This post probably contains Affiliate Links and we may earn money or products from the companies mentioned. Read our full Disclosure Policies
See, preparing for a baby on a tight budget doesn’t start and stop at baby clothes, diapers, and a crib. The mountain of ‘baby essentials’ you need to get can quickly start getting overwhelming.
Being pregnant and broke. That’s the single scariest and loneliest experience a woman can have.
Unless you win the lottery, you’ll need to think further than your nose and budget for your baby for the long haul!
You will need to have a budget plan that will stretch further than just 9 months
You’ll need to implement some of the things BEFORE the baby comes, others will be when the baby comes whilst some will be when the baby is a little older.
Regardless of the stage, planning and budgeting for your baby need to start now.
You’ll need to decide how you’re going to get the majority of the baby essentials.
One way is to;
SET UP AN AMAZON BABY REGISTRY
There so many reasons and advantages why I advise you set up an Amazon Baby Registry, but I’ll spare you the long list and just mention the important few;
- Universal use – Amazon in the largest online retail company that caters to people WORLDWIDE. Finding your baby essentials is so much easier. Even when you have relatives that live in other parts of the world. and if by chance you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can items to your registry from any site!
- Registry Discount – You’ll receive 10-15% discount have you complete your baby registry
- Extended Returns period – You have an extended 90-day return on baby products purchased.
- Super easy to sign up so go ahead, sign up for one right here.
EVALUATE YOUR CURRENT INCOME CIRCUMSTANCE
Budgeting for a baby on a low income can be hard – not impossible, but hard.
You really need to look into your finances with a microscope to see where you can save money.
doing so will give you a clear idea of what you can and can’t afford.
Income and budget evaluation should be something that is to be done in the very early stages of pregnancy.
I’m talking about just when you find out the big news kind of early.
It will also help you put a lot of what is discussed below into perspective.
The things to really consider when having a baby on a budget are:
- What are your income and expenses now?
- How will maternity leave affect your budget?
- Hows your budget and income going to change once you return to work?
we will look at these points in more detail later on.
START A BABY EMERGENCY FUND
Babies are like cars – unpredictable! not necessarily the babies themselves but THEIR needs are unpredictable.
If you have been living from paycheck to paycheck and been ‘doin’ just fine’, You might want to change that real quick.
Now is the time to start setting aside a little of money to build up your baby emergency fund.
It doesn’t have to be a lot, but enough to cover any baby related emergencies, should they arise.
When you desperately need to get something for your baby even the little things like milk or diapers.
One of the worst feelings in the world: A mother looking down at an empty tin of formula and not knowing how she’ll be able to get the next one – This is is real, it can and unfortunately, DOES happen. DON’T let it happen to you.
Start building up a baby emergency fund. Make it part of your monthly or weekly budget!
THINK ABOUT YOUR HOSPITAL COSTS AND INSURANCE
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a country where medical costs are covered by the government (well, by collective taxpayers) then go ahead and skip this step as you won’t really need to worry too much.
BUT if your government doesn’t cover medical bills, then start organising and preparing a way in which t pay your bills.
You might want to set up insurance (depending on insurance policies).
If you haven’t got insurance in place, then you need to either get sorted ASAP or do the following
- Contact the hospital at which you will be delivering and ask them for delivery quotes. Get all the quotes; natural delivery, assisted delivery and emergency cesarian sections.
- Ask about the charge for an overnight stay, prescription and medication costs. Get the full range (best case scenario to the worst case scenario).
- Find out how they can help you. What financial assistance or relief can they offer you? Huggle for it. You’re not the first woman to be pregnant and on a low budget!
Explain your situation to someone who can advise you on a solution catered to your financial status. If they brush you off or say they can’t help you, KEEP ASKING. Bug the heck out of them.
My advice – BUSH it! – OK, that sounds rude and aggressive when you say it out loud, but it shouldn’t.
Basically; Bug Until Someone Helps! At the end of the day, you’re dealing with human beings and like I said, You won’t be the first woman to be in this situation.
MAXIMISE YOUR INCOME STREAMS
Once upon a time, a 9-5 job was part of a perfect family picture.
Because Mommy, Daddy and their 2.5 children could survive on one income.
Have two incomes and you’re living in luxury!
But this is NOW.
