It’s no secret that baby #3 was a surprise for us… for a couple reasons really. One, I didn’t realize after baby #2 that I’d want any more children. Two, once we were both on board with having another one, neither of us thought it would happen as quickly as it did. The problem was my husband was no longer working, and we’d already given away nearly all of our baby stash. A single income family on a tight budget, we had to find creative ways to save money when you have a baby in the house again.
Use a Playpen Instead of a Crib
One of the biggest expenses we encountered when planning for baby #3 was the crib. Thinking we were done having kids after baby #2, we actually gave our crib away. Considering the price of brand new cribs and the potential dangers of buying one used, we opted instead for a playpen. There ended up being several really great benefits to that decision!
- It cost us less than $100! See my recommendations.
- A quick insert change took it from newborn depth to toddler-safe depth in less than 5 seconds as baby got older.
- The bed goes with us wherever we go, meaning baby never feels like she’s sleeping somewhere new.
- No gaps between rails means no wiggly arms or legs get stuck in the middle of the night.
Convert a Dresser Into a Changing Table
I know some moms who swore their changing tables were a waste of money, but mine was invaluable. With my first, it was a hand-me-down that didn’t survive our first move, but it was essential to my sanity (and my back). I had one place to change the baby where I kept all my supplies within arm’s reach and only one place to clean when the inevitable diaper explosion happened. I also loved not having to bend over to change diapers or fight a wiggly infant on the floor!
When baby #2 came along, I went to the craft store and grabbed a pack of velcro and a cheap wicker storage basket. I used the velcro to secure a contoured changing pad to the top of the baby’s dresser. It left just enough room for my wicker basket where I keep a stash of diapers, baby lotion, wipes, and diaper cream.
Purchase Toys at a Thrift Store
Thrift stores are amazing places to find kids’ toys and just one more of the many ways to save money when you have a baby. They are typically in great shape, minus a few naked dolls, and baby toys are usually almost brand new! I stocked up on rattles, lovies, and development toys for early infancy—just make sure to wipe down hard toys with a bleach-water solution and throw soft toys in the washer and dryer once you get home.
Shop for Discount Clothing Lots
There are two big ways we saved big on baby clothes for our third baby. First, I bought lots of clothing on eBay. This is a great option if you really don’t care what the outfits look like—you’ll save big, but by nature, most lots will contain a few cute outfits and a handful of throwaways no one really wants anymore. My favorite was actually shopping on Amazon for the Simple Joys line by Carter’s. Each pack of clothing contains 3-5 pairs of onesies, pants, or tops. They aren’t as high quality as the Carter’s you’ll find elsewhere, but they are super budget friendly and still held up well to the daily rigors of life as a baby/toddler. We’re even able to recycle them for—wait for it—baby #4!
Get Thrifty with Breastmilk or Formula
I was only able to breastfeed my kids for anywhere between 2 and 9 months with each. Still a huge accomplishment for me, but it gave me some insight on getting thrifty with feeding my kids from a young age. First, I invested in a hospital-grade breastpump that actually didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. You can read more about my breastfeeding setup here. I breastfed my babies as long as I could and pumped/froze milk for those times when I needed or wanted a break from being the baby buffet.
For formula, I purchased the store brand version of Enfamil Gentlease. Typically, companies will advertise this connection with phrases like, “Compare to…” I used to purchase name-brand only (and at exorbitant prices) until my pediatrician said that all formulas have to meet minimum nutritional standards set by the FDA and are virtually the same. According to our doc, most extra fancy things (not specialty formulas like lactose-free) they add are more closely tied to marketing than peer-reviewed research.
Buy Amazon Brand Diapers and Wipes in Bulk
Amazon is this mom’s lifesaver! I use PrimeNow in a pinch on the regular, and I look for sales on household goods. Once, I was able to snag 10 containers of laundry detergent for $1 each! One of my favorite ways to save money when you have a baby is to buy diapers and wipes in bulk from Amazon. The diapers are pretty close to Huggies (not quite as thick but pretty absorbent), and I really love the wipes.
Here’s what I usually order:
Get a Monthly Subscription for Baby Supplies
Companies are really tuning into the needs of busy parents on a budget. Companies like Simply Bedtime offer monthly subscriptions that deliver a month’s worth of baby supplies. By subscribing, you can get bedtime baby wash, calming baby lotion, and natural diaper cream (plus a bonus bedtime book) every month for half of what it sells for retail. The best part? It’s automatically delivered, so you can subscribe and never have to think about it again.