Baby on a Budget

Everyone creates a spreadsheet of baby expenses right?  No...hmm.  Well it has sort of become a hobby of mine and a bit of an obsession.  I knew that I needed stuff, but how much is this "stuff" is really necessary?

The moment you find out you are pregnant it seems like you are overwhelmed with lists of must haves.  It's more than overwhelming.  I knew that what I wished for really needed to be essential and if I didn't receive it as a gift, I needed to find it cheap since I'm currently not working. 

We got away with spending approximately $900 for over $3000 worth of stuff.  This retail value is actually pretty low as I didn't include the retail cost for the clothing that we received as gifts. Below are the basics of how I did it.

1) Remember that you don't really NEED all of the items that are often recommended on the store's sheet they give you as a guide. Equipment and gear for a baby is very expensive and it's lifespan is often very short.  Looking back I would have moved a few of the "Non-Essentials" to "Essential" category and taken off some things from "Essential".  For example, having a bouncy seat and play mat for the floor was "Essential".  Yes, I could have used the infant carrier but the bouncy seat was much more convenient in the long run.  The play mat also turned out to be one of his favorite activities and he loved to lay and look above at the toys.  However, I don't have to have an excersaucer, swing, four different strollers, toys, or so much clothing.

2) Spend time creating a wish list that includes items you really need.  Unfortunately we do not live near our family and friends so I didn't have a baby shower but luckily they still love us and sent us great things!  If I didn't have them I would have purchased the big ticket items used but we did receive some great gifts from my Amazon Baby Registry.

I know that the spreadsheet indicates some major gifts.  Like I said, we are blessed.  But honestly, one thing many moms do not count on is the generosity of everyone around you when you are having a baby!  I mean really, neighbors that I hardly talk to were bring me things for the baby.  If you are working or living near your family, most likely you will have a baby shower thrown for you.  An expected baby seems to bring out the compulsion in most people to buy something and share in your joy.  This includes expectant moms, so be careful to rein your own self in.  It's best to hold off purchasing items as much as you can to see what kinds of items come in from friends and relatives or what you can stumble across used.  Otherwise what happens is you find yourself with multiple items.

There are options though if you if you don't receive all of the items you need as gifts.  Many of the things that I received were also items that I passed up on Freecycle or Craigslist. Also, I'm noticing some of the items aren't really necessities after all.  Remember though that searching online takes patience so it's best to start looking well before you need things and to look often.

3) When you do have to buy, never pay retail prices.  Always be patient and buy items greatly reduced and on sale in the stores.  Better yet, find slightly used or new without tags off of Craigslist, Ebay online swap sites or at yard sales.

I didn't always follow my own advice but it's good advice nonetheless.  

4) Embrace the world of used items.  Your children grow up and out of things so very fast.  Thankfully we are moving more towards a culture where thrifting is in so there are many opportunities to find gently used items.

Three of the major online sources for such used items are CraigslistEbay, and Freecycle.  You will not believe what some people get rid of for free or for a fraction of the costs for new.  It does take patience but it pays off.

Don't forget to check out your local brick and mortar thrift stores as well as Saturday morning yard sales.  I know that they vary greatly by location, but where we are I've found some great items at Goodwill. 

5) Don't forget to resell your items once you are finished with them.   As my son outgrew his clothes and his diapers I sold them online to recoup some money.  I also sold off multiple outfits and things that I realized I didn't really need.  If you buy used or low cost, it's not impossible to make all of your money back. 

6)  Consider using cloth diapers even if it's just while you are at home.  This is a huge money saver and can be an even greater one if you use cloth for more than one baby.  The upfront cost is a little intimidating but there are lots of resources to help you get started and find which option will work best for your family.  There are also many stores online that will allow you to try cloth diapers for a small fee and return the ones that don't work for you or all of them if you decide that cloth is not your cup of tea.  

7) Breastfeed your baby as long as you can.  The American Association of Pediatrics recommends at least the first year.  The World Health Organization recommends the first two years.  If you are able to, follow these recommendations and you are not only giving your baby the best gift you can give her, you will also save a bundle.  

