I wanted to talk to those of you who may be struggling financially whether you took an income hit due to Covid-19, you’re a single mother, or any number of situations that may have your pocketbook in the red when you find out you are expecting. These times are hard on all of us but it can be especially stressful to try to figure out how to provide for a little one when there isn’t wiggle room in your budget.
The important thing to remember is although you see everyone with expensive toys and gadgets for their kiddos, they aren’t really necessary. Sure some of them make life a lot easier but sometimes when you have a bare bones budget easy isn’t really in the cards. Think about what your child will NEED not what you WANT.
WHAT YOUR BABY NEEDS:
A Warm Bed
Your child deserves a warm bed. If you are tight on money I suggest a secondhand crib because you can use it from birth to two years old. A bassinet can be nice, but you can only use it for a few months before you have to get a crib anyway. Get bedding on clearance or at thrift stores and wash it well. You do not need matching bumper pads and blankets. In fact those can be SIDS hazards so keep it simple. You need a crib, a mattress, and a sheet. You don’t even really need a blanket until they are older. Just dress them warm enough at night.
Clothes to Wear
You may find super cute clothes at Pottery Barn but your wallet will never thank you for it. Thrift stores, yard sales, and good friends are where it’s at. Thrift stores where you buy per pound are the best for baby clothes because they weigh next to nothing. Yard sales can get you outfits as cheap as ten cents sometimes. Consider asking some of your friends who just had babies if they would consider passing on some hand-me-downs. If you don’t know anyone places like Freecycle or the Buy Nothing Project can connect you with people who may be getting rid of things.
A Clean Bum
I love and hate diapers. I am glad they provide a way for babies to go to the bathroom but I hate changing them and I hate paying for them. If you are on a super tight budget I would honestly recommend getting some second hand cloth diapers. They are reusable so you only have to pay for them once and then just wash them with laundry detergent after each use and bleach out stains in the sun. They also are a lot less likely to give baby diaper rash or an allergic reaction than the cheap diapers on the market.
Food to Eat
The best way to save money is to feed them from your breast in all honesty. I am not judging those who cannot breast feed for any reason at all. If for some reason you aren’t producing or you can’t breast feed there are breastmilk banks where you can get donated breastmilk from those who overproduce. It’s the best stuff for your baby and you can usually get it free or for the price of bags which is cheaper than buying formula at the store anyway.
You do need to have a carseat for your child whether you are taking them on the bus or in your twenty year old car that runs every other day on an empty tank of gas. If you are having your baby at a hospital they won’t even let you leave without a carseat. Some people tell you not to buy a carseat second hand since you don’t know if it has been in an accident or not. I have purchased secondhand carseats because I trusted the person it came from. However if you don’t feel comfortable doing that save your money and buy a cheap carseat. The best carseat deals can be found in January if you are lucky enough to be pregnant at the right time of year.
Good luck preparing for your baby and congratulations on your new bundle of joy!