Despite their reputation, raising a baby doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Raising a baby on a budget is possible; you have to know what is necessary and where to cut corners. 

Any parent can tell you that baby gear and clothes add up. Then, add in diapers, and feeding supplies will increase your total. You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a baby. I can tell you from experience that you can be frugal and pinch pennies to decrease the cost of a baby throughout their first year or two of life. 

Our family may not be wealthy, but our kids never do without their needs (and many wants). I took advice from my grandmothers, learning how to cut corners, and teaching my kids about needs vs. wants. I want to share some of those tips with you now. 

8 Tips for Raising a Baby on a Budget

  • Babies Don’t Need Everything

First, and most importantly, parents have to know that babies don’t need everything on the market. Just because it’s adorable doesn’t mean you need to buy it. That can be hard because baby things are cute, but they also seem to cost a lot of money.

Babies need to be fed, kept clean and dry, a place to sleep, a car seat, and warmth. That’s not too complicated when you think about it. All of the new baby items might make your life “easier,” but they also cost too much money. Think about the necessity, not want. 

  • Research and Spend Money Wisely 

It might seem counterintuitive when you’re saving money, but buying the cheapest item isn’t always a good idea. They break or wear out faster than good, top-rated brands. For example, a cheap winter jacket might need to be replaced once or twice in a season, whereas a good brand will last through more than one child. 

That’s why you need to research everything. Look up suggested baby gear, read websites about baby walker reviews, or reviews on car seats. If you want to purchase something, make sure you’re spending wisely on a brand that is worth your money. 

  • Breastfeed, If Possible 

Of course, breastfeeding is always on the list as a way to save money. Some people argue that, with pumping and supplies, breastfeeding isn’t any cheaper, but I do disagree. If you are a SAHM, then it will be cheaper and don’t forget that your insurance company provides free breast pumps, and WIC does as well. 

  • Use Coupons for Formula

Not everyone can breastfeed, nor does every mother want to do so. That’s okay, but infant formula is more expensive. Those little cans seem to be equal to gold, considering the price per ounce! 

The best thing to do is watch for sales and pair them with coupons. You can sign up for manufacturer coupons, and many companies send coupons to homes, so ask your friends and family to give you any that you find.

Sales on formula aren’t frequent, but they do happen. Kroger is a local store to me, and some infant formula brands might be involved in deals such as “Spend $40 in baby items, save $10.” If you have coupons to bring those savings down even further, stock up on them!

You also can ask your doctor if they have any formula samples. Formula brands send pediatricians samples of their products, so you might luck out. My friends have walked out of appointments with a case of sample-sized cans! 

  • Shop Used Clothes

Baby clothes are utterly adorable. It’s easy to go crazy purchasing clothes, but any parent can tell you that babies grow out of sizes fast in the first year. Don’t go overboard because, in the blink of an eye, one growth spurt can send your baby into the next size up. 

I recommend shopping for used baby clothes. Facebook Marketplace often has deals with parents needing to offload lots of clothing. Check out stores like Once Upon a Child for reasonable prices. Look for consignment sales near you throughout the year. 

If you want to buy new clothes, I recommend shopping for sales. Carters has excellent deals and coupons, that when paired together, can really save you some money. Sign up for reward programs as well! You also should check out the end of season clearances. If you can guess at the sizing your child will be at next year (it’s easier as they get older), you can score new shirts and pants for as low as $1. 

  • Go with a Convertible Car Seat First 

This tip might be controversial because parents love their infant bucket car seats, but if you need to pinch pennies, I suggest going with a convertible car seat immediately. All you need is some baby carrier to wear your baby in a store or park. 

  • Sell Your Used Items 

Unless you plan to have another baby soon, I suggest that you sell your used baby items and put that money towards other things that your baby needs. Used baby items sell well if they’re priced correctly and in good condition. 

I typically only keep a few of my favorite baby clothing pieces and sell the first. Now that we are done having babies, I sell everything as my children move out of their sizes. There is no reason to keep those pieces behind in our house, taking up space, when that money can be used for my kids and their current needs. 

  • Save Money on Diapers 

My last tip is to save money on diapers. I used cloth diapers for years, and I love them, but I know it’s not a route everyone wants to try. 

Don’t worry; disposable diapers can be cheap if you know what to do. It’s best to pair sales with coupons to score the lowest diaper prices. If you find a reasonable price, be sure to stock up, and don’t be afraid to give generic brands a try. You might be surprised to know that stores such as Aldi have their own diaper brand, and they’re cheap plus nice! 

Babies on a Budget

Babies are as expensive as you make them, which is the same thing my grandma told me about life. Life is what you make it. While we might not be able to control things like the kilowatt per hour we pay for electric, we can control how much we use. We can manage our budget, and that means raising a baby on a budget is what we make it.