If you find that you have to or choose to use formula, sign up for the promotions and use coupons to save the dough.

Essentials (Must Haves Right Away) Use Cost *Estimaed Retail Where It Was Purchased
Place to Sleep

Bassinet Newborn to sleep in <15 lbs $20.00 $55.00 Craigslist
Co-Sleeper Baby sleeps in bed with us safely $20.00 $68.00 Craigslist
Sleep Bag/Swaddle Blanket  Halo Sleep Sack $5.00 $20.00 Craigslist

For Car Rides

Infant Car Seat Received Used From Friend Free $69.00 Gift


Lot Purchased From Craigslist ($200) $200.00
Diaper Pail Craigslist Lot ($200)
$10.00 Craigslist
Diaper Pail Liner Craigslist Lot ($200)
$17.00 Craigslist
Medium Wet Bag Craigslist Lot ($200)
$18.00 Craigslist
Cloth Wipes (40) Craigslist Lot ($200)
$30.00 Craigslist
Diaper Covers (Infant) 5 EUC newborn covers $15.00 $48.00 Ebay
Baby Ointment Ointment with Sample Pack Free $17.00 Gift
Newborn Prefolds (9) 5 Organic/4 Unbleached Price Cost w/ Shipping $26.00 $26.00 Green Mountain Diapers
Kushis Small All in Ones (2) Clearance Not sure Price $20.00 $36.84 Babies R Us
Snappi or Pins (need 2) Craigslist Lot ($200)
$7.50 Craigslist
Diaper Covers (5 Small) 6 Thirsties Duo White Covers (Retail $12.25 each) $46.00 $73.50 Ebay
Small Prefolds (12) Craigslist Lot ($200)
$28.00 Craigslist
Kissaluvs Diaper Potion Purchased New $7.95 $7.95 Green Mountain Diapers
Giraffe Swaddlebee Purchased New $16.95 $16.95 Amazon
Dino Swaddlebee Purchased New $19.99 $19.99 Amazon
Kissaluvs Size 0 2 EUC fitted diapers $14.00 $28.00 Craigslist


One-piece Sleepers (6-8) 3-6 m (2) Free
Sleep Gowns Newborn (4) 3-6 m (3) Free
Scratch Mittens (2 pairs)
$3.00 $6.00 Babies R Us
Newborn Hats (2) JJ Cole Bundle Me and Pack from TJMax $3.00
Short Sleeved Onesies (4) 3 m (3) $4.99
Long Sleeved Snap Tees Newborn (4)/3 months (4) $14.00
Stretchy Pants (2) Freecycle/Target $4.00
Hoodie Jackets (2) Bought on online at Carters also Goodwill $11.00
Socks (4) Newborn Free
Dress Up Outfits (2) 3-6 m (2) Free
Large Blanket (3)
Thermal Blankets (3)
$5.00 $21.00 Craigslist
Receiving Blankets (8) 1 Monogrammed/8 Flannel $8.00
Bunting Bag (1) One Plush Original/Bundle Me Lite Free $45.00 Gift


Breast Pads Purchased with Groupon $4.00 $8.00 Babies R Us
Breast Pads
Free $8.00 Freecycle
Breast Ointment Purchased with Groupon $4.00 $9.00 Babies R Us
Bibs (2-4) Have 6 small/1 burpy bib Free


Hooded Towel Bath Set Included Towels,Sponge,Washcloths Free $39.00 Gift
Wash Cloths (10)
Baby Wash
$8.00 $9.99 Walgreens
Baby Bath Tub Easier way to bathe baby $5.00 $25.00 Craigslist

Baby Gear

Baby Carrier K'Tan $35.00 $60.00 No Better Deal
Baby Carrier Ergo $45.00 $130.00 Craigslist

Free $11.00 Gift
Nail Clippers/Emery Board/Scissors Using One We Already Have

Pacifiers (2) Purchased with Groupon $2.50 $4.00 Babies R Us
Essentials Use Cost
Where It Was Purchased
Place to Sleep

