Being a new mom comes with a lot of worries.
With that said, the last thing you want to do is stress about money. But babies are expensive!
According to a 2015 USDA report, the average middle-income family will spend roughly $12,980 on child-related expenses every year. And that’s only for one child!
On top of that, you still have to pay the bills, save for retirement, start a college fund, and you can’t forget vacations!
With all that said, it’s normal to worry.
Sometimes with all the expenses that life throws our way. It may seem almost impossible to save, especially with a new baby.
But today, I’m going to share a bunch on how to save money with a baby. These are things I’ve done to save thousands of dollars as a new mom.
1. Create a budget
There are a lot of new expenses that come with having a baby. Diapers, food, insurance, childcare, and the list goes on and on.
So having a budget in place is very important.
Budgets are a great tool because it can help you understand where you’re spending your money. And how much money you have (or don’t have) after you pay your bills.
Creating your budget could be an eye-opening experience! It’ll also help you stay on track so you can meet your financial goals.
Let’s say that you want to save $25,000 for a college fund for your child by the time they turn 18. This would be really hard to do if you didn’t know how much you were able to contribute and if you could really afford it.
To help you get started, I’ve included the Saving Cents Budget Template that’s super easy to use.
Step 1: Download the budget template
Step 2: Complete worksheet
Step 3: Go through each expense and ask yourself if it’s a necessity. If not, ask yourself is there a way to either get rid of it all together or cut the cost? Is there a better alternative?
Step 4: Track your expenses for the next 2-3 months so your budget reflects accurate numbers
Look at your budget every week or two to ensure you’re on the right track, and make adjustments as you go.
2. Think before you buy
Babies don’t require much more than the basics: a car seat, diapers, a crib, food, blankets, and clothes.
I’m not saying that as a new mom, you shouldn’t buy anything else or that it’s not nice to have other things. But really think about every purchase you make. Do you really need a foot monitor that tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level?
Really? Why do you need it? Are you sure? Is it worth a few hundred dollars?
Don’t just buy something for the heck of it.
You don’t need the latest and greatest. If you do, know that you’ll be paying a hefty premium.
When my daughter was born my cousin gave me a baby monitor that she used with her girls. You know the no-frills baby monitor that’s like a walkie-talkie?
But everyone that I knew had the fancy video monitors that you could see your baby in high definition, that also monitored the temperature and humidity of the room. Although some of those things would have been nice to have, I couldn’t justify spending $150 which is 75% more than the basic baby monitor.
At the end of the day, the walkie-talkie monitor worked just fine and got the job done.
Pro Tip: Try to think big picture. Would you rather spend $150 for a video baby monitor or would you rather put that towards your child’s college fund or even a fun family getaway?
3. Use hand-me-downs
There’s no shame in using hand me downs. Even for your first child! Yes, I said it!
I’ve saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars by using hand-me-downs instead of buying new.
I was extremely fortunate that family, friends, friends of friends, and even my husband’s colleague offered to give us things that they no longer needed. We didn’t even have to ask!
The only two things that I wanted new was the car seat and mattress for safety reasons.
I got a ton of clothes, shoes, bedding, a pack-n-play, high chairs, books, toys, strollers, blankets, and so much more.
I bet you know someone (family, friends, neighbors) who would be more than happy to pass things along to you.
But you won’t know unless you ask.
4. Buy used
I know a lot of people that don’t want to buy used things for their child because “it’s gross”. But all kids are kinda gross and as long as it’s in good condition and you can clean or sanitize whatever you’re buying, there shouldn’t be a problem.
The savings are way too good to pass up. Buying used can save you at least half or even a third of the cost of buying new.
There are lots of ways to buy used like consignment shops and yard sales. But my favorite was joining local Facebook buy and sell exchange groups.
It’s mostly made up of other moms buying and/or selling things that their tot has outgrown or no longer uses.
You can see what other people are selling and can even create a post with details on what you’re looking to buy.
