Baby on a Budget – Do I Really Need That?

Baby on a Budget - Do I Really Need That?

Baby on a Budget – Do I Really Need That?

Baby on a Budget - Do I Really Need That?

As the saying goes, babies are expensive. Like really expensive. The USDA estimates the cost of raising a child to be $233,610 by the ripe age of 18. Of course, that number can vary depending on parent’s income and how much they choose to spend on their child i.e. budgeters vs. non-budgeters. It’s more common now than ever for parents to feel underprepared and financially overwhelmed with the birth of a child due to wanting to have it all. Companies are always coming up with new baby products that parents feel they have to have in order to be a better parent.

Less is more, most of the time

Don’t get me wrong, many products out there are actually pretty great. But most are so extra.

Here’s what you can do without.

Baby shoes

Your newborn baby won’t be on his feet for a while. What’s the need for shoes now? I understand baby trainers, but babies don’t start walking until 9-12 months. The shoes can wait.


What? But a baby needs a crib!

Well, not technically.

For families living in small spaces, living minimally, or baby-ing on a budget, cribs don’t have to be a necessity.

While co-sleeping’s an option, it isn’t the safest option.

But a bassinet’s a really good choice for three reasons:

  1. A bassinet’s small enough to be placed in your room. Studies have found sleeping in the same room during baby’s first year significantly lowers their risk of SIDS. It’s also ideal if you live in a one-room apartment.
  2. It’s portable. A bassinet’s free to move around the house. If you opt for a travel bassinet, you can easily bring it to a family’s or friend’s house, park or beach.
  3. Co-sleep without harming the baby. Smaller bassinets fit into parent’s bed and offer protection from roll-over.
Baby on a Budget - Do I Really Need That?
Mumbelli The only womb-like, and adjustable infant bed. Patented design, safety tested, reflux wedge included. Travel bassinet and co-sleeper.

For the most economical option, get a free Baby Box from BabyBoxUniversity. They ship to your local Walgreens for free and you can pick it up within a few weeks. It comes with a mattress and samples for your baby. All you have to do is attend baby university, which is really just a few short videos and quiz questions (really informative, perfect for FTMs).

Baby on a Budget - Do I Really Need That?

*Save and purchase a twin bed later down the road!


Diaper bag

If you have a decently sized backpack, you can use it as your diaper bag. I have a Herschel backpack from college I’ll be repurposing. The only other thing you’ll need is an insulated bag for bottles.

On the off chance you don’t have an old backpack lying around, a good diaper bag is the Bag Nation diaper bag.

It’s a best seller and I can understand why. The bag comes with a changing pad and straps to attach to your stroller as well as 14 organizing pockets!

Baby monitor

While a baby monitor’s nice to have, it’s not really a necessity, especially if you will be room-sharing with your baby.

Baby food maker

You don’t need to get a Baby Bullet to make baby food. All you need is a food processor or blender and freezing containers.

When needed, pop whatever you need into the microwave for 15 seconds and stir. If needed, heat for an additional 5 seconds. Remember to test on your arm for the right temperature!

Baby towels & washcloths

Regular towels work just as well. And no. They won’t scrub your baby’s skin off. Babies are a lot tougher than we give them credit for.

Washcloths can be upcycled from old clothes you have lying around the house or purchase an InfantCo silicone scrubber. Just microwave or boil to remove bacteria and your baby gets a fresh sponge every bath.

Wipe warmer

Your baby’s not going to get a cold from their fresh wipe. Trust me.

But they may be fussier.

You can warm a wipe by holding it between your palms for a few seconds to bring it to body temperature or store the wipes in a warm area.

A whole bunch of baby clothes

It’s so easy to go overboard with baby clothes since they’re all so freakin’ adorable. Parents love to buy them. And guess who else? Siblings, aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas. Basically, everybody’s going to buy the baby baby clothes.

Babies also grow really fast. You do not need a ton of baby clothes.

*Save receipts and spare some tags in case you need to return them. Or sell your baby clothes on Mercari 🙂

If shopping for baby clothes gets you dizzy or you just need to shop the bare necessities, read my Minimalist Guide to Baby Clothes.

Diaper pail and diaper pail refills…

A fancy trash can and some even fancier trash liners. FOR DIAPERS.

For hands-free automation, get yourself a good ol’ step-can.

Changing pad

You’re going to be changing your baby everywhere. And you’ll do it all while leaving the changing pad in the next room.

*Use old towels to line underneath your baby for accidents.

Baby powder

Used to absorb moisture, you can give baby a few extra minutes in his or her birthday suit to fully dry before diapering.

Baby powder containing talc (with asbestos) has been shown to cause cancer. If you’re in a hurry and need to dry baby fast, Burt’s Bees baby dusting powder is 100% natural and talc-free.

Burp cloth

You do not need to spend $10+ on a burp cloth. Cut up an old t-shirt!

There’s probably a lot more stuff you don’t need. When shopping for your baby on a budget, use your best judgment. Does it solve a real problem? Or is it an extra you can do without?

Remember, babies don’t need all that special baby stuff. A lot of times they can use exactly what we use.

Was there anything you bought for your baby you barely used or that didn’t work as planned?

Was there something you couldn’t live without?

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6 Replies to “Baby on a Budget – Do I Really Need That?”

  1. I always see pictures (on Pinterest mainly) of a baby’s waredrobe PACKED with clothes. This is one of the few blogs that have mentioned that baby’s don’t need a whole lot of clothes; just some onesies and pants do the trick. Leave the cute outfits for when they aren’t going to grow out of them in 2-3 months.

    A space saving related tip from me is to make it a rule for relatives/friends/gift-bringers to not buy clothes, toys or décor for the baby unless they’ve run it past you first. Grandma may want you to be prepared and have her idea of what’s cute to go in the nursery but it’s best to bite the bullet so you don’t end up with all sorts filling your tiny apartment.

    1. Hi Lucy, I totally agree! I currently own just a few baby clothes and am super pleased with my collection. I save very few of those baby wardrobe pins because I have no use for them! I mean who has hundreds of 0-6 month clothes?! I like to keep the hangers that come with baby clothes and reuse them 🙂 Saves money and the hangers are just the right size

  2. We adopted a baby last year as our youngest turned 11! The first time around we bought All The Things. This time? Almost nothing. Splurged on an adorable mini crib and breathe through mattress. Got a sling, wrap, car seat and frame stroller until we were ready for a jogger, a couple of floor toys, and the obvious basics. We skipped the expensive exersaucer, swing, automated rocking gadgets, fancy high chair (picked up an ingenuity booster seat when she was sitting upright). Skipped MANY baby toys (she really only honestly plays with only a handful, even at 14 months! The excess is just lots of extra clutter.

    This was a super article! It validated what I knew, but felt weird saying because everyone thought we needed All The Things. Not true!


    1. Hi Sarah! I find it so funny babies are intrigued by the simplest things, like an egg carton or a piece of Velcro and not the $20 toy you just got for them, hahah. By the way, congrats on the new baby. So glad you chose to adopt!

  3. Great article and I agree with most, nice to see others trying to minimize the stuff! I would suggest a pack and play vs a bassinet as they will likely be able to fit into it for a much longer period of time. Many also come with a place to change them which I found very handy when brand new and you can even get real mattresses to fit in it if they are sleeping there every night.

    1. Hi Ainsley,

      We ended up getting a convertible Gulliver crib from IKEA, but still using a bassinet in the meantime as he’s still quite small. They do grow pretty fast though, don’t they? 🙂

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