As soon as a pregnancy is confirmed expectant parents are bombarded by advertising telling them about “must-have” items for their baby. But what is really necessary and can you have a baby nursery on a budget?
For couples who are on a limited budget (and even those who aren't), the whole thing can feel like an overwhelming pressure to purchase. But before whipping out their credit cards the moms and dads-to-be would do well to consider what is really essential. Below are some ways to set up your baby nursery on a budget.
If you're early in motherhood the first thing you want to do is establish yourself a baby budget. Start researching the items you'll need and what they cost new. This would be your maximum expense. You don't want to go there though. Once you know your maximum you can work your way toward less expensive alternatives. Parenting will present plenty of opportunities to overspend and indulge, this doesn't have to be one of them.
If you have friends or family that have gone before you into the world of parenting consider what you may be able to borrow from them. I have friends, three sisters who are always sharing their furniture, baby clothing, toys, and more with each other. When we were planning our nursery my sister in-law offered up the rocker she used for her two kids.
Clothing for Baby
Babies grow out of the smallest sizes very quickly – so second-hand clothes can be great condition and a fraction of the price of new outfits in stores. Take into account the fact that friends and family are likely to buy outfits as gifts for a new baby. You'll get at ton of new-born stuff so ask for larger sizes for when the baby gets bigger.
Bundles of baby clothes can be purchased for a fraction of the shop price on Ebay, Facebook yardsale groups, physical yardsales, or through a local advertisement paper. I have more tips to save on kids clothing here.
Even today I buy very little of my son's clothing brand new. Consignment sales and shops are a great way to find clothing for kids of all ages at reasonable prices. I just bought my son a pair of Nike sweatpants new with tags for $5.99. Brand new they were $24.99.
This snappy little outfit was all from a consignment sale:
Preparing a Nursery?
Remember tiny babies don't care about matching lamps and curtains – they just want to be loved and cared for. Parents can save money on nursery decoration and choose instead to spend later when the child is old enough to help with the design of his own room.
We asked for a matching crib set and mobile but otherwise, our nursery was simple.
The Car Seats and Strollers
Car seats and strollers are a big investment. Parents should do their research before buying to ensure they don't end up having to pay out a second time because their first choice doesn't really suit their needs. Some factors to consider are:
The age range – can it be used for a new baby right through to a toddler?
The size – will it fit neatly in the boot of the car and still leave room for other baby essentials or shopping?
Ease of folding – does the buggy fold without too much fuss? Can it be folded one-handed if the parent needs to use public transport alone?
Once parents have researched the model they like, it is worth looking at local consignment stores for strollers. Parents who are not too picky might want to consider requesting a freebie through Freecycle or asking friends and family with older children if they might have one stashed away that could be used.
Every family needs a car seat – whether or not they own a car, as the hospital will not let new parents leave without one. Hand-me-down car seats should only be used if their history is known, parents should only accept offers from trusted friends and family – a small crash can render them unfit for further use.
Remember that your local police department will do a free car seat check so if you get a hand-me-down or used car seat have them check it out and help you install it.
Changing and Bathing
A baby bath is not an essential item; a washing up bowl from the hardware store will serve well in the early days when baby is fully supported in mom or dad's hands. A bath support for the family bath may well be a better answer as baby grows; foam ones can be purchased very cheaply from good parenting stores.
A changing mat is a necessity but should be relatively inexpensive. There is no need to buy a fancy changing table if it isn't in the budget. You can use a desk or table or table with a pad and a cute basket for accessories if necessary.
Cloth diapers are definitely an upfront investment but save considerable money month after month, especially if you're planning more than one child. Save on fancy nursery items and put the money toward a few sets of cloth diapers. Besides, have you seen how adorable cloth diapers are these days!?
For those who choose to go disposable, many supermarket labels are as good as the leading brands, for almost half the price in some cases. Ask for diapers at your shower and start an Amazon diaper fund on your registry.
Oh, and skip the diaper pail. Dogs still get in them and they still smell. Use the trash. 🙂
No Need for Guilt
It is entirely possible for new parents to source all they need for a new arrival without breaking the bank. You can set up your baby nursery on a budget and still have everything baby needs.
No matter what you do don't fall for the guilt that you aren't doing enough. You'll face this lie through most of your parenting days (and beyond) so don't develop the bad habit of trying to have everything perfect. Your child needs your love, basic elements, and Jesus. That's it. 🙂