Pregnancy can bring you and your family so many emotions and thoughts: happiness, stress, worries, elation, anxiety, etc.
One thing that’s been on my frugal mind is how much my second pregnancy is going to cost us.
When I was pregnant with Baby FAF, Mr. FAF and I barely had anything (money or baby stuff).
We received a lot of help from family, friends, and colleagues.
This time, both of us have a stable job and have more resources.
However, I still want to keep our frugal traits and try to stay on a budget without feeling miserable.
Below are the 10 frugal pregnancy tips I want to share with you all.
1. Pregnancy tests
The very first step in the process is to find out whether you’re pregnant or not.
You normally have to wait until after 8 weeks until you can see an OBGYN.
During this time, however, I doubt if any of us ladies can patiently wait when we already feel that we might be pregnant.
A pregnancy test can easily cost you $5-7 each if you get it from a grocery store or pharmacy.
Imagine you are anxious to see if you are pregnant and try a test every week for 4 months like I did, it could easily cost up to $100 just for the tests alone.
However, Mr. FAF and I have always trusted the $1 tests from the Dollar Store.
In fact, those tests brought us happiness both times I got pregnant.
I did use a couple of Target pregnancy tests given to us by Mr. FAF’s aunt in China which I later found out retailed for $5/each in the US.
But in general, I would totally go for the cheaper options.
One day, I got curious and was staring at the positive pregnancy test. I realized that the most important component of that test is a thin strip covered by the pink plastic wrap.
That means that I can just try those strips for cheaper on Amazon (less than $.50 each) instead of spending extra money on the cute plastic cover. That’s a perfectly frugal option I will try next time.
2. Food cravings/aversions
My mom told me that she couldn’t stand the smell of cooked white rice when she was pregnant with me. However, both times I found myself not being averse to any food.
If anything, I just felt a bitter taste in my mouth during the first trimester. But I could still eat like usual. I also didn’t like the cooking smell (i.e. oil, soy sauce).
I don’t remember having any particular craving the first time. This time, I have been craving a lot of Vietnamese food.
I also felt like I had to eat Chik Fil A and Chipotle. But I’m not sure if I just let my appetite take over with the pregnancy excuse or if it’s really because of the pregnancy craving.
Although I don’t crave American food as much, I’ve been wanting to eat all the Vietnamese food I grew up eating.
Two things I couldn’t stop thinking about for days were pho and Vietnamese sandwiches. The craving was so intense that I decided to make pho for the whole family, something I had never considered.
Eating out all the time wasn’t a viable option. I wanted to be happily pregnant, but I didn’t want to ruin our finances, especially after setting the goal of staying under $500 for food each month.
I went on YouTube and learned the recipe from my favorite Chinese American food YouTuber who learned how to make pho from his Vietnamese friend’s mom.
I am not a big fan of cooking. If I need to listen to someone talking for a long time about a complicated recipe, it’d better be someone I like.
The first time I made the broth, it didn’t taste exactly like pho.
But everything changed the next day when I let the broth soak in all the seasoning in the pot (refrigerated) overnight.
It tasted just like what I usually have at the restaurant (I might be biased).
I boiled two more small pots of pho broth, put them in two huge containers, and froze them for future use.
But to be honest, after smelling pho in our house for 3 days straight, I think I have developed a mild aversion to it. I believe that will change in the future.
Next, I started craving other Vietnamese dishes that are not readily available at the restaurant. I suddenly feel motivated to look up the recipes and cook those dishes on the weekends.
Pregnancy has helped me become a better cook for sure.
Vietnamese spring rolls, vermicelli and papaya & carrot salad
I also made sushi with imitate crab meat.
3. Prenatal vitamins
One thing pregnant women are advised to take is prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins differ from generic vitamins in that the former have a higher amount of iron, calcium and especially folic acid.
I just got the generic brand from Shoppers for $8.25 (100 tablets or 3-month supply), including tax.