For example, I posted that I was looking to buy a lot of 6-month footed pajamas for my daughter. Preferably fleece with zippers. Within a couple of hours, 4 people messaged me with prices and pictures of the footed pajamas that they had. I was able to buy 9 of them for just $18!
Other things that I’ve bought were toys, a nursing pillow, sleep sacks, towels, bibs, crib mobile, clothes, and furniture.
Pro Tip: It never hurts to ask for a lower price. Especially if you’re buying multiple items from the same seller. A lot of times people are just trying to get rid of things they no longer use so they don’t mind selling at an even lower price. I’ve even had people throw in a swing, clothes, bumbo, bottle sterilizers, and clothes for FREE!
5. Wait for sales
Baby stuff is oh so cute but crazy expensive!
This may seem like a no-brainer. But I’ve been caught in many situations where I had to buy something at full price because I didn’t plan ahead.
In most cases, I could have gotten it cheaper if I waited for it to go on sale.
Being a new mom, I’ve learned that baby stuff goes on sale all the time! Even things that are normally excluded when using coupons.
I try to buy everything when it goes on sale. Diapers, strollers, toys, everything! I keep a list of things that I know I’ll need in the next few months so I won’t forget. Then I buy it as soon as it goes on sale.
I keep up with sales by subscribing to emails at a few stores that I usually buy from. Babies R Us and Target are two of my go-to stores.
Pro Tip: Subscribe to emails to store you go to because they may send coupons. Babies R Us sends coupons all the time and Target has promotions like spend $250 on baby products and receive a $50 Target gift card.
6. Shop around
Before you buy anything, ALWAYS do a quick search for the product online to check if there is a cheaper price anywhere else.
There have been so many times that I’ve found cheaper just by taking a minute to look it up.
In the example below, I typed in Baby Jogger City Mini GT. It’s usually $359.99! But it was on sale for 305.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s. When I clicked on Kohl’s, I discovered that they were offering $90 worth of Kohl’s cash. That’s a savings of $144!
7. Get cash back
It’s a process going to the store with my daughter. I have to get ready, get my daughter ready, pack a baby bag, get the bottle, grab the stroller. You know, just regular mom life.
So it’s not a surprise that I’m a big fan of shopping online. I try to shop online instead of shopping in-store whenever I can.
When I shop online, I always check cashback websites like Ebates, Shopathome, and Ibotta. These companies have partnered with a ton of stores that give cash back for almost everything. I’ve even seen cash back as high as 20%.
For example, I bought a stroller at Kohls.com for $272. And I received $21.76 cash back (8% savings)!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of coupons and discount codes in addition to getting cash back
8. Reshop your registry items
You probably received a number of things that were on your baby registry that your baby won’t use for a couple of months or longer. For me, I received a stroller, toddler car seat, and baby carrier.
I realized that all of these big-ticket items were bought at full price. No coupons and no discounts were used.
So I kept my eye out to see if those things would go on sale. And what do you know? Everything eventually went on sale. Usually after a month or two.
I took everything back and received store credit since I didn’t have the original receipt. Then I re-purchased it from the store that had the items on sale. I ended up saving $156.13 so it was definitely worth the hassle of returning it!
9. Return unwanted registry items
It’s hard to know exactly what you’ll need for your child before they’re even born. So you probably ended up receiving things off of your registry that your child won’t end up needing or using at all.
If that’s the case, don’t forget to return it. I know this is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re a new mom and have a little baby at home. But that’s what friends and family are for!
Merchants often put time limits on returns and exchanges. And the last thing you want to do is miss the return window.
Try to keep everything new in the box or with all the tags on it until you actually need it. This way if your child received a bunch of newborn clothes and only went through a few before going up a size, you can return it without any hassle.
10. Know what to buy in bulk
There is a fine line when it comes to buying in bulk. Yes, it can save you a lot of money. But you can also waste a lot of money too.
