Baby on a budget
When Tim and I found out we were expecting Ella, we were newlyweds and new hires paying San Diego cost of living and student loans. So we had to be crafty and resourceful when it came to saving up and buying for baby number 1. After going through the whole process with Ella, and now gearing up for baby number 2, I thought I'd share what I've learned about having a baby on a budget.
Save. This is a big one. Health insurance is an incredible blessing, but hospital bills always hit bank accounts hard. If we could help it, we wanted to be able to pay off any medical bills as we received them, so building an "emergency baby fund" over the course of the 9 months was a must. We didn't put aside a set percentage; we couldn't afford to at the time. But I would evaluate our finances often, and put aside whatever we could. Since Ella's birth brought no surprises (thank God) we were able to pay the bills in full as we received them.
Research. There is a whole industry built around having a baby. What we often forget is we don't need much to have the little one around. I researched having a baby on a budget many times and found countless tips on how many onesies are needed, how much clothing is really necessary, how coconut oil is a great alternative to baby lotion, etc. There are a million resources (thank you, Pinterest) out there informing moms and dads of how to cut costs.
Buy over time. This one helped Tim and I a great deal. I'd set aside so much money per paycheck when I could and we'd buy what we needed a little at a time. Clothing, bath accessories, etc. For purchasing the bigger things like a cradle, mattress, and sheets, we'd put the money we set aside and save up to buy the bigger items.
Turn your registry into a list of needs. We weren't around family when I was pregnant with Ella, so I wasn't expecting a baby shower, and therefore, didn't register. However, generous friends and family would ask us for gift ideas and we would offer suggestions like grocery store gift cards to make post-baby daily life a little easier and more manageable. (Take-out is a big go-to with a newborn!) One of my good friends gifted us a gift card to Honest and I loaded up on diapers and wipes.
Know all baby products aren't necessary. (See research) It's easy to go down the baby aisle and think I need all the Johnson's products, but I've found (at least with Ella) coconut oil has been the best and most versatile product out there. It's cleared any rash she's had and has worked wonders as a moisturizer. A little coconut oil goes a long way, so a jar lasts forever.
(For the future) Buy gender neutral. One of the tips I read was to buy gender neutral clothes, sheets, etc. for baby number one so you can reuse a lot of items come baby number 2. This one was easy. I like whites and grays and blues, so when buying for Ella I got a lot of neutrals. Now we already have sheets, blankets, and outfits that we can use for our little dude.
Since we've been through the whole getting ready for a baby thing once already, we have significantly less to buy. Things now on my radar are items like a double stroller, a wrap to wear this new little one (something I didn't do with Ella), and a winter wardrobe for both my babies.