Saving some buck in this madness


Let’s face it - having a child is one of the most expensive things you will ever do in your life. There are a few tricks on how to make it a tiny bit less expensive, without sacrificing your family’s comfort (read: sanity).

Use your FSA dollars

You can buy tons of baby stuff with pre-tax dollars! A big one is everything related to pumping - from an extra breast pump itself (I got Willow), through pump parts, milk storage bags, sanitizing wipes, hospital grade pump rental, to pumping bras. Think: if something has “breast milk” or “pumping” in the name, it will get reimbursed through FSA. If you pump or nurse, your OB probably recommended you keep on taking your prenatal vitamins - these are covered by FSA as well.

But one of the biggest savings you can make through FSA is Owlet Smart Sock. Baby monitors in general are not FSA-eligible, with the exception of Owlet which tracks heart rate and oxygen saturation, therefore qualifies as a medial device.

There are also some smaller items that can be bought with FSA - NoseFrida, saline sprays, baby thermometers, sunscreens, Belly Bandit, etc.

Buy things off of Marketplace/Craigslist

Serious-looking man in a pre-loved Baby Bjorn bouncer.

Serious-looking man in a pre-loved Baby Bjorn bouncer.

Imagine - you spend $200 on a brand new Mamaroo, and your baby hates it. Or, worse, $1300 on Snoo when your baby is the best napper in the world, and doesn’t actually need it. You got your Mamaroo and Snoo way before baby was born, so the return window is long gone. What do you do? You can either keep it for your next baby - hoping they will like it / need it, gift it to someone, or sell on Facebook Marketplace. Because parents’ tastes often don’t go hand in hand with baby’s taste, Marketplace is filled with barely used swings, jumparoos, bouncers, rock’n’plays, etc.

We got our jumparoo off Facebook Marketplace for… $10. Best $10 ever spent. Similarly, we purchased pre-loved bouncer, and was really happy we did.

If you don’t feel comfortable with Marketplace - buy on Amazon Warehouse

What happens with things that you ordered through Amazon, took out of the box, and immediately returned them? They go to a Warehouse. These things are unused, but usually have a damaged box, or something of the sort. Not nearly as cheap as Marketplace (from my experience - around 80% of the regular price), but you are getting something that was never used.

Don’t buy too many clothes in small sizes

There’s nothing preventing a 3 month old from wearing clothes size 6-9 months. The clothes will be too big, sure, but it’s not like your baby has to pull up their pants while walking. Oversize is always in fashion, and putting a slightly too large bodysuit on a wiggly baby is so much easier.

One exception to the rule: sleeping sacks. These should be pretty snuggly, so that you don’t risk suffocation.

Don’t unpack and wash every piece of clothing you get

Just don’t. Unpack 2-3 in each size to get the tags off, and wash. This way if your baby grows fast, you will be able to return unused items. And you will start doing laundry (almost) everyday, so there’s really no need to have everything pre-washed - you’ll have time for that.

Pick an affordable crib

Installing the Ikea crib.

Installing the Ikea crib.

All cribs sold in the US have to go through the same security standards, so no matter if you get something for $70, or $700 - they are both safe for your baby. What we went with was a $100 IKEA’s Gulliver crib that style-wise looks very similar to some Pottery Barn Kids cribs that are five times the price. Instead of a crib, we splurged on organic mattress as that is actually what makes a difference.

Don’t sign up for monthly diaper subscription - at least not in the beginning

Babies grow super fast, which means you have no idea how long your baby is going to stay in certain diaper size. If you sign up for a diaper subscription and they send you 7 packages of, let’s say, newborn size, you may end up not using half of that, and having to run to CVS for larger diapers to contain poop explosions. Subscription makes sense once your baby hits around 16 pounds (4-6 months), when they start fitting in size 3 - and they tend to stay in that size for many months.

For us subscriptions also didn’t work, because they usually come with wipes, and we had our favorite brand already.

Use the same body wash and lotion for the entire family

There are many gentle, organic shower gels and lotions that are not branded for babies, but are in fact safe even for newborns. We are using Puracy, but I also heard good things about Honest. Or the other way around - you can have your family use baby products, like Baby Baja that sells family size baby products.