You pee all the time, fart up a storm, and are starting to forget what your feet look like. And if that isn’t enough of a change, there’s also all the stuff you need to buy: maternity clothes, nursing bras, furniture for the baby’s room, and about a million diapers. Pregnancy can be expensive.
Maternity wear alone is a $2 billion industry, and diapers for a newborn can cost you $800 in those first 12 months. The financial planning company LearnVest estimates that the average middle-income family will spend $12,000 during their baby’s first year. Looking for ways to cut down on the cost (and all the waste associated with all pregnancy), aside from asking friends and family for hand-me-downs? Here are some tips for simplifying.
Rent your maternity clothes
Whether you need a one-time special occasion dress or just don’t want to spend thousands on an entire new wardrobe, clothing rental companies can really save the day when you’re pregnant. Rent the Runway, Le Tote, and Borrow for Your Bump are a few of the companies you can try, with options ranging from renting a single item to monthly subscriptions.
Rent baby gear when you’re away from home
If you visit far-away family a few times a year, you may think your only two options are lugging around all your gear for each visit or buying a set to keep at Grandma’s or Auntie’s home. But you can get all the items you need without having to drop money on new stuff, thanks to baby gear rental sites like goBaby. Next time you’re on vacation, rent a stroller, car seat, crib, high chair, and even toys and books from families who have spares. And once your little one grows out of their stuff, rent it out — goBaby says you can pocket up to $600 per month. Not bad for the strollers, high chairs, and car seats that would otherwise just gather dust in your basement.
Buy second hand
Babies grow fast, and paying full retail for a onesie that won’t fit after a week can be painful. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. ThredUp is one popular online consignment option with plenty of baby and children’s clothes. Everything is new or gently used, so you won’t get anything that’s on its last leg. And when you’ve got a pile you’re ready to hand off, just send it to them and they’ll pay you for what they decide to keep. Kidizen is another option, with 300 brands to choose from.
Google around and search Facebook for “Freecycle” and “Buy Nothing” groups in your area — they’re full of people (parents and non-parents alike) looking to pass down items to a neighbor instead of getting rid of them. They’re a goldmine for maternity clothes and children clothes and toys.
Disposable diapers add up, in terms of both the cost and the waste (the average baby goes through 5,000 of them). That’s why some parents opt for cloth diapers for their little ones. The per-diaper cost is a lot higher ($15 to $25 each), but it pays off in the end; Vogue reports that, parents using disposable diapers can expect to spend $2,400 per baby, while those using cloth diapers may only spend around $750.
Repurpose and donate
Don’t trash your baby’s clothes when they grow out of them — even if you don’t have anyone to hand them down to (and aren’t planning for another child), there’s plenty you can do with them to give them a new use. Onesies and pajamas can be made into stuffed animals, leftover formula containers can be turned into vases and pencil holders, glass baby food jars are storage heaven, and even a crib can be transformed into a desk. If you’re not crafty, Google local organizations that accept baby items. Goodwill has stores all over the country, but you can also find groups in your city that specifically help families in need. Depending on where you donate and whether you itemize your deductions, you could even get a tax break.