Money Saving Tips for Pregnant and New Moms

It’s no secret that raising babies costs money. It can, however, be shocking for new parents to find out just how expensive all things baby-related can be. That said, there are ways to save money while preparing for and raising kids. Creating your baby budget doesn’t have to be as daunting as it might seem! As a stay-at-home mom of a toddler and preschooler, I’m always thinking about my family’s budget. Between diapers and clothing, baby gear and essentials, and planning ahead for the future, budgeting inevitably gets more involved with each kid. To help you out, I’m sharing pregnancy budget and baby savings tips for new and expecting moms, including a helpful checklist. I hope you’ll find these practical tips to save money for your growing family as useful as I have!

While costs will vary, new parents can expect to dish out thousands to tens of thousands of dollars a year per child for basic needs such as food, clothing, health insurance, and child care. According to LendingTree, the costs of raising a child rose 19.3% nationwide between 2016 and 2021 — from an average of $18,167 to $21,681.1 A more recent, state-by-state study done by SmartAsset in 2023 shows average yearly costs ranging from close to $15,000 all the way up to over $35,000.2 With these numbers in mind, it’s easy to see how important budgeting for a baby can be to new and expecting parents.

When and How To Create Your Family’s Baby Budget

The best way to save money for kids will look different from one family to another. What matters is that you plan for your growing family’s finances in a way that’s realistic and practical for you when preparing to welcome your newest member. Getting a head start on your baby budget by crunching numbers before baby’s arrival can help alleviate unnecessary stress when baby comes. Once you know you’re expecting, you can begin to think about your family’s needs and priorities. From there, you can categorize anticipated expenses.

When building your baby budget, you’ll want to take the following into account:

1. Health Care — For Baby and You

It’s important to budget not only for expenses that will arise once your baby is in your arms but also for those leading up to their grand arrival. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery all involve an array of associated costs that can take new moms by surprise. You’ll want to look closely at your insurance policy and ensure you have a plan in place to cover any out-of-pocket, healthcare-related costs.

A woman sits on a beige sofa in a well-lit living room, holding a package of baby diapers. An open cardboard box with another pack of diapers is on the wooden coffee table in front of her, likely part of her pregnancy budget checklist. There are plants, pillows, and a radiator in the background.

Everyday needs for babies (such as food, clothing, and diapers) are simple yet extensive in the first year. Infants eat frequently and grow quickly, which means they go through a considerable amount of food and clothing in the early months. In addition, newborns go through a lot of diapers. You’ll want to consider all the details here: do you plan to breastfeed or formula feed? Will you receive baby clothing from loved ones or curate an entire baby wardrobe from scratch? Is cloth diapering an option, or are you certain you’ll stick with disposable? All these factors can (and will) influence how much you’ll shell out for your baby’s daily necessities.

Whether you plan to get back into the workforce immediately following your maternity leave or stay home with your child until they’re of school age, you’ll want to consider how your family’s child care structure will impact your finances. If your family is taking the former route, it’s wise to do your due diligence in comparing child care options. Between daycare, in-home child care, and nanny services, costs can range from affordable to near-mortgage level high. If you’ll be staying home with your little one, you’ll want to adjust your family’s regular budget to account for any lost income.

4. Education and Savings

Apart from immediate needs for baby’s first year, it’s never too early to start planning for the future. If it’s within your budget to set aside money for your child’s college education and other savings, doing so can pay dividends down the road. If you need guidance here (or with any of these categories), a fiduciary financial advisor can be an excellent resource to assist in coming up with a savings plan for a baby.

