28 Ways to Save Money After Having a Baby

Sara Lindberg Updated on May 8, 2019

Everything changes once you become a parent. Your sleep is cut in half, you eat standing up, you’re not sure which day of the week it is, and oh yeah, your finances take a major hit.

In fact, a 2015 study done by the United States Department of Agriculture found that the cost of raising a newborn through the first year of life for middle-income parents is $12,680. Yikes! No wonder you’re googling “ways to save money once baby arrives.”


So how do you prepare for this truly amazing time in your life without going broke?

Fortunately, there are lots of parents who have come before you. Here are some ways they saved money that might help you cut costs, too.

Breastfeeding on a budget

  • Breastfeed if you can. Breastfeeding is a very personal decision, but if you decide to do it, you can save a lot of money. Breastfeeding will save you anywhere from $75 to $200 a month, depending on the type of formula your baby needs.
  • Choose breastfeeding supplies wisely. Pillows, nursing cover-ups, and nursing pads all add up. Consider making your own nursing cover or using a shawl, opt for washable nursing pads rather than disposable ones, and test out a friend’s nursing pillow before buying one. You may find you don’t really need one.
  • Consider a used pump. Electric double-pumps are ideal, as long as you’ve made room in your budget for one (they run anywhere from $150 to $3,000). The good news is, you only need to buy the plastic parts/attachments and bottles new. You can rent, borrow, or buy a used pump.

Ways to save on formula

  • Always ask for samples. If you’re formula feeding, don’t leave the hospital without samples. Make sure and ask your pediatrician for samples each time you visit their office, and email the formula manufacturer. They just might send you a free case.
  • Sign-up for rewards programs. Formula companies offer free online rewards programs. Once you’re signed-up, they will send you coupons and savings codes to use in-store and online. And if you earn enough points, they even send you free supplies.
  • Opt for powder formula over ready-to-feed can While the convenience of ready-to-feed formula may be nice, the extra cost adds up quick. Stick with powder formula. It’s much cheaper to buy in bulk—plus, you won’t have to lug home gallons of heavy liquid.
  • Ask for help with specialty formula. If your baby needs a special formula blend, ask your doctor for ways to save on the cost. Check with your health insurance to see if the cost is covered. And of course, contact the manufacturer and ask if they will send you some free cans.

Dress your baby without breaking the bank

  • Skip the shoes and mittens. Yes, it’s cold in the winter, but those tiny shoes and gloves do not stay on your baby. If you’re worried about your baby getting cold, purchase a few sleep sacks that keep their feet covered. And when your little one starts walking around the house, resist the temptation to buy those cute little leather shoes. Your baby will have better luck learning to walk without bulky shoes on.
  • Buy clothes in ages and stages. Hit up your favorite consignment shops and buy different-sized clothing. Purchase some storage containers and label each one with a size/age range. When your little one grows, you’ll have clothes ready to go. For added savings, ask for gift cards to your favorite shops. 

Save money at mealtime

  • Make your own baby food. If you’re looking for baby food bargains, one of the easiest and most economical options is to make your own. Most jars of baby food cost $1.00 each. But you can save a lot by getting creative in the kitchen. Puree veggies, meat, and fruit and let them cool for 30 minutes. Then pour into ice cube trays, cover with foil, and freeze. Once the food is frozen, take it out and place each serving in a ziplock bag to store in the fridge.
  • Buy in bulk. If you’re buying most of your baby food, purchasing in bulk makes the most sense. Experiment with different brands and types of food before buying large quantities. Once you know what your baby likes, stock up when it goes on sale. You can also save on cost by ordering online.

