Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything you “have” to buy for your baby?ch
Well, first of all, congratulations on new life growing inside of you right now!! That in itself is so wonderful and exciting that you absolutely should not let the stress of a baby registry get in the way.
But easier said than done, right?
After all, as exciting as shopping for a new baby is, it can be really intimidating when you’re being bombarded with all of the things everyone is telling you you NEED to get!
Besides the sheer number of options to choose from for every. little. thing, the expenses start to add up SO FAST.
Receiving gifts from your registry helps, but you’ll probably still wind up needing to get a lot of things yourself.
Mom Friend… I’m going to let you in on a secret…
Babies DO NOT have to be expensive.
In this post:
- I’m going to help you shift your mindset on what makes an “essential” baby product,
- Guide you through the noise of advertisements and affiliate links to figure out what you ACTUALLY need,
- And show you some very popular baby items that you can absolutely skip, whether that’s to save money, space, or both!
This post might contain affiliate links which, if clicked, could provide a small commission to me at no additional cost to you.
What You Need to Know to Save Money on Baby
Here’s the honest truth…
A lot of what you think you “need” for your baby comes from your mental image of the life you want for and with your baby, and preconceptions you’ve formed without even knowing it.
In other words, you’re already picturing rocking your baby in their precious newborn outfits in the sweet nursery you fell in love with on Pinterest.
You’ve already envisioned the adorable pictures you’re going to take of your baby, and how they’ll be dressed when you take them out and about.
Advertisements work because I can almost guarantee your mind is filled with all of the amazing innovations that’ll make your life easier that you’ve already flagged as “essential.”
The biggest hurdle you’re going to have to overcome if you’re on a restrictive budget is that mental image you’ve already set your heart on and the preconceptions you’ve formed about babies’ needs.
You have to be able to differentiate between what your baby actually NEEDS and what would be nice to have.
Your baby’s needs are extremely basic.
I want you to take a moment and think this through… Even jot down a written list if you feel like it… What are a baby’s genuine needs?
Your list might look something like this:
- To eat
- To sleep
- To be comforted
- To be clothed
- To be kept clean (read: have its diapers changed and be bathed sometimes)
- To be loved.
Now how much stuff do you really have to buy in order to meet those needs?
Very, very little!
The problem is you’ve been trained to think you need thousands of dollars of gear to thrive with a baby, whether that’s through commercials/advertisements, life experiences, friends/family, etc.
Even the baby dolls you played with as a child have conditioned you to think that certain baby products are “essential.”
Try to set all presumptions aside and start with a blank slate.
With every single item, ask yourself “Is this something my baby literally needs to survive?” and “Is there an alternative that could save us money?”
As you’ll see, I’ve listed some items I bet you would never even question “needing” that I’ll show you how to (safely) do without!
Just remember, whatever you consider “essential,” people have successfully made do with less.
Note: Obviously, there is NOTHING wrong with buying things you don’t need need. There are tons of things to make you life easier, and those are great! I’m just trying to help you reset your frame of thinking so that if you are super limited on money or space, you can make those restrictions work without feeling deprived.
Everyone who tells you that you NEED something is making money off of you.
As you build back up from ground level and try to piece together what you need most and prioritize the extras you would like, I want you to remember something very important:
Everyone telling you what you NEED to buy is making money off of you.
I mean, your mother-in-law probably isn’t (but she might be!).
But when you’re online reading blog posts, or scrolling your Instagram feed/watching Instagram stories, watching commercials on TV, etc.– all of those people stand to profit off of you… Including me!
I don’t mean that influencers and advertisers are all scammers or want to rob you blind; only that it’s something you need to be aware of.
Unfollow influencers who make you feel like you need to spend more/buy more.
And on that note, if you’re following people who make you feel like you need to spend money and buy more, or like you’re less of a parent if you don’t own x/y/z, or cause you to feel ashamed or guilty for your financial/living situation…
You can hide friends’ posts from your timelines without unfriending them (they’ll never know), you can unsubscribe from emails and Youtube channels, you can unfollow influencers on Instagram and Pinterest.
You can always go back and re-follow those accounts later if you want, but if they’re a stumbling block for you now, then do yourself a favor and hit that unfollow button.
