Children are expensive – it’s a fact. The average parents will spend around a quarter of a million dollars on their child while raising him or her from infancy to adulthood! That is quite a chunk of change.

One way to start shaving dollars off of that big chunk is to shop for your baby on a budget. “Spend sensibly and stick to your budget,” says financial consultant Joan Black. “One of the most important things you can do is to remove your heart from your wallet.” Because mothers and fathers love their children or are excited about having a baby, they can end up spending a lot more than they originally plan to. Joan offers moms and dads some practical advice for shopping on a budget.

  1. Make a list and stick to it! This is especially true for women who are pregnant and shopping for the new baby. Most of the time, women are so excited to be having a baby that they could purchase the entire store before realizing what they are doing. The best way to avoid this is to make a list. When you have the list in front of you of the things you need, you will be less likely to purchase impulsively.
  2. Avoid purchasing unnecessary items. Again, when Mom and Dad become excited, they end up buying things they don’t really need and that Baby doesn’t really need. There are so many necessary products that will make life for parents a lot easier. Some of those products might include a thermometer, receiving blankets and bottles. However, there are a ton of things that parents don’t really need, such as baby wipe warmers, bottle warmers and even bottle sterilizers. You can simply hold the wipe between your hands for a minute so you don’t freeze your baby’s bottom. You can also warm the baby’s milk by running the bottle under hot water for a few minutes or sitting it in a pot of hot water for a few minutes. Remember to always do the wrist test and shake the milk so there are no ‘hot spots.’ As far as sterilization goes, boiling water is the best and easiest way and you really only need to sterilize them when they are brand new as long as you wash the bottles in hot, soapy water shortly after the feedings are over.
  3. Don’t buy expensive clothing. Babies and children grow so quickly that buying expensive clothing is really not a good idea. Your child may even only wear a great outfit one time before they outgrow it! Imagine spending $50 on an outfit that your child will get to wear once! Instead, purchase cheap items from discount stores or used clothing from thrift stores or yard sales. Doing this, you will be able to purchase several outfits for the price you would pay for one outfit in a department store. If you’d like to purchase one or two great outfits for special occasions, you can still save money by purchasing every day clothing from discount stores, thrift stores or yard sales. You can even buy brand new things from these places for a bit of nothing.
  4. Buy generic items. When you are purchasing things for your baby, you don’t have to buy the popular brand names. Rather, purchase the cheaper, generic brand of bottles, pacifiers, nipples, receiving blankets and other items. Many of the brand name items have parts that will not work universally. So, if you have a bottle that is Graco and you have a generic bottle, the nipples and rings may not fit. Of course, this is great for the companies, because if you have a Graco bottle and the bottle breaks but the nipple ring and such is fine, you will spend more money on their company by replacing the bottle. You can avoid paying larger prices to begin with, as well as paying larger prices to replace pieces by simply buying the generic brands to begin with.
  5. Wait until the last moment to purchase things for the baby on his or her way. Studies have been done which show that women who wait until the end pf their pregnancy to purchase baby items. First of all, you will probably receive several gifts from friends and family and knowing what you have will help you shop on a budget. Secondly, you have been really excited, so shopping months in advance will aid in you spending much more money.

“Sure,” says Joan. “Children are quite expensive. However, using these tips, you can save a great deal of money. A few other tips including getting free items from family members who have had a baby and have saved their stuff, checking for discounted items online and more. Use your creativity and imagination and you will be able to keep from spending a fortune on your baby, stick to your budget and get out cheaply and quickly!