Mom life is challenging enough! It shouldn’t be budget breaking or sanity starving too. Here are 10 Time and Money Saving Baby Hacks to give you some serious relief!
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10 Time and Money Saving Baby Hacks
One of the most popular “baby-topics” out there is how expensive having a baby can be. It’s a laughable subject between parents, an interesting conversation between friends, and it’s even used to warn soon-to-be or future-planning parents.
Maybe it’s just my nature, but I beg to differ. Bringing a baby into your home is an added cost, to be sure, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, it shouldn’t.
Yes, it is possible to have your baby and keep costs down–a lot. Here are a few reasons why having a baby can look–and get–so expensive.
1: The Universe of Baby Products
There are so many baby products out there! When you learn you’re expecting, one of the first things you do in your pastime is start looking at hot products, popular baby topics and reviews, which of course educate why you absolutely must have a particular product.
The super honest truth is that most of what’s out there is nice to have, or really cute, but you and baby can totally survive without it.
A lot of products make life easier, to be sure, but if your budget is screaming at you, then maybe your everyday dish drying rack or a good, old-fashioned tea towel is a better option than Boon Grass. (I love my Boon Grass rack so I’m certainly not dissing this product!)
2: Cute Factor
What is it about miniature things that is so stinking cute? I wish I knew, but I’ll forever be prey to this one, too. Little tiny baby items are adorable and next to impossible to resist.
Most of them are just cute additions to your expenses. Those lime green, purple and orange tiger socks with the ears on them are so cute! But unless your baby is wearing one solid color, they’ll go with about… 0 baby outfits.
And you’ll spend the rest of your mom-laundry days chasing after matches and peering into the recesses of the washer and dryer to find one or the other.
More on that later.
3: Toys Toys Toys
A huge expense comes from that artfully arranged toy display at the store, topped with a conniving “Sale!” sign. This is your last chance to get that set of blinking, singing, wiggling _____________ (insert toy here). If you don’t get it, your little will forever miss a crucial part of babyhood!
To all of you first-time moms out there, I’ll share something with you right now. My son has about 5 toys on his nursery floor that I’m encouraging him to play with as I write this.
As I’m typing, he is currently infatuated with the cardboard box of diapers I haven’t unpacked yet. A moment ago, he was checking out the blue curtains.
He has one particular toy that he’s played with, and all the others are being neglected. When it comes down to it, your baby probably doesn’t need 800 toys.
A few will do. A few will also settle nicely in your budget.
Avoiding Excess Is Just ONE Method of Saving Money, Time and Frustration
So it’s obvious that you don’t need to buy every product that comes out for baby. But there are also some other ways to save money and time. I include time savers because time is so valuable!
Let’s Start with the Money and our 10 Time and Money Saving Baby Hacks.
10 Time and Money Saving Baby Hacks
1: Pillow Cases for Changing Pad Covers
I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t really understand the invention of changing pad covers. It’s a glorified mini-sheet for your baby’s bottom.
That translates to me as: More nonsense to wash.
You can honestly go without one. I prefer no changing pad cover at all because you can simply wipe down your changing pad and you’re golden.
If you are into covering your changing pad, there is a much cheaper option. King-size pillowcases will fit over most changing pads. If you were to price compare on Amazon, you’d save about $5-$6 on a set of two pillowcases versus changing pad covers.
That’s nice, but there’s an even better way.
Your local discount clothing store like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Kohl’s… you get the idea… have racks FULL of bedding and pillowcases. You can find pillowcases for just a few dollars.
When I first started out, before baby was born, I found pillow protectors that zip up. They fit beautifully over the changing pad and were only $4.99 for a set of 2. They worked wonderfully, until I did away with them entirely for convenience’s sake.
2: Bag Clips for Pant/Skirt Hangers
I loved the idea of hanging Kai’s dressier pants in the closet to save dresser drawer space, and because that’s where his dress clothes are in general. While I had a nice amount of baby hangers, but I didn’t have enough pant hangers.
I saved the ones that came with pant outfits, but a lot of the hangers for pants are these square things that hook onto a regular hanger and are a complete hassle.+-
Hey, friends, I know I’m not the only one who has way too many bag clips in the kitchen drawer. I used them and created my own pant hangers.
