Having a Baby on a Budget

One of the greatest worries for parents-to-be, is the family finances. How will you afford to feed another mouth? How will you cope financially while on maternity leave? How will you afford to buy all of the baby paraphernalia available in the shops? Before you get yourself worked up into a credit card frenzy, it’s important to remember that it is possible to have a baby on a budget. In fact, you could make that your mantra for the next few months and you could save yourself a small fortune. Here are six easy tips for having a baby on a budget:

  • Beg, borrow and steal – ok, well don’t actually steal, but borrowing is always a good idea. If you have friends and family offering to lend you cots, strollers and toys, accept their kindness. Babies don’t need brand new, they’ll be more than happy using preloved items. Thrift, charity and second-hand stores are great places to find bargain baby gear. If you are using heirloom hand-me-downs, though, be sure to judge them by today’s safety standards.
  • Breastfeed – formula milk can end up costing quite a lot, and you can bypass the cost completely by making the most of what nature gave you. Breastfeeding is free – totally and completely free – and will keep your baby completely nourished until he’s ready to be weaned onto solid foods. Of course, you can buy a breast pump and bottles to express milk if you like, but you may not need to. For some women, breastfeeding allows them to feed their baby for free for the first six months of life.
  • Cloth bum – disposable nappies can cost a lot, too, but by opting for cloth diapers you can bypass this ongoing expense. You will have a larger outlay at the beginning, but then the diapers will last your baby until he’s potty trained. They’ll even be fine to use for any future babies too. If you add them to your baby registry, you may even get the cloth nappies as gifts!
  • Only buy what you need – a lot of the items you see in baby stores don’t really qualify as necessities. They’re things you can spend money on, but by no means need to. You don’t really need to buy a brand new baby bath, you could wash your baby in your bath or sink. Your baby doesn’t really need an expensive musical mobile to go above the crib. He doesn’t really need brand new matching nursery furniture. He doesn’t need the tiny pair of expensive shoes you’ve been eyeing up, even though they are very cute. Food, shelter, clothing and love – aside from that, everything else may be nice to have but not a necessity.
  • Be realistic – draw up a realistic budget and stick to it. Give yourself room for the occasional splurge so that you don’t feel guilty about little purchases.
  • Shop around – once you’ve decided what you want to buy, do your research and shop around to make sure you get the best deal. It may take a while, but you could save a lot of money.

Remember, money isn’t love – of course it feels good to spend money on your baby, and to feel that you’re ready for his arrival. But don’t feel bad if you can’t afford to buy everything new. Your baby won’t know whether a pram is new or second hand. Your baby won’t care whether he has matching outfits, a cute cot bumper, or a personalised teddy, all he will care about is being close to you.

Are you sticking to a tight budget for the baby, do you have any tips to share with other budgeting mums?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockHaving a Baby on a Budget

Comments 28

  1. Pingback: The Facts About Cloth Nappies / Diapers - Health & Parenting

  2. Vicky

    I’m currently 22+2 with our first. We found out really early (3 weeks) and started buying unisex items from 12 weeks, managed to get a second hand unisex pram, cot, swing, play mat, steraliser, baby bath for around £150. The pram was a travel system so came with a car seat too and had only been used twice but because of a little mark on the side, she sold it for £120 (it is £560 from a shop for practically the same quality). We are also lucky enough to be given a unisex cot so we can keep all these things for any future children so will only really need to get clothes if we have any more that isn’t a boy😉 also charity shops are really good for baby items as they won’t sell them if they aren’t in good condition and they are so cheap! Saw a full travel system in a charity shop for £50 but it was pink otherwise I’d have bought it😉 having a baby can definitely be done on a budget, especially when there are things to help such as the sure start maternity grant etc.. just need to look around

  3. Swetha


    This is swetha. now am 6th month pregnant. Iam getting fever,vomtings& loose motions. My doctor suggested me to take medicine but it is not at all control. It is a big worry to me inside womb baby normal or not? Please help with better suggestions.

  4. Rebecca

    Maxi dresses are really good n inexpensive to buy n u can wear them after bubs born. I am loaning a cot & bassinet also what ever I can get my hands on. Second hand shop’s have some beautiful clothes n baby accessories if ur patient you’ll be surprised in what u find

  5. Nikki

    This is my first time posting anything on here and this is my 4th pregnancy all the other 3 failed so I’m scared to buy anything but my parents have been very supportive and the fact that it’s there first grandchild I’m being spoilt a bit. Iv not really had to buy anything. I got some really cute socks for 79p in baby’s r us and there are lots of online groups where people sell there old baby stuff . I got a £90 moses basket for £10 it’s from John Lewis 😀

  6. Bec

    We have been very lucky to be given so much from people we know. We won’t have to buy much at all which we are so grateful for. 😊

  7. Kelita Julien

    I’m a firm believer that babies are expensive if we (their parents) want them to be expensive. If that means, avoiding big brands and sticking to the bare essentials then so be it.

