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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Herbst

Baby prep: 9 cost-saving tips for expecting parents

Updated: May 11

The task of preparing for a baby can be incredibly overwhelming. Not only is there a long list of items to purchase, but the amount of research needed for each decision can feel exhausting. I can attest to this personally; the process of researching and selecting a stroller nearly killed me.

If you're curious to see how much we spent on our first baby, then check out this post.

Else, I feel confident these tips and tricks will help you spend more on what is important and meaningful to you and your family, and less on stuff that won't do much good.

  1. Identify one friend you admire – you like their parenting style or you feel similar to them in many ways – then ask them for a list of what you need vs. what you don’t need. Ask them for a specific list of actual items. Not just bottles, which brand of bottles. Ask them what they bought and then never used. Cover all your bases. Chances are they already made a baby list, or got one from someone else they liked. I received two separate lists from close friends so I could cross check and compare. 

  2. If you or your partner are pregnant with your first, now is a great time to buy things used. It can feel a little overwhelming to comb through Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist when you have a baby and things get busy. Use the time now to find those baby items. Marketplace is literally flooded with baby stuff, and every name brand you can imagine. For almost all items I wanted that weren’t disposable, I was able to find it easily. 

  3. Find your local kids thrift shop. Here in Utah we have Kid-to-Kid. It’s stocked incredibly well and so I typically only have to visit once to find what I want for Isaac.

  4. Don’t get caught up in buying that name brand item. Sometimes it’s worth it, but often it’s not. For me, my hang up was the Baby Bjorn Bouncer. My god, I wanted that thing so badly. Brand new, it’s $210, and used, I couldn’t find it for less than $120. I pined over this thing. And to be honest, I had no other reason other than every single one of my friends had it and it looked super soft and comfy. But I just couldn’t accept that price point. How did I pick another bouncer? I regularly used NY Times’ Wirecutter to navigate baby purchases. Their reviews are FANTASTIC and they often have a great alternative budget option for that bougie item you’ve been thirsting after. I ended up purchasing the budget pick for the baby bouncer and honestly, it’s fantastic. 

  5. If you’re gonna have a registry, do it with intention. Don’t just use it as a place to list the really expensive items you’re hoping someone else will buy you. List the items you absolutely think are necessary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard other friend’s say “Oh, we got this off our registry and the baby doesn’t even like it”. 

  6. Be open to accepting used items as gifts. Someone might be much more willing to give you their $500 stroller they are no longer using rather than buying you an entirely new $500 used stroller. 

  7. Don’t be scared to ask friend’s to borrow something to “try it out”. Maybe you’re thinking of getting something for your baby like a toy. But there is a real chance the baby won’t like it! Borrow a friend’s and see how your little one responds to it before heading out and buying your own. 

  8. Lead by example and offer to lend some of your things to someone else. By being generous with your baby stuff, you are creating a culture of giving. The amount of sharing I have done with other parents warms my heart and I can’t wait to give and receive more. 

  9. If possible, avoid impulse buying and let something sit in your shopping cart for a few days. I remember panicking and thinking Isaac did not have enough baby toys. I added maybe 10 things to my Amazon cart and then thought for a moment how that felt like way too much. I ended up narrowing it down to three, and we have been doing just fine. In fact, his favorite toy right now is “Nalgene”, aka Dad’s water bottle. He sees Dad uses it a lot and so that’s pretty much his interest now too. 



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