I almost always buy diapers, laundry detergent, and baby wipes in bulk. It saves me at least 10-15%. I’ve also been told that formula is a good one to buy in bulk too.
However, not all things that come in bulk are created equal. Baby wipes and laundry detergent are a pretty safe bet since your child will be using them for a while and you don’t have to worry about it going bad or getting too small.
But be careful when buying diapers. Babies grow so fast that they may not be able to finish a box of 252 diapers before going up in size (especially the newborn size).
Pro Tip: Buying in bulk from a warehouse club can end up costing more than something that goes on sale at your local store
11. Try breastfeeding
I never thought that I would breastfeed prior to having my daughter.
I’ve always heard that breastfeeding was good for the little one but I didn’t think it was for me. However, I decided that it was worth trying and happy that I did.
Saving money wasn’t the motive behind my decision but it was definitely a huge perk.
I haven’t had to pay for food to feed my daughter since she was born. Just think about that! I won’t ever be able to say that about her again once she stops nursing.
Breastfeeding in place of using formula will have saved me at least $1,200 by the time my baby is a year old. If you are lucky enough to be able to nurse, you should give it a try.
12. Skip the nursing wardrobe
If you’re a nursing mama, then you know how important it is to be able to quickly feed your hungry, screaming child.
So having a few good nursing bras are a must!
Other than that, you don’t need clothes made specifically for nursing.
Yes, I know it’s tempting to buy cute nursing clothes. But I’m all for practicality.
Regular v-neck shirts are my go-to “nursing tops.” I buy them a size larger and it gets the job done. It’s comfortable, easy on the budget, and something that I’ll continue to wear even after I’m done nursing.
I may not be the most stylish mom but I’m perfectly fine with that.
Pro Tip: Wait a couple of weeks before you buy multiple nursing bras in case you don’t continue to breastfeed
13. Try generic
Generic/store brand is another word that a lot of new parents don’t like. I know I’m guilty of this too.
A lot of generic or store brand products are just as good if not better than the brand name. There’s practically a generic version for almost everything. It’s worth trying at least once to see for yourself. Especially because store brands are cheaper and many store brands are backed by a customer satisfaction guarantee.
Get out of the mindset that brand names are always better because a lot of generic brands are exactly the same thing without the brand name.
You may even be able to do a little research before to see how people feel about the generic version and how it compares to its brand name counterpart.
14. Try before you buy
Babies are all so different and what works for one may not for the next. So it’s best to try things first before buying if possible. If you can’t, start with a smaller size and buy the bigger size only if it works with your child.
Diapers are a good example. I bought a big box of diapers and it leaked on a daily basis. I thought it was user error but the fit just didn’t work with my child.
I had to go through several brands before finding one that didn’t leak poop everywhere. I wish I would have tried the smaller box before buying the ginormous box.
Bottles are other great examples. Avoid buying a whole set of bottles because your child may not take to it.
Instead, I tried a few bottles that came in my baby registry gift bag and a few bottles that my friends and family no longer needed. From there I was able to choose the one that worked best with my child.
Pro Tip: Baby stores are great places to experiment. They’ll let you test things like baby carriers and strollers before buying them.
Being a new mom is a wonderful thing. But it comes with a lot of worries, especially money.
Babies are expensive, so knowing how to save money with a baby can save can help relieve some stress.
Start out by creating a budget if you don’t already have one in place. Budgets don’t have to be complicated and can really help you visualize what you need to do in order to reach your financial goals.
Also, avoid buying new when you can. Hand me downs are the best since they’re free. But buying used is also great because it can save you 50% or more of the cost of buying new.
If you do end up buying new, make sure you’re being smart. Think about what you really need, wait for sales, use coupons, shop around, and be sure to use cashback sites when making purchases online.
These are 14 ways that I’ve been able to save money being a new mom. However, there are tons of opportunities to save all around you. You just have to be open-minded, flexible, and be willing to take a little time to make it happen.
What have you done to save money as a new mom?