Things have changed. The millennial woman is finding alternative ways to bring in money, regardless of their family structure!
Many households are turning to creating extra income streams just to stay afloat.
It would be wise to jump on this boat.
There are so many people replacing their FULL-TIME income with alternative income streams, and to be honest, there are so many options out there I’m sure you’ll be able to find something YOU CAN do.
Trust me, you might sit there and think – Oh but I don’t have anything to share…What would I do anyway?…
Here are some LEGITIMATE ways to make money while staying at home;
- Have you got something you love doing that you can share with other people? Start a Blog
- Hate writing but LOVE reading?…Earn by proofreading other people’s books, e-books even blogs!
- Are you naturally organised (or even semi-organized)…Become a Virtual Assistant
- Are you one of those people that are constantly online…ALL day EVERY day?…Take Some Surveys and get paid for them.
- Do you have a creative streak?…make something and sell your creations on Amazon, eBay or even Esty
- Not so good at making things but can shop for the world?… Become an Affiliate Marketer or a Dropshipping
- Don’t want to faff about with the internet? have a yard sale…go to craft shows or even car boot sales (do you have those in your corner of the world)?
My point is, there are lots of ways in which you can make a steady income stream if you know where to look.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOU WILL BE BUYING FOR THE BABY
How many times have you Googled ‘essential items for a newborn baby’ and been presented with lists as long as your arm and leg!
Let me let you into a tiny secret – Your baby will NOT need half the things people tell you to get.
Babies actually need very little to survive and thrive.
Don’t believe me? Babies in Finland sleep in a box and they turn out just fine!
In fact, The Babyboxco.com are offering FREE baby sleeping boxes to parents to be in California.
OK, I’m not saying you go to such extremes, but merely pointing out that you don’t need a crib that’s the price of a small house!
The best way to look at it is – CAN YOU COMPROMISE on items to save money?
For example, these items below I find are completely unnecessary, and if you’re going to get one it’s always best to get them second hand – In my opinion. But then again, I have a frugal opinion;
- A Moses basket
- A baby wipes warmer
- Diaper pale – like…why?
- A million and one outfits… What for?
- Designer shoes
- Baby toys
- A collection of fluffy blankets – No matter how cold your country is, your baby won’t need a wardrobe full of fluffy blankets! I could go on, but I won’t.
- Receiving blankets
- Stair and doorway gates
- Rocking chairs
- Slings and baby carriers
- Strollers and buggies
- Bottle Sterilisers
Plan ahead, buy smart and save money.
Draw up a list of absolute essentials and stick them in your Amazon Baby Registry!
The better you plan for the baby, the more money you’re going to save and the more likely you are to stick to your budget.
There are many ways in which you can acquire baby items on a budget without making your baby look shabby (without the chick)!
And before you BUY anything, see if you can get them for FREE. Yes, FREE!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREEBIES AND OFFERS
There’s so much out there that’s up for grabs – totally free – if you just look for it.
Think I’m kidding?
Here’s over $500 worth of goodies free – just for you. Just use the code ‘ mommyinetntionally01 ‘ at the checkout and receive a 100% discount at any of the sites below to get your free product! (You just have to pay for shipping).
- Nursing Pillow (Free) – www.nursingpillow.com
- Baby Carrier / Wraps (Free) – www.sevenbaby.com
- Breastfeeding Covers (Free) – www.uddercovers.com
- Breastfeeding Milkbands (Set of 5 – Free) – www.milkbands.com
- Baby Slings (Free) – www.hotslings.com
- Pregnancy Belly Band (Free) – www.bellybuttonband.com
- Reusable breast pads (set of 5 – Free) – www.breastpads.com
- Car Seat Canopy Cover (Free) – www.carseatcanopy.com
- Pregnancy Pillow (Free) – www.pregnancypillow.com
- Baby Hooded Towels (Free) – www.hoodedtowels.com
- CUSTOM Pacifiers (set of 3 – Free) – www.custompacifiers.com
- Baby board books (set of 5 – Free) – www.babsybooks.com
- Cutest Baby Shoes (Free) – www.littlewanderers.com
Like I said, over $500 worth of goods FREE. Just remember to use coupon code mommyintentionally01 at checkout.
