Have your finances ever stopped you from considering having a child, or maybe another one? As it turns out, a new baby in the family doesn’t have to break the bank. And I’ll let you know exactly how you can prepare for a baby on a budget.
Our first kid took us years in the making. But in all those years we never thought about the financial side of things.
Once I finally got pregnant, I googled how much a baby costs. It turned out that according to other people’s standards we just couldn’t afford one.
Well, I refused to believe that. There is a way to prepare for a baby on a budget without compromising on quality. And this is how we did it with baby #1 and are doing it now with baby #2.
How much does a baby cost?
According to US sources, a baby would cost a family about $13,000 a year until the age of 17. And this amount doesn’t even include pregnancy, delivery, and hospital bills that could go over $10,000.
In the UK, baby essentials will cost the family about £6,000 ($8,000) for the first 12 months.
I couldn’t find an official statistic for my home country but given that grocery, apparel, and toys prices are similar to the ones in the UK I imagined the costs will be similar. The difference was that in Bulgaria the average monthly salary was less than $800.
Still, I wanted the best for my firstborn and long-expected baby daughter and after spending some more time online I found many people buy and sell second-hand baby stuff.
What you should buy used
The thing about baby stuff is that everything is outgrown pretty quickly. Thus, in most cases, there is no time to show any signs of wearing off.
I have bought second-hand items that looked exactly like they looked in-store because they were barely used for a month. Other items did look a bit used but considering the short term use and the incredibly high brand-new price they were still a great deal.
With this said, here are some items you should consider buying second-hand.
Pram and/or stroller
The pram I fell in love with when I was pregnant for the first time cost $1500 as brand new. Seriously? My previous car didn’t cost that much. Yes, it was a fancy Italian all-in-one Peg Perego with leather handles and a bunch of accessories, but still…
After a while, however, I managed to find the exact same model in as-new condition and accompanied by the full set of accessories for as low as $300.
Getting it second-hand was the best baby prep decision we’ve made back then and it started our baby on a budget route. Later on, we sold it, and now I got the updated model of the same pram at the same huge discount.
Moses basket or 6-months crib
These baskets and temporary cribs are used for just a few months. What’s more, most of this time the baby doesn’t even roll over around the crib. In other words, there is a very high chance that it will be in an as-new condition.
We got one such second-hand crib for our second daughter, however, I did insist on getting a new mattress and I would recommend you do the same.
It turned out babies grow pretty fast. In most cases, they just don’t have the time to wear clothes out. That’s why many used baby clothes look like they are fresh out of the store.
For our first baby, we got plenty of clothes from friends. This was a great bonus for our budget since baby clothes can be really expensive.
We have also put away plenty of clothes that we’ll reuse with baby #2. Even though I have thrown away everything that has shown any signs of wear or got stained, we still have more than enough to raise our second daughter from newborn to toddler without spending a dime on clothes if we wish (if I can resist the temptation to shop like crazy and dress them alike that is).
One thing I must note here, however, is that even though I don’t mind borrowing baby clothing from people close to me, I wouldn’t buy them from strangers. Maybe I’m just a little too suspicious.
You put inside bottles and bibs that were already washed. And you sterilize it again, and again, and again.
So don’t hesitate and find one from someone who doesn’t use it anymore. If it’s working, then it’s good enough.
Baby monitor and other baby-related technology
Whether it’s a baby monitor with a camera, a sound machine, a bath scale, smart socks or whatever other gadgets, these are things that just don’t wear out.
What’s more, if you’re really keen on preparing for the baby on a budget I highly advise thinking twice before investing in any baby-related technology. Do you really need it or it just looks so cool!
The only piece of technology we purchased was a wifi baby camera monitor. It was a lifesaver because our baby started sleeping in its own room from a newborn. In the summer months, it also allows us to watch her sleep while we enjoy some private time in the backyard or at the pool.
Still, if we lived in an apartment leaving a door open would have pretty much the same effect. So think carefully before adding baby gadgets to your list.
Toys, play mats, baby bouncers
Any toys besides teeters are absolutely safe to buy second-hand. Personally, I prefer buying used quality wooden toys instead of new plastic stuff. And not because I’m an eco freak. I just honestly like them better. And so does my daughter.