They worked out so well that I didn’t even bother going out to buy pant hangers, which saved me some money!
3: Muslin Swaddle Nursing Cover
It’s tempting to get baby blankets, receiving blankets, carrier covers and nursing covers. But what if there was one item that did all of those things?
A muslin swaddle blanket ticks all of those boxes.
I’ve raved about them in my other blog posts and I will probably always find a way to gush over them.
A set of good-quality muslin blankets can cost you $20-40, depending on your taste and preference. The cost of a nursing cover, a carrier cover, and a set of receiving blankets combined can easily be twice that by the time you’ve purchased them all.
Let’s not forget that you also have to pack those items in your diaper bag. And launder them.
1 muslin can do all of the above, and be used as a blankie, too. To use it as a nursing cover, simply take two corners of one side of the blanket and tie them loosely around your neck. The blanket will drape generously over you, providing ample coverage and room to breathe (47 x 47 is the best size for this).
Why do I go on about this technique?
As a first-time mom, trying to find a good system to nurse my baby took months–yes, months. I went through several different types of nursing covers.
I found that almost all of them were either cumbersome, didn’t provide enough coverage, or were stifling hot. Remember that Sweet Pea is going to be pressed up against you, and it gets hot under there!
A muslin swaddle provides lots of air flow. It’s big enough that it drapes over your shoulders, so it can hang over you and baby without tucking you both in and wrapping you in folds of fabric.
I also appreciate that I can peek in and check on baby boy easily. Some nursing covers don’t afford that without exposing yourself.
Instead of gathering up several different items, a pack of muslin swaddles will be all you need, and will be less costly, too.
4: Trash Bags Substitute for Diaper Genie Refills
This one comes with a mixed review from me. I used this hack before, and it did alright. I wasn’t overly impressed, and for me, the amount of savings wasn’t really enough to warrant some of the drawbacks. Also, I have only used a Diaper Genie, so I can’t give any advice on if or how this works for other diaper pails.
Using a 13-gallon, drawstring garbage bag, you can weave the drawstring into an empty Diaper Genie cartridge and feed it down into the pail. When the bag is full, you can pull it right out of the cartridge, tie it up and toss it.
Before using this hack, there are some things you need to know.
First, make sure you do a great job of weaving the drawstring into the cartridge. As the bag gets full and the diapers add weight, the bag can come out of the cartridge and you’ll have a mess.
The second thing you need to know is to be prepared to kind of get your fingers chewed up shoving the drawstrings into the cartridge. It’s not really a big deal, but it can be annoying.
I found that I’d rather purchase generic-brand refills. They’re dollars less than the name brand, and very easy to use. Garbage bags are the least expensive option, but they aren’t the least hassle-free. You can decide what works best for you.
In a pinch, if you find you’re out of cartridge refills, you now know you can grab a garbage bag and carry on, stink-free.
5: Don’t Go Paci-Crazy
I had no idea about the science of pacifiers until I was in the middle of a frustrating battle with my son. In the end, he ended up not taking one at all. That has its pros and cons, but I learned a lot in the process of our paci adventure.
First, pacifiers come in a gazillion shapes, sizes and even materials. Some of you may know this, but if you’re a first-time mama like me, this may have been one of the details you didn’t even know was a thing.
Sure, I’d seen all the different-looking pacifiers in the baby aisle, but I just thought they were styled differently (well, duh). The entire science was completely lost on me.
If I could impart a bit of money-saving advice to you, it would be this. Start with 2 different pacifiers, 3 at the max–not packs, but individual pacifiers.
Introduce one to baby, and if it works, great! You now have a paci that works right off the bat! Don’t throw out the others, though. What Sweet Pea loved in a paci at 2 months might be the thing she hates at 3 months. You may need to try a different style later on.
Pacifiers also come in different sizes. Make sure you start out with newborn. This one seems so obvious, but I had no idea about this and realized I had larger pacifiers for older babies. I never used them. That was a waste of money.
By starting out with just a couple newborn pacifiers, you can figure out which type your baby will prefer (if they prefer one at all) before you invest your money into packages of them.
6: Diaper Raffle
Do you have your baby registry set up? You can conveniently set up a baby registry through Amazon and make it super easy for your friends and family (especially those out of town). It’s easy and a great way to get more items from your registry.
