When planning for the upcoming birth of the first baby, parents are typically overwhelmed with excitement. Especially the mom! And rightfully so, I mean mothers are left in anticipation for 9 months. What more can they do than day dream about what their baby will wear, what furniture will be in the nursery, what toys they’ll play with and what type of baby accessories to purchase… The list goes on and on.
I would say the time period before the first born baby’s birth is the time they get the most gifts in their lives. (I’m totally envious because I’m the youngest of three. So I got hand me downs.) Before their birth, first borns get gifts from their parents, their grandparents, friends of their parents, friends of their grandparents and distant relatives. In my experience first borns get even more when they are the first grand child of the family. This makes me think that with all these people buying gifts for one baby… is there a way to be more frugal?
I’m the mother of two beautiful little girls, Esperanza (3yrs) and Izabella (8mo). My husband and I were living in very different circumstances during the birth of each of our children. Surprisingly our situation was backwards when compared to the North American norm.
Our first born Esperanza made a surprised entrance after my husband and I had moved to Australia as International Students. We were not at all prepared financially to provide brand new items for her. Lucky for us we had a large group of friends with young families. They provided us with so many much needed items. Most of these items were second hand and a few were new.
We were able to go the first two years of my daughter’s life only providing her with formula for 8 months of her life and diapers starting after four months.
As for our 8mo. old daughter Izabella; at the point that she was born we had completed our time as international students and settled down with our family back in our home country. We had a more substantial income that made it possible for us to purchase many new items just for fun. I would admit, I likely wasted $300 on baby items we hardly used or didn’t use at all.
I believe there’s a way to meet in the middle of these two extremes for those parents that want to make better use of their’s and their family’s funds.
We did make a baby registry for both our girls. And from my experience, there are certain items you don’t want to put on a baby registry if you’re trying to be frugal. Registries are great for large expenses which you would only want from a particular store or brand.
These large expenses are like:
- Car Seats
- High Chairs*
A convenient place to quality brands at affordable prices would be with Amazon Baby Registry. This is where I found many of my large expenses.
There are some large and expensive items that frugal parents are best off getting second hand because their condition would still be brand new and its use would only be for a very limited period of time. I’ll get into those later.
When it comes to asking for common items like baby clothes, pacifiers, blankets or toys, you will likely have many people think they can get you these items from a cheaper retailer in order to get you larger amounts. In my experience this puts the parents in the position of having too many outfits and items of one size and most of which the baby will have limited chance to wear.
Second Hand Items
Firstly let’s start with those larger items that can be expensive but won’t last you a very long time. These items are as follows:
- High Chairs*
- Baby swings
These items are used for such a small amount of time by babies that if you bought them for a cheaper price off a second hand site like Kijiji or Craigslist, you can easily find them practically brand new.
On average this is how long we used each item for with our two girls:
- Bassinet – 6 months
- Exersaucer – 3 months
- Baby Swing – Five months
*I’m sure you noticed I placed High Chair on both Baby Registry and Second Hand. There is a reason for that. This depends on the baby and the parent. I’ve had some friends who were able to leave their babies in high chairs till they were three years old. And then I’ve had some who have only been able to have their babies in High Chairs till they were just over two or even before this age. Some babies are very strong and clever. So they learn how to get themselves out of their high chair even after their parents have strapped them in. (I’ve seen this particularly when I nannied three baby boys).
For my oldest daughter, she is quite tall for her age. Because of this she was ready by the age of two to sit with us at the table. And honestly it simply started to look funny putting her in a high chair when she was the size of a four year old. (My husband and I are both long and lanky).
Baby clothes from New Born sizes to 6 month sizes aren’t worth buying brand new because they are so expensive and often times my children wore new born items once and then grew out of it. My first who is tall for her age did not fit the new born size at all. So we had numerous clothing items we didn’t get to put her in. Remember babies grow quickly week by week and how quickly is dependant on your genetics. (Tall parents be warned).
Also you’ll find if given the chance, many people will buy parents fancy clothes that are new born to six month sizes. In actuality your baby will be wearing pyjamas and swaddles 24/7 because they’ll spend most of their time sleeping and it’s best to keep them comfortable.
So an example of what I did with my most recent baby was talk to a few moms with preschool aged daughters at my local church about giving me any old baby clothes they had. If you go for the moms with three kids or more they likely have a bin full of old baby clothes that they’re ready to get rid of. I’ve also gotten second hand clothes from social media groups of moms. But I understand some would prefer not to have their babies in a stranger’s old clothes.
Best Gift Ideas For Frugal Parents… Subscriptions!
- Amazon Fresh Subscription
- Amazon Family Subscription
- Amazon Prime Subscription
Subscriptions are such a great necessity after having a baby. Especially in the first year when parents are figuring out routine and balancing finances to suit new expenses.
An Amazon Fresh Subscription can be paid for by a family member for a year to allow parents the convenience of having quality and affordable grocery items delivered to their door in a timely manner.
Amazon Family is another subscription that will entail either a prime member account which can be paid for by a family member for a year or else the fee itself can be paid for Amazon Family, ($119/annually or 12.99/month). This will give a new family access to discounts on products they will be buying a lot of within the first year. Items like diapers, wipes and cleaning product with the addition of free 2 day shipping.
If opting for getting the Amazon Prime Subscription, you’ll get the added bonus of Amazon Prime Video. This is similar in nature to Netflix except I personally enjoy their variety of show options, (I can watch reruns of The Nanny forever). Binge watching you favourite tv show is perfect for those numerous night time feeds.
Honestly if your family don’t end up getting you a subscription package similar to those I suggested, it’s worth giving it a try yourself. Here are links to those I’ve presented with discounts and free trials: