So being in the situation in life that we are right now, money is not exactly free flowing. One of the common things that you hear when you have a baby is how expensive they are.
I maintain that babies do not have to be so expensive, and so far my experience is backing me up. Now you can’t avoid medical expenses, but as far as material needs for the baby, those expenses can be mitigated quite handily even on your first baby.
Ways that we have mitigated material needs for the baby:
1) Accept second-hand things. I’m fortunate to have a few family members who are at the end of the baby-making stages in their lives who have kindly donated items to me. Items include: a car seat, a crib, an electric breast pump, lots of baby clothes, bedding for the crib, a bassinet (we didn’t bring the crib to AZ, and needed a place for Baby to sleep), among others.
2) Buy second-hand things. Deseret Industries, the thrift store in Utah, has baby clothes for $1-$2 a piece. That’s a way, way better price than $10-$15 a piece. I picked up some baby clothes before I left. And let’s be honest, babies grow out of clothes so fast that none of the clothes I got are worn or tattered, and most of them are from pricier brands like Carter’s. Craigslist and local classifieds are also good places to find items for significantly cheaper than you can buy new. Again, most people get rid of baby stuff not because it’s old and tattered, but because they don’t have babies anymore–items are usually in good condition.
3) Cloth diaper. Spending an initial $200-300 on cloth diapers that can be reused on multiple children is much cheaper than using disposables, even considering laundry costs. And in my opinion, cloth diapers are cuter than disposables, too.
4) Limiting what material things we got to what we really needed. Initially we decided that there were only three more expensive things that we really needed for the baby: a crib, a car seat, and a stroller. All of these things, while more expensive than other items, could also be purchased less expensively at places like IKEA, Amazon, Wal-Mart or second hand. In addition, there are thousands of baby products on the market that just aren’t a necessity. Maybe some of them make life easier, but with finances and space not in our favor we’ve cut down to what we need. No wipe warmers, baby bath tubs or exersaucers for us.
5) Have a baby shower, and registering only for things I needed. I did a registry on Amazon primarily to give people an idea of what I needed and to let them know that I was planning on cloth diapering. I got a lot of really useful stuff at my baby shower, including a stroller/car seat combo from my mother-in-law and one of Kyle’s aunts. We ended up not purchasing any of the “big ticket” items ourselves, through hand-me-downs and the generosity of our family.
6) Breastfeed. It’s pretty much free. While I know that sometimes things can get in the way of breastfeeding, I’m not going to put money down on anything I’d need if breastfeeding doesn’t work out unless I actually need it. At this point, we’re planning on exclusively breastfeeding, and I’d be lying if I didn’t note that money was a part of this decision.
We’ve actually been blessed to have been given most of what we needed. While there are still a few things left to purchase, I realized the other day that it’s easier to list things that I have purchased for the baby than things that I’ve been given. Having a baby doesn’t have to be super expensive!