7 Frugal Tips for First-Time Parents on a Budget

Black expectant parents sitting on sofa dreaming about their baby


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Black expectant parents sitting on sofa dreaming about their baby

Penny-Pinching Parents

According to a NerdWallet analysis, a household that makes $40,000 can expect to pay as much as $21,248 for the child's first year. So alongside the joys of starting a family, many first-time parents feel overwhelmed by the sheer cost of raising a child. While no amount of short-term financial planning can prepare you for such a huge burden, frugal Redditors recently shared some simple tips to save money as new parents.

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Second-hand baby or doll clothing

Buy (Almost) Everything Secondhand

Apart from a new car seat and mattress, parents should try to buy everything secondhand, according to the threads top comments. Redditors recommended shopping on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and thrift stores.

Related: 25 Toy Brands That Are Still Made in America

Mother breastfeeding baby.


While breastfeeding isn't necessarily free — pumps can cost hundreds of dollars — it's generally cheaper than feeding your child formula. "Breastfeeding is of course the most cost-effective method of feeding your baby, but don’t beat yourselves up if it doesn’t work out for you. All that matters is that your baby is fed," one Redditor writes.

Related: Great Gifts for New Parents


Buy Essentials at Costco

Multiple Redditors said that new parents should buy consumables like diapers and wipes at Costco. The store's white-label Kirkland brand "is practically the same as Huggies," one commenter writes. Not already a Costco member? You can apply here.

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Pregnant woman saving up for baby

Save Money for the Baby's Future

If there's a truism of parenting, it's that it you'll constantly be spending money. Start saving early for big expenses like your child's first birthday, car, and even college.

Related: The No. 1 Reason More Americans Don’t Want Kids

mother plays with a baby who is lying in a side-bed for a newborn or in a modern playpen

Buy a Sleep-Safe Pack 'N Play

Portable, compact, and cheap, a pack 'n play is a frugal alternative to a crib and bassinet, with most basic models selling for just $100. Just make sure to purchase one that's certified for sleep and follow the manufacturer's instructions. When in doubt, talk to your doctor and consult the American Academy of Pediatrics sleep guidelines.

Little Boy Looking at Books

Visit Your Local Library

Although it's easy to forget they exist, public libraries provide vital resources to the community, including plenty of free children's books. What's more, research shows that reading to kids has tangible benefits.

Little Blue Booties

Don't Buy Shoes Too Early

According to the American Pediatric Medical Association, babies don't need to wear shoes indoors until they've learned to walk, so budget-conscious parents can wait to buy them.