Having a Baby on a Budget

According to recent figures, it costs £218,000 to raise a child.


You can totally understand the “we can’t afford to have a baby” mentality when you’re faced with figures like that can’t you?

However, I don’t agree. 

I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with DIY house blogs and Pinterest boards (research for our new house – obviously), but the other day as I looked at another perfect nursery and read about the special crib bedding I felt like screaming IT’S NOT NECESSARY!

I honestly don’t have anything against people doing up their houses or making their nurseries beautiful (it’s lovely to get ready for your baby) but it seems like it has become expected to have a perfect room all prepared and stocked with top-of-the-range gear before the baby even arrives and anything else just means you’re a bad parent.

 I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting on a hormonal high-horse but it’s made me mad.


I’m not an expert on money, but I am a stay-at-home mum with a husband who is on a low student bursary:  we have a baby and we’re making it work.

Here are some of the ways we have had a baby on a budget:

ways to save money with baby
>> Nice but not necessary
Imagine you live in a ‘Little House on the Prairie’ style wooden house in the middle of nowhere, and now visualise what your baby needs to survive; many possessions are nice but not necessary. If you have money to burn then spend away, but if you’re trying to save money throw out your Mothercare catalogue and just get the bare essentials. You can always get other things as and when you need them.

Babies DO NOT NEED the majority of things found in the baby aisle - I cannot stress this enough! However, it’s really easy to panic buy, especially when you’re in late pregnancy or just had a baby and you’re not really thinking straight (I know this from experience!).
Ask other parents for their recommendations on what you need and buy the minimum before the baby is born and work out the rest later.

>> Second hand, gifts and freebies.
Before we had Ivy I wasn’t too keen on buying second hand things; I wanted everything to be clean and new for our precious baby. However, nearly new sales, charity shops and Ebay have some incredible bargains. Babies grow so quickly that much of the equipment/clothing is in great condition as it’s only been used for a couple of months.

We’ve also been hugely blessed to have received lots of gifts and hand-me-downs (probably about 90% of our baby stuff has been free).  Put the word out amongst friends and family that you’re looking for things – you’ll be surprised what people are happy to give away. 

>> Make your own
There are a ton of DIY tutorials online for everything from a home-made activity mat to DIY nursing tops. If you have the time and energy then this is a great way to save huge amounts of money. Companies often highly inflate prices for things that are actually pretty simple and cheap to make. (I have more DIY ideas on my Pinterest boards).

>>Trust God.
So, I know that not everyone reading this will have a faith but for me being a Christian means involving God in my financial decisions. I quite like the mantra ‘if I need it, God will provide it’ and it’s proved to be very true when it comes to getting for the baby. If you’ve been round my blog long enough you’ll have read about his provision with the moses basket, maternity clothes, pram and car seat. A few months ago I was looking on Ebay for a Bumbo Seat and the next day my friend randomly asked me if I needed a Bumbo as they had one spare. The same happened with a play mat and a travel cot! God really does provide.

I guess all of this is a natural follow on of trying to live simply and to disconnect from all the stuff and clutter that seems to so easily creep into life.
Ivy has never had crib bedding, a rocker, a video monitor or many of the other things the internet tries to convince us we need, and I honestly haven’t missed it. Occasionally those things would have been useful (or beautiful), but she hasn’t really needed it and we’ve saved so much money by holding out and making do with what’s available.

So, will it cost £218,000 to raise Ivy? We’ll see…but in the mean-time we’ll be saving money here and there a penny at a time.

What are your tips for saving money with a baby {or just money saving in general!}. I’d love for you to leave a comment.


  1. My tips are: 1)Breastfeed as long as possible, formula is expensive! 2) Make your own baby food. It's really not that hard just to blend up what the rest of the family is having for dinner. Store leftover, unused baby food in ice cube trays. Once frozen, release the frozen cubes into freezer bags, thaw as needed.
    I love your testimony about trusting God. He surely blesses His children! :)

  2. I absolutely love this! It's so true. We just seem to clutter our lives with endless amounts of faff. But as you say, if you need it God will provide it. He knows our every need. I'm so proud of your family! I hope I can one day have kids and give them such a wholesome life as you are giving Ivy. God bless xxx

  3. I worked in several offices when younger women started having their families. It was lovely to see the 'passing on' of baby kit that went on. From one girl to the next, stuff would come out of an attic, be passed on to the next baby, used, as you say, for a short period of time because they grow so quickly, then washed and stored in the attic until it was needed again.
    I know people who really did sleep in drawers when they were tiny, and while that may have been stretching it a bit, it did used to be common, and did no one any harm!!

  4. I love this, it's so true. I was the same as you with Meg, wanting everything to be new and shiny and we threw so much money down the drain, and ended up with a nursery full of stuff we didn't ever use! When I was pregnant with Eli, we made a spreadsheet with what we thought we needed and how much it would cost. Once we saw the overall figure, we managed to cut down even further!

  5. I love this so SO much! I've definitely been guilty of panic buying! Oh no, we didn't get XYZ how will we survive! Darn pregnancy hormones! Luckily for baby number two we have all the we need except diapers and wipes. I think we are going to cloth diaper this time around to save some more money! :) Thank you so much for this post! Love it!

