Having a Baby on a Budget

posted by Andrea | 05/27/2011


Ever since I announced our “big news” a few weeks ago, I’ve been overwhelmed {in a good way} with comments, emails, facebook messages, tweets, snail mail, and even in-person advice as to what I should do, what I shouldn’t do, what I’ll definitely need, books to read, etc. etc.

And for the most part, it’s ALL excellent advice and I’m learning so much — without even reading any books yet 🙂

However, something that really surprised me is that I started getting questions too…

…about how to have a baby on a budget.


Now obviously, I can’t tell you the first thing about having a baby because I’ve never done it before. But I DO know quite a bit about frugal living, budgeting, and living large on less! So, I figured I would set out to find some baby deals and see if I couldn’t get a whole bunch of stuff for free — or at least really cheap.

And believe it or not, I did!

Over the last few weeks, I have gotten so many awesome deals on baby things, and I even came away with a handful of things for absolutely free.

1. Toys:

Seriously, like the day I announced I was expecting, toys started showing up…for free!  We’ve already gotten some from a friend, and a bunch more from my organizing clients. And while I probably will not keep all of them, it’s still a great way to encourage others to purge!

Some of my favorites so far are 2 sets of gorgeous wooden blocks, Doublo Legos, some adorable wooden “Melissa and Doug” toys, a handful of children’s books, and a few other odds and ends.

However, if you can’t get toys and books for free, I would definitely suggest thrift stores, and then just make sure to wash them before letting your children play with them!

2. Maternity Clothes:

Even though I’m hardly showing yet, I’ve reached the point where I can’t comfortably button any of my dress pants {you know, the kind that have a higher waist}. I can still get into my jeans and capris, but not the dress pants!

However, I’m fortunate enough to have a cousin and a couple friends who are not using their maternity clothing right now, have really great fashion sense, are about my same size, AND are nice enough to let me borrow their maternity clothes!  My cousin also gave me 2 Bella Bands which allow me to still wear my unbuttoned dress pants.

Plus, with the style of clothing now days, I can wear so many of  my own tops with no problem at all.


3. Diapers and Wipes:

So I have to confess, I’ve been stocking up on diapers and wipes for years now…but not necessarily for myself. I wait until I can get them for free or for just a few pennies, buy them, and then add them to baby and shower gifts for my friends and cousins. So I’ve actually given away most of my stock pile… until now!

Since I actually have a reason to keep these products for myself now, I’ve been shopping even harder to find freebie deals. I know that there’s a possibility that my baby won’t like the brand or type of diapers I find, but since I get them all for nearly nothing, I really don’t care. I can give them away to someone else who wants them, or exchange them for a different size/style at the store.

Thanks to some of my favorite coupon bloggers {and my mini obsession with finding great deals} I’ve been able to get 8 jumbo packs of diapers and large 7 tubs of wipes for almost nothing {less than $10 total for sure}. And last week, my mom called and said she was doing the same thing…so I think I’ll be set with diapers and wipes for at least a couple months!

4. Baby Furniture:

Yes, I already bought the crib, but only because I seriously found such a great deal… on Craigslist!  I knew that I wanted a Jenny Lind crib and I wanted it to have a dark stain. However, this type of crib brand new can easily cost $300-$700.

I figured I could not get my “dream crib” for free so I set out in search of a cheaper option on Craigslist. And within a week, I found the crib. It came from a very clean home and is in near perfect condition — for only $50!

I’ll most definitely buy a NEW mattress and I figure I can make most of the bedding if I can’t find a deal.

I also have an old dresser that I’m going to paint and buy a changing pad for the top…and wait until I show you the adorable rocking chair I found for only $10!! It needs a slipcover first though.


5. Baby Toiletries:

I’m not going to go too crazy with baby toiletries, but I’ve already come across a few coupons for free baby cream, baby powder, baby shampoo, etc. And since I go to the grocery store every week anyway, I simply remind myself to stop in the baby isle and get my free supplies.

I’ve also found some amazing on-line companies that sell natural baby products — and one of those companies {The Baby Bear Shop} will be participating in my huge Birthday Giveaway Celebration so she sent me a bunch of freebie products to try out. They are amazing!!!

