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Baby, meet budget

A big Tightwad welcome to Hannah, The Cheapskate Mom!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew life was going to change and I couldn't wait. My pregnancy and having a beautiful baby boy have been the most wonderful experiences of my life and I wake up every day knowing how blessed I am. My wallet, however, has taken quite a hit as I am not working right now while I stay home with my young son. I remember that during my pregnancy many of the baby products I saw in the store and in magazines made me worried : I must need them, I thought, and how will I ever afford them? When my baby came into the world, I had a well stocked nursery nook at home - five cases of baby wipes, a dresser full of brand new clothing courtesy of my baby shower, special hooded baby towels and a brand spanking new diaper bag. I'd like to share some cost cutting tips I've learned in the hopes that I may help the inexperienced, budget-strapped and expecting moms save some money.
You don't need special baby towels and burp cloths Although a baby wrapped in a regular towel may look a little funny - if you didn't receive special baby towels at your shower - don't go out and buy them. I discovered this one day when all of my special towels were dirty and my son needed a bath - I had a moment of panic and then realized a towel is a towel is a towel. I felt silly in having thought I needed special baby-sized towels - but marketing companies spend a lot of money making us new, inexperienced moms think we need one of everything. Same goes for burp cloths - I didn't receive any burp cloths at my baby shower and so the week before I had my son, I lugged myself out of the house and to the big box baby store where I bought several packages of expensive burp cloths because I had read that you just can't have enough burp cloths. You know what? You really do need a lot of spare cloth around when you have a young baby - but you don't need fancily packaged burp cloths to clean up spittle. Wash cloths and old towels cut up do the trick just fine (another thing I found out when lo and behold all of my burp cloths were dirty).
You don't need newborn-sized baby clothing It's cute - my husband and I had endless evenings strolling the aisles at the big box baby store looking at the adorable newborn clothes. We even broke down and bought a few shirts for babies up to 8 lbs. We never used those shirts. They were too small. All of the newborn sized clothing we received stopped being useful to us within a month or two - and we always preferred the 3 month + clothing because it was easier for us anxious newbies to finagle our son into slightly bigger outfits.
You don't need a diaper pail You can make do with a garbage bin with a lid and frequently taking your trash out. You also don't need special and costly diaper pail air freshening discs: I simply use baking soda wrapped and tied in old nylons or cheese cloth (it's that simple).
You don't need a diaper bag I remember looking at the shelves of diaper bags and thinking - which one best fits my personal style ( I like to wear a lot of black and I wasn't sure how a polka dot bag was going to mesh with me). I remember thinking - oh boy, my husband needs a diaper bag too - why aren't any of these more masculine? In retrospect , any old bag or container will do. A reusable shopping bag, a tote bag, a big purse - anything that will fit diapers, wipes and various baby accoutrement will work just fine for you. I even use an old formula container to store some back-up diapers and wipes as a diaper kit on-the-go.
You don't need to buy baby wipes Depending on your comfort level, you can reuse wash cloths or make your own disposable baby wipes with paper towels, baby shampoo and baby oil (there are some easy recipes online) - this saves a lot of money and , as long as you have a good amount of paper towels in store or are using wash cloths - means you won't run out of baby wipes, which is a freeing feeling at 3 a.m when faced with a messy diaper.
Overall, I've found that by really thinking about every baby purchase I make , I've come up with a lot of new, money-saving ideas ... Saving money for our son's future is the most important thing to me right now. He won't remember what brand of baby wipes we used or how expensive my diaper bag was - I want to be able to provide him with the comfort and security that saving money on unnecessary expenses can give us.
BIO: Hannah Walton is a restaurant manager, new mother and wife. She believes in the power of bootstrapping and information to transform lives. Stay up to date with Hannah's DIY and frugal discoveries at The Cheapskate Mom: a blog magazine for surviving the recession with style.


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