Conversely, seek out accounts that encourage you to consume less and save more.
The novelty wears off.
Yes, it’s super fun to shop
Yes, it’s fun to get packages delivered to your house like it’s Christmas.
Yes, it’s an adrenaline rush to start setting up our house for a baby.
But I promise you..
Eventually the novelty wears off.
All of these things you were so excited to purchase become another thing to wash, or clean baby spit-up and poop off of, or store, or trip over in the middle of the night.
And as your baby grows, there will be other different things you need to buy, along with ongoing, recurring purchases you have to make.
Don’t let the excitement of shopping now overshadow your practicality and your priorities for the future.
You don’t have to buy everything brand new.
FYI, you don’t have to buy every single thing BRAND SPANKING NEW.
You can get just about anything by shopping:
- Consignment stores
- Yard sales
- Facebook Marketplace/Craigslist
- Online mom/parenting groups
- Thrift shops
You also might know some moms who would be thrilled to just give you tons of their old baby stuff.
The more you pare down your baby registry, the less you will have to spend yourself.
Here’s the reality.
Having a baby registry helps a ton.
- People will want to buy you things that aren’t on your registry and do whatever the heck they want anyway (yeah, super helpful)
- People tend to want to give you the WOW gifts… the cool gadgets, the cute outfits, the keepsake nick-nacks. You probably aren’t going to get everything on you ask for, so if you have a huge registry, you’re going to have to foot the bill for a lot of the stuff you actually really needed.
Think back to your wedding registry (if you had one). You probably ended up with personalized decor you didn’t need, random stuff you didn’t ask for, and not enough towels for your bathroom.
The more you can pare down the “extras” on your registry, the less essentials you will (hopefully) have to purchase yourself.
Having the must-haves taken care of may well free up your budget enough that you’re able to buy the things you wanted most.
Choose quality over quantity (and cuteness), especially if you plan on more children.
I know cheap can be attractive, especially if the goal is to save money, but it can cost you more in the long run if you have to replace the item multiple times.
Items you want to last might not survive to the next baby (if that’s what you want).
Cheap disposable/single use items might get used up more quickly, meaning it costs you more anyway because they run out faster (think paper towels… yeah, the generic ones are cheaper, but if you use 3x as many to clean up one spill, they’re not really saving you money).
Also, don’t get sucked in by the cuteness of certain items. Anything made for a baby is going to be intensely adorable, but try to reign it in.
Just because it’s cute doesn’t mean it’s a good buy that’s going to last.
Choose quality where it matters most. You won’t regret it.
10 Popular Items You Can Skip On Your Baby Registry
Haven’t started your registry yet? An Amazon baby registry is the perfect place to start!
Now that you have my best tips to figure out what’s actually “essential,” pare down your shopping list, and save some money, let’s look at a few specific examples of registry staples that you can TOTALLY skip.
Some of these might shock you. Like I said, you’ve been conditioned to think of these as essentials!
To show you what I mean, let’s start with…
#1. A Crib
Before you flip out on me, I’m not even suggesting you co-sleep (although our family does, and we love it).
You can totally co-sleep if you want to.
And it might end up happening even if you hadn’t planned on it.
But you don’t have to co-sleep, and you don’t have to use a crib.
Your baby can sleep:
- In a bassinet
- In a Moses basket
- On a floor bed (Montessori style)
- In a play-yard (think Pack-n-Play)
Cribs can be quite pricey, and they also take up a lot of space.
You can always purchase a crib later.
Even you really really really want a crib, I still highly recommend waiting to get one until after you’ve had your baby at home for a while.
- You might find your baby WON’T sleep in a crib. That happened to us. The beautiful little crib we got was hardly ever used.
- It’s not a newborn essential, and you can use that money for another big purchase, like a good quality stroller or glider/rocking chair.
Related: How We Survived Nights with a Fussy Baby
#2. A Changing Table
Seriously, you don’t need a “changing table.”
It’s just a really expensive dresser.
You can get a cheap dresser or cabinet second-hand, even new cheaper than a “changing table.”
Personally, I found I was more likely to just change diapers in the floor anyway, so this time around, I’m not even wasting the space. Baby #2 will just have a changing pad on the floor.
