10 Tips for Preparing for Baby on a Budget

Congratulations! Expecting your first child is an amazing experience. It’s also an expensive journey. Studies say that new parents spend more than $7,000 the first year on baby items. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your baby physically, emotionally and financially. 

  1. Direct your primary focus to purchasing essentials. Think: Do I need it or not? Sometimes these choices will be tough. And, yes, the new television has the highest-tech display on the market and would be great for Junior to watch Little Einsten videos—but paying for diapers has become like paying for college
  2. If you haven’t already been saving to prepare for a child, as soon as you find out you are expecting, begin setting as much of your paycheck aside as you can.
  3. Make use of hand-me-downs if you, your friends, or family, still have baby clothes/toys from children who have outgrown them.
  4. Buy consumables in bulk such as diapers, formula, baby food, and basically anything that can be ‘used up.’ It might cost more up front, but will be more budget-friendly in the long run.
  5. See if it is possible to set up a flexible savings account through your employer that can be applied to buying baby goods. You likely won’t pay any taxes on it, and, thus, would be able to make your money worth a little more.
  6. Nurse if you are willing/able. Formula is very, very expensive in the long run.
  7. Look for multipurpose products since things that can be versatile require you to spend less on individual products. For example, a travel system combines a stroller with a handheld carrier. The carrier is used while the baby is too little for the stroller and then when they reach the proper size it can be used as a stroller. A product like this will get you through several ages and stages.
  8. Repeat after me: There is no such thing as a bad coupon!
  9. Try your hand at making your own baby food. It’s a fun project to try out, and what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll make a mess. That was probably going to happen anyway!
  10. Don’t buy too many books to read to the baby at first. You’ll be able to read one or two repeatedly for the first few months. After that, look into purchasing used books or check out your local library.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in {February 2016} and has been updated for freshness and accuracy.