Thursday, January 26, 2012

Having a Baby on a Budget

At 39 weeks, 6 days pregnant, I have baby on the brain! 

My first inner impulse was to go buy all the 5 star, mom-recommended baby products on Amazon.  Ben reminded me that even though we recently became debt-free (thanks, Dave Ramsey!), we've still got the house to pay off and other large expenses coming up.  So, we sat down and came up with a budget of about $2000 for baby supplies, feeding, diapering, outfitting for the first year.  Add that to the $2000 infertility treatment, the $5000 + 20% deductible, and we are looking at a pricey kid.

Here are some ideas for cutting costs and staying within a budget:

Medical Bills
1. Aflac Supplement- When we decided to get pregnant, we signed up for two Aflac insurance plans to supplement my regular insurance that will pay out about $1900 for a normal delivery (more for a caesarean).  After the premium payments of $70 per month for 11 months, that is a $1130 savings.

2. Use an HSA-  That means that our portion of the bill will be paid with before-tax income, at a savings of 15-30%.

3. Birth centers often are much less expensive than hospitals.  Our local Boise birth center charges $3500 for everything- prenatal visits, delivery, postpartum check ups.  Because this is our first child, we going the traditional hospital route in case I want that epidural.  If I can hack unmedicated birth, though, in the future we'll try the birth center out.


1. We plan on cloth diapering baby Martineau.  Cloth diapers have come a long way, and now have become nearly as convenient as disposables.  Over the course of the years our little one is in diapers, we estimate we'll save $2,000-3,000.

Even with cloth diapering, this is still the second most expensive category for baby.  Here is the $600 budget breakdown:

18 Bumgenius Elemental Organic All-in-One Diapers ~ $360  (this was a bit of a splurge, but I wanted the easiest to use and these come highly rated.  Also, we got the kind with snaps so they should last for at least two kids.  The resale value is also very high.  A great way to save here is to buy them at the seconds sale from the manufacturer at
Cloth Wipes ~ $2 - homemade from old flannel pajamas and a 1/2 yard of terry cloth
7th Generation Newborn & Stage 1 Disposables and Wipes ~ $70  (Baby won't fit into cloth until about 6 weeks)
Diaper Sprayer ~ $23  (Sigma brand on Ebay)
Wet Bags ~ $30  (Amazon and Etsy are two good places to look.
Step Trash Can with Carbon Lid ~ $60  (If I had it to do again, I'd go for the Diaper Dekor Plus and then get the matching liner on Etsy)
Charlies Gentle Detergent ~ $8
Cloth Wipe Spray Ingredients ~ $30
Changing pad & Covers ~ $9  (easily found at garage and consignment sales)
Changing Table ~ $40 for a dresser on craigslist
Diaper Bag ~ $60 (unnecessary splurge for a highly coveted Vera Bradley bag.  Great prices on Ebay)

The good news is, year two should be significantly less, as will the cost for future babies.


 1. Breastfeeding is inexpensive AND helps shed baby pounds!  Supplies, like My Brest Friend, nursing covers, pumps, etc. can be found very inexpensively at thrift and consignment stores.  

2. Sign up at all the major formula companies websites.  Around your due date, they will start sending you high value coupons and full-size formula samples. 

3. Practice baby-led weaning.  Baby starts on the solids that the rest of the family is eating, only perhaps a bit more cooked for softness.  

4. Make your own baby food with your blender and ice cube trays.  Very inexpensive and healthy!  There are tons of recipes online.


1. For safety issues, car seats should not be used if they are expired or have been in an accident.  Be careful buying used for these reasons.  

2. We found the best deals here at garage and consignment sales.  I did splurge on an Ergo carrier on Ebay- those are hard to find cheap!

3. Make your own Moby-style wrap with a $2 bolt of jersey fabric from Walmart.

The Nursery

All in all, we spent about $600, including all babies toys, accessories, clothes, etc.  This is a great area to pinch pennies if you need.  

1. Shop thrift stores, consignment and garage sales, craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon Warehouse for the best deals.  Remember that a lot of things you won't need right away, so you can take the time to wait for the best price.

2. DIY Decorate.  Check out Pinterest for great ideas that you can do yourself to save money but still have a cute nursery.

3. It is difficult to find a good second-hand fixed-side crib.  We ended up getting a drop-side at a garage sale ($5!) and then Ben sturdily bolted the sides to make it a fixed-side crib.  Safety problems solved, and over $100 saved. 

All in all, we have spent $1300 on everything we will need for baby's first year.  Most of those items will be reusable with additional children. Babies don't have to be expensive!  


Rebecca said...

Great post! Thanks for the ideas!

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