Pregnancy is full of planning and preparation — and finances are no exception during this pivotal time in your life. Given the above items to consider, here’s a basic checklist to get you started on your pregnancy and baby budget:

Two people are sitting side by side on a couch. The person on the left is wearing a grey sweater and light-colored skirt, with a hand resting on their pregnant belly—a baby budget is likely top of mind. The person on the right is in a blue T-shirt, typing on a laptop. Both wear rings.
  • Baby clothes (including sleep sacks)
  • Baby food
  • Bath soap
  • Breastmilk bags for pumping moms
  • Child care
  • College education savings
  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Laundry detergent
  • Life insurance
  • Medical bills
  • Medical insurance
  • Other savings
  • Toys and books
  • Other/miscellaneous (diaper cream, medicine, etc.)
A baby with dark hair, wearing a white shirt, is sitting on an adult's lap. The adult, in a white top, is holding a white piggy bank in front of the baby. The baby is touching the piggy bank with both hands—an early start to learning saving tips for new moms!

Once you’ve determined your family’s needs and priorities regarding your baby budget, you can begin focusing on how to go about saving money leading up to and in your little one’s first year. Go ahead and start with these simple money-saving tips for new and pregnant moms:

It can be tempting to set yourself free on a shopping spree for all the adorable onesies, sleepers, baby shoes, and blankets you can find. But there’s no need to overdo it. Speaking from experience, your little bundle likely won’t even get to wear some of the items you’ll purchase for those short-lived early stages! Instead, I recommend budgeting for the basics — and not buying too much too far ahead. Babies grow at different rates; what fits one infant in one season might not fit another at the anticipated time.

Social media can make it seem like you have to get the brands and baby gear that “everyone else” is buying for their new arrivals. But that just isn’t the case — nor is it always realistic. New isn’t always necessary when it comes to clothing and other baby items, such as strollers, toys, and even diaper bags. Facebook marketplace, garage sales, consignment shops and clearance racks are worth making friends with when budgeting for a baby!

Note: Avoid buying second-hand car seats. Restraints are intended for single-use in crash situations. Even if no visible damage is apparent, there can be hidden damage. Without knowing their history, it’s impossible to confirm if they have previously been involved in a crash.3

Diapers, wipes, baby food, bathwash, and more are among the many items you can purchase in bulk from wholesale retailers. If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club near you, consider getting a membership. Doing so can lead to big savings once your little one arrives.

4. Consider Generic Brand Products

With endless options on the market for baby necessities (ranging from diapering needs to formula and everything in between), it can be tempting to splurge on luxury brands for your little babe. Don’t knock generic brands until you’ve tried them, though. For one, I personally love Target’s Up & Up diapers!

5. Accept Help (And Hand-Me-Downs) When Offered

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I’m a firm believer that using said village can come in handy for saving money as a mom. Since having children, I’ve learned to graciously accept occasional offers from friends to hang out with my kiddos if I’m ever in a bind for child care. I’ve also received an abundance of clothing that once belonged to loved ones’ babies . . . and I haven’t taken a single item for granted. Baby care and clothes are expensive; accepting help and hand-me-downs can be a huge relief.

If you don’t have a village, you can work toward building one. For occasional child care needs (including the ever-necessary date night!), you might consider finding a family to swap weekly or monthly babysitting shifts with.

If you’re expecting your first child and have an eager crowd of family and friends sharing in the excitement, you can also expect to be gifted baby items before and/or after your little one’s arrival. My firstborn received so much “stuff” from family and friends throughout her first year that we eventually ran out of space in her already tight nursery. With my second, I toned it down big time on my own purchases for him and his room. This saved both space and money!

7. Take Advantage of Free Programming and Services

If you live in a family-oriented city like I do, you might be eager to sign up for every “Mommy and Me” class you can find as soon as they’re old enough to participate. Before breaking your budget to get involved in all the fun, check out your local library, community center, and even museum programming schedules. You’ll often find free (or very low-cost) programs and events! Additionally, check with your hospital or pediatrician’s office to see what services are available to pregnant and new moms free of charge — such as childbirth preparation classes and lactation consultant services.

Make a Plan . . . And Stick to It!

When considering how to save money for kids, the best thing you can do is plan ahead (but be willing to adapt along the way). From there, create a pregnancy and baby budget . . . and stick to it! With a bit of preparation and the savings tips I’ve shared above, it’s absolutely possible to save money and live within a comfortable budget as a pregnant or new mom.