As for the number of toys, try not to buy too much. Why? Well first off, there will soon be a time when you’ll wonder where to store them. And second, you’ll probably get tons of them as gifts anyway.
While a feeding chair is not something you’ll need from day one, it is definitely another thing to consider buying used. As long as it’s in very good condition.
Just take a good look if there has been anything that was broken and later fixed. You wouldn’t want to risk your baby having a falling accident.
What you should buy new
Some things you just need to buy new. It could be a matter of safety or personal hygiene. In any case, the amount you’ll save is just not worth the risk.
For our firstborn, we bought a crib that could later turn into a toddler and kid bed, as well as a desk for school-aged children. Even though I doubt it would last 10+ years, you cannot possibly get one of these second hand as it would be seriously worn out after a few years.
Although the upholstery may look brand new, you need to be 100% sure that the car seat has never been in an accident. In the case of an accident, the reliability of the car seat could mean the life of your child so there is no room for any compromise.
First days clothes
You would want these to be brand new, because the baby is still too sensitive to any fabrics, detergent, etc. Don’t stock up though. The baby will outgrow them in a matter of days.
If you’re breastfeeding, a pump could be a lifesaver. No matter how much you sterilize it, however, I wouldn’t recommend opting for a second-hand item.
Still, some high-end models offer spare accessories, so you could buy a used motor unit (which is the most expensive part) and then buy new breast shields, connectors, and bottles.
Although we’ll be reusing the same bath we are still using with the older kid, I wouldn’t recommend going for a second-hand bath. Maybe if you’re getting it from a very close friend or relative but it would still depend on the individual case.
Tips for some extra savings
Create a list as soon as possible
As long as you’re pregnant, it’s never too early to start planning for the little one. Especially if you’re planning for a baby on a budget.
And while you may want to wait for some time if you’re superstitious, there is nothing wrong with preparing a list of things you’ll need. Furthermore, it’s recommended that you start as early as possible.
Having enough time to think it over will help you evaluate whether something is truly necessary.
Here are some tips to help you prepare your list:
- Create separate lists of needs and wants. Try to hold on the wants part for a while so you don’t exceed your budget before purchasing the actual essentials.
- Be wary of online baby lists. Most online lists are compiled either by stores who wish to sell their products or bloggers doing affiliate marketing. While there’s nothing wrong with both, don’t take such lists for granted. After all, a play mat is far from essential purchase and a sterilizer could be safely exchanged with a regular pan.
- Keep the numbers low. Don’t buy a bunch of bottles if you are planning to breastfeed. A couple of pacifiers are absolutely enough to start. And clothing, although really cute, will be outgrown before you know it.
- Show your list to a friend with little kids. Someone who already went that road and knows you well will be able to best advise you if you need everything on the list. Or if there’s something that you’re missing.
Keep an eye for sales
If you’re planning for a baby on a budget and you have your list prepared then all you have to do now is watch for the sales.
The sooner you start, the higher your chances for great savings. A lot of stores put stuff on a huge sale just because it’s the last item or a less desired colour.
If you’re buying second-hand and you still have a few months until the end of the pregnancy you can still afford to be picky. Wait until you find the items you are looking for in top condition and with at least 50% off the price. Anything else is just not good enough of a deal for an early purchase.
Make a wishlist for friends and family
Chances are you’ll receive tons of gifts from friends and family. Both before and after the baby is born. So why not tell them exactly what you need. Or give them the wants list you prepared earlier.
Stick to things you’ll need after the first couple of months. The first month will be quite busy and you may not even get your gifts on time.
If they still insist on buying clothes, ask them to buy a larger size for when the child grows at a bit slower rate and would actually have the chance to wear it.
With our first daughter, we got so many pieces of baby clothing as a gift that she couldn’t even try some of them.
Buy in bulk
In the first months, you’ll use tons of diapers and baby wipes so feel free to buy in bulk.
As a newborn, the average baby fills about 10 diapers every single day. So whatever amount you purchase, be sure that you’ll use it all.
That was my baby on a budget list. Is there anything else you believe is better to be purchased second-hand? Or maybe you believe everything baby-related should be brand new?
Let me know in the comments.
The Vocal News says
Thanks for these great tips your Blog is quiet good. We like the way you present this blog. it’s very informative.