I debated whether or not to include this one since I’m planning on writing about baby showers. This tidbit of advice is helpful enough that it won’t hurt to mention it twice.
This is the tip that saved me hundreds of dollars.
Diapers are, hands down, the largest expense of baby life. What’s more, you’re going to probably get picky about which ones you like. One of the best things you can do to get you started is to go with a diaper raffle.
Let your baby shower guests know there will be a drawing for some nice prizes and the way to enter is by bringing a pack of diapers. This is a fun way to incorporate a game and get a nice amount of diapers to start you off.
My son was 6 months old before I purchased any diapers for him. I got a lot of newborn-sized diapers, but I was able to exchange them for larger sizes. This was a huge money-saver for me.
While it sounds simple, diaper crowdfunding is a great way to save some serious cash.
7: Make Your Own Baby Food
Okay, so this one does require time. But honestly, the amount of money you save by pureeing your own food is worth it. As your baby hits growth spurts, you’ll see noticeable appetite increases.
That isn’t going to go away. It’s only going to grow from here.
One sweet potato will go for two days. 4 carrots will last you at least 4 days. 1 squash will last you the same. So will sweet peas, apples, pears… you get the idea. Packs of baby food–especially if you opt for organic or whole-food options–will get costly in a big way.
I puree all of my baby’s food and then I keep pouches of store-bought baby food puree on hand in case we are out of the house during baby’s mealtime. Mixing the two options has provided a happy balance between cost and convenience.
8: Teething Hack
I’m in the throes of this as we speak. I’ve spent an ample amount of money trying to find something to give my baby some relief while he cuts teeth. After countless frustrating attempts and too much money I have come to this conclusion:
There is no magic relief to cure baby of teething discomfort.
There are short-term fixes, but within a short amount of time baby is back to the same misery–and many products only recommend so many ministrations in a certain amount of time.
I tried organic, homeopathic, I tried mainstream. I tried products of the ages that my grandparents probably used.
The best working tip?
A wet washcloth.
Yep. Thanks Mom, for your sage advice. Just take a baby washcloth (they’re less linty and don’t easily lose fibers), wet one corner with cold water, twist it and offer it to baby. My son shoved that into his mouth and went to town. The best part? I can re-wet the washcloth and offer it to him over and over again.
No chemicals, chemicals, or expense.
9: Rubber Grip Mat Under Changing Pad
Changing diapers on a squirming little is challenging enough. The last thing you want to add to your battles is a changing pad that slips and slides while you try to accomplish a task that already requires four arms.
Enter the rubber grip mat.
This stuff is amazing. Just cut some rubber grip shelf liner and place it under your changing pad.
My changing pad sits inside of a wooden box that my dad made for me, which sits on top of the dresser. The top of the dresser is pretty smooth, so adding that rubber grip holds the entire ensemble in place.
Now I can change baby’s diaper and I only need four arms instead of six.
Did You Know?
Okay, so some of you experienced moms out there may already know this stuff. But I had no clue until my whiz of a mother explained a few things to me.
10: Your Baby’s Onesie Doesn’t Go Over Their Head
We’ve all seen those overlapping pieces of fabric on the shoulders of baby onesies. No, those aren’t fashion statements.
Those actually serve an amazing purpose!
That overlapping fabric provides ample room to expand the neck of the onesie so that you can slide it right down over baby’s body. No pulling it up over their head and causing a mini wrestling match! Just slide the onesie right down.
To put the onesie on, just unsnap the bottom and stick baby’s legs in through the neck first, then shimmy the onesie up their body.
No feeling rushed as you try to hurriedly pull it over baby’s head without interrupting their breathing. You can actually accomplish this without unsnapping the bottom at all if you so choose.
Bonus Tip: Most Newborn Jammies and Shirts Have Built-In Mittens
In a previous post I described the frustration of fussing with baby mittens. As it turns out, you really don’t need to bother with them very much at all. Those odd little folds in the sleeves of the newborn jammies and shirts are actually built-in mittens!
Just dress your baby, then pull that fold over your baby’s hand. It creates a little mitten–that doesn’t fall off and get lost in the universe somewhere!
Thanks for reading 10 Time and Money Saving Baby Hacks! I hope you found some of these tips and tricks helpful. If you have any other money-saving tips, feel free to share in the comments!
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