Here’s the cold, hard truth: kids ain’t cheap. And as your bump grows in size and your due date draws near, planning for a baby financially suddenly has a deadline.
But the good news is, if you know how to budget for a baby, your little bundle won’t have to cost you a bundle.
In this post, we share ten handy tips and tricks to help you save for a baby. But first…
How much money should you have saved before you have a baby?
Just how much money do you need for a newborn?
Well, the average cost of giving birth in the US (without complications) is $10,808. This number can rise to as much as $30,000 once you factor in the care provided during and after pregnancy.
Meanwhile, the average cost of raising a child in the US until the age of 17 is a whopping $233,610.
This article suggests having an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses saved before trying for a baby. Of course, that’s a best-case scenario and not always possible for everyone.
Don’t worry if you can’t hit that target; there are ways you can keep costs to a minimum, both before and after they make their grand entrance.
Start saving for a baby: 5 things you can do before they’re born
1. Resist the urge to splurge on newborn trends and “must-haves”
If you’re currently preparing for a baby, you might find yourself scrolling through new mama influencer feeds on Instagram and pinning everything you see to your “new baby” Pinterest board.
But here’s the thing: there’s some stuff you simply don’t need to buy for your baby.
Instead, start with the bare necessities and build from there.
You probably don’t need an automated formula dispenser or a super-expensive breastfeeding pillow (and you definitely don’t need to buy that stuff months before your baby’s here).
If you’re lucky, a loved one might gift you one of those trendy items for your baby shower, but for now, keep it simple!
2. Stockpile free samples, coupons, vouchers, referral codes
Most retailers want to get and keep your custom now you’re a mama-to-be.
Why? Because they know you’re more likely to keep shopping with them when baby arrives. So, to entice you, they’ll shower you with freebies, coupons, and voucher codes.
Collect as much free stuff as you can from a variety of brands.
That way, you can road test diapers, wipes, formula, and more once your little one is here. And keep the best money-off coupons in your purse, ready for when you need them.
Pro tip: If you’re signing up online, consider setting up a dedicated email address to save you from the tidal wave of spam that’ll surely follow.
3. Buy convertible furniture
No, we don’t mean one of those race car beds (although, how cool?). We’re talking about those cribs that can be taken apart and reassembled as a toddler bed a few years down the road.
This type of furniture can be a bit pricier, sure, but it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.
And it doesn’t stop at beds. You also get strollers and high chairs that expand and adapt as your little one grows.
4. Forget the changing table
The act of changing a diaper doesn’t require a dedicated (and costly) piece of furniture.
A comfy and safe surface and enough room to lay out the essentials is all you need.
And if space is at a premium, add a wipeable changing pad to the top of your dresser. Simple!
5. Hang back on the maternity clothes until you really need them
In all the excitement of discovering you’re pregnant, you might be tempted to expand your wardrobe with a few maternity accessories. Ignore that urge!
You won’t know for sure what you’ll need until you start showing, and even then, buying brand new maternity clothes that you’ll wear for only a few months can be an expense too far for some.
Instead, shop around for bargains (clearance racks or secondhand stores) or ask to borrow a mom-friend’s maternity clothing.
How to save now baby’s here: 5 ways to stick to your budget
1. Don’t go overboard on diapers
Once baby’s here, you might think bulk buying is the way to go. And while you’ll want plenty of diapers on hand, don’t buy too many all at once.
Little ones can grow fast, and if you stock up on loads of one size, you could end up with drawers full of diapers that no longer fit.
2. Shop secondhand for toys, games, clothes (just about anything)
Babies don’t care about price tags, and they certainly don’t measure fun in dollars and cents. So, take full advantage of this and buy their toys, games, clothes, and more secondhand.
Hone your bargain-hunting skills and avoid those expensive, flashy toys that need about a bajillion batteries. They’d probably get more enjoyment out of the box it came in, anyway.
3. Make mom friends and swap for things
You know that saying “it takes a village”? Well, there’s a whole community of like-minded mamas out there ready to pitch in and help.
Download Peanut and connect with other new parents to trade money-saving tips, swap for everyday baby items, and arrange playdates (cheaper than costly baby classes!).
4. Shopping online? Abandon your cart!
If you don’t need a particular baby product like right now, leave it in your cart while shopping online.
Savvy e-commerce retailers have systems that notice when you haven’t completed your purchase and will often email you a discount code to nudge you into action.
Note: Not all websites do this, but it’s worth trying, especially if it’s a big expense. You’ll usually have to be logged into your account with the retailer for it to work – or at least have made it to the stage where you’ve entered your email address during the checkout process.
5. Buying for twins? You don’t always need two of everything
If you’re pregnant with multiples, it’s natural for you to start multiplying every cost by two, three, four, etc. And while this will be the case for some essential items, you don’t have to do it for absolutely everything.
Just because little Tracey gets a toy doesn’t mean little Timmy needs the exact same one. Set the ground rules early and teach them to share — your bank balance will thank you later!
Want more top tips from mamas who’ve been there, done it, and got the money-saving t-shirt (probably on sale with a coupon)? Join Peanut today.
💡 More from The 411:
10 Life-Changing Mom Hacks From Peanut Mamas
Tips on Planning for a Baby Financially
What’s the Cost of Raising a Child?
13 Pieces of Advice That New Moms Need to Hear
8 Things You Don’t Need to Buy for Your Baby