It is so hard not to buy every single thing I see that makes me think of my son. Marketing in the baby product world is unreal and they’ll get you every time, if you let them. Truth be told, you don’t really anything for your baby aside from the obvious necessities. Think about it, generations ago, there was no such thing as Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, or Target. Babies were toted around with the rest of the family and exposed to whatever they were exposed to because that was life. Today, we have specific toys for all ages, teethers of all kinds, and endless options for pre-made food as well. My reminder to not impulse buy baby items comes from two sources really; our financial goals for the future, and my son’s ability to be entertained by the simplest things like, the box the toy came in, the plastic cup I am no longer using that he has confiscated, and the water bottle I carry around all day. Seriously, I think he could be perfectly content all day long with a plastic cup, a water bottle, and a box.
Now, I am not a minimalist by any means, although I think that would be an amazing way to live. Unfortunately, with my sentimental side, and my husbands clutter bug gene, there’s no way we would ever have a “minimalist” household. While our household is organized and well-kept, it’s not free and clear of “extras” or “stuff” either. We have tons of baby toys and gadgets like most do but I have really made it a point to emphasize the following money-saving tips in our house when it comes to our son. If you are just starting out and trying to keep it minimal, you can read some of my baby must haves in a previous post.
I was EXTREMELY blessed to have a TON of hand me downs given to me by my older sister. I realize that this isn’t possible for everyone, especially if you’re the oldest child. However, hand-me-downs do not just have to come from family, they can come from anyone. There isn’t a plastic toy out there that can’t be cleaned and used again by another. If you have friends who have had children before you, ask if they have any toys in storage that they would like to get rid of. If you’re a member at a church or a large community, keep an eye out for yard sale advertisements! No, the items won’t be free in this scenario but they will only cost a fraction of the brand new price. The objective here is to not spend your hard-earned money on brand new toys for your new baby. Babies will grow out of them so quickly anyway and they really don’t need a whole room full of toys to entertain them.
2. Use what you have before buying new
Personally, this tip is geared toward clothing specifically. As I said before, I was blessed to get a ton of hand me downs from my older sister. However, she is a mother to 2 girls, and I had a boy last year. So, clothing was not something that was included beyond the newborn phase. One thing I have learned as a new mom, is that babies grow fast! There is no crystal ball that you can look into and see what size your child will need in the next 2 months when the weather changes. They could hit a growth spurt tomorrow and blow right through those cute new outfits you bought in advance, or they could have a slower month and be too small to fit the new items.
In our nursery, we have a 6 drawer dresser. One is used for socks, hats, and a few outer wear pieces, one is used for pajamas, and the other 4 are for clothing. I keep 2 drawers for tops and 2 for bottoms. Two of the drawers are for the sizes he is actually wearing currently, and the other two are for the next size up, and they are very minimal. So far, this system has worked great for us. I won’t purchase any larger items until he is actually ready to wear them. That way, I know the season we are in and I have no questions about the size he needs. This has saved us a lot of money and helped us truly use and think about all the clothes that we purchase.
I have written about this money-saving tip before and I still stand by it even as my little man grows and starts on finger foods. It may take a little extra effort but it is so worth it in many ways. First, you know what you are feeding your child and you know it’s the best it can be. Second, it’s much cheaper than buying anything pre-made. If you need finger foods to help your child practice his ability to feed himself and you are scratching your head, don’t! This new chapter in food is so easy to do yourself! You don’t have to buy crackers, cereals, and other baby specific starter foods. All of the veggies you can steam and puree, you can steam and cut up into tiny pieces instead. Same goes for fruit. Personally, my son loves blueberries cut in half, or quartered, and he loves steamed carrots cut up as well. Whatever we are eating, I try to reserve some before adding any seasoning so he can try it out too.
4. Rotating toys
Here’s a great tip that I accidentally came up with; rotate your toys! I keep several bins for toys in our house and rotate them weekly. As my son grows, I will probably need to rotate toys more frequently than I do now, but for a 9 month old, a week is plenty. Each week, I pack up all the toys we were using, and pull out a new bin. It’s like Christmas each week! I am just as surprised each week as my son is, and half the time, I forgot we even had certain things. By implementing a system like this, you really don’t feel like you need to constantly buy new toys.
This money saving tip can really be applied to any area of your home. The better your things are organized, the more likely you are to know what you have, what you use, and what you honestly need. In terms of baby related items, I know the toys, games, toiletries, and clothes we have at all times. I know when we are outgrowing certain things, I know what items work and don’t work for us, and I know what we need to purchase in the near future. As a result, I don’t overspend. If you don’t know what you already have and what is working for you, you are way more likely to spend extra money on things you don’t need.
I hope these tips can help you crack down on any extra spending and help you reach your financial goals quicker! Small changes add up over time, so earmark that money for something specific and it could really help boost your motivation to save more.
I would love to hear some of your favorite money saving tips for life with a baby, comment below!