Stephanie at Six Figures Under suggested asking your doctor to prescribe you prenatal vitamins so that it can be covered by insurance.
I asked my OBGYN, and they said I can just get the generic prenatal vitamins since it’s relatively cheap.
4. Maternity clothes
When I was pregnant with Baby FAF, it was during the winter.
I spent about $300 on a jacket, sweaters, pants, and tops in total. I still keep all of them.
As my baby bump gets bigger, I can still wear those clothes during the winter.
Once the summer hits, I will try to use the summer clothes that I have and will either ask around in my community for hand-me-downs or look for sales.
In fact, one of my neighbors just had a baby and gave me a huge bag of maternity clothes for free.
5. Pregnancy accessories/services
There are a lot of magazines, products, and services that are specifically made for women. Monthly subscription services such as Bump Boxes that send 4-8 pregnancy-related products have the following price points:
— Month by month: $39.99/mo
— 9 months: $309.00/mo
I’m sure many women are excited about their baby’s arrival and want a little special surprise each month. But I’m not willing to drop $300 on things I don’t think is necessary during my pregnancy.
The same goes for many other pregnancy accessories on the market.
6. Baby gear
We still keep all the clothes and most of the baby gear from Baby FAF. We gave away some items we didn’t use a lot and also got some hand-me-down gear from our neighbors to prepare for our second baby.
The two things we haven’t had a lot of luck with are strollers and car seats for toddlers. We got a great stroller from my friend which my in-laws took to China and didn’t bring back. We ended up buying a $120 for Baby FAF and are now on the lookout for a hand-me-down twin stroller.
We got three used toddler car seats from friends and neighbors, but none of them worked properly. We invested another $100 on a Target stroller (for children aged 4-10) with the hope that it will last us for years to come.
Other than that, we don’t expect to buy any other baby gear for our kids.
7. Breast pump
My previous insurance plan covered a breast pump kit, and I got anther one from a friend. I also got some bottles and nipples from the hospital. This time, I can get another kit from my insurance company.
If my own kits still work well, I will keep the new one and give it either to my younger sister or cousin in the future when the get pregnant. Check with your insurance company to see if you can get one for free.
Mr. FAF and I are loyal fans of Kirkland diapers. They work well and are cheaper than the name brands on the market. We also have 3 boxes of diapers left from Baby FAF since he outgrew them. Those diapers will be put to good use for baby #2.
9. Medical costs
I am a strong believer in modern medicine. Of course, traditional medicine works well, and there are cases when modern medicine is not the best solution.
But I think that seeing a doctor during pregnancy is important in ensuring the health of both the mother and baby, and I’m happy to co-pay for doctor visits.
My insurance plan’s deductible is $500 for myself and $1,000 for our whole family. We have also set aside a large chunk of pretax money for medical care in 2018.
Check with your insurance company about pregnancy coverage and, if possible, plan pretax medical contributions ahead to avoid paying for your healthcare with after-tax dollars.
10. Communicate your needs with your partner/spouse
I’m not usually someone who likes to complain about how tired I am. One time I was coming down with a fever but still managed to clean the whole house (not a good move).
But after I got pregnant, I want to communicate my wants and needs to Mr. FAF so that he knows how I feel and what it’s like to be carrying a baby.
If I’m tired and can’t do the dishes, I will let him know. If I’m sleepy and don’t feel like hanging out, I will go to bed early.
Holding things back will only make be feel alone and resentful since Mr. FAF doesn’t have to go through the whole ordeal. It’s also a good way to keep him updated on the changes to both myself and our baby and make him involved.
Tell your partner/husband what you want and how you feel. You don’t want to come off as whiny all the time. But he needs to know how you feel so that he can support you.
Being pregnant can be an exciting yet nerve-racking experience. When you add finances to the emotional mix, it can become a big headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Raising a baby is a totally different topic since it can get expensive.
I’m in no way stating that being pregnant should cost no money. But we can always try to keep it to a minimum and still be happy about it. At least, that’s what we’re trying to do in the FAF family.