Budgeting with Baby
About two years ago, I had an overwhelming desire for LESS. Less stuff, less money spent, less on my to-list, less stress. I began getting rid of anything that I could. In the process, I learned how much I had that I didn’t ever need and how much that we could actually live without. My first purge of “things” in our home, hurt. I got rid of items that were expensive and purchased for our children, but they just weren’t practical for keeping around based off of their amount of use. It’s too easy, in today’s, world to follow “pretty” and be *heavily* influenced by trends. With everyones’ Instagram squares looking so dang good these days, we can lust over what “she” has and make choices we may not other wise make… like Moses baskets and painting your entire home white.
I wrote last week about how I’m a chronic over sharer and my [non-professional] advice on actions to take to plan for better mental health when you’re starting a family. This week I thought I’d word vomit all about the things that your DON’T need when you’re buying for a baby and a few areas to focus on, in order to help your budget.
You don’t need a bouncer, a swing, a rock and play and [insert other fancy baby lounging contraption]. I mean in reality, #firstworldprobs, you don’t NEED any of those things. For the sake of ability and convenience, these items certainly help. One of these items will get the job done, or find one that has duel functionality. If you have the space, go for the swing. They move on their own, plug in [save money where you can on batteries!], most have a mobile and play soothing sounds, the weight limit goes up high enough to house a pretty large baby on most, allowing longer use. If you’re constricted on space, the rock and play is nice but you’ll likely want something that moves on its own to sooth baby. Try a battery operated bouncer.
4moms is a great brand for durability, space saving and a simplistic, desirable look.
this one is highly recommended for it’s functionality, safety, design and small size.
this one is a duel swing/high chair and goes up to 40 lbs! Thats an average sized 4 year old.
this one is your basic swing. Inexpensive, cute and gets the job done.
this one is similar to the previous one, but functions as a bouncer as well as a swing.
A bassinet AND a pack-n-play. I tried to put my babies in their cribs from day one, so I never invested in a bassinet. With our second baby, she proved to be extra difficult with bedtime our first weeks with her and ended up with this in the middle of our king size bed. I wished we would have been able to use the bassinet functionality that comes on some pack-n-plays, like this one, that has a built in bassinet, plus a built in changing station. We have a TINY bedroom and there’s no way that I could fit it. The pack-n-play is going to be with you through, at least, babies first year. It’s a great sleeping solution [and EASY] when it comes to travel and functions beautifully as a cage [said with the utmost endearment] for baby’s first summer. Evelyn is nearly two and we still use it anytime she can’t be at home in her crib.
A changing table. Note: I, personally, would NOT have gone without this item; but if you have to because of budget or space constrictions, it absolutely will not decrease your quality of life or parenting abilities to go without it. If you purchased the pack-n-play in #2, then you have a changing table right there, and it travels to any room you need [e.g. living room during the day, nursery during the night]. Beds and couches function fine as changing surfaces, even baby’s crib [while the mattress is raised] for sly night time changes. I still change Evelyn in her crib sometimes with the mattress lowered, but it’s easy for me to make that reach. In the event of skipping the changing table option, grab a few decorative baskets for bedrooms and living rooms to keep wipes, diapers, bum cream and hand sani close by.
A portable/counter top bathing tub. Your kitchen sink is already the perfect size for bathing a baby, and there’s way less that goes in to prep and clean up for bath time when you use your sink. Your baby isn’t going to be covered in filth when they get a bath- you won’t be rubbing them down very intensely. You may have spit up to get out of neck creases or poop to wipe out of their hair [YES…hair.] but in the early days cradling baby in one hand, wiping with the other, a little bit of warm water, a dab of soap and a quick rinse is all it takes. As they get older, you can place a hand towel in the sink under their neck and head until they are able to sit up and splash around. [Or someone invented these fun foam guys to cushion sinks.]
Clothing. Man, the money I [and our families] have spent on clothes… it’s painful. For year one, plain onesies and sleepers are life. Buy a few neutral pieces and staple items that can be mixed and matched and buy big ticket items as needed. When do babies need to dress up? Photoshoots [but check with your photographer first- they may provide outfits!] and events [like the rare wedding, birthday party, shower, etc] and church. You can easily keep two church outfits on hand and buy the rest when a necessity arises. If you feel so compelled to buy super adorable clothes [the kind that make your ovaries hurt] buy in toddler sizes. Just remember, a baby typically wears a size for a MAX of 3 months. Are you going to need 14 swoon worthy outfits in a period as short as 3 months? Nope. Life hack: babies can be seen in the same outfit more then once. Oh, another hack: shopping for next years seasons- summer clothes are on sale after Labor Day, winter clothes after Christmas and Spring cloths after Easter. [If you’re wondering why fall isn’t listed and it’s because I don’t know when fall goes on sale, I OVER spend on fall clothes in that season- I have yet to manage this weakness.]
Bonus: get an app that shows you where your money goes. The every dollar app by Dave Ramsey lets you plug in your income and premeditated expenses vs your actual expenses and buys. It automatically does all the math and instantly shows you what you have left from your income and what you have left in your budget for the month ahead and months to come.
Shopping for babies is so much fun [I repeat, SO MUCH FUN] for everyone; you’re going to have toys and clothes and random gifts coming at you, likely, for the next 18 years, but the bulk of it is in the first couple years. This is a no judgement zone, I buy all the things for my girls [and any other baby that I can], if you can, too, then go for it, friend! The purpose of this post is to simply share my experience on where I felt my money could have been better directed when it came to baby prep and registry [probably so that I could have better afford next fall’s clothing purchase]. Your finances are about to take a hit with baby on the way; don’t wait four years -like yours truly- to get on a budge and decrease your carbon foot print.
Happy savings, mama!