#3. Bouncers, Rockers, Swings, or Play Gyms
These are obviously really nice to have, and if you want them, there’s nothing wrong with having them.
BUT, you don’t NEED them, and you can definitely live without them. We have!
Be careful with these products because you might spend a lot on a fancy one and find your baby actually hates it.
Definitely try to borrow one from a friend if you can to make sure your baby likes it before buying one, and keep an eye out for ones you can get second-hand.
#4. Electric Breast Pump
Once again, hear me out before you freak.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a breast pump.
I’m saying you don’t need to buy a breast pump.
If you didn’t already know, most insurance companies will provide a breast pump to you at no cost, so before you go spending hundreds of dollars on an electric hospital-grade pump, give your insurance a quick call!
Now, if you want a specific machine/brand that isn’t covered by your insurance, you may need to buy it yourself, but for the zillionth time, don’t forget to look for a used one first, and see if any moms in your area have one you could borrow or keep!
PS- Even if you can’t get one for free, you may also be able to rent one less expensively than buying.
I personally didn’t end up using mine anywhere NEAR as much as I thought I would, and you may not either.
I know, toys are SO CUTE AND FUN to shop for.
But your baby isn’t going to have any interest in even the most basic toys before they’re able to grasp things, and when you do finally get to that point (months down the road), a couple of very inexpensive objects will do.
Even then, you can give them items you already own rather than buying “baby toys.”
My daughter is almost 2, and she still pretty much couldn’t care less about toys.
Just wait until you can explore your own child’s interests.
#6. A Bath Tub
I honestly wouldn’t even call this a convenience.
If you get a big clunky plastic one, you have to store it in between uses.
If you get one of those soft, compactable ones (like this), thinking you’re clever by getting something easier to store like I did, you still have to hang it up to dry which takes ages.
You’re a smart cookie. You can definitely figure out how to bathe your baby without extra equipment. It’s not hard.
#7. Cute Outfits or Shoes
I know, I know, the sweet teeny tiny newborn outfits are enough to melt your ovaries.
And again, there is nothing inherently wrong with having them. BUT
First of all, if you birth a lil chonker, your baby might not even fit in newborn-sized clothes when it’s born.
And if it does, they’ll fit for all of a week before they’re too small.
Secondly, whenver you see a cute outfit, ask yourself… How is this going to look with creamy orange poop alllllll the way up to the neck and alllll the way down the legs? Because it is going to happen.
And thirdly, babies who cannot walk do not need shoes.
For the most part, skip the cutesy baby clothes and opt for practical, quality pieces that will be comfortable, easy to mix and match, and accommodate frequent diaper changes. Maybe even keep the wardrobe gender neutral if you’re planning on future babies.
#8. An Infant Carrier
I am NOT saying you don’t need a safe car seat for your baby!
Only that you don’t need an infant carrier seat.
If you really need to save money, opt for an all-in-one convertible seat that will grow with your child all the way from newborn size to a booster seat.
A good infant carrier will run you $200+, and you’re still going to have to upgrade it in the next year anyway (another $200-400).
Yes, they’re convenient, but so is cash.
Tip! Make sure you check the weight range of each seat you look at! Many are made for infants beginning at 4+ pounds, but others are not made for newborns and start at 20+ pounds. Pay attention!
#9. Nursery Decor
Having an Instagrammable Pinterest-perfect baby nursery will not make you a good parent.
Of all of the things you can spend money on for your baby, nursery decor is pretty much the least important.
You have the rest of your kiddo’s life to decorate a bedroom for them.
#10. Convenience Gadgets
Something you definitely want to be cautious of as you put together your baby shopping list and registry is convenience gadgets.
These items frequently make the “baby essentials” blog posts, checklists, and videos, but they’re far from necessary.
When I say “convenience gadget,” think things like wipe warmers, formula mixers, bottle sanitizers, bottle warmers, baby food makers, etc.
Save yourself a diaper-load of money and skip the convenience factor.
Want more baby registry tips?
Make sure to check out my guide to your Amazon Baby Registry!
I walk you through each item on the Amazon registry checklist and help you figure out what you really need!
Now I want to hear from you!
Are you on a newborn-sized budget?
Trying to fit a baby (and all that comes with it) in a small space?
What non-essential baby gear did I miss?
Let me know in the comments below!