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As a frugal person/mom/wife, I always try to find free and low-cost yet quality items for my family to cut costs.
It started out as a necessity since both Mr. FAF and I were two poor grad students when we had our firstborn.
Mr. FAF made $20,000 a year as a PhD student. I got a $9,000 for the academic year plus roughly $5,000/year from internships and on-campus employment.
Money was tight, and we had to stretch every dollar that we had.
Now that both Mr. FAF and I have a full-time job and make a decent income, I still think it’s not necessary to buy fancy baby clothes, toys, and gear.
Daycare is expensive. But other baby-related expenses don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
We live in a community with a lot of young families, and I have gotten a ton of hand-me-down toys, bedding, clothes, and books from our neighbors.
All you have to do is ask whether it’s through your daily conversations or just a post on Facebook to let your friends, family, and neighbors know that you are open to the idea of using hand-me-downs for your kids.
However, not everything we need for your kids are available through hand-me-downs.
Glass Baby Food Storage Containers – $21.98
I got these glass baby food storage jars for Baby F2 when she started eating solids. I was trying to use all the small glass containers that we had readily available, but they were either too small or two big.
The set contains contains 4 x 4oz jars and 2 x 8oz jars. I mainly use the 4 x 4oz jars to store food for her to eat at daycare.
When I got this set, I thought it was just so cute and didn’t really care much about the price. Later on, I realized the set was a bit expensive, and that I could have used cheaper mason jars like the ones below:
Baby gate – $37.99
We got a gate like this when Baby F1 started cruising around the house. At first we put it at the stairs but decided to move it to the kitchen and got another one to prevent Baby F1 from running around the kitchen area when we cook.
Some of my neighbors gave away their old gates, but I was always the second or third person to see the posting. We decided that our son’s safety was important, so we got the gate through Amazon. It would also come in handy once Baby F2 starts to walk.
Baby girl headbands – $13.99
I got these headbands for our baby when we went to a friend’s wedding in Atlanta. I have to say that this purchase was not necessary although the headbands look so cute.
I used one headband for our baby for the wedding and haven’t used them since. I think it’s mainly because I’m too lazy to put them on our baby. But she looks super cute with a little headband on her head.
BPA-Free Quick Load Dishwasher Basket – $12.00 (returned)
I breastfed Baby F2 and pumped when I’m at work. That lad led to a frequent use of bottles, nipples, and pumping parts. Mr. FAF is in charge of washing those bottles every two days. We call it “the bottles day,” which I know Mr. FAF dreads (haha), but he does it anyway since it’s necessary.
I decided to alleviate his workload by getting the basket above to store the small pumping parts and nipples. Unfortunately, the parts came out not as clean as we had expected. Mr. FAF decided to wash them by hand. I returned the basket soon after.
Munchkin Soft-Tip Infant Spoon, 6 Count – $2.97
I got these spoons for Baby F2 when she started on solids. Back then the price was only $2.97. I thought it was a good deal and bought it right away.
At first I thought only 2-3 spoons were enough. But given how often our baby snatches the spoon and throws it on the floor, it’s good to have multiple of them just in case.
Baby Einstein Neighborhood Friends Activity Jumper – $99.99
I got this item when Baby F2 was about 6 months and was starting to sit up. It’s good for her to have some entertainment (toys) and exercise at the same time.
Baby F2 likes jumping up and down in that jumper. I was going to buy someone less expensive, but Mr. FAF insisted we buy a good one for our daughter.
Kyapoo Nursing Breastfeeding Cover – $8.99
I got the dark blue one to cover myself when I’m nursing Baby F1 in public. I originally got the light blue one, but it was a bit thin and see-through.
The cover has come in handy a couple of times, especially when we went out to dinner with friends and Baby F2 wanted to nurse right then and there.
Baby bibs – $22.97 + $19.97
I actually got two of these sets (24 bibs) in total since Baby F2 drools so much. It’s very absorbent in the front and has another layer in back that prevents the drool from wetting her clothes.
When you wash them, just put then in a small laundry bag to prevent the snaps from getting stuck in other clothes and coming off. The price seems to have gone down quite a bit.)
Newborn Baby Fleece Hooded Romper Jumpsuit ($22.99 + $21.99)
In the winter, we keep the temperature at our home at 68 degrees to save money. It was a bit cold for our baby, so I bought two of these jumpsuits in sizes 9 months and 12 months for her. They are super warm and comfortable.
Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing, Abbington ($69 x 2)
During the first 4 months after birth, Baby F2 wanted to be held all the time except for when she slept. She would cry inconsolably if we left her in her crib (or alone for that matter).
We didn’t have time to hold her all day, so we got a swing for her hoping she would like the motion and stop crying. And she did.
At first, Mr. FAF got a rockaRoo swing for more than $200 from Target (we were desperate parents!), but it didn’t work. Baby F2 didn’t like that swing one bit.
But the less expensive swing above worked wonderfully. Mr. FAF loved the Graco swing so much that he insisted on getting another one to put on the second floor.
Medela bottles ($12.79 x 2)
I pumped and breastfeed exclusively for the first 10 months. I then supplemented Baby F2 diet with formula to help with her weight gain.
I used Medela breast pumps and accessories for both babies and loved the products. I actually got 12 of those on Amazon. You can get a free Medela breast pump through your insurance.
Medela nipples ($4.99)
I still had the old nipples and bottles from when I had Baby F1. But they were so old and greasy (despite multiple washes) that I decided new nipples would be a better choice for our baby’s health.
Rain cover for stroller ($15.99)
I got a Graco double-stroller from a consignment sale for $100, thinking I’d need it to take both kids to daycare. I got this rain cover for days when it’s down pouring since I don’t want my kids to get sick. The rain cover works for a single stroller as well.
Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Baby Bottle Warmer ($37.29)
We got this bottle warmer for when Mr. FAF fed our baby at night to give me a break. You can use hot water, but Mr. FAF insisted this bottle warmer can warm up the milk faster, especially when our baby was hungry at night.
We originally got the bottle warmer below since it was cheaper, but it took longer to warm up the milk.
As I added each item to the list above, I was literally holding my breath just thinking about how much they might all cost. I was thinking something around $1,000.
I used to think I got a lot of used items for our baby, and I did. The majority of her clothes during her first year are hand-me-downs. But I also spent quite a bit of money on new baby items.
Aside from the items above, we also bought diapers and wipes for her from Costco. I got a used double-stroller for $100 but later sold it for $110 (a $10 profit!). We got an umbrella stroller from Target for $25 to put in the trunk of our car since it’s more convenient to move around.
The total amount for our Amazon baby item purchases is $507.68. I sold the swing for $40 and returned the basket so ended up spending $455.68 in total.
We could have gotten used items if they were available and for cheaper prices. But Mr. FAF insisted that we don’t have to be so frugal since we are financially better-off now.
I plan to re-sell most of the items above to recoup some of the money I’d spent on them. I hope I will get $100-$150 from those resales to bring the total cost down. It’s also nice to be able to know other people can reuse the items we no longer need.