6. Baby Clothes:

We will most definitely find out the gender of our baby, but we don’t even have an ultrasound scheduled so it will be a few weeks yet for sure. However, once we do learn the gender, I will start shopping garage sales and second hand stores for super cheap baby clothes. Plus, I know that even if I don’t register for any clothes, I’ll still get a bunch as gifts!


7. Random Deals:

I randomly got a flier in the mail a few weeks ago advertising for a free baby sling from Seven Slings and a free nursing cover from Udder Covers. I thought it might be a scam, but I went to the websites and picked the products I wanted, use the discount code on the flier, and all I had to pay was about $6 shipping for over $80 worth of products. Then, less than 2 weeks later, my sling and nursing cover came in the mail!

These are the two I picked out…aren’t they cute??

These are my “frugal successes” so far. However, I still have a LONG way to go.

So… I  thought it would be a really great if YOU could share YOUR tips, tricks, website links, and any other ways you found free or really cheap baby necessities.

Also, I would love it if you amazing deal bloggers would share your advice as well!


Filed under: FamilyPregnancyChildren

Leave a comment


  1. koleen


    Hi! Im a mom of 3…Ive just stumbled upon your site this AM. I am very curious to hear more details on your diaper savings. I have 3 that are still in them and Im going BROKE with diaper/wipe purchases. Which site exactly did you use to accomplish buying that amount for $10??? PLEASE SHARE!!!


  2. Kristnia


    I am very very interested in how you get free diapers! Specifically what you do. I love your site! I made the beer bread yesterday and it was awesome! Crock pot yogurt is on my menu for next week. Congratulations on your baby. I have 3 sweet lil girls and feel so fortunate to be their mommy:)


    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Kristina,
    I can often get free {or almost free} diapers by shopping at Rite Aid or Walgreens when they have big sales, plus rebates, plus coupons. All of them added together means I can usually find diapers for less than $2.00 per pack. My mom and I have been doing this for years and we’ve always just given them as gifts, but now we’re “stockpiling” them for our new baby!
    If we find out that she doesn’t like a certain brand or if she out-grows a certain size, we can just bring them back and exchange them… but I think we’re all set with diapers through size 3 already!


  3. Suzanne


    I haven’t checked in on your blog for awhile, and I am happy to say congratulations!!!!! I am excited for you. 🙂 Great advice on all of these things too. As far as clothing, just “selling” back to a consignment store and getting new (used) things there on the credit has saved me a bundle. Just recently I realized my son was outgrowing some shorts, and was happy to see in one of my thrift bins that I had quite a few shorts and tees in the next size already set aside that I’d purchased through the consignment store the previous year!


  4. April W.


    I’m due in October, and have found great deals on diaperswappers.com. Mamas sell used (and new) baby carriers, maternity clothing, cloth diapers, and pretty much anything else you could find at a garage sale at great prices. I love it!


  5. Sonja von Franck


    One of the first things that can save you a lot of money is not buying a bumper for your crib. We took an Infant CPR & First Aid class and it was shocking to us to hear that doctors & hospitals discourage their use. They can be expensive, but more importantly dangerous. Not only in the beginning with breathing/suffocation concerns but as they get older children can stand on them making it easier for them to climb/fall out. Needless to say we took the one I’d picked out from Pottery Barn back and that was our first lesson in putting our kids first AND that just because it’s on the market doesn’t mean it’s safe.

    Breastfeeding is a HUGE cost saver! Formula is expensive, even with the rebates and coupons available.

    Finally, think about potty training as early as possible. Both of my children started around 16-18 months and by two were fully potty trained. The sooner you can get them out of diapers, cloth or disposable, the more money you save. Not to mention the environmental benefits. American’s mentality about potty training is very different from around the world and I know I’ve saved a ton by never having to buy a Pull-Up or Size 6 Diaper.


    Julie Reply:

    I started ECing when my twins were 5 months and my other two at birth. I started out of necessity! and found it worth the up front time. By the time my twins were 12-16months they were potty trained. If you are interested in Elimination Communication check out “Infant Potty Training” by Laurie Boucke. This is the book that I used. I actually corresponded with Laurie a coupole of times and because I was the first person that she was aware of trying this with twins she included us in hee subsquent editions. I have nothing to gain by telling you about this book, its just the book that I found useful and that I used.


