There are two things we know for sure about babies. They cry a lot and they cost a lot of money!
But do they really have to cost you a fortune in the early months and years? The answer is, no of course not.
Babies are big business and there are pressures coming at us from advertising, shops and society to spend huge amounts of cash on our precious little ones.
And of course, it’s an exciting time, so spending money on all of these lovely little clothes and awesome gadgets feels amazing.
During your pregnancy, it can feel particularly difficult to resist the desire to stock up on every baby item you spy in the shops.
You get swept away in the excitement of preparing for this amazing thing that’s about to happen to you.
But as someone who has had two babies and gone through a whole lot of stuff, some of it bought by me and the rest bought by my enthusiastic family, I can tell you that you do not need to buy every single baby product out there.
You also do not need to buy a ton of baby clothes!
Plus, you can save a ton of money if you shop smart right from the start of your pregnancy.
So if you’re worried about your budget and how you can afford your baby – which is particularly daunting if they haven’t even arrived yet – do not panic!
We’re going to talk about how you can save money during pregnancy. These tips also apply a lot to when baby has arrived too, so this should keep you going within your budget limits until it’s time for you to return to work, if that’s your plan!
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. This means that for any purchases made via the links I receive a small commission but it does not cost you a penny more.
1. Set your budget and be strict
First up, it’s not about how much you think you should spend on your baby, but how much you have to spend on them.
Work out how much money you actually have first of all, and then work out the essentials from there.
The cost of having babies is £500 in the first month alone, according to some estimates by the Money Advice Service.
But, stocking up for your baby does not mean you have to spend a set amount of money. You can absolutely get all of the essentials for your baby without breaking your own budget.
So start with how much you can realistically afford to spend on your baby, both for the items you will need to stock up on and the things you will need to buy regularly.
The items you will need to buy on a monthly, or even weekly, basis including nappies, wipes, and milk if you’re not breastfeeding. This is all before you get started with weaning your baby of course.
Figure out how much money you have to buy the essential items you will need as early as possible during your pregnancy. If you have nothing saved away, start saving as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
2. Go minimalist with your baby must-haves
The things you actually need and the list of things being sold to you by brands don’t necessarily match!
Stick to a minimalist list of things you need for your baby, and recognise the stuff that’s nice to have.
It’s also a good idea to figure out where you can avoid doubling up on stuff, especially with big ticket items such as beds.
Many parents end up buying a Moses basket, and a side sleeper, and a cot too, before then needing to buy a cot bed when their baby becomes a toddler.
Try to avoid buying every one of these items and stick to just one or two.
I thoroughly recommend buying a cot bed, or convertible crib, which enables you to remove the railings on the sides when your baby gets to around 18 months to two years and is able to climb out of the cot. They have lasted my two girls beyond the toddler years to age five.
A Moses basket is a nice-to-have item, but not essential. Babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months of life. This is because it reduces the risk of SIDs, or cot death.
If you have a bedroom big enough, you could simply put the cot bed in your bedroom.
But if you don’t, then you will need to invest in a smaller crib. Avoid a Moses basket if you are on a budget, as babies tend to grow out of them in a matter of weeks.
Side sleepers are fantastic, especially if you are breastfeeding. They’re small so should fit in even a tiny bedroom plus they are larger than Moses baskets.
I have a full post detailing the newborn baby clothes you actually need here. As a rough guide, your baby needs around seven outfits (depending on how often you are prepared to do the washing), two hats and a warm Pramsuit or coat to get them started.
You do not need things such as baby shoes, and you do not need to buy a baby bath. Your baby can be bathed in shallow water in your bathtub, or in the sink.
When it comes to playtime, you do not need a play mat, a bouncy chair and a jumparoo. A play mat is probably your best investment as your baby can do tummy time on there and practice their rolling around as they grow.
3. Get a baby registry
When you have a list of the things you need, it can really help to then make this shareable with your family or people planning a baby shower for you.
Starting a baby registry online means that when people want to help you out or start to plan a baby shower for you, you’ve got an easy place to direct them.
Make a list of all of the things that you really need for your baby, using the minimalist approach as detailed above.
Prioritise the really important things which are clothes, a car seat, pushchair, bed, bedding, muslins, nappies and wipes. If you are unsure about breastfeeding then invest in some bottles too.
Lower down the list you can add things that look nice to have, such as extra toys and baby books.
There’s a full guide to the stuff you really need for your baby over on this post about making a baby registry.
Get started with an Amazon baby registry here:
4. Be savvy when shopping for maternity clothes
There are some seriously beautiful maternity clothes on the market these days.
But many come with a steep price tag. So to save money avoid the expensive maternity clothing brands. Many supermarkets have a small range of pregnancy clothing, while cheaper brands and Amazon also offer lower cost alternatives.
When shopping for maternity clothes, try to prioritise things you will be able to wear after giving birth. Go for baggy jumpers, and tops that also double up as nursing tops.
Try to limit the volume of clothes you buy for your pregnancy. You only need one pair of jeans, and you may be able to adapt your existing jeans using either a hairband or waist extenders to let them out a little for your growing belly.
I thoroughly recommend leggings for pregnancy, as the stretchy waist and softness will be great when you are postpartum and possibly quite sore down there.
Certain dresses are cut in a way that work fine for pregnancy as well as after you have given way.
Remind yourself that maternity clothes will only be worn for a relatively fleeting time, so promise yourself some new clothes as a treat after the baby is born and you feel up to shopping.
5. Hunt down nappy discounts
Try to avoid going for the big brand nappies as they are often double the price of supermarket-own brands.
