Baby on a Budget

Saturday, July 10, 2010 Hand-posted by Jennifer

The following is a guest post from Hannah at Frugally Farming Family.  Enjoy!

As a mother of six children ages 9 years down to 19 months with number seven on the way, I am often asked how I can afford to have so many children especially on one income! Many people only have one or two children and two incomes and are barely surviving. My goal is to give you some tips to help you have a baby and stick to your budget too!

Learn to Sacrifice. The first step is a must if you want to live frugally! It is also one of the most difficult steps to take when trying to live on a budget or save money. Make a list of the things you really need! Do you really need a wipe warmer or twenty sets of clothes? No, not really! So what do you need? It will vary depending on your family. However, I have listed some basic needs below.

  • Crib or bassinet unless you plan on co-sleeping.
  • Crib sheets (a frugal way to make them is to take some sheets you already have
    and cut them to size and add elastic!).
  • Diapers (either cloth or disposable). Cloth diapers can also double as burp
    cloths! You will use the most diapers the first month or so!
  • Bottles and Formula if you do not plan to breast feed.
  • Basic Layette set (onesies, gowns, sleepers, mittens, socks, blankets)- only a
    few of each should be sufficient. It may mean doing laundry a little more often,
    but they will only wear these clothes for a short time. Blankets can also be used
    for burp cloths.
  • A few outfits in each size for outings.
  • Hygiene items (soap, shampoo, nail clippers, diaper rash cream, etc.)
  • Stroller- only if you are an active person. I have a double stroller and used to use
    it a lot. Now, I only use it once or twice a year since there is usually someone to
    carry the baby. Stroller will vary depending on the family
  • Car seat is a must if you are going to go anywhere with the baby in a vehicle!
  • Diaper bag. It does not have to be the most fashionable! A purse or even a
    reusable grocery bag will serve the purpose!
  • Thermometer
  • Towel and wash cloth, but regular towels and washcloths will work too!
  • Nursing Bra and Nursing Pads for nursing moms.
  • Baby wipes or make your own (recipe at end of article). You can also use
  • Baby Swings and/or bouncers are nice if you can afford them, but they are not a
  • High chair for later when the baby is sitting up eating. Again, not a necessity. He/
    she can always sit on your lap!

I left many things off of the list. They may or may not be a necessity to your family. The things I mentioned above are the things most people use most often. There are even some of the things I mentioned above which I do not even own myself! You will have to make a list to suit your family.

Register at a Local Store. Whether it is your first baby or your seventh, there are always people who want to get you a gift. One of the best things to do is to go ahead and register for the things you need at one of your local stores. Most of these stores allow registering online, so you will not even have to leave your home! Make sure you make known to your family and others who inquire about the items you need, you have
registered at a store or stores!

Shop at Second Hand Stores. Knoxville has many different thrift stores around including KARM and Goodwill. There are also great Thrift Stores in surrounding counties (The Good Neighbor Shoppe in Lenoir City is AWESOME!) as well as yard sales all summer long many of which are loaded with great deals for baby items! My friend recently purchased a brand new bassinet for me from a yard sale for only $10! It had never even been slept in because she ended up keeping the baby in the bed with her! I also found a brand new crib mattress (an expensive brand) for only $15! There are many great deals out there! Our local community center even has a yard sale every other week. My mother-in-law found me a nice brand new jogging stroller for $5. It had a flat tire which was fixed for only a few dollars! She also has found clothing, baby swings, and other large items at the yard sale for little to nothing!

Consignment stores and sales. There are many consignment stores in Knoxville area as well. Sometimes the prices are lower than at the thrift stores, but most of the time you may pay a little more. Also, each spring and fall most of the local large churches and even some of the small will have consignment sales. I have found many useful items which were gently used brand name items for next to nothing! I remember my
first year ever going, I spent about $15 and had several outfits for both of my children I had at the time as well as shoes, books, and even a baby sling and boppy pillow!

Check Freecycle or Craigslist. There are also free deals out there for those people who cannot get out and shop at yard sales and thrift stores. Freecycle is dedicated to keeping things out of the landfill. I have obtained and given away many items on Freecycle. The best part about it is it is TOTALLY FREE!!!!! You can also post specific items for which you are looking! Craigslist is similar. They have things for free, but you
can also sell items on Craigslist. I always look on the free items first, but you can also look in the baby section and find great deals on baby items and not spend much money.

EBay and Goodwill online. I have never purchased an item from EBay, but I know of several people who have gotten great deals on the site. Goodwill is also online and operates similar to eBay. I have never used it either.

Ask Friends or Relatives. You can also ask your friends or relatives for things you may need. They may have things in storage which you can borrow for the short amount of time you need them. My sisters-in-law and I are always swapping out things we need with each other. We also pass things around to each other such as clothes or toys. It really helps all of us out to have our own little circuit!

Breastfeed! Breastfeeding is a great way to save money on a baby! I realize not everyone can always breastfeed for various reasons, but even if it is only for a few days, weeks, or months, it will be worth it not only for your pocketbook, but also for the health of your baby and you!

Make your own baby food! My first son HATED jarred baby food! So, I started to make my own. It is very simple! I would puree apples in my blender! They are fresh and unprocessed, so he had all the enzymes he needed to digest them. Similarly, I would puree and/or cook (if needed)other fruits and veggies for him. Then, as he got older, I would cut them into bite size pieces or thin slices! None of my children have ever eaten from a jar. Most of them will not eat baby food from a jar!

Check Jennifer's site for deals and freebies! Most of you reading probably realize that many items can be obtained for free or really cheap when there is a good deal at the stores out there. Check Jennifer's site and others weekly to get those deals. Stock up on the things you know you will use! Target, Walgreens, and CVS often have freebie items and you do not even have to use a coupon! Also, there are other free offers out there for baby items or samples of baby items!

Having children should be a blessing and NOT a burden! Once you learn to do without things, you will not even realize you are missing them! I received my first baby bouncer as a gift after baby number 7 was born. I still do not have one of those little bumbo seats or whatever they are called! Also, i no longer have a bath seat. It was more of a burden than a help as I rarely used it.  Good luck on sticking to your budget! As I mentioned earlier, one of the key steps is learning to sacrifice or to do without the things you really do not need!

Recipe for Homemade Wipes (from My Good Friend Kelly, mother of 17 with #18 on the way!)
1/2 roll of Bounty paper towels (cut in half with a sharp knife)
2 cups water
2 tbs. baby oil or olive oil with essential oils added
2 tbs. baby bath
Put the 1/2 roll in a plastic container (Tupperware or Rubbermaid). Pour the water, oil, and
baby bath over the towels. Cut a slit in the top of the container and you have a dispenser!
Recipe for Homemade Diaper Ointment (from my midwife)
1/4 cup Vitamin E oil
1/2 cup cornstarch
Mix thoroughly. Apply after each diaper change. Ointment can be stored about one
week in a jar. Make a new batch each week. You can also add essential oils for scent.

Hannah is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has been homeschooling for eight years.  She blogs at Frugally Farming Family and is co-owner of Barringer Beef.  Her family raise their own beef on their small farm as well as an organic vegetable garden.  Hannah really enjoys helping and teaching others so stop by her blog if you have any questions!


  1. frugalfarmfamily said...

    Thanks for the post, Jennifer!

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