$110.00 $99.00 Wal-Mart/Gift
$180.00 $180.00 Albee Baby
Crib Sheets (2 Super Soft)
Crib Sheet Organic Cotton $18.00 $18.00 Amazon

For Car Rides

Car Seat For when baby > 20 lbs Free $212.00 Gift
Sun Shades
Free $10.00 Gift


Diaper Sprayer Craigslist Lot ($200) $35.00 $59.00 Craigslist
Diaper Bag
Free $32.00 Gift
Changing Pad and 4 Covers
$20.00 $60.00 Craigslist


One-piece Sleepers (6-8)
Hats (2)
Short Sleeved Onesies (4)
Long Sleeved Onesies (4)
Long Sleeved Snap Tees
Stretchy Pants (2)
Hoodie Jackets (2)
Socks (4)
Dress Up Outfits (2)


Nursing Pillow Positioning Baby/Sitting Baby Up $4.00 $40.00 Goodwill
Breast Pump with Storage Bag Get from insurance if needed Free $47.00 Blue Cross Blue Shield
Milk Storage Containers
Blue Cross Blue Shield
High Chair
Free $70.00 Gift

Free $75.00 Used Gift
Jogging Stroller > 6m
Free $313.00 Gift
Bonus Items Use Cost
Where It Was Purchased
Place to Sleep

Crib Skirt Sewn by Friend $20.00 $59.00 Carousel Designs


Diaper Changing Pad Skip Hop $1.95 $30.00 Goodwill
2 Disana Wool Covers Purchased New $42.90 $42.90 A Small Green Footprint
Wool Care Bar Purchased New $7.95 $7.95 A Small Green Footprint
Newborn Workhorse Diaper Purchased New $5.50 $5.50 Green Mountain Diapers
Prince Lion Wipes Warmer Craigslist Lot ($200)
$25.00 Craigslist
Prince Lion Wipes Replacement Pillows Craigslist Lot ($200)
$15.00 Craigslist
Sustainablebabish Organic Bamboo Fitted Craigslist Lot ($200)
$50.00 Craigslist
Lovey Bums Diaper Cover Craigslist Lot ($200)
$38.00 Craigslist
Wooly Bottoms Diaper Cover Craigslist Lot ($200)
$23.00 Craigslist
Flip OS Diaper Cover Craigslist Lot ($200)
$13.95 Craigslist
Wee Huggers Diaper Cover Craigslist Lot ($200)
$18.95 Craigslist
Lovey Bums Diaper Cover Craigslist Lot ($200)
$36.00 Craigslist
Lovey Bums Diaper Cover Craigslist Lot ($200)
$22.00 Craigslist


Nursing Cover Hooter Hiders Free $18.59 Gift

Bumbo Helps baby sit upright $1.95 $40.00 Goodwill
Pack N Play Portable sleep space/Play Yard Free $50.00 Freecycle
Pack N Play Fitted Sheet (1)
Free $6.00 Gift
Vulli Giraffe Teether
Free $18.06 Gift
Bouncy Seat
Free $28.79 Gift
3-1 Swing
$10.00 $60.00 Craigslist
Batteries and Charger
$40.00 $40.00 Amazon and Target
Toys Rattles, Teether $34.12 $34.12
Infant Play Gym
$10.00 $60.00 Craigslist
Plan Wooden Toys 10 Wooden Toys and Instruments $35.00 $150.00


Sold 3 OS Little Comfort Bamboo Fitted (Diaperswappers)

Sold 3 Packs of Infant Socks (Craigslist)

Sold 2 G Diapers and Disposable Inserts (Craigslist)

Sold G Diapers Cloth Inserts (Craigslist)

Sold Kushies Small All in Ones (2) (Ebay)

Sold 4 Newborn Diaper Cover (Craigslist)

Sold Co-Sleeper (Craigslist)

Sold 3 Thirsties Covers (Craigslist)

Sold Stroller (Craigslist)

Sold 3 Thirsties Diaper Covers (Craigslist)

Sold 30 pieces of newborn clothing (Craigslist)

Sold 2 Newborn Swaddlebees (Diaperswappers)

$887.17 $3,080.53