The addition of a new baby in a family is an absolute blessing; a real time of joy. However, many parents worry about the extra costs that a baby will bring, with some parents to be, putting off having a baby until they have saved enough money. If you've got a baby on the way, or are planning to have kids, there are many ways to cut down on many of the costs of having a baby. Frugal parenting need not mean cheap parenting, instead it's just being mindful of your spending, and knowing the ways to cut down on unnecessary costs.
Here are a few ways to cut the cost of a newborn baby:
There's nothing to cry about. Image: Nasirkhan, Morguefile
1. Second Hand Clothing
Let's shake off the stigma of buying second hand for a new baby. Kids, particularly little babies, grow out of their baby items at a ridiculous pace so buying everything first hand is the quickest way to spend money on items that your child will never get to appreciate. I was gifted some beautiful clothes for my children when they were babies, but in as both kids were big for their age, some items actually didn't even get worn. We were able to give some of these items away, and other unused clothing went to the charity shop. Pre-loved baby clothing is generally of high quality and definitely worth a consideration if you're wanting to save money. Check out your local charity shop, thrift store, swap meets or even your local second hand children's shop (lots of these exist), to buy cheap and barely worn clothing for your child. In the early months, kids grow at a rapid rate and you'll be surprised how little wear they'll get from outfits.
2. Toy Library
What toys will you find at your toy library. Image: Placardmoncoeur, Morguefile
Find out if there is a local toy library in your area here and benefit from access to hundreds of toys without paying a fortune for them. Local toy libraries generally run through the basis of a small membership fee paid annually, which then gives you access to 'rent out' toys for your children. This is a very budget friendly way for your kids to enjoy playing with toys and then getting new ones when they get bored with what you've borrowed. Finally, with toys, it's also good to check out your local swap meets, garage sales and Gumtree to find cheap pre-loved toys that are still in great condition.
For books, on pregnancy, childcare or even for your children, the actual library is the best place for FREE resources, and borrowing books is a great way to save money on purchases.
3. Make Your Own
Having kids is a great excuse to get crafty and make your own items to lessen the costs associated with having a newborn. An old cotton sheet can be turned into a a myriad of burp clothes or reusable wipes. If you want to splurge on a cute baby towel without the price tag you can simply create your own by buying a white towel (get it on sale) and adding a iron on or sew on motif. These are great for gifts too. When it comes to feeding time, making your own baby porridge or cereal will save you money and better still, you'll sit smug in the knowledge that you know exactly what has gone into your baby's food. Once the baby gets past the cereal stage, blend or make your own baby foods (or try baby led weaning) so that you don't have to pay the cost of packaged foods.
4. Unnecessary Purchases
There are so many 'fad' baby products that you think you need because everyone has them, but in earnest, once you've bought them, you realise that you've actually just bought into a baby fashion trend, and are now the proud of owner of something pretty useless. Here's a great read on some baby essentials that are actually completely non essential: Non essential baby items.
5. Cheap can be Cheerful
If you have the money, it's good to invest in a decent pram, car seat and first hand mattress. However, for other items there are some great cheaper options on the market where despite the lower price tag, you're not actually scrimping on quality. An example of this is the Antilpo Ikea Highchair at a cost of $25 (AUD) which makes a great cheap alternative to the costly highchairs on the market and has a loyal following of fans who love the simple design that can be hosed down after meal time havoc.
6. Cloth Nappies
Cloth nappies are reported to deliver savings of over $2000 per child compared to the expense of disposable nappies. Definitely a cost to consider if you're having more than one child, as cloth nappies sets that are well looked after can be reused on younger siblings or even sold on.
7. Baby Shower/Gift Registry
If you're having a baby shower, consider asking your friends and family for items that you actually need so that you can receive useful items. A number of stores are now letting parents keep a gift registry and this helps to parents have an input into the gifts that are purchased.
Plan ahead to reduce the costs. Image: GaborfromHungary, Morguefile
8. Local buy and sell groups
Have a look in your local area for buy and sell groups. They often exist on Facebook as an easy social media tool to advertise unwanted pre loved items for kids. These local groups offer a great way to access quality baby items that can help cut the cost on major items such as cots and nursery furniture.
Go online to find the bargains Image: fmfm166, Morguefile
Have your friends or family had kids? If they have, perhaps they'll have a few items that you could borrow as a short term solution whilst the owner isn't using them. Between my circle of friends, we've circulated a travel cot, a travel capsule, toys, a bath seat and clothing. By borrowing or sharing items you avoid having to pay out for all of the items yourself.
Whilst it is good to buy your baby's mattress brand new to avoid bedbugs and other critters entering your house, the actual furniture within a nursery is something that can often be picked up second hand. It's worth checking out Zilch and Freecycle to see if there is anything FREE in your area, or if not give Gumtree and your local thrift shops a try.