Baby gear that makes sense

  • Say yes to hand-me-downs. Chances are, you have some friends or relatives who have baby gear lying around. If they offer it to you, say “yes.” Clothes, strollers, diaper bag, bouncy seats, toys, bassinets, the list goes on and on. Most used items are perfectly safe to use. Car seats and bedroom furniture such as cribs, toddler beds, changing table, and dressers may be the only exception. If you decide to go with used furniture, do some research online about recalls and/or safety updates before furnishing baby’s room with used items.
  • Look for gear that can be used over the years. Some items that you’ll use for several years come with the option to buy in a “convertible” or multi-use model. If you’re buying new, consider a convertible crib that turns into a toddler bed. Also look for car seat/stroller combos that transition from a rear-facing infant seat to a toddler and big-kid car seat.
  • Skip the fluff. There’s no need to purchase anything for the crib other than a mattress and fitted sheet. Skip the pillows, comforters, stuffed animals, etc. You can also save by passing on the wipes warmer, pee-pee teepee, baby towels, robe, pacifier wipes, bathtub, ear thermometer, bottle warmer, and much more. Some of this gear may look useful, but often you won’t need it.
  • Share books and toys. Babies love to be read to. But those cute board books are expensive. Rather than buying new books, why not gather a few friends and create a book swap? Meet once or twice a month to trade books. Not only will this save a lot of money, it also gives you a reason to get together with other moms. As your baby gets older, consider adding a toy swap into the mix.

Imagine Life Without a Student Loan Payment... Start Saving Now!

Diaper dos and don’ts

  • Ask for samples. Before you leave the hospital, ask for any samples they may have. At your first doctor’s appointment, ask your pediatrician which diaper they recommend and see if they have any freebies.
  • Sometimes cheaper is not better. Some of the more expensive newborn diapers have features that are worth the cost. These include umbilical cord protection and a wetness indicator on the outside that shows you how wet the diaper is without having to unfasten and check.
  • Test-drive before you buy. Once your baby is out of newborn diapers, it’s time to test a few out. Get with friends and do a diaper swap. This is an easy and affordable way to try other brands before you buy.
  • Deals on diapers. After you’ve settled on a brand, it’s time to stockpile. Pick up an extra box or two when they’re on sale. Just make sure you don’t over-buy a particular size. Babies grow fast and too-small diapers are a recipe for some serious messes. You can use the same strategy for wipes. If your baby does not have sensitive skin, you might want to opt for the cheaper brands.
  • Join a rewards club. Diaper companies offer free online rewards programs. Once you’re signed up, they will send you coupons to use in-store and codes for online. If you earn enough points, they’ll even send you free supplies.
  • Order diapers and wipes online. Yes, you can order diapers and have them delivered right to your door. Online retailers like Amazon and diapers.com offer discounts each time you buy. They also have subscription services that can reduce your cost each month.
  • Cloth vs. disposable. Using cloth diapers can save you a lot of money IF you do the laundry yourself. If you use a diaper service to clean your cloth diapers, you won’t save much money (although you may have other reasons for opting for cloth).
  • Keep a “backup bag” in the car. You never know when a major blow-out is going to happen. Keep a bag in the car with extra diapers, wipes, change of clothes, snacks, and formula/bottle. This will save time and money while out and about—and keep you from having to stop in at Target for an emergency change of clothes.

Other ways to improve your monthly cash flow

Cutting costs by being a savvy shopper is only one way to stay ahead. There are other ways to improve your monthly cash flow with a baby on board. Here are a few strategies to help you do just that.

  • Tackle credit card debt. If you carry any sort of credit card debt, you might want to consider consolidating and/or eliminating a few pieces of plastic. Consider paying off higher rate cards and then setting them aside so you’re not tempted to use them. Having two or three credit cards is typically enough for most families.
  • Adopt the three-jar method. Typically used as a way to teach kids to save money, this method can also help new parents budget for baby items. Get three mason jars and label each one with the following: must-haves, wants, and big purchases. Toss loose coins and single dollar bills into the jars each day and empty them at the end of the week. You can even take this one step further and open up a savings account just for baby purchases. Deposit the money from the jars each week and dip into that account first when buying baby products.
  • Share costs for childcare. If you’re working outside the home, the cheapest childcare option is typically a commercial setting. But if you want at-home care, you might want to hire a nanny. If you can’t afford the high monthly costs of a nanny on your own, consider sharing a nanny (and his or her salary) with another family.
  • Refinance your student loans. Most people are able to save over $200 a month by refinancing their student loans. If you have student loans, see our Student Loan Refinancing Calculator to learn how much you could save.
About the Author
Sara Lindberg

Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance writer specializing in business, finance, health, and wellness. She holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Exercise Science and a Master's Degree in Counseling. When she’s not writing, Sara can be found at the gym lifting weights, running the back roads to train for her next half-marathon, and spending time with her husband and two children. Read more by Sara Lindberg

Refinance and Save Today With These Lenders

#1 - Nitro Recommended View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • Fixed rates: 2.49% - 6.31% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.88% - 6.15% APR
  • Minimum credit: 650
View More Details
Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 2.49% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
  • No application or origination fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Co-signer release program - you can apply for a cosigner release form your loan after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Specialty product for doctors in training with low monthly payment

Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.

