Baby On A Budget – What You Need To Buy And What You Don’t

When it comes to babies, there is no shortage of products you can buy.  When you are a new mom it can be overwhelming trying to decide what you can and can’t do without.  After all, we want our new bundles of joy to be safe and happy.  If you’ve ever stood in the baby aisle of a department store you will quickly discover that all the marketing and advertising will try to convince you that you need all the things to raise a happy child.  It’s hard to have a baby on a budget.

Baby on a budget


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Time Magazine says that it costs the average, middle class parent $233, 610.  While I don’t doubt that you CAN spend that much money and more on a child, I also believe it doesn’t HAVE to cost that much money.

The good news is, you can start saving money on their upbringing from day 1.

My “baby” is now 6 years old.  And while I haven’t had a baby or toddler in the house for a few years, I still feel like it is still fresh enough in my mind to share what I learned during that time on what products I needed and what I could absolutely do without.  There were items we bought that we barely used, and other items that were lifesavers for us.

So, today I am going to share with you baby items you can live without, and I am also going to share some of what I believe to be the most useful baby products for a new mom.

But before I do that, I want to mention that you can register on Amazon.  You may have a baby shower, or there are people who want to shop for you and your new baby, and it makes it easier if they can see exactly what you need or want!


Change Table.  Seriously, I used our change table a handful of times. Thankfully I bought it secondhand, but it was still money that ended up being wasted. Most of the time I pulled out a blanket or these handy travel mats and changed the baby on the floor, on a bed,  or on the couch. It was way easier to be able to drop what I was doing for a moment and just change the baby wherever I was.  I really liked the travel mats because they are waterproof.  In a pinch I used a blanket, but the mats were easy to clean and protected any surface we were on for a possible accident.

Baby Shoes.  Okay, I’m not going to lie.  Baby shoes are ridiculously cute, and if someone wanted to buy them for me I was all for it.  But until they are walking they can travel around on socked or bare feet (Depending on the weather) because they are usually sitting in a car seat, stroller, carrier, or someone’s arms.  I definitely passed on buying the shoes myself.

Bassinet.  Bassinets are not cheap, and they sleep in them for a New York Minute before they move on to their crib.  We had one of these playpens with the bassinet-like basket that sat on top of it.  We wanted a playpen anyways, and it gave us the bassinet type sleeping arrangement without us needing to buy one.

Crib bumpers and bed sets.  I’m not even sure why they still sell these because we are warned by doctors now to not use these as they can be a hazard to your baby.

Diaper genie.  We had a diaper genie for a short time after someone gave us one.  However, we found it was more trouble than it was worth. You also need to keep buying refills of the filters. We ended up getting a simple smaller garbage pail with a lid.  You want the lid to keep the smell in the bucket. 🙂

Nursing pillow.  Any pillow that you own will do.  The “official” nursing pillow is one of those baby items you can live without.

Baby towels.  again, another item that is really cute, with their animal faces or little ears attached to the hoods, but I actually found baby towels to be less absorbent than regular towels and would just end up using our normal towels to actually be able to dry the baby properly.

Baby food blender.  I see baby food blenders in all the stores now and definitely think it’s an item you can pass on.  To make baby food just use your regular blender or food processor to puree it and then put it in ice cube trays and freeze it for individual servings.  Plus, none of us need more clutter in our kitchens, am I right?

Wipes warmer.  The problem with a wipe warmer is you use it at home, and then you go out somewhere and change your baby without the wipe warmer available, and your baby is not used to wipes that aren’t warmed up! My babies never seemed to mind the temperature of the wipes without a warmer.  Plus, with the warmers your wipes dry out faster and you can have mold issues.

So, what baby items SHOULD you buy?  What products are out there that make life easier with a baby?


Strollers.  Strollers aren’t necessarily cheap, but I had multiple strollers and they all served a purpose.  I definitely recommend a jogger stroller even if you don’t jog.  The big wheels on a jogger stroller will make it easier to walk down trails, in parks, in snow, and a variety of other places.  Any mom who has had to maneuver a stroller in less than ideal terrain knows how frustrating it is to get those wheels to move.  We are a family who likes to explore and trail walk, so a jogger stroller was very beneficial for us. Check out this one for a budget-friendly option.

I also had a regular stroller that you fit the car seat in because babies can’t ride in a jogger stroller until they can support their own head.

When I had a toddler and a baby I needed a stroller that could fit two munchkins in, so I got a double seated stroller, like this one.  Do not, I repeat, do not get a double stroller that is side by side.  I have watched many moms struggle to fit through doorways with those strollers.  You want one where they sit one behind the other.

And then I also had an umbrella stroller.  These ones aren’t that much money thankfully, and really aren’t necessary if you have another stroller, but they are more lightweight and fit into small spots, so it was perfect to throw into the trunk of a car and use for a day at the zoo.

I know, that seems like a crazy amount of strollers for a frugal woman, but they actually really all got used a lot, and I also didn’t have them all at once.  When we had two kids we got rid of the regular stroller and upgraded to the double stroller.  And when the youngest baby turned into a toddler I used the jogger and the umbrella stroller and passed on the double stroller to a mom who had twins.

Baby wraps.  Again, this is something I had a couple of, but don’t underestimate the freedom these wraps offer, allowing you to move around yet still carry your baby who may be happier when they are close to you.  I loved the [amazon_textlink asin=’B000OY539A’ text=’Moby wrap’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’simplelifeofa-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5b614e5c-830c-11e8-a1e5-15245302ecda’] which took some time to learn how to use, but once I did it was my favorite.  I also had one of these carriers that were easier to use and also allowed for my husband to wear it once in awhile because let’s be honest, my husband was not going to sport the Moby wrap!

Travel change pads.  I talked above about how I loved using a travel change pad instead of a change table.  These fit nicely into your purse, and make changing a diaper easy and convenient.

Nursing cover.  For me, personally, I was more comfortable nursing my baby while covered.   These nursing covers convert into a car seat cover!  Such an awesome idea and a great way to save even more money by using one product for two purposes.  While you can use a blanket as a nursing cover in a pinch, I found I could never get the blankets to stay put.  I much preferred the nursing covers.

Bouncy seat.  Some people will argue that you don’t need a bouncy seat, and that is true, however, they were life savers for me.  While I was an avid baby-wearer, there were times I needed to put my baby down so I could get stuff done without being attached to a baby.  The bouncy seat set up where I could supervise was a perfect solution for us.

Receiving blankets.  And LOTS of them! One of my babies had reflux and was constantly spitting up or puking and I could never have enough receiving blankets on hand to throw over my shoulder to protect my clothes and catch whatever was going to come out of my baby’s mouth.

Having a baby is an exciting time and shouldn’t be filled with worry on how you will afford everything. You can raise a baby on just a few necessities.  I’ve shared some of my favorite items, but obviously there are other necessities like car seats, cribs, highchairs, etc.  but remember that you can save money by passing on some of the items above that you can get by without.  It IS possible to have a baby on a budget, even if it is a tight budget.

If your friends or family are throwing you a baby shower, you can mention that it would be really helpful if a few people went in together on a high priced item you need for the baby.   Another way is to buy items secondhand, but remember that there are certain items that you don’t want to buy secondhand, like car seats in case they’ve been in an accident or are expired.

If you are having a baby on a budget, don’t worry that you won’t be able to afford everything you need.  Use this list to help you manage your baby expenses.






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