ASK FOR ‘HAND-ME-DOWNS’ FROM FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH MEMBERS THRIFT STORES OR EVEN LOCAL CHARITIES.
Know anyone that’s recently had a baby?
Do you attend a church or even an organization that can help?
What about your local charity? You’ll be surprized at the quality of things you get from a donation centre.
Don’t be shy to ask for hand me downs. Girl, there ain’t no shame in that!
I’m not talking about crappy looking, food and poop stained clothes – You’ll be surprised at the condition in which you get some baby items.
There’s always a woman at the other end of the spectrum that goes over the top and spends way too much money buying things for their babies that they don’t need.
Outfits that their babies never wear and equipment that they never had a chance to even try out. Classic examples:
- Moses baskets – babies grow out of Moses baskets so quickly
- Pram shoes – seriously, your baby isn’t walking yet, why on earth would they need Timberlands?!?
- snowsuits – A of parents go crazy buying multiple snowsuits for their winter babies. They tend to forget that winter is only 3 – 6 months. And winter babies hardly get out of the house…result – the snowsuits are hardly worn.
- receiving blankets
- out of season clothes – unless you live in England where you go through all four seasons in the same week.
- bottle sterilisers
- Cloth diapers
All these can also be found at thrift stores (if you know any good ones). Or you can even check second-hand shops online like Craigslist, Gumtree or pre-loved where mommy’s are selling some pretty good quality baby items that can save you a ton of money!
Did you know that there are some areas that have a diaper library? you can loan cloth diapers for less than $1 per week!
How awesome is THAT?
Can you just imagine! It kind of hurts me to think of how much I spent on disposable diapers!
If cloth diapers aren’t your thing, see if you have some local diaper banks that you can turn to when things really tough.
ASK FOR A BABY SHOWER
Not so keen on buying everything second hand, have a baby shower. You can either benefit in two ways from baby showers;
- Ask people to buy you whatever
- Those that can’t buy you anything from the registry, can bring diapers and wipes (although, these are usually standard, to be honest)
- Set up an Amazon Baby Registry so people can buy the items you include
The first two are my least favourite way to do this. Simply because you end up with duplicates or a multitude of onesies and baby vests.
Whilst I’ve found that the latter wors well because you’re asking people to buy things without actually physically asking them.
It also prompts people to either buy a gift or offer vouchers in place of presents – and every little help.
The biggest mistake you can make when having a baby shower is THINK that people will know what to bring so there’s no need to ask – you’ll be greatly disappointed and probably be out of pocket from throwing a party/gathering.
ASK, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!
RESEARCH AND ASK ABOUT WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT BODY CAN OFFER YOU
If you live in one of the first world countries then you might be entitled to some sort of help from the government or local authorities. It might not be much, but it sure will make a difference.
Do your research and see what they can help you with. Even if THEY can’t help you, they will be able to point you in the direction of someone that will. Organisations usually.
- Medicaid.gov – provides health coverage to low-income people and is one of the largest payers for health care in the United States.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – provides federal matching funds to states to provide health coverage to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage.
- The Basic Health Program – allows states an option to provide affordable coverage and better continuity of care for people whose income fluctuates above and below Medicaid and CHIP eligibility levels.
- InsureKidsnow.gov – Millions of children and teens qualify for free or low-cost health and dental coverage through Medicaid & the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- HRSA – Maternal & Child Health – HRSA’s Maternal and Health Bureau wants all U.S. children to reach their maximum potential.
Healthy Start helps by improving the health of America’s mothers and children before, during, and beyond pregnancy.
It reduces infant mortality rates, increases access to early prenatal care, and removes barriers to healthcare access.
- Head Start – The Office of Head Start (OHS) helps young children from low-income families prepare to succeed in school through local programs. Head Start and Early Head Start programs promote children’s development through services that support early learning, health, and family well-being.
- Gov.UK – Provide a range of services including pregnancy and birth (financial support when you’re pregnant, maternity pay), and support in finding and childcare financial assistant.
- Sure Start Maternity Grant – You could be eligible to receive a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of a child.
- Help with childcare costs – This is something you’ll have to start thinking about soon after your baby is born. Especially if you’re thinking of returning to work.
- Money Advice Service – They offer free financial advice and advice on what benefits you may be entitled to when expecting a baby.
