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This past November, my wife and I were lucky enough to welcome a little daughter into our family. She is a joy to our family and we have loved getting to watch her grow up, and love getting to see her personality develop every day.
Like most parents, we prepared for her arrival by getting a nursery ready and purchasing items that may be needed for a newborn. We could have went overboard and bought all new stuff, but here at Summit of Coin, we always try to find the most economical ways to do all things.
Below is a list of topics that we utilized to keep our baby expenses down:
Category 1: Crib
I am a big proponent of purchasing used furniture. Used stuff is always cheaper than buying anything new, and you can get good use out of a used piece of furniture.
We always try to stick to this strategy when we can and with the crib we were lucky. My wife's parents still had her crib from when she was a baby. This was such an amazing blessing, because the crib was gifted to us.
Our Cost: $0
Category 2: Other Nursery Furniture
This category includes rocking chairs, dressers and changing tables. These items of furniture are all things that should be bought used. And of course with our family, we are utilizing used furniture in our nursery.
For all of these items, we were lucky enough to also receive from family. My brother-in-law gave us the changing table. My father-in-law and mother-in-law gave us the dresser and rocking chair. Basically, all of our furniture in the nursery is USED! Not only used, but passed down from within the family.
On a side note: One of my friends told me that they didn't even use a changing table. They bought one and wished they hadn't. Oppositely, my wife and I use our changing table every time we change our daughter. I guess it depends on your personal preference, but a changing table is not necessarily a necessity. Not purchasing a changing table would save lots in preparing for baby's arrival!
Our Cost: $0
Category 3: Painting the Nursery
Everybody has become so creative these days and they have made their nurseries look amazing, including paint and all the decorations. My wife and I decided not to paint our nursery. Our wall color was tan and we didn't feel like a change was necessary.
In our opinion, decorating a nursery is more for the parents. The baby doesn't need a fancy paint color in their room. They could care less about the color of their room. Instead, all they care about is eating, sleeping and being soothed.
Even though we did not paint the room, we did spend some money on decorations. These decorations included some wall art, picture frames and curtains. We also used some handed down decorations from when my wife was a kid.
Our Costs: Painting - $0, Decorations - $159
Category 4: Baby Toys/Items
This category is really tricky. Family members have given us a lot of hand me down items, but we also have gone out and purchased some newer items also. We were given a swing, a boppy pillow, a Bumbo seat and a play mat.
We needed items for the breast pump, breast milk storage bags and a rock and play. With these items, we made sure to only purchase these items with a coupon. We made sure to have a coupon every time, because we use retailmenot.com to find all available coupons or discounts for a specific store.
Our Cost - $181
Category 5: Diapers
No one will disagree, but diapers are one of the most expensive line items for a baby or any child at a young age. We were lucky enough to have a diaper shower thrown for us. Because of the diaper shower, we have enough diapers to last us a couple of months.
Interestingly, four months after the birth of our daughter, we still haven't needed to purchase any diapers.
Our Cost: $0
Category 6: Clothing
For our little girl, clothing has not really been an area that we cut too many costs. We have bought new clothes from Carter's. Instead of the savings from buying used (still possible with kids clothes), we are getting the savings from using coupons, sales or free shipping offers.
My wife will normally notice a sale or a free shipping offer and ask if we have money in the budget for some baby clothes. Almost every time, there is money in the budget to buy some clothes.
Another strategy would be to buy clothes out of season. For example, buy winter clothes for the following year after winter has ended. Most stores are trying to get rid of their winter clothes in the spring and will discount them.
Lastly, my wife and I think another small reason we did not spend a lot of money on clothes prior to her birth is because we chose to be surprised with the gender. My wife has said that if she knew we were having a girl prior to her birth, she might have gone a little crazy on spending money on all the cute girl clothes and accessories!
Our Cost: $196
Related: Strategies to Save Money on Clothing
To be completely honest, my wife and I have been really lucky to have support of family. Our family has been able to offer us such great hand-me-downs and we have been able to use it all.
Our hand me downs have been so great, that all we have spent on a 4-month old is $536 in preparation for the arrival and any purchases since her birth. Of course, this does not include the hospital expense of delivering the baby, but that cost is pretty difficult to cut. It's all based on your deductible and insurance.
Basically, since last March, all we have spent on our child is $536. That's less than $50 a month. Sure, kids can be expensive, but we don't have to go overboard and give our kids all things fancy. They won't care as much about the stuff as they will about having a mother and father that care.
Stop worrying so much about the perfect nursery and having enough clothes. Take things slow, have a budget and whenever possible buy used.