With all the fancy toys on the market and latest lists of baby must-haves the price of raising a young child can cost a fortune. Despite what baby stores and toy manufacturers want us to believe, it is possible to raise a child on a budget without breaking the bank.
1) Yard sales, consignment shops, and Craigslist can offer a wide spread of heavily discounted items. I am fortunate to live in an area with weekly yard sales in the spring and fall. Baby items are often the most popular items for sale. The best part is that most of these items are virtually unused. Larger ticket items such as strollers even if well-loved can still go many miles. We purchased our name brand gently used running stroller for 25% of the retail price at a neighborhood yard sale from a mom who had raised three children and run many miles with each one. This was hands down our best, most cost efficient baby purchase to date.
2) Resist buying too many baby clothes, babies grow quickly and can often end up only wearing outfits once or twice before they are too small. 3, 6, 9 month outfits can become snug overnight it seems , we are constantly packing away clothes to make room for bigger sizes.
3) Besides the main items, like a crib and car seat, wait until baby is born before making other, less essential purchases. Rather than anticipating what you might need and buying ahead of time, wait until baby is born to see what you really need. I have a friend with a drawer of unworn infant sized clothing as her daughter was born nine plus pounds and was already in three month clothing.
4) Babies and young children can get by with a few toys and many simple household items can be the most entertaining. My father gives my son empty egg cartons, plastic kitchen measuring cups, and pages from magazines to crumple up. We often chooses these items over his “real” toys.
5) If possible borrow standard baby items, like a bassinet, swing, or pack-n-pack. If a neighbor or friend has kids staggered in age from your own perhaps they’d allow you to borrow one of these items if they aren’t currently in use. Added bonus that they wouldn’t have to clutter up their basement or garage storing the item if you putting it to good use.
6) Look for communal or neighborhood sponsored activities such as story at the library or kids entertainment at the lakefront/park. These activities are often free of charge, provide the opportunity to get out of the house and are a great way to meet other mom’s with children of the same age.
By Jessica S.