Baby on a Military Budget
Babies are expensive, especially if you get drawn into the strategically placed ads that placed in front of pregnant women that want the best for their babies. At least, that’s the way it felt to me when I was pregnant with Baby Fox. We had just moved across the country and I wasn’t working, so saving money was more important than ever and all I kept seeing was shiny ads for baby products that would do this or that. It was overwhelming – until I took a step back and focused on finding ways to stay within our single income military budget.
We tend to be quite careful about how we spend our money so that we can make it go just a little bit further. When we found out that we were pregnant, we realized that we would be going down to one income for a while since moving, buying a house, pregnancy, and finding a teaching job wasn’t an ideal mix. This meant that we had to be even more careful with our budget as our family expanded. With the tips below, we were able to thrive on one income as we added two new dogs and a baby to the our family.
Make a List of Essentials
Make a Registry
Get Your Breast Pump for Free
Many insurances, including Tricare, allow for a free (or highly discounted) breast pump per pregnancy. This really helps with the cost of feeding a baby (if you’re choosing to breastfeed anyways). It’s definitely worth checking with your insurance to see what they allow for new moms. It’s also best to do this while you’re still pregnant since you’ll probably need something in writing from your doctor.
If you’re with Tricare, then I have some great news for you – I’ve found a way to make the process super simple. I thought things were simple with my first born (get a prescription from my doctor and submit it to a website to order my breast pump). 1 Natural Way has made it even easier! You simply visit their website, submit your information, and they take care of the rest. They’ll even contact your doctor for you! I’m definitely all for less stress while prepping for a new baby. 1 Natural Way will also get you set up with pumping supplies that will help you out along the way. They truly do make things easy for expecting moms. (In fact, I’ll be using them when the next baby comes along!)
Shop the Sales
I’m a big fan of keeping an eye on prices and trying to get things at the lowest price possible. I was lucky that I was pregnant with Baby Fox in November when all of the big sales pop up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It was icy outside and I was starting to waddle, so I definitely wasn’t going to stand in line at any stores. However, I did have time to browse the sales online and managed to snag our crib at a highly discounted rate.
Stores have sales all throughout the year. You just have to keep an eye on them and take your time to browse through the ads. Sales are especially great for big ticket items since you can save a pretty penny by catching them on sale. I recommend signing up for the weekly coupons through your favorite stores and checking them out regularly for deals. It’s also a great way to stock up on some diapers before the baby arrives.
Embrace the Term Gently Used
I have a confession to make – we haven’t bought many clothes for Baby Fox. Don’t worry – he hasn’t gone naked for the past year. We were lucky enough to be given lots of hand-me-downs from my sister and a fellow Coast Guard family. When I saw the amount of clothing that we were going to inherit from my nephew, I immediately knew that we wouldn’t need to buy much more. In fact, I put a friendly note on my registry letting people know that we already had plenty of clothes for the little guy. We’ve had to buy a few things here and there, but a lot of his wardrobe has been hand me downs that are in excellent condition. Babies grow so fast that many of their clothes aren’t even worn before it’s time to put them away. So, hand-me-downs are often in excellent condition.
We also got several baby items through yard sale pages, including our jogging stroller, glider, and exersaucer. There were several items that I knew we were going to want and I kept an eye out for these items when we would go to yard sales and through the online pages. I was able to get most of the items that I was looking at for a fraction of the cost – and they were all in excellent condition. This is why I say to embrace the term “gently used.” In the world of baby items, gently used can actually mean barely used if the baby wasn’t a fan of the item.
These are just a few of the ways I saved money when we were preparing for Baby Fox’s arrival. Patience and a list of essentials can save you lots of money especially when you pair it with knowledge about your insurance. Did you discover any great money saving tips when you were planning for baby? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!