How to Save Money When You Have a Baby

How to Save Money When You Have a Baby
Written by Irina Vasilescu

You decided that you’re ready to take on the responsibilities associated with raising a kid, and you are well on your way to welcoming a new member of the family.

For parents, no experience is more joyful than seeing their child for the first time. But as the days go by, the excitement of having a newborn in the family will slowly fade – although the joy would still be there.

By then, you would be thinking more along the practical line of what you can do in order to save money while raising a newborn child. That is exactly what we will learn more about here.

Preparing for the Expenses Before the Baby Arrives

Whether you’re having your first, second, third or even fourth child, there are expenses prior to the baby’s arrival that you would have to prepare for. After the pregnancy is confirmed, the health of the mother should be the primary priority. If you’re the mom, remember that you are eating for two now – so you should make sure that whatever you’re putting inside your body is good for both you and the child growing inside you.

You would also have to think about pre-natal check-ups. If you have a health insurance plan, ask your provider what is covered during the pregnancy stage and once you give birth. If you have an employer and a health insurance package is part of your benefits, ask your Human Resource office what the procedure is for filing for a leave of absence once you give birth, and what your health insurance benefits are.

Next, prepare for the actual birth of your baby. Compare hospital costs because delivery takes up a huge chunk off your raising-my-baby-budget. Even if you have a ready health insurance plan, the benefits that you will get to enjoy will vary from city to city or even from one clinic to another. So while you are awaiting the birth of your child, make sure to conduct enough research so that you would know what to do once your water breaks.

You should also set aside enough funds for your maternity leave. If you are a working mom, remember that there will be one less income coming into the household. Is this something that you’re prepared for? If not, find out what your financial options are.

It definitely is a great idea to say yes to a friend who’s preparing a baby shower – because you will get lots of free goodies for the baby this way. Not only that, but the party will also take your mind off your pregnancy-related woes.

My Baby’s Born: How Do I Save Money?

Next, what are the ways that you can save money once the baby is born? Take a look at the following list:

Do not shop for everything at once

One of the biggest mistakes made by first-time parents is shopping for all their baby-related items all at once. You may feel good after indulging in a shopping spree for the baby. But if you’re the type who is an impulsive buyer, you will definitely experience shopping remorse later on. That cute pair of booties for your baby girl will not fit in a few weeks’ time – so you could have used the money on other things.

There is plenty of time for you to shop for baby-related stuff and you can even bring your kid along. Controlling your buying impulse will make you save lots of dollars in the long run.

Don’t scrimp on diapers

If you think that you should buy the cheapest diapers that you can find in the market, think again. When it comes to changing diapers, quality definitely trumps a very cheap retail cost. Despite the low tag price of store brand diapers, you will find out later on that some of them leak or that 5% of what’s inside the package is actually defective.

You would not want your baby’s bottom to stay wet especially during the night, so it does pay to invest in good quality ones. When it comes to soiled diapers, cheap ones can easily tear apart or make the poop leak – which would cost you a lot of carpet cleaning or furniture cleaning costs in the long run!

Breastfeed as long as you can

One of the biggest expenses related to raising a child is buying formula milk. If you are a healthy mom, anyway, why not enjoy the cost savings associated with breast feeding? Not only will you get to bond with your baby, but you will also find out later on that breast milk is healthier for you and your child.

The savings that you will enjoy from not buying formula is merely an added bonus. In relation to this, also think about investing in a good quality breast pump. This is especially useful for working moms who would like to feed their baby with breast milk. You can get back in on the action as early as possible, but without sacrificing the health of your kid.

Don’t be overeager when shopping for baby clothes!

Yet another mistake that first time parents make is getting overly excited at the thought of shopping for baby clothes. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong in looking forward to the growth of your child, those extra clothes will cost you a lot of money in the long run.

As such, it pays to control your buying impulse. That one-dozen set of onesies that you bought on sale may not fit your baby in as little as two, three or four weeks – so never buy more than what your child can actually wear on a daily basis.

Make your own baby food

Instead of buying baby food in a jar, why not get a small food processor? Making your own baby food will assure you as a parent that only natural ingredients are consumed by your child. With baby food in a jar, you will never know which preservatives were used, so it pays to take the extra precaution.

Know where to look for bargain baby-related stuff

Sign up for newsletters of stores which sell baby-related items. Use coupons whenever possible, or even shop for signature baby clothes on sites like Ebay. As mentioned earlier, baby clothes and even the other items that they use can be easily outgrown. This means that you will usually find parents selling all their child’s extra stuff online at real bargain prices.

Clearance sales, store brands and generic brands are the other ways for you to save money when buying stuff for your baby.

Hold off on buying shoes for the baby

If you have a bunch of onesies, one or two pairs of shoes for the baby will be fine. Their feet can easily grow and in no time at all, your son or daughter will be walking. By this time, you would need more substantial pairs that will protect their soles from all that walking.

Also, never fall for cute! Most parents buy stuff for their babies simply because they’re cute. If this is a habit that you unfortunately have, it will not do your budget any good so regain control of your spending habits.

Know which items are necessary to buy

Bibs are considered redundant – you are better off buying big shirts instead. You can purchase one or two that you can use during feeding sessions, any more than that is a waste of money. Other items which are considered redundant and even a hazard for the health of your baby are crib pillows. You actually need to remove these when your child is inside the crib because they are a choking hazard.

When buying feeding bottles, find out if your child likes them first

Right before your baby is born, you might have a stock of a dozen feeding bottles of different sizes and brands. This is an expense that you can do away with, because your child needs to have that seal of approval on the bottle first. Even the most expensive brand of feeding bottle will prove to be useless if your baby does not like the bottle itself.

Make sure that you have a baby care bag in your car

If you frequently travel, make sure to have a baby care bag in your car. This will save you lots of time when preparing to go out with the baby.

Be aware of child care-related tax deductions

Finally, be aware of which child care-related tax deductions are available in your area. Most states offer a 20% to 35% tax deductible on child care expenses, depending on how much you actually earn. Check with your tax adviser about any tax liens that you may be given when raising a child. For the first year of your newborn’s life, you can spend anywhere between $7,000 and $14,000 depending on the things that you will buy.

By taking these tips into account, you can save money on rearing your child, and use the savings for other more important things – like your child’s future education.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • One more tip for buying things for newborns: don’t buy a gazillion newborn sized diapers! They normally won’t fit the baby for very long. I made the mistake of buying 4 giant bags of size N diapers for my first baby, and he outgrew them before I used the first bag! I ended up having to give them away, so it was a total waste of money.

  • Thanks for this article. I hope to become a dad within the next year or so, I am saving up a fund because I know it will be expensive, but I can certainly use these tips to help.

    Thats a good point Lemonbell, babies grow out of everything pretty fast, can’t stock up on much.

  • I have to suggest buying thrift store clothes for your baby and toddler. Since many, many people make the mistakes mentioned of over-buying clothes and then end up giving them away, there are lots of like-new (or sometimes even new!) baby clothes to be had at thrift stores. Between thrift stores and gifts, I didn’t have to buy any new clothes for my son until he was starting preschool!

  • Yes! Don’t buy everything at once! Disposable diapers that are inexpensive are awful. My partner bought me storebrand once and it didn’t hold against a blow out. Never again. Another way to save is using cloth diapers. More expensive when bought, but way less expensive in the long run.
    Clothes I think should be bought a little at a time because they do grow out of them quickly. Shoes for babies that dont walk are a luxury, so only buy a few of those. You can opt to cosleep (as long as there aren’t issues like weigh or smoking involved) and also save there. I am very pro-breastfeeding, so that’s another way to save I agree with.

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