  6. We just had our first baby in July.
    Biggest money-savers I've found so far:
    1. Breastfeeding
    2. Cloth diapers
    3. Garage sales and thrift stores for baby clothes
    4. Borrowing items from family and friends

  7. We couldn't afford the latest and greatest things for our baby, but I found out that the baby shower really gave us a lot of what we needed. Some money savers for us were:
    2.Garage sales for clothes
    3.hand-me-downs clothing and toys
    4.Cloth diapers, we bought 2nd hand like-new diapers--sounds gross but they looked new when we received them
    5. I froze a lot of food(think soup, taco meat, etc.) before my baby's birth, that really helped us not blow our budget on eating out after the delivery.... especially because my delivery went badly and ended up staying in the hospital for 3 days.

    Thanks for this!

    Hannah J

  8. You are so right...we don't need the best of everything to raise a happy, healthy child. I actually think that the more we have the harder it is to teach a child about hard work, saving, and patiently waiting for things they want. And the same is true for us. I think we appreciate things we save for, and it also makes us really ask if we need it.

    And so many things we consider "needs" are not. Great tips here and great attitude. Pinterest can definitely make us covet things, can't it?

    Have a blessed week!

  9. Ditto cloth diapers and breastfeeding. Big money savers, right there. I also buy most of my kid's clothes at consignment shops, garage sales, OR I wait until retailers have their season end sales. I particularly like Kohls, because they send me 30% off coupons which I can use on their clearance items. I bought my 4 year old a nice pant/suit/tie set for next years Easter, for $4 today. I always buy stuff for next summer around now. Picked my daughter up three pair of shoes for next year for $5-6 each. Bought the baby some summer clothes for next year. Brand new, around $3-4 per outfit. Sometimes you can't even buy that cheap at a thrift store!

  10. Great post. I agree with the other comments, cloth diapers are a big savings. I also only buy new clothes when they are on sale. Sometimes that means they are out of season and I have to store them for a while but it saves tons.

    Thanks for joining in the Mommy-Brain Mixer this week.

  11. I totally agree. We bought almost nothing for our son, as we were given all we needed by family and friends. I think I never bought him any clothes until he was about 1. Now that my second baby is heading for her first birthday I suddenly understand everyone's eagerness to pass on their baby stuff. Once you don't need it anymore it's just cluttering up your house! And like you say, most of it will be in pretty good condition as they don't need things for long.

  12. I agree! And I've found that after each baby arrives we've pared down the necessities more and more. We are expecting baby #5 this fall and I've finally worked out just how few clothing items she needs for each size - FAR less than we had with any of the first few. Plus, as they grow up I'm finding that what the culture says kids "need" is really off base. We probably spend less on four kids each year than the average estimate for one child in the U.S. Staying at home is huge in that regard, but so are the things you mentioned and others, too.

  13. What precious pictures of your little one! She is beautiful!

    You're right, you really don't need all that stuff. We had a changing table and in the beginning we used it a lot, but as time went on we just plopped him on the floor on a changing pad, lol! Much safer as they can't fall off! ;)

    Also love when God provides our needs that way right when we're thinking about something or needing something!

    As for financial advice, I will say if a person is a one income family, don't live as if you're a TWO income family. If a mom quits her job to stay home with her children, she will most likely have financial adjustments to make and she needs to make them!

    You can't keep living the lifestyle of two incomes when only one paycheck is coming in!

  14. Hi - I just wanted to stop by and say that I really enjoyed this post. We're expecting our first baby this November and frugality has been at the forefront of my mind (mostly because the more we save upfront, the more paternity leave the hubby can take!)

    I've found myself getting very into second hand/sale shopping and learning how to most effectively disinfect things for my piece of mind, as well as DIYing so much of the nursery decor and 'must haves'...

    I'd love to share some of my DIY tutorials with you, including burp cloths from scraps (what a money saver!), crib bedding and decor, a car seat canopy and much more! I'll be trawling through your blog trying to pick up tips from you too! Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

    carly @ www.theblossomingbump.com

  15. Yes, other than hospital bills (which are ridiculous) I'm pretty sure our second baby cost us next to nothing! Cloth diapers are a huge help, and just wearing hand-me-downs. I think our big budget saver was buying gender neutral stuff the first time around, or not being upset when my little girl has a blue pacifier and a blue blanket. She just used all her brother's old stuff. She's just as much a girl even if her diapers are blue and green! lol

    Thanks for linking up at Babies and Beyond this week!

  16. I can totally agree with the making all your own baby food thing. I've raised six babies and, apart from the occasional emergency jar/packet, I've made all my own food. Saved ££££'s I would think and given the news item today about how much healthier home-made baby food is over shop bought [like we needed to be told] then what better endorsement does one need?

    Expensive toys are another thing....most of the time second hand is fine if clean and safe but let's be honest here a day spent playing in my plastics drawer in the kitchen looked to be equally as much fun as the toybox. I was happy to spend money on things I knew could be reused or handed down to subsequent children however as you only have to buy some things once it's worth that initial expense to know that they'll last the duration.

    Home-made playdoh ~ easy peasy ~ and salt doh to make shapes to cut out, bake and paint.....such good fun for all especially at christmas...

  17. Ah, I'm happy I stumbled upon this. It was reassurance of what I already knew :) My husband and I have been talking about having a baby, and while he really wants to bring a little human into this world, he's worried about how we'll afford to do so. I think I'll leave this open for him to read ;)

  18. I actually just stumbled upon your blog and I am so happy I did! God knew that I needed to :) My husband and I both want children in the future, but when I think about our finances and then tacking on a baby on top of all that, I start to panic. But this post helped me realize what I already know. Less is more :) Thank you!