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Preparing For Baby On A Budget Part 2


Hey all! I’m back with more about preparing for a baby on a budget. Go read part one, if you missed it. I’ll wait for ya. 😉

Image shows a small baby with a white hat and mittens with text that reads "Preparing for Baby on a Budget"

It’s crazy how much you can spend on getting ready for a new baby. The sheer volume and diversity of baby gear out there is just mind-boggling!

So what does a new baby really need beyond diapers, clothing, and a car seat?

We were really blessed to have a lot of friends and family whose babies were outgrowing a lot of things when we were expecting Garrett, so we got to sample a variety of stuff and figure out what worked best for us.

  1. Baby Carrier. The number one can’t-do-without item during the first three to four months was the ring sling.  To any new parents, I highly, highly recommend making or buying a sling or Moby Wrap. Having a way to hold a fussy baby while still getting some things done is priceless.At about three months, Garrett started taking an interest in batting at toys, and would sit in his Bouncer seat for a few minutes at a time. As he got a little older, he started sitting in it for longer (but never long enough to get the dishes done).
  2. Bumbo Seat/Bébé pod. If there was one other item that was a “must” for us, it was the Bumbo Seat. From four months until the time he started rolling himself out of it, Garrett spent a lot of time in the Bumbo watching (and often teething on a large carrot stick) while we worked near him. He loved being able to sit upright, and that kept him happier than anything else we tried.
  3. Stoller. Now that the weather has warmed up, we use the stroller a lot. And by a lot, I mean every day, multiple times a day. (Why is the garden so far away from the house? Beats me.)

Obviously, those aren’t the only things we have, but they’re the things I’d really hate to do without. You might notice the absence of a crib on that list. Garrett sleeps with us. We do have a pack-n-play that’s supposed to be his bed, but I couldn’t sleep worrying about him getting cold over there by himself. (It’s warming up again though, so now we’re trying to decide whether to pull out the Pack-n-play again or just put a crib mattress on the floor.)

I can’t stress enough the need to start baby shopping early on. That way, you can walk away if the price or quality isn’t good enough because you don’t have any immediate pressure to buy. Those things that you need or want to buy new are destined to hit their lowest price sometime in the nine months that you’re expecting your baby, and since thrift stores and yard sales don’t have a predictable inventory, you may not find what you’re looking for right away.

Finding Bumbos for $10 at yard sales is pretty routine (I got a BébéPod for $2 before our second child was born!). I often see good strollers and pack-n-plays for $10-$20 at yard sales, craigslist, and second-hand stores as well. Look around. You’ll find it!

One thing you do want to make sure of if you buy car seats, strollers, high chairs, etc. used, is that the item has good structural integrity and that it can be sanitized. I found a car seat that I was satisfied with at a second-hand store a few weeks before Garrett was born. When I got it home, I stripped all the cloth off and threw it in the washing machine, and then cleaned the rest of them with bleach.

So what are your ideas for saving money on baby gear? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. Pingback: Preparing For Baby On A Budget Part 3
  2. Love your tips but one thing that parents should always buy are NEW car seats. If you buy second hand you have no idea what the history is of that seat. They could have been dropped, checked on a plane or in an accident. Most car seat manufacturers require car seat replacement in any type of major/minor car accident. The accidents can cause microscopic damage to the seat, invisible to the naked eye. I would never trust my precious cargo in a used seat. Also, sanitizing car seat straps weaken the integrity of the strap…potentially allowing babe to be ejected in a car seat. They should only be wiped down with gentle soap and water. The best resource for car seat safety is the FB page “car seats for the littles”. The site is run by certified car seat techs that give you tons of help. I highly recommend it. Car accidents are the number one cause of death in children….do everything you can to prevent it!

    But keep finding those great deals on cloth dipes…we love our covers and prefolds!

  3. Don’t ever, EVER compromise your baby’s safety by buying a used car seat. This is one thing that must be bought new, and is well worth spending a few extra bucks on. If you’re really in that much of a bind, ask anyone attending your baby shower to go in parts on it, or ask your ob/hospital if they have one you can have (parents often leave items like this behind if they….no longer need it). This is not something to skimp on!

  4. One great option that you mentioned briefly is cloth diapering. Though you may spend a bit more upfront, you’ll save big in the long run, especially if you plan to have more than one child, but even for one child, that initial investment can mean never having to spend a dollar on diapers for years to come.
    You can also find them for pretty reasonable prices, especially if you look for second hand cloth diapers that are in good shape. Once you take them home and sanitize them, they can be a great addition to your baby’s life (think fewer rashes, less money wasted, and significantly less waste going into a landfill).
    One of the most economical options (depending on what your family’s needs are: all in ones are one piece that goes on like a disposable, but take longer to dry, so are helpful if you need something easy) are diaper flats (which are flat pieces of super absorbent material, often cotton, that can be adjusted to fit the size of your growing baby and used for the entire time he or she’s in diapers. Combining these with a breathable, waterproof cover (which tend to also be super affordable) makes for super functional and affordable diapers. This also allows for choosing different thicknesses and materials for your diaper flats or liners when needed (so you can add an extra layer or two at night etc without adding a whole different kind of diaper). The covers also don’t have to be washed with every change. They can be wiped clean and reapplied unless they’ve become soiled, so one can last you for several changes. Note that covers with snaps tend to have longer lives than those with Velcro.
    Whatever kind you choose, for economy, one size diapers can be used for the entire diapering journey and are therefore the most affordable option in the long run. However, depending on the size of your newborn, You may also want to have some newborn covers as the baby may not quite be big enough for the one size just yet. Again, you don’t need a lot of these covers, but if you find more for a reasonable price, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extras. You can usually get by easily with 6 covers.
    So if you’re expecting a small baby, try to pick up 6 newborn covers and 6 one sizes, and 24 flats or other types of liners so you can comfortably wash them every other day if needed… If you plan to wash daily, you’ll need even less. The plan with these is when baby is tiny and needing super frequent changes (8-12 a day) but producing (usually) smaller amounts of urine etc, you’ll have enough to change often. As baby grows and starts needing less frequent changes, but is producing larger amounts of urine etc, you can use the flats or liners to double up the absorbency of the diaper. So, you can see how this little stash of cloth diapers can get your baby all the way to potty trained without having to spend any more money on diapers than what you’ve spent early on. This can literally save hundreds or potentially thousands depending on how many children use them and how much it costs to launder them. In the long run though, it’s always going to cost less from your wallet and less from the planet. And as an added bonus, cloth diapered children often potty train sooner making your life easier and decreasing costs even more.
    If you really want to save money and have less waste, you an pick up several inexpensive baby face cloths to use as diaper wipes (these can be laundered just like the diapers). I opted for 40 or so, just because you can go through several when cleaning up poopy diapers (I keep them dry and spray them with water or a diaper wipe solution as I use them, but there are lots of options on how to use them which can be found on Google or Pinterest etc… Different things work better for different families). Face cloths can be found very affordable second hand on kijiji, eBay, garage sales, and even new at some stores. This initial investment will save you in the long run too (just do the math).
    This is the most economical way I’ve found to get trough those early expensive years. Good luck with them! They’re stressful, but amazing times:)

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