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Budget Tips for New Parents

Updated: Feb 26

How to feather your nest, without breaking your nest egg. My five favourite budget tips for new parents.

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when it comes to budgeting for essential baby gear. Mix into that the excitement of a new life and it's easy to say bye-bye budget!

Fortunately, there are many ways to find high-quality baby items without breaking the bank. From shopping secondhand to taking advantage of sales and discounts, savvy parents can save money while still providing everything their little one needs.

Below, I will share my five favourite and practical budget tips for new parents to help you stretch your dollars further as you prepare for this new chapter in your life.

Tip #1 - Shop Secondhand

This one seems pretty self explanatory, but bear with me. Babies use their stuff for a very short time. Those newborn sized onesies? Sometimes you get them with tags still on because they only fit up to 8-10 pounds. Shopping second hand gives you the benefit of saving money on items that still have a lot of useful life. For example, did you know that crib mattresses often have a life of 20 years?

Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces are great options for finding gently used baby gear such as cribs, strollers, high chairs, and clothing. Just make sure that they still meet current safety codes, and haven't expired. This can be a fun activity in the second trimester when your energy is high, and you have lots of time to be selective!

Tip #2 - Think multifunction and multi year

Sometimes spending a little more up front can save you money down the road. Choose baby gear that serves multiple purposes or grows with your child. For example, a convertible crib that transitions into a toddler bed or double bed can save money in the long run, as can a stroller that accommodates a car seat and converts into a toddler seat.

With these items that you plan to use regularly and for a long time, investing in quality construction is important.

Tip #3 - Borrow or swap!

Another way to find gently used gear is to ask friends, family members, or local parent groups to borrow or swap baby gear. This can be a cost-effective way to access items you may only need temporarily, such as a bassinet or baby swing. These items also take a lot of space to store in a home, so I know when people borrowed my bassinet I was super grateful I didn't have to store it until my second baby arrived!

Tip #4 - Wait for sales

This one seems obvious, but it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of preparing for baby. Keep an eye out for sales, promotions, and clearance events at baby stores and online retailers. Sign up for newsletters or follow social media accounts of your favorite baby gear brands to stay informed about special offers and discounts. Parent groups are also a wealth of knowledge for sales and promotions..

Before you buy, use an app or the internet to search for the lowest price to make sure the deal you are looking at really is a deal!

"Over $12,000,000,000 is spent each year on baby gifts in the US. " Kaitlin McGreyes, Be Her Village

Tip #5 - Focus on what you really need

This is my biggest tip. Prioritize purchasing essential items that are necessary for your baby's safety and well-being, such as a safe crib, car seat, and diapers. You don't need 20 onesies, I promise.

The baby industry is massive and the pressure that new parents face to buy the best of everything, brand new is overwhelming. Even in the past 15 years, since I bought baby items it has grown significantly. Make no mistake, the marketing to new parents is designed to keep that multi-billion dollar industry growing. Let me drop a little truth here that I really want you to hear. You don't need most of it. You definitely don't need it to be brand new.

Consider which items you truly need versus those that are optional or can be acquired later as your budget allows.

So what now?

I get it, a splurge once in a while is fun. Enjoy that, but if protecting your budget is important, make a list, think of what it is you really need and prioritize it. Then sit back and think of what else you can spend that hard earned money on.

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Hi!  I"m Cara Benvenuti, the "Doula in Chief" at Lakeshore Doula Services.  I am so thrilled to be following my heart and calling as a doula!  I spent 25 years of my life in finance at some of Canada's largest financial institutions in a variety of roles from advising people on their mutual fund portfolios, to supporting investment management firms.   My goal is to empower women and families to make good financial decisions, and be supported in the journey of new parenthood.

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