#2 View More Details

For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • Fixed rates: 2.83% - 6.74% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.99% - 6.84% APR
  • Minimum credit: 660
View More Details
Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.

Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance review

  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
  • Social promise - For every loan they fund, they also contribute to the education of a child in need.
  • Hybrid loan option - Offerings include a 10-year hybrid loan with fixed interest for the first five years, and variable interest for the final five.
  • Referral bonus - For every friend you refer who refinances their loans with CommonBond, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

#3 View More Details

SoFi is the leading student loan refinancing provider. 

  • Fixed rates: 2.49% - 6.94% APR
  • Variable rates: 2.25% - 6.59% APR
  • Minimum credit: 650
View More Details
Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

$30 billion+ in refinanced student loans. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, there's no maximum on the amount you can finance. Some state restrictions may apply.

  • Serious savings: Save thousands of dollars thanks to flexible terms and low fixed or variable rates.
  • No hidden fees, no catch: No application or origination fees. No pre-payment penalties.
  • Fast, easy, and all online: Simple online application and access to live customer support 7 days a week.
  • Access to member benefits: SoFi members get career coaching, financial advice, and more—all at no cost.
  • 98% of surveyed members would recommend SoFi to a friend

Save thousands on your student loans and pay off your loans sooner. Find your rate.

#4 View More Details

Ability to apply for cosigner release after 24 consecutive payments. 

View More Details
Visit NelNetBank View Loan Disclosure

Give Your Life’s Journey a Jump-Start.

If you’re ready to put student loans in your rearview mirror, Nelnet Bank student loan refinancing offers low rates and flexible terms to help you start getting ahead.

  • VARIABLE RATES: 1.95% - 5.62% APR See Disclaimer
  • FIXED RATES: 2.48% - 6.62% APR See Disclaimer
  • AUTO DEBIT SAVINGS: We’ll knock .25% off of your interest rate when you enroll in auto debit. See Disclaimer
  • NO ORIGINATION FEES: No application, origination, or prepayment fees on Nelnet Bank loans.
  • HARDSHIP PROTECTION: Hardship forbearance helps protect against unexpected loss of income. See Disclaimer

See How Much You Can Save: Estimate your savings with a student loan refinance from Nelnet Bank.

#5 View More Details

Works with 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances

  • Fixed rates: 2.95% - 7.63% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.90% - 5.25% APR
  • Minimum credit: 660
View More Details
Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

Connecting student borrowers to a network of over 300 community lenders with low interest rates. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance review

  • Lightning fast rate check - 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • More lenders, more options - see the best offers from over 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances
  • Life of loan relationship - With LendKey, your personal information will never be sent or passed on to third parties. Their customer service team is with you from the moment you land on their website until you've completely repaid your loan.
  • Unmatched benefits- Community lenders put people over profits and offer unique benefits like cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, interest only repayment options to keep monthly payments low, the largest unemployment protection period in the market, and more.

Get a personalized quote from LendKey now.

#6 View More Details

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

View More Details
Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.

  • Commitment-free 2 minute rate check
  • Client Happiness can be reached via in app messaging, email, and phone 
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
  • Flexible terms let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • Skip a payment and make it up later
  • Online dashboard is designed to make it easy to apply for and manage your loan

Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.

#7 View More Details

16 different loan term options – more flexibility to pay down your loan faster

  • Fixed rates: 3.24% - 5.54% APR
  • Variable rates: 3.34% - 5.69% APR
  • Minimum credit: 680
View More Details
Visit CollegeAve View Loan Disclosure

College Ave Student Loans offers major help and minor stress. We’ll help guide you through the process to find the right loan term and interest rate for you and the family budget.

  • Fast rate check: Get your new rate in 60 seconds 
  • Instant credit decision
  • Super flexible terms: 16 loan terms available from 5 to 20 years
  • No fees to apply

Click here to see more College Ave offerings and to start saving today! 


I reduced my student loan payment by $152 per month, by refinancing thru Nitro:

Save Money Now