  6. A Magical Childhood


    I totally agree that babies are cheap, but they get more and more expensive as they get bigger. I have four (soon to be 5) and speak from experience! 🙂

    I agree with the other commenters that cloth diapering is a much cheaper way to go, and really easy these days.

    You can also save on those baby toiletries by avoiding most of them. Many of them are full of chemicals anyway and simple products can do a much better job. For instance, a big jar of organic coconut oil costs about $8 and makes a fabulous body lotion that is also great for diaper changes (coconut oil kills off yeast, which is a big culprit in diaper rashes) and is as natural as things can come.

    One more thing– please be careful buying Melissa and Doug toys. They have been recalled in Canada REPEATEDLY for having toxins like barium in their paint. Those toxins are illegal here too, but we rarely test for anything other than lead (and hardly ever test for that either) so even after the same products are recalled in Canada as unsafe they remain on our American shelves. Here’s info about a recall of three of their very popular toys (that are still for sale here): http://www.examiner.com/attachment-parenting-in-mankato/three-melissa-and-doug-toys-recalled-canada-for-barium-paint These toys are especially dangerous for babies, since they are so prone to putting things in their mouths.

    Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! 🙂


  7. Julie


    Baby on a budget is very doable!! My first were twins and we didn’t spend much. We are (even now) very fortunate that my in-laws are extremely generous and buy most of my four kids entire wardrobe! They love to find deals, and hey they don’t mind, and neither do I. I too, agree on the cloth! Like I said I started wtih twins, and then had two singletons and never HAD to buy another diaper after my first two kids. My twins couldn’t wear disposables, because they would break out in a rash shortly after I put them on. After a time they out grew their sensitivity, and we would buy disposables if we were going aways for the weekend. I saved us tons of $$$. I also second the make your own food. My kids never at jarred food or cereal from the box. I just made my own, it was easy to make ahead and freeze in ice cube trays. If we were going some where I would just take how ever many cubes out of the “flavors” we needed and they would be unthawed when we needed them. Once again, I saved tons of $$$, my kids had huge appetites!!
    Keep posting, your ideas I love reading what you have done/do.


  8. Lacey


    Great information!

    My husband and I aren’t expecting yet but have started ‘trying’. I followed your advice and found a Jenny Lind crib on Craigslist for $40 last weekend! He thought I was crazy but I had your post to back up the savings. 🙂

    Congratulations on the new baby!


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow $40 — that’s an even better deal than my crib! Way to go!!


  9. Dawn


    You probably know about this,and I’m surprised no one else mentioned it (unless I missed it),but you can try Freecycle.org. I’ve seen a lot of baby stuff,and even maternity clothes,offered there,all free. You sound so excited! Good luck.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Dawn,
    yes, I’ve head of freecycle, but honestly have never used it. I guess I might have to look into that!


  10. Keri m.


    I love that you are thinking about this now, instead of later, when no sleep-deprived mama can think straight! Have you seen 29diapers.com? It reviews products, gives tons of frugal suggestions and demystifies cloth diapers. She’s also got a great book for sale: Eco-Frugal Baby. It’s worth a look 🙂

    But my main suggestion from personal experience: borrow baby gear – they outgrow it so quickly. And stash the $20 aside for college.


  11. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime


    I am another big time cloth diaper advocate 🙂 My boys are less than 2 yrs apart so they were both in cloth diapers for a while and it was absolutely no big deal at all. It will save you SO much money and is much nicer for the baby, too. I think cloth diapers, a sling you love and a car seat are the only things I would consider an absolute necessity (along with a few changes of clothes, obviously). We did have a crib which we bought second-hand (I got a new mattress, too – totally agree about that), but if I was doing it over again I wouldn’t bother as our babies ended up sleeping with us (and I got a heck of a lot more sleep – I didn’t have to fully wake up to breastfeed in the middle of the night!)

    In general I would say don’t buy too much in advance, especially toys and gadgets like exersaucers, swings, etc. Babies really don’t need a lot besides their mom and dad, it’s easy to go overboard with that sort of stuff and my guys really didn’t care much for most of those things (which I received as gifts). You can always pick up a few things later if you decide you really need them. Also, I would suggest not buying a dedicated “change table”, but rather use the top of a dresser, which can easily be used as your child gets older, whereas a change table’s only good for a short time.