  8. Daniela

    Don’t buy things that look real cute without considering the following:
    -will your baby be comfy in it?
    -are you sure the size will fit during the right season? In summer it’ll wear mostly undies anyway.
    Apropos undies: you need mostly undies. Little babys don’t get dirty if they don’t puke or the diapers are leaking.
    Tip for cheap wipes: place a roll of toilet paper on a plate and fill the inner roll with oil. Olive oil is fine. Lift the roll. Let it soak up the oil. Turn it. Voila. The oil is great to get babys bum clean and its good for the skin.

  9. Tracy

    It is so great to see that so many people are going with second-hand gear! This is our first baby (hubby has three over 17) and we have the philosophy that money can be well spent on experiences for our little one, not materialistic items. We are both in reasonable careers and can definitely afford to splash out, however why would we? My breasts were made to feed our baby, over a million disposable nappies go into landfills everyday, if my mother used cloth nappies and I turned out OK, so will our baby. The latest baby clothes are generally made in the same countries, they just carry a higher price tag due to the label. Our baby won’t care what he/she is wearing, second-hand is fantastic especially due to them growing so quickly. Babies definitely do not need to be expensive, they require love and nurturing and there should be no cost required in that.

  10. Jenn

    Once we were at 3 months and saw that the baby was healthy we started buying diapers each week. I figure might as well but them while we don’t have any extra expenses. By the time the baby gets here we won’t need to think about diapers constantly!

  11. Jessica

    I’m on my third baby and this time I’ve gotten almost everything second hand from family members. You can get some great bargains on used items and most are in great condition. I’ve almost got everything I need for under 500.

  12. Andrea

    Another great way to save money on baby clothing is DO NOT GET ALL THAT NEWBORN STUFF the best time to splurge on cloths is 9 months and up they stop growing as fast and can reuse it for a bit longer take it from me I am on my 5th child !

  13. Ava

    There are really cheap disposable nappies out there and people say they are better than the expensive ones 🙂 also there is ikea for cheap baby furniture. But of course free is better 😛

  14. Rachel

    We’re on our first baby, not planning on anymore, stuff is really expensive! Luckily this is both of our parents first grandchild so they’ve helped us out and got us all the big expensive stuff and we even managed to get a lot of discount on them too! But I just can’t help myself when I see a little denim jacket that he will match me in or a pair of baby doc martens, due to not buying the big expensive stuff I have the freedom to do so. I am so lucky we have these people around us 🙂

  15. Fleur

    This is baby nr. 3 for me, and I think by now I have pretty much figured out what I’ll actually need. We did have to get everything again, my divorce left me with nothing of the baby-items.
    I accept everything people will give me for free, and I just pick out what I really like. I mean no offence but if I don’t like it, I won’t use it. For example, I’m having a baby boy but I really don’t want everything in his wardrobe to be pale blue!
    I buy a lot on e-bay. Again, not looking for ‘as much as possible for my money’ but things I genuinly like, at a fraction of the retail price. With a pram, we looked at something that was easy to fold, with a small turning circle. I wanted an adjustable handle and the option to click a car seat on the base. I got a new one, half price during a sale. I bought the same type car seat as what I had before, because I knew the quality was good. I picked a discontinued colour and saved 70%. The baby blankets I bought on ebay were of a continental designer brand, therefor pretty unknown in the UK so I got them about 80% cheaper that on the continent. I bought a basic babymonitor, I don’t need all the extras the more expensive ones have. Then I bought cloth nappies. I knew which ones would be most useful for us, got them at half of the new price and once we’re done with them I’ll be able to sell them on and get most of that money back. I’m going to breastfeed, so I got a pump from a good brand off a fb for sale group, and good quality nursing bras off amazon at 60% off. I’ll be able to buy cheap bottles, they’ll fit directly onto my pump. Not planning on buying a baby bath, we have a good sink! So far I’m very pleased with how we’ve handled finances. Been buying things right from the start, so the costs are very evenly spread over 9 months.

  16. Irene

    I’m pregnant with my first baby, in week 23. we didn’t buy anything yet. I’ll get clothes from a friend who has a one year old child and I’ll give them back once my baby needs bigger clothes and I’ll get the bigger clothes from her… We’re going to exchange clothes even if we’ll have a second baby…
    And we got a crib, car seat, clothes… from a close family, they had 4 boys already and aren’t planning of having mor kids. I don’t care about the sex so I’m very happy to have gotten all this stuff for free and I don’t care that it’s already used by 4 kids! It saves us a lot of money!!!

  17. Juli

    Where I live in Germany it’s a tradition to hand down baby clothes and other baby items to new moms. My good friend has already three kids and is not planning to have more so she gave me a crib and a bed with matrasses, a diaper backpack, a bathing tub, clothes, toys and pram accessories. For free ! From my sister’s friend we got an entire box of first year clothes , a baby phone, bottles, a carrier, a car seat and toys for under 80€. Plus, my mom gave me other things so we basically need to buy a pram, a changing table and a few small items like a thermometer. Marketing people make us believe that we’re good parents only if we buy many, certain and of course new items, but obviously that’s not true. A loving family is more important than a 2000€ pram….

