Having a baby on a tight budget requires a lot of planning and saving. If you’re expecting a child and have a tight budget, I’ve got some strategies that can help you stretch your dollar.
A few years ago, we purchased a home that we poured all our savings into renovating. Needless to say, we were on a very tight budget, because we also found out we were also expecting baby number 2.
That was a stressful time in our lives.
To make things easier, I set out to create a plan that’d help us afford all our baby items for the first few years. We also created a strict budget that helped us bounce back.
Below I’ll share some of the things we did to help us have a baby on a tight budget.
You may also like: How To Afford A Baby When On Minimum Wage: 21 Helpful Tips
How To Have A Baby On A Tight Budget
Learn to budget and stick with it
The excitement of having a baby on the way makes parents want to buy everything out there.
New parents fall victim to overspending the most because they don’t know what they need for a baby just yet.
Books and Youtube videos will give you so many recommendations that you’ll end up buying things you don’t need.
The best way to have a baby on a tight budget is to learn to create and manage a budget. The budgeting method I recommend to all beginners is the cash envelope system.
It’s straightforward and simple to use. This article will teach you how to use the cash envelope budgeting system. It contains free printables that will help you on your budgeting journey. So make sure to check it out.
I also wrote an extensive article on how to create a monthly budget. Although it’s targeted at stay-at-home moms, the methods listed can apply to any mom out there.
You may also like: 17 Ways To Save Money on A Baby’s Room (Nursery on A Budget)
Download Your Free Weekly Expense Tracker
Find ways to make extra cash while pregnant
Finding ways to make extra cash can help boost your baby’s budget, and help you afford things you otherwise couldn’t.
There are plenty of side hustles you can do while pregnant, that won’t stress you out.
Some include wrapping your car in advertising, becoming an online juror, doing closed captioning, etc.
In fact, I wrote an article on 17 unique ways you can make extra money while pregnant. Check it out to see which way works for you. Making extra cash will help you afford to have a baby on a tight budget.
You may also like: 13+ Ways To Get Cloth Diapers On A Budget
Stop buying these things to save money
There are so many things we buy every day that we don’t need. Some of them include bottled water, order-out coffee, and beverages.
If you calculate the amount of money you spend on unnecessary purchases each month, it’d be enough to buy an essential item for your baby.
Check out this post I wrote on 21 things you should stop buying to save money today. Cutting out these items from my life really helped me have my baby on a tight budget.
Look into government benefits that you may qualify for
If you’re having a baby on a tight budget, then you may qualify for government benefits. Some government benefits for pregnant women include WIC, Medicaid Insurance, TANF, and SNAP.
WIC provides assistance to women, infants, and children by giving them money for food each month. Medicaid is free insurance that covers every aspect of healthcare for needy families.
TANF stands for temporary assistance for needy families. If you qualify, you’ll receive a stipend every month to use for whatever you need for yourself and your baby.
SNAP is supplemental nutrition assistance for needy families. Through this program, you’ll get a stipend that you can use to buy food products for yourself and the baby.
Most of these programs are administered by the state, so make sure to check your local state agencies to see if you qualify.
Struggling To Set Up Your Baby’s Nursery?
Get this simple Baby Nursery Room Planner and ditch the overwhelm today!
More Ways To Have A Baby On A Tight Budget
Skip the unnecessary baby gear
The first rule of having a baby on a tight budget is not buying unnecessary baby gear.
Baby gear refers to equipment and tools marketed to parents that promise to make caring for a baby easier.
The truth is that you don’t need much to make a baby comfortable, loved, and cared for.
Some unnecessary baby gear you should skip buying is a baby swing, a play gym, a doc-a-tot, a sit-me-up chair, an activity center, etc. The list goes on and on.
Make sure to download my Baby-On-A-Budget Checklist below to get a complete list of budget-friendly items you should buy for your baby.
You may also like: How To Save Money On Baby Items (An Ultimate Guide)
Get hand-me-downs from family/friends
One thing I did to save money when I was having my baby on a tight budget, was to get hand-me-downs from my family.
Contact every friend and family member you know, and ask them if they have any baby items to give you.
I was lucky enough to receive some hand-me-downs from my husband’s cousin who happened to have kids a few years older than ours.
They gave us so many baby clothes and shoes that we didn’t have to buy anything for the first 2 years of my kids’ lives.
You may also like: 11 + Ways To Save Money On Baby And Kids’ Clothes
Take full advantage of your baby registry
If you’re going to be a first-time parent, then you need to create an extensive baby registry.
People are more willing to spend money on first-time parents than they are on parents with multiple kids.
One way to have a baby on a tight budget is to add all your expensive baby gear/items to your baby registry.
I did this with my first child, and my friends and family bought me everything on my list regardless of the price.
Don’t be shy or embarrassed about putting expensive items in your baby registry.
People understand that the point of a registry is to help you buy things you wouldn’t be able to afford on your own.
Use your local buy-nothing group on Facebook
I absolutely love my local Facebook Buy-nothing group. I have gotten so many things from there over the years.
There is a group for every neighborhood. To find one close to you, simply type “buy-nothing + name of the town” or “buy-nothing+name of the city” until something close to you comes up.
Over the years, I’ve received baby carriers, a baby swing, play mats, lots of toys, baby clothes, shoes, a crib, etc. I’ve also donated some things to others as well.
Using your local buy-nothing group to get free items is a great way to have a baby on a tight budget.
Get used baby gear from the Facebook Marketplace
If you’re in need of something expensive like a crib, a stroller, or a swing, then try getting it used on Facebook Marketplace.
You may have to weed through a lot of scams to find genuine sellers out there.
