We have all heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a baby”, but it doesn’t have to take a village’s paycheck to raise one! Here are some tips to keeping your baby budget under control.

Know What you Need

Take stock of the products that you will actually use. There are so many baby gadgets out there it can be overwhelming. Stick with the basics. Do you really need a bath water thermometer? I promise the old elbow in the water trick will work just fine. I always suggest asking friends/family what they used when they had their babies. They can give you much needed insight into some products that will probably just sit around and collect dust.

Price Price Price

I am all for spending a little extra cash on organic bedding, clothing, or chemical free baby products. However, there are areas that you can scale back on. Do you really need a $1000 crib? Or would the $400 model serve your purposes? Be sure to shop around. You have 9 months of pregnancy to plan for your little one. Use this time to search for sales on those must-have items.

Give Cloth a Chance

The average parent spends over $2000 on disposable diapers. There are cloth diapering systems that cost as little as $200 and can keep your baby diapered from birth to potty training. I promise modern cloth diapering is not your grandma’s pins and plastic pants. Modern cloth is stylish, easy to use, and well worth a shot. (Check out Why Cloth Diaper to learn more).

Make your Own Baby Food

The average pre-packaged baby food found on your grocery shelf costs about $0.08-$0.10 an ounce (depending on brand, and whether it is organic or not). If you do some simple math you can see how much you can save by making your own food. For example, a pound of bananas cost about $0.59. There are 16 ounces in a pound so it would cost about $0.03-$0.04 an ounce. That is half the cost. The great thing about making your own baby food is you can purchase in bulk and store in your freezer. Simply purchase a few ice cube trays to put the food in. This makes it easy to portion it out for your child. Don’t worry about all the home food “supplies”. You can just steam the veggies and mash with a fork. No fancy equipment required.

Breast is Best (and cheapest!)

Give breastfeeding a shot. Breastfeeding is recognized as the best source of nutrition for your baby, but it is also free! You can skip out on the bottles and formula and save about $1500 a year.

So enjoy your pregnancy and new baby without worrying about breaking your bank. What do you do to save on your baby essentials?