A quick online search reveals that the cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 18 can be somewhere close to a quarter of a million dollars. It’s no wonder that according to Statista the baby care market size to predicted to be $81.43 Billion dollars in 2020. But there is another way, it is possible to save money with babies and have your baby on a budget.
By applying a few simple strategies, you can save money with your kids without sacrificing your lifestyle. Not only will you have a baby on budget, but these habits will also help keep your kids on budget too. And who doesn’t like saving money?
Acquire as Needed
When it came to my little one I tried to be as minimalist as possible. No matter how hard I tried there were still people who felt the need to just “buy stuff” whether I wanted/needed it or not.
My philosophy is to acquire things on an as needed basis. This is especially true for clothing as to how I dress my little one depends on the season.
Kids grow so fast and the sizing is really a matter of suggestion. At one point my little one was wearing clothing in sizes from 12-18 months to 2T.
I try to avoid buying clothes too far in advance because I want to make sure that what I buy for her will actually fit when she needs it.
Hopefully, someone you know has had kids prior and they have saved some of their stuff to lend/give you. We had kids after most of our siblings so were lucky enough to get a lot of the big-ticket items for free from our relatives as they were done using them with their now-grown kids.
My parents even saved some of our clothes. Now that I have a daughter there are days when she is able to wear the same clothes that her momma did.
My daughter wears t-shirts that are older than I am. Thanks, mom for keeping them in such great shape.
Okay, maybe your friends don’t have grown kids yet but you have kids close to the same age.
Why not try a clothing swap? I’ve done these many times now and love them.
Whoever has the older child packs a box of age-appropriate clothing. The younger child benefits from the clothing. And when they outgrow it, the clothes go back to their original owner.
The dual benefit of a clothing swap is the original owner gets the clothing back to re-use if they end up having another little one. And the recipient of the clothing doesn’t have to store or get rid of the extra clothing when their little one outgrows it. Win-win.
To make clothing swaps easy, mark the tag of the clothing either with an initial or symbol of some sort. That way it is easy to figure out who owns what clothing when the clothes are returned.
Not only have I benefitted from receiving a box of clothing swap clothes, but I have also paid it forward with clothing from my little one.
I’ve Outgrown It Sales
An I’ve Outgrown It Sale is like a garage sale with a specific focus on kids’ items.
In my area, there are multiple sales that occur twice a year – in the spring and fall. I have found these sales to be gold mines for clothes, toys, and books.
Kids grow so fast, they often outgrow clothes that have been worn only a handful of times (or maybe not at all). After going to my first I’ve Outgrown It Sale I decided to never buy new again. My little one gets a whole new wardrobe twice a year for less than $20.
I’ve Outgrown It Sales are also great for larger ticket items. And don’t forget to negotiate, prices at these sales are often flexible.
Apps and Online Marketplaces
With the shift to everything being digital, apps and online marketplaces have become a great place save money with babies and kids.
All are online versions of old-fashioned garage sales so remember to negotiate. You can be the first to respond to an item by setting up alerts to be notified when that item you want comes up for sale.
Online marketplaces are great for sourcing specific things you are looking for. Some toys for babies can be very big (swings, exersaucers etc.).
This is exactly what we did with our little one. We bought her exersaucer and swing online. And when her swing motor zonked out we were able to easily replace it with another used swing.
The bonus factor here was that the second swing was in terrible condition but the motor worked. We were able to negotiate a great place and replace the motor ourselves.
Apps and online marketplaces also make it super easy to sell your stuff (especially the big stuff) when your little one is done with it.
If more kids are in your future, just repeat. Saves you having to store big things and keeps your stuff in newer condition. And who knows, maybe you will make a bit of money flipping baby items if you bought smart.
Second-hand stores include those run by charities, for example, Goodwill, and consignment stores.
Personally, I have not really frequented consignment stores as I have yet to feel a need to do so. Maybe as my little one grows up and starts to care more about what she wears we will start to shop at consignment stores.
Second-hand stores don’t always have the variety or selection as some of the other options to save money with babies. But don’t rule them out yet. Second-hand stores can be great places to find books, toys, or clothing in bulk.
At my local second-hand store, the baby and toddler clothing is sold in bulk. Instead of being charged by the piece you are charged by the bag. My little one got a new summer wardrobe for less than $10 thanks to buying her clothes in bulk.
And the added bonus of shopping at my local second-hand stores is that I’m supporting local charities.
Be Strategic with Lists
No matter how much I try to tell my family that we are minimalists, they still insist on buying things for my little one. I get it that’s their love language.
It used to bother me, but I’m learning to come to terms with it.
Now I keep a running list of things that my little one needs. (I’m not the type of person who runs out and buys things as soon as I “need” them).
When someone wants to buy something for my little one I have ideas at the ready. This saves me money and energy in having to go buy those items myself.
Ask for Books Instead of Cards
I’m not a big greeting card person. In fact, my sister tries to get me the most ridiculous card she can find when she buys me cards. One year for Christmas I received a “Happy 100-Year-Old Birthday Old Man” card.
But I know that people do like giving and receiving cards and personalizing the messages.
Why not instead of a card you suggest people get you a book for your little one instead. They can spend time picking out the perfect book and writing a personal message inside.
This will help grow your little one’s library. And is something they will continue to use for years to come. Much more useful than a card (in my opinion).
And the bonus factor is, these books don’t have to be purchased brand new either. Your family and friends can also use these tips for saving money with babies.
Do You Really Need It?
There is so much created, produced, and marketed for babies and I think most of it is not needed or recommended.
Do you need a changing table or can you just use the top of a dresser and repurpose it as your little now grows up?
Is washing change pad covers really your dream or would you rather just wipe down the changing pad?
Do you really need the fancy crib bumper pads or do they pose a suffocation risk?
Safety should be number one with your little one. Whatever you decide to avoid or purchase make sure you keep safety in mind.
The baby industry relies on its marketing strategies. I’ve visited a few of my friends who have every toy under the sun, yet their little one’s favourite toy is a spatula.
A great way to save money with babies is to really question if you need that item. Is it a need or a want?
My little one doesn’t have a massive wardrobe or hundreds of toys. But she is showered with love every day and couldn’t be happier.
And the bonus factor? Love doesn’t cost a thing.
One thing that I didn’t mention was buying things on sale. Although that is a way to save money on babies, there are many better ways as you can see from the list above.
A mom friend of mine recently bragged about buying her little one new shorts for the summer on sale for $4 a pair. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I had just bought some second-hand ones for my little one for $0.67.
The great thing about a lot of these ways to save money with babies, is that what you buy can eventually be handed down to someone else, repurposed or sold.
Buying used also has a positive environmental impact as it helps to keep things out of the landfill. Not only is it good for your budget, its good for the planet too.
What are some of the ways you save money with babies?