While some of the supermarket-own brands don’t have as efficient absorbency, or aren’t as good at masking the smell of a full nappy, the difference isn’t so huge that it creates a massive issue.
Whatever brand you do choose, Pampers, Huggies or a supermarket brand, hunt down discounts because there are special offers on nappies all the time!
If you sign up for Amazon subscriptions on your nappies then you can save cash through ordering regularly too.
Many organisations, such as parenting websites and clubs, will also offer vouchers and discounts for products like nappies simply for signing up to their mailing list.
Do your research, and definitely avoid paying full price wherever you can!
6. Consider using reusable nappies and wipes
A baby uses between six and 12 nappies per day. So you will have to spend hundreds of pounds on nappies in the first year alone. Wipes also add to this cost.
Reusable products require an initial investment but over time you get that back, especially when you can reuse the items purchased for your second baby.
One of my biggest regrets is not giving reusable nappies and wipes a try. You can save a whole lot of cash by ditching the disposables!
You will need to invest in between 15 and 20 reusable nappies if that’s what you plan to use.
In the UK, some councils offer vouchers if you choose to use cloth nappies, so it’s well worth investigating if there is any benefit to ditching disposables in your area.
Choosing what type of reusable nappy to buy for your baby can be confusing, as there are a few different types on the market! The four types of reusable nappy are:
- Terry nappies. These are the cheapest. A simple terry cloth which needs folding into a triangular shape and then securing with a nappy clip. They are not as absorbent as more expensive types of reusable nappies.
- Shaped nappies. These are made to fit around your baby’s body and look like disposable nappies in terms of shape. You use them with a waterproof outer wrap which comes in lots of different patterns.
- All-in-one nappies. The waterproof cover and the absorbent part of the nappy are stitched together. These type can take longer to dry after washing but are very straightforward to use.
- Pre-fold nappies. Simple absorbent material which is folded into a rectangular shape and help in place with a waterproof wrap.
I recommend taking some time to read reviews and look at how each different type of reusable works before making a decision on investing your money in reusable nappies.
Speak to friends who may already be using them to get an opinion.
You can also get reusable wipes which make a massive difference to the planet as it reduces so much waste going to landfill.
With both the wipes and the nappies, I recommend drying them in the sun as this is the best way to get rid of nasty poop stains on cloth that won’t come out in the wash.
7. Avoid expensive brands
While the Bugaboo buggies are beautiful, and really great to use, they are not the only buggy on the market and at £1,000 they’re eye-wateringly expensive!
Try not to let yourself get blinded by the glamour of the big brands. Just because it is more expensive, and has a prestigious reputation, it does not mean it is better than something that is less than half the price!
So when you’re shopping for the big ticket items such as the car seat, pushchair and bed, stick to your budget that you set!
Check out the reviews of buggies and ask other mothers what they use. What do they like about these products? A mother who has already been using something for six months or more is going to be able to give you a brilliant idea of what products work and what don’t.
Join Facebook groups for mothers where you can drop a question about a particular product, or ask for recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to help inform your decision!
8. Accept hand-me-downs
If you have relatives or friends with kids, chances are they have lofts full of baby clothes and toys they would love to hand over!
Don’t shrink away from accepting hand-me-downs. You will often find, especially with newborn items, that they have been hardly used at all because babies grow out of their clothes so quickly!
When my first baby was born we were given various toys by her cousins including stacking cups. While the items were cheap individually, we saved around £100 on toys because we were given so many small items.
Not everything you have for your baby has to be brand new, and you’ll find most things are in great condition anyway as babies don’t have them long enough for the items to experience much wear and tear.
9. Start putting away money now
It’s never too early, or too late, to start saving.
Do the math on how much you will need, both for baby items to be bought while you are pregnant and the monthly expense of your baby.
If you are not breastfeeding you will need to factor in formula, plus nappies and wipes if you are using disposables.
You can then try to cut expenditure from the rest of your regular household costs now, before baby is born, so that you are prepared for this added expense before baby arrives.
10. Size up on baby clothes
What size clothing your baby needs from birth really depends on their weight, of course.
If your baby is premature, or you have twins, they may be in newborn baby clothes for some time longer than other babies.
So I recommend buying a very small number of newborn baby clothes and a larger number of 0-3 month size clothes for the early weeks.
While your baby’s feet might be a long way from reaching the bottom of their babygro, when they are newborn this really does not matter! They won’t be crawling or walking for some time.
When it comes to more expensive baby clothes such as a pramsuit it’s definitely worth sizing up and buying as large a size as you can get away with. I certainly suggest avoiding newborn size for things such as this.
11. Read up on breastfeeding
With formula costing hundreds of pounds to buy in the first year, it’s well worth trying to save money on this expense if you can.
Breastfeeding saves you a ton of washing up and money, plus it has a long list of great health benefits for your baby, and for you.
But breastfeeding is not easy, so to give yourself the absolute best chance of breastfeeding your baby, start reading up on it while you are pregnant.
Watch some YouTube videos of mothers latching their babies on to get an idea of what a good latch looks like and how to achieve it. Read advice online from places such as KellyMom which has a wealth of resources on breastfeeding.
You can also sign up to this amazing breastfeeding course which is taught by a lactation consultant.
This way you can learn to breastfeed while relaxing in your PJs at home, plus paying the $19 fee gives you lifetime access, so you can revisit the course whenever you have questions or need to look something up again.
Final thoughts on saving money during pregnancy
Having babies costs money, and there’s no avoiding that.
But you can certainly adjust your finances and take steps to ensure that the cost does not completely overwhelm your budget.
I hope these tips have given you some great ideas for how you can save money on your baby!
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