Most people who list items on the Facebook marketplace are looking to just offload them to reduce clutter. So you have an advantage, and can therefore bargain with them for a reduced price.
I’ve bought a few baby items over the years from Facebook Marketplace that were of good quality. It’s a great tool that’ll help you have a baby on a tight budget.
Get a pack-n-play instead of a crib
There’s a misconception out there that every baby needs a crib for bedtime. The truth is that a pack-n-play is a much better option for so many reasons.
First, pack-n-play can be used for travel because it folds up compactly.
Another reason a pack-n-play is better is that most of them come with a bassinet and a changing table for the first few years of life. So you won’t need to buy additional ones.
A pack-n-play also doubles as a play yard for your baby when they become more mobile. You can put them in there with some toys, and go do other things knowing they are safe.
Using a pack-n-play will save you money if you’re having a baby on a tight budget.
Breastfeed instead of using formula
Breastfeeding is one of the easiest ways to save money on baby formula. If you’re having a baby on a tight budget, then I suggest trying to breastfeed exclusively or part-time.
Breastfeeding has many benefits. It provides your baby with the necessary antibodies and immune support in their first 6 months of life.
It’s also produced naturally, so you don’t have to buy formula.
I recognize that breastfeeding isn’t possible for everyone. I myself struggled with it for months before things got better.
If you can’t breastfeed, then consider joining the Human Milk For Human Babies (HM4HB) Facebook group in your area to get donor milk for free.
You can supplement donor breast milk with formula to save a lot of money.
Buy store brand formula
If you have to use baby formula, then you need to find ways to reduce the cost. One way to save on baby formula is to buy store brands.
If your child doesn’t require a special baby formula due to dietary reasons, then there’s no reason to waste money on name-brand products.
Get generic baby formula from companies like Costco, Target, and Walmart. Their store-brand version is just as good as the name-brand.
Buying store-brand baby formula will help you save when having a baby on a tight budget. Trust me. Your baby won’t know the difference.
Get free baby products
There are ways to get free samples of baby products from companies out there. One way to get free baby formula is to sign up for Similac’s rewards program called Similac Strong Moms.
You will get about 3 sample cans of baby formula every 3 months for the first 9 months of your baby’s life. I used this method for both of my kids.
You can also ask for some free baby formula from the hospital where you gave birth. They usually carry ready-to-feed formulas on hand. They will give you some to take home if you ask.
Your pediatrician’s office can also provide you with samples of baby formula as well.
If you’re having a baby on a tight budget, then this is something you should be doing to save some money.
Get a free breast pump from insurance
My insurance company recently informed me that by law, all insurance companies must cover the cost of a breast pump for every pregnancy.
This means that you’re entitled to receive a new breast pump every time you get pregnant.
I have 2 breast pumps total from my two pregnancies. You could also be eligible for postpartum recovery materials as well through your insurance.
My current insurance covered the cost of a belly band, compression socks, and a pumping bra when I had my second child.
Take full advantage of your insurance coverage if you’re having a baby on a tight budget.
Buy store-brand wipes
Baby wipes are just as expensive as baby diapers. Unfortunately, there are no reusable baby wipes out there, like there are cloth diapers.
So one way to save when having a baby on a tight budget is to buy store-brand baby wipes.
I switched to store-brand wipes with my second baby because of how much money we were spending on baby wipes each month.
It saved us a few hundred dollars on baby expenses.
Use cloth diapers
I’m from Nigeria where the majority of moms use cloth diapers, so I’m very comfortable with the idea.
I understand that it may be a difficult transition from using disposable diapers to using cloth diapers because of the convenience factor.
Just think about how much money you could save if you weren’t buying diapers every month.
The average cost of one box of disposable diapers is about $35 dollars depending on the brand. You may need more than one box per month if you change your baby frequently.
On the other hand, you can buy a 6 pack of cloth diapers for the same price on Amazon. The difference is that the cloth diapers are one size fits all adjustable.
This means you only need to buy them once. You can reuse them again and again until you’re ready to potty train.
Using cloth diapers will help you save if you’re having a baby on a tight budget.
Make your own baby food
The last way you can save money when having a baby on a tight budget is to make your own baby food.
Store-bought baby food has many additives that are used to make them shelf stable.
By making your own baby food, you ensure that your baby only eats food with safe ingredients.
You’ll also save money if you buy groceries that are on sale to make baby food.
You can look into getting fresh produce from food banks in your area. This way, you won’t even have to spend money to make the baby food.
Now that we know how we can have a baby on a budget, let’s look at essential items you actually need for your baby.
Baby on a budget checklist (minimalist baby budget)
There are many baby items that I consider NICE TO HAVE, then there are baby items that are considered a MUST HAVE for a baby.
In this section, I’ll list out the MUST-HAVE baby items and tell you about some ways you can save money on each one.
Our goal here is to create a minimalist baby budget.
Minimalist Baby On A Budget Checklist
- Reusable cloth diaper
- Store brand Wipes
- Baby clothes (use thrift stores, consignment, buy gender-neutral clothes)
- Swaddles or sleep sack (get from a buy-nothing group, buy used on Facebook)
- Store brand formula
- Baby bottles
- Baby lotion/Oils
- Baby bathtub
- Baby soap
- Towels and Washcloth
- Toys & books (from buy-nothing groups)
- Pack n play
- Pack-n-play mattress
- Pack n play sheets
- Stroller (buy used on Facebook)
- Baby carrier wrap (buy used or get from a buy-nothing group)
- Sound machine (download white noise sound from Youtube)
Need To Print This Checklist?
More Money Saving Articles