When a woman goes into labor and is about to give birth, her body releases endorphins. These natural chemicals actually have morphine-like effects that decrease her perception of pain, allowing this soon-to-be mom to cope with the birthing process instinctively. But dealing with the process of buying for baby while on a budget may not come quite as naturally. With so many infant products on the market to choose from, it's easy for new parents to become overwhelmed with the idea that they have to spend a small fortune to ensure their baby's future will be bright. The reality is that there are plenty of ways to save on everything you and your little one will need. Here are just a few of them.
Don't Forget to RegisterThe average cost of just one day in a U.S. hospital back in 2013 was $4,293. That's a big chunk of change that doesn't even touch what you'll need to spend on health and personal items for your bundle of joy. That's why baby showers -- and specifically, registering for gifts -- are still such an important part of the preparation process. While you may not love the idea of a traditional baby shower, it's an excellent way to get a lot of what you need before the baby arrives. Some retailers will actually offer you a discount when you register with them, which means you'll have even more ways to save. Share your registry via email and social media to ensure your loved ones know what you need (and what someone has already gotten you).
Focus On the Must-HavesWhether you create a registry or not, you'll save money if you focus on the necessities over the trends. It may not be quite as much fun, but when you're on a budget, you don't need anyone to splurge on items your family doesn't really need. The essentials include clothing, food, warmth, a place to sleep, a car seat, and a stroller. While a relative or friend might want to buy you something more extravagant, you can politely ask baby shower guests to think of your minimalist mission when making a purchase. And if the splurge is something you really want but couldn't afford, that's great too. It'll make you a happier parent, which means your baby will be happier, too.
Think About Hand-Me-DownsGently used items and hand-me-downs will really come in handy when you're trying to save money. Considering how quickly infants grow out of their clothing, you probably have a lot of people in your life who still have these items that aren't being used. You may even be able to find a baby carrier or an activity mat that's in great shape at a lower price. While you'll want to be diligent about washing these items thoroughly before your little one uses them, there's no reason you can't supplement the new with the old. Just steer clear of older car seats (if they're beyond their expiration date) and anything related to mattresses.
Don't Be Afraid to AskYou might be surprised what you can get if you just ask for it. One mom created a registry at Target and found out that they'll give you a baby bag with two baby bottles, a pacifier, Dove baby samples, diapers, Starbucks coupons, and more. Other moms who are short on time off for maternity leave have actually received donated vacation days from their coworkers in lieu of a baby gift. There have been other instances of crowdfunding to provide an alternative to paid maternity leave for other new mothers. You may also be able to save money on other expenses by depending on reliable people in your life to donate their time before and after your baby comes.
There's no doubt that having a child is expensive. But there are ways to curb costs. By following these tips, you should be able to save some cash without sacrificing your family's comfort.