Wow! This Baby Thing is Getting Expensive

Two months ago, my wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Of course, this beautiful little life is priceless but can actually be pretty pricey to raise a child. From diapers to cribs, to strollers, the list can go on and on. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money as new parents.

You must have heard these crazy figures like this one from the Times: The Cost of Raising a Child Jumps to $233,610 but the actual cost of raising kids is only what you spend for them. If you are frugal parents and spend consciously,  you can easily provide an amazing and plentiful childhood to your kids without breaking the bank. In the past two months, we have been raising our baby without spending a ton on gadgets and trinkets and it’s been perfectly fine.

P.S. If you are not a parent and do not plan to become one, you might want to skip this.


Things we got so far: Our Cost
All-in-one stroller with car seat As a gift
Travel stroller (optional) $140
Crib As a gift
Sheets As a gift
Travel crib / Playpen (optional) $200
Clothes, socks, hats… About $50
Baby bathtub As a gift
Baby washcloths $10
Electric breast pump (rental) $125
Changing mat As a gift
Wipes (2 boxes) $23 x 2
Wardrobe storage $1
Diapers (4 boxes) $30 x 4
Cloth diapers (pack of 6) $40
Flushable diaper liners $10
Baby carrier As a gift
Boppy Newborn Lounger As a gift
Ikea armchair $70
Mobile $5
Total $817


Nursery money saving tips

The first thing you might do before giving birth is to set up a nursery for your future little one. So many people go bananas on this one and can end up spending thousands on their nursery.

Nursery money saving tipsUnfortunately, all these things will only get used for a few months and then your newborn will be too big for them. This Ubabub Pod Crib, for example, sells for $2,300! If you set up your whole nursery to match, you will pay upwards of $10,000.

Even the cheaper options are pretty expensive, Costco sells nursery sets anywhere from $1,300 up to $2,000. These come with a crib, dresser with a changing tray, and a nursery glider but are still pretty pricey.

Instead, buy used and look for furniture and accessories that can do double duty. Instead of shopping at specialized baby stores, buy regular furniture or, even better, use furniture you already own.

  • We got a hand-me-down crib for free from our family
  • My grandmother made us some sheets.
  • Some blankets were given to us as gifts and we bought a few more at the thrift store for only $1, total.
  • Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a nursery chair, we bought a $70 armchair at Ikea. We can then use it in our living room later on.
  • frugal parent tipsWe bought a mobile at Walmart for only $5.
  • A neet discovery (but totally optional) was the boppy newborn lounger. Our little girl loves it and it allows us to put her down anywhere in the house with us.
  • Instead of spending hundreds on a specialized dresser with a changing tray which will be useless once our baby grows up, we simply got this diaper changing Pad and liners and laid it on top of a dresser we already owned.
  • The Dollar store sells great little nightlights. We did not find a need to get anything more expensive.
  • How to save money on babyFinally, we found a nice wardrobe storage at the thrift store but can also be bought on Amazon for just $3.

Every store is out there pushing some baby things but half of it is either useless or will be after a month or two. You do not need to buy everything they sell, there are endless amounts of stuff being marketed to new parents but as frugal parents, just get what you need.

All your baby really needs is love, safety, and attention.

Even if we spent about $100 on our nursery, we do not feel deprived. Honestly, we cannot think of anything else we would want.

We did not bother with painting the room or any special decor since she will only be a baby for so long before she will want to choose her own styles.


Save money on baby clothes

For clothing, your baby does not need designer clothes (even adults, actually). Even if Hermes has a baby line with $2,425 baby blankets and $3,075 plush animals, it does not mean your baby needs it.

No one needs a two thousand dollar blanket!

Don’t buy baby clothes far in advance since they will probably not fit. Our girl came a bit early, at 37 weeks, so even New Born sizes were too big, while my sister was born at 10lbs, which is already at the 3-months size.

Aside from the gifts we received, we bought all her clothes at thrift stores for pennies. Seriously, pennies. They charge per pound so we can get about 5 outfits for $1.

We are already donating back some outfits, after only two months, because she grows up so fast. If we had bought all her clothes brand new, even on the cheaper end, each outfit would have cost at least $10-$15. Instead, we spend as much for her whole wardrobe!

We are just smart about what we buy for our newborn.

  • Onesies are cheaper than 2-piece outfits and much easier to put on.
  • Before she starts crawling, our baby does not need any shoes.
  • Buy a size too big, she will grow into it in a week anyway.


Say yes to free

They say the best things in life are free.

We had a baby shower and got the essentials as gifts. Even without any expectations, people just like sharing this moment with you and are generous.

We received a bunch of clothes, the Boppy newborn lounger, a diaper changing pad with liners, a baby bathtub, two different baby carriers, and a box of diapers.

If you can, try to nurse at least for the first six months. That is another great free trick. Not only is it healthy, but you will save at thousands in formula costs. Breast milk is free, why not use it.

In our case, my wife is breastfeeding but our baby would not latch properly for the first weeks so we had to pump at the beginning. The best deal we found was to rent a breast pump from our pharmacy. A quality electric pump can be expensive (up to $800) but renting was quite affordable. We ended up paying $65 for one month and bought the plastic attachments for $60 since you should not share those. The best would be to borrow a pump from a friend but otherwise, it is still pretty cheap to rent if it is for a short period of time.

We also consulted a lactation consultant at our local clinic. It was free, your local breastfeeding organizations may also offer home visits or phone consultations.


How to save on diapers

When it comes to diapers, we like to think big. Buying in bulk reduced our cost per unit from 33¢ to only 12¢. We buy the Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers from Amazon or when they go on sale at the grocery store. We found them to be the best and cheapest option, aside from cloth diapers.

Ways to Save Money on diapersYou can also sign up for company newsletters from Pampers or Huggies and get coupon offers to save even more.

For cloth diapers, we bought a 6-pack from Amazon for about $40 and use them when we are at home. They are not ideal when out and about but they are surprisingly easy to clean and maintain.

To compare, this expense equals roughly a box and a half of disposable diapers (about 300). You would need to use these cloth diapers for a month or two just to break even (yeah, they go through a lot of diapers when they are young!).

And skip the diaper bags. These things are clunky and will only be used for diapers. Instead, we simply use a backpack we already owned and always carry our six baby essentials:

  1. Few diapers
  2. Changing pad
  3. Wipes
  4. Garbage bags
  5. Extra onesies
  6. Extra blanket


Our travel preparations

For our future travels around the world, we bought a few extra things that are totally optional but will make traveling much easier.

Instead of our clucky all-in-one stroller, we bought a sturdy travel stroller for a hundred and forty dollars. It is super compact and airplane friendly so we will be able to board with it as a carry-on.

The only other thing we got was a foldable crib which will fit in our suitcase. This will double as a playpen during the day and will allow her to sleep alone pretty much anywhere.


To conclude, just remember that kids only cost as much as you spend on them. We try to focus on what you really need to buy and skip what you can do without. If you ignore the marketing and stay frugal, there is plenty of ways to save money and raise beautiful kids in abundance.

We only spent $800 so far and now own everything we need. For the following year, we will need more diapers and wipes. These will run us about $50 per month, although we are using cloth diapers more and more.

As she grows, we are constantly donating clothes that do not fit her anymore and getting new outfits at the thrift shop for a few dollars here and there. I am confident we can end the year 2018 without spending more than $1,500 for our newborn. 🙂

There is no reason to feel peer-pressured or influenced if that’s just not you. Stay true to your frugal-self!