, you know exactly where your money is going every month and you can analyze how you have been using all that precious income. My husband and I have a very detailed line item style budget where we have a set amount of money allocated to every expense. This way, any extra and outstanding costs on our bank statements stick out like a sore thumb. I totally understand the fact that irregular and unexpected expenses may come up, but if there’s $50 being consistently spent at coffee shops each month, it’s maybe time for us to analyze our spending. By the way, $50 pays for over 200 diapers for your kiddo.
8. Include Baby in your Meal Plan
My husband and I fully intend on making our own baby food with our ninja bullet thing. And I know there’s some moms that will meal prep for baby and create a stockpile in the freezer for the next month, all the power to them. The way I plan on doing it is just including baby on what we intend on eating. If we’re having sweet potatoes on Monday, I’ll just get an extra sweet potato (.80 cents if that) and cook it up along with ours and then pulverize it in the ninja bullet thing.
9. Get Creative with Childcare
Childcare can end up being a big expense for parents, especially if you both plan on going back to work full time. Solution? Those good ole friends and family. Maneuver a way where maybe your really great stay-at-home mom friend will watch baby on Mondays, Grandma will watch her on Wednesdays and Fridays, and she goes to daycare only the other two days of the week then.
10. Be Faithful, Be Confident and Just Love on your Kiddo
Most importantly, you need to realize that the child you were given is an absolute gift. The love and support you can give that child is much more valuable than any other cost associated to having a child. You can handle this! As overwhelmed as my husband and I are about having a child, we know this was a challenge God has given us and we will remain faithful and persevere, and enjoy doing so as we get to raise our little girl.
BONUS: Plan on having more than just the one kiddo? When registering/purchasing items, heir on the side of gender neutral. Now while this isn’t totally avoidable, because baby girl clothes are ridiculously cute, but there are numerous gender neutral options for things like blankets, bedding, toys, and stuffed animals that can also be passed on to the next kiddo.
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