- Canada.ca – Provides a wide range of information for expecting mommies. Including information on how to access The Canada Child Benefit.
- The Canada Child Benefit, a key initiative of the Government to strengthen the middle class and help those working to join it. There is no need to apply if you already get child benefits, but you and your spouse or common-law partner have to file a tax return every year to continue to receive it. The Canada Child Benefit is:
- simple — most families receive a single payment every month
- tax-free — families don’t have to pay taxes on payments received when they file their tax returns
- targeted to those who need it most — low and middle-income families get higher payments, and those with the highest incomes (generally over $150,000) receive less than under the previous system
- generous — on average, families benefitting from the CCB receive about $6,800 in CCB payments annually.
- The Justice Wall – has a wealth of information for pregnant and new mommies. There is a LOT of services that are available to you if only you LOOK for them and know how to access them.
- Pregnancy Support – Pregnancy Help Australia is dedicated to ensuring that quality pregnancy support services are available to everyone.
- Pregnancy, Birth & Baby – Australian families are able to access health care and financial benefits including Medicare, newborn payments, child care payments and parental leave pay.
- Human Services Australia – Have a range of services and payments to help new parents before, when and after they have a baby.
BREASTFEED RATHER THAN FORMULA FEED IF YOU CAN
Breastfeeding your baby is obviously the cheapest way to feed your new baby.
You don’t require bottle, bottle teets replacement, sterilizers and of course formula.
BUT, I know life. And life at times happens. I’ve been there where I’ve been desperate to breastfeed my baby and my body just won’t allow it.
Don’t worry, there are ways in which you can get free formula if you can’t breastfeed.
You can also check places like your local doctors’, hospitals, food banks other organizations and by checking if your government offers coupons for formula milk and baby food.
PREPARE FREEZER MEALS (INCLUDING FRUIT AND VEGETABLES)
Buying fruit and vegetables in bulk can be cheaper and help you budget for your food a lot better. However, we all know that fruit and vegetables don’t have a long shelf life. But you can either part-boil vegetables or freeze them while fresh and use them later.
This is also a time-saving method for when baby arrives.
You can even get Free Freezer Bags
EVALUATE AND FACTOR IN THE BUDGET CHANGES AFTER BABY COMES HOME
This is usually an overlooked stage.
Because, well I guess it’s not something that comes to mind.
But it’s definitely something that needs to be factored into your budget because your living conditions will change as when the baby comes home.
You’ll be spending more time at home – so you’ll use more electricity than usual. Don’t forget the night feeds. You might have to leave a night light on for the night feeds.
If you’re at home most of the day with a newborn, there will come times when you’re bored. And you know what people do when they’re bored (and watched too much TV)? They eat. Yes, you’ll be eating more frequently than usual. Especially if you’re breastfeeding.
If you’re having a winter baby, you’ll need to keep the house warm pretty much all day and all night.
These are just a few things that need to be factored into the budget.
THINK ABOUT RETURNING TO WORK?
I know it seems so far-fetched to be thinking about returning to work when you’re pregnant or just had a baby.
And I don’t want to dampen your joy with your little bundle of joy, but such is the reality.
You’ll obviously have pre-agreed with your employer about the length of your maternity leave. But you’ll need to decide what your work pattern will be after your baby arrives.
You need to think about what makes financial sense to you and your family?
- Childcare costs
- Working hours
- Emotional strength
- Can your workplace take you on part-time or will you have to return on a full-time basis
Do what will work best for you and your family.
I know we’ve looked at a whole lot of things but I just want you to remember these things;
Having a baby on a tight budget is not impossible. You just need to think about how you can maximise your income stream while minimising your expenditure (whats coming in should be a little higher than what is going out).
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, then it would be wise to look at other ways to bring in some income.
Plan, plan and plan. Make sure you plan ahead. Be wise in things that you buy.
I can’t tell you how joyous having a baby is (that’s something you’ll find out on your own), But I can tell you that for sure that even if things seem pretty bad now, you will be just fine.
Always remember, God is watching over you and this baby. He will never give you more than you can handle.
There you have it.
Hope you found this post helpful.
- How to Cope With a Newborn Baby on Your Own
- How to Start Budgeting on a Low Income
- Create a Bedtime Routine For Your Newborn Baby
- 10 Reasons Why I’m Rocking Motherhood