    The baby stage really can be extremely inexpensive if you don’t succumb to the hype of advertising – babies really don’t care about any of the stuff advertisers are trying to sell new parents 🙂 Now the tween/teen stage (where I’m at now) is definitely a bit more challenging, lol but we’re still pulling it off pretty inexpensively! We’ve been tightwad parents for our kids’ entire lives so they’re used to our frugal ways 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Karen,
    So far, the only thing I’ve really paid for is the crib…everything else was nearly free. I completely agree that kids can be cheap as long as we don’t give in to all the advertising and Babies R Us coupons!

    my parents were/are super frugal so I come by it naturally. Hopefully our kids will learn our frugal ways eventually too!


  12. Racine


    Those are some great tips, Andrea! Whenever we’re talking with friends who say they’re not sure they’re financially ready to have a baby…we say why not? Babies are cheap!

    I buy most of my boys’ clothes at garage sales. They only things I always buy new is pajamas, since the ones I find second-hand are usually in pretty rough shape…and you only need a couple sets of pajamas at any given time. (And pajamas make a great Christmas gift..Aiden loves getting them as gifts!)

    The first year was basically free for each of our kids, since I was fortunate enough to breastfeed and we make all our own baby food once they’re on solids.
    That’s great you got a deal on a sling, it might take trying a few different ones to find one you love (I have had four, ha!)

    When they’re young, they grow out of everything (toys, clothes, everything) so quickly that it doesn’t make much sense to spend a fortune on any one baby item. I am not normally one to be cheap, or even thrifty, but when it comes to kid supplies, I love a good deal, too!


  13. Cassie


    I LOVE your ideas! That is also excellent that you are getting baby items ahead of time! Way to plan ahead. 🙂


  14. Kecia


    I would also like to recommend cloth diapering. Modern cloth diapers have come a long way. We absolutely LOVE using them. They are super cute and so much better for my baby. I agree that the water bills aren’t really that bad. There are so many options out there these days that your sure to find a diaper that works for you and your budget. We warned though, cloth diapering can be addicting. They are so soft fluffy and cute that I find myself wanting to buy more 🙂


  15. Catie


    Congrats! We have been so blessed by others – our first child will be 3 in July and we have not had to buy ANY CLOTHES for her!! We have friends with girls just a little older so we get all of their hand-me-downs!! 😀

    The only thing I would add is if you get to the point where you aren’t able to get enough diapers quickly enough for really cheap (like you are now), you can buy them for SUPER cheap on Amazon! Our second baby is 11 months old and I SO wish we would’ve heard about this sooner!

    We buy Luvs (my fave) and we pay 11 cents a diaper! I’ve done my math and that’s cheap! (Prob not quite as cheap as you’re getting them right now, but you’ll be amazed at how many diapers a tiny little baby goes through! 🙂 You just have to sign up for Amazon Mom and then “Subscribe and Save” – they are shipped FREE to your door every month! (Also a savings in gas!) We love it.

    Love, love, love your blog, btw. 🙂


    Michele Reply:

    I suggest looking into cloth diapering and seeing if it is right for your family. You can get everything you need from newborn to potty trained for around $500. Our water bills didn’t go up at all; we were doing laundry everyday/ every other day anyway. In the long run we have saved a lot of money.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Catie,

    yes, I’m hoping to get lots of hand-me-down clothes… that’s what my mom always did too! And thanks for the Amazon diaper tip. I’m already singed up for “amazon moms” so I can get better discounts and free shipping. I probably will end up using that for my diapers.


  16. Stacey


    I think you covered everything pretty well. I love the Udder Cover you picked! I got the pink and white one from there too and its so pretty but i ended up getting the black one too after awhile cuz my daughter was much more calm when i could make it darker for her. I waited til i could get one for free again so i dont have any guilt over getting a second one:)

    Oh and i didnt register for a single item of clothing when i had my first baby and i probably only had between 40-50 people at my shower. My boy practically didnt have to wear a single outfit twice for his first 9 months, lol. People LOVE to buy baby clothes so you probably wont have to over do it at garage sales, lol.