  18. markeita

    I’m an expecting mother, just hoping everything goes well. Nervous anxious scared…just trying to get excited about having a baby. It’ll be hard I know but with God on my side, what or who should I fear? Nada

  19. sandy

    I’m first time mom an super excited which causes anxiety at night when I should be asleep …

  20. Katie

    I am 23 weeks pregnant with my first, and have already learned some money lessons. 1) don’t buy baby clothes right away. After finding out the gender at 16 weeks, I bought an entire wardrobe of 0-6 month clothes, almost exclusively from thrift shops, eBay, and consignment shops. Sounds money-smart, right? Then a friend of mine ended up giving me 75% of her baby’s 0-6 month clothes, so I could have saved a lot more money. Also, if you are in the US and plan to buy a new car seat, you can go to safercar.gov and research safety and ease of use ratings. At first I was just researching car seats based on amazon reviews, but using this website I found a car seat and stroller system that will save me $80 over the set I originally thought was a good deal. More expensive isn’t always better!

  21. Allie

    Since we found out I was pregnant me and my other half have found gradual is the best method. Don’t wait until month 8 to buy as you will notice the huge pocket punch we’ve been buying since week 16 when we found out the sex and saw the baby was healthy.

    I have over 180 items of baby clothes newborn/0-3 I bought them on local selling pages and eBay in bundles the total I’ve spent on clothes is around £90 including a few new pieces and sets which is another thing look out for sets because they can be cheaper than one individual item.. A well known pharmacy in the UK sell one onsie for £20 but the same shops all sell a a set of 2 vests, 1 onsie, hat, bib and socks or £25 so be on the prowl.

    On local selling pages on the most known social media site you can type in the search bar baby sale and it should come up with pages in your area we’ve bought playmat/gyms for £5 changing stations which have a built in bath and tons of storage for £15, unused diapers in the packets 160 £10, my biggest lucky ball was a pram with three fittings suitable from birth until baby doesn’t need it and it was free!! There are loads of things out there people sell on cheap. I’ve seen breast pumps for £20 all you need it o buy replacement bit for the breast if used and that’s cheap! Bottles same again buy new teats, sterilisers electric and manual so it’s not hard to budget if you don’t have the money to buy new there are alternatives.
    I do believe some items you shouldn’t reuse like mattresses, certain toys, dummies, cutlery and bath toys but it’s all down to preference.
    My MIL luckily paid for our cot and matress and her sister gave us a travel cot but these items can be found online cheaply and always read the reviews because I’ve found items I love the look of and the reviews have been shocking! Someone’s it’s better to pay the extra £20 on something like an ear thermometer as the cheap ones aren’t as good.

    My biggest tip;
    Don’t waste money on things they’ll soon grow out of a newborn baby suit £20 that’ll last them maybe 2-4 weeks before they’re on 0-3 unless you have a big baby then all newborn items are pointless, get second hand and a new home outfit or first outfit for photos and a keepsake, speak to other mums on advice pages or at groups and don’t be afriad to look second hand because the minute you notice the deals and great quality all you’ll be thinking is wow, I can give my baby more for less and you may go shopping mad looking for deals!

  22. Katrina

    If plan to breastfeed and would like a pump too check with your insurance company. Many will cover most if not all of the cost of a good pump.

  23. SarahB

    I live in England and i am on benefits (not to be proud of though) so i manage my money really well, the idea of having this baby does worry me as i think i’ll not be able to afford it, but there is help out there for mothers who are on benefits, as i’ll be getting a little bit more, so i’d be able to afford this baby, but again i’ll be spending wisely and the money i don’t spend on the baby will go in a savings account for its future.

  24. Tatianna

    Im on a tight budget but I dont believe in buying certain things used…

    Shoping around is very helpful though Ive found the same high priced items from babys r us at walmart for WAAY cheaper

  25. Sarah

    Breastfeeding isn’t free. At all. You will still need to purchase bottles if you plan on pumping – and that pump isn’t free, either. (Not to mention nature didn’t give all of us the ability to breastfeed).

    Same with cloth diapers – in addition to the diapers themselves, you are going to be doing a heck of a lot more laundry, and will be paying for soap and water – maybe not a big deal to some, but if you’re a penny-pincher, you might notice the difference in your bills with these things.

    Another good tip – SAVE YOUR BABY THINGS! If you give away your stroller and then decide to have another baby, you will have to buy another stroller! A friend of mine have all her baby things away, and two years later was forced to replace everything from the crib to clothing. Unless you are certain you are done adding to your family, hang on to those expensive baby items! Just because one child is done doesn’t mean another won’t need it! 🙂

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