As many of our regular readers know, Mr. CMF and I adopted a baby in summer 2014. We love this little miss to pieces, but we have already seen firsthand how expensive children can be. Ever since we became parents we have become even more conscientious spenders, since now we have another mouth to feed AND the potential of college looming on the horizon (how much will college cost in 18 years? I don’t even want to know! Sheesh).
Anyway, the bottom line is that babies require a lot of care, food, equipment/gear, diapers, etc. It all costs money! Here are some frugal tips to help lessen the impact on your wallet when parenthood arrives!
7 Frugal Ways to Prepare for Baby
- Borrow baby clothing, or take other people up on their offers of their children’s old clothing. Babies grow at lightning speed, so odds are excellent that your neighbor’s daughter’s clothing is barely worn and in great shape. It is absolutely not necessary to spend money on brand new baby clothes (that your child may only wear once or twice) if you can avoid it.
- Stock your freezer! In the weeks and months leading up to birth or adoption, it will be a good idea to pre-make some meals and freeze them. Stocking up on freezable staples like bread and frozen veggies will also help minimize your trips to the grocery store. In those early days and weeks you will likely be tired and sleep deprived and most likely not feel like cooking or even leaving the house much. Having a stocked freezer will keep you from ordering pizza every night, which will help your waistline AND your budget!
- Register for baby items and gratefully accept your friends’ and family’s offer to have a shower for you. Especially if you’re having your first baby, there are quite a few things that you’ll need. Your friends and family are likely excited for you and happy to help share in the cost- so let them. 🙂
- Set a budget. And follow it. It is so very tempting to buy the most expensive and cutest of everything when you are shopping for your precious little one. Trust me. I know. I really really know. Guess what? Your baby will not care one bit. You may need to lower your standards here to stay within budget. Don’t worry, your baby will still be adorable no matter what brand or color he or she is wearing. 🙂
- Scope out your diaper options. Many folks may choose to go cloth because of the cost savings and environmental benefit. While we did not choose to go that route, I did spend some time scoping out different websites as well as local stores to determine which I thought would be the best option. The winner for us? Amazon Diapers – if you buy in bulk. Luckily though, we haven’t actually had to buy a lot of diapers yet because we got so many at the baby shower.
- Stockpile! In the weeks and months leading up to baby, you’ll want to be stockpiling big time. Buy items that you know you’ll use if you see them on sale. Items that we stockpiled: diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, dog food, cereal, coffee, etc. This saved us from running out to buy these things when we had a newborn at home, which was super helpful.
- Consider breastfeeding if you can. I wish we could have done this, but it’s tough when you adopt (it is actually possible to breastfeed without giving birth and I did look into this, but the meds are expensive and the protocol is somewhat intense). But if you can breastfeed, it’s definitely the cheapest way to go and comes with lots of health benefits to boot. If you know you are not going to be breastfeeding, you’ll want to scope out all of your options for buying formula and figure out where you think might be the cheapest place.
I think the most important thing in preparing for a baby is to have the essentials in place, but not go overboard buying things you may not need. The main thing that babies need is love, affection, and you!!
What other frugal tips for preparing for a baby can you think of?
Suggested Reading: For all you parents out there- my favorite parenting book so far is The Happiest Baby on the Block (affiliate link). This book, although not specifically geared toward frugality, offers a wealth of information for parents including the all-important topic of how to help your baby to sleep!