Dec. 2019: Monthly Baby Budget – $269 Saved

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Checking in with our December 2019 baby expenses recap. Every month I report on how much we spent on our baby, and highlight our savings compared to buying new (spoiler: going secondhand saves a lot!).

My monthly baby budgets give an example of what one family spends on their baby. I also highlight the savings potential of not buying retail in hopes of motivating someone else to try to be more frugal with their next baby purchase.

Opting for secondhand items (or buying less!) helps both for your budget and the environment.

December was a slower month for baby transactions since we were gone for the holidays for half the month. In December 2019, we spent $40.72 on our baby. Our biggest cost was diapers, but even that was minimal.

Before we left, I picked up some items that would be helpful for our travels, including weather appropriate clothes, extra diapers and a boppy. I also worked ahead on gear we’d need for introducing solids in a couple months. All the secondhand items saved us about $263.86 compared to buying new.

These savings would not be possible without the generosity of others, who took the time to pass along their baby items instead of throwing them away. I partly started my record keeping to make sure that anything I got directly from another family I gave away for no more than what I originally paid.

While the environmental and financial impacts of finding used goods are obvious, the strengthened connection to my local community has been a much appreciated bonus. 

Below you can find some of my other baby expense reports from past months. The full list of reports is available here: Monthly Baby Expenses.

Let’s look at a breakdown of our baby spending this month.

Monthly Baby Budget for December

Diapers: $12 spent, $47.96 saved

In December, I bought four packs of Aldi diapers and was given four packs of Pamper Pure diapers.

We’ve had good luck with Aldi diapers. They are about a cent or so cheaper than Target and Wal-Mart brand (depending on the size) and seem to work equally well. Occasionally, the little flap attaching the diaper is hard to unfasten but it is a minor inconvenience for the cost savings. I bought 176 size 1 diapers, which works out to about 7 cents a diaper.

I had previously gotten leftover diapers from a mom in a Facebook new babies group. It was extremely generous and I dropped off some small thank you chocolates after. The family reached out to me again when they found more diapers they didn’t need. This time it was four unopened packs of Pamper Pure diapers. Their generosity was greatly appreciated as they definitely could have returned these diapers to the store.

Formula/Feeding: $0 Spent, $98.16 saved

I picked up a lot of gear in preparation for starting solids soon. I posted an ‘in search of post’ in a local parents group and was given utensils and cups. Through Facebook, I also grabbed a portable high chair and some bottle nipples.

  • Inglesina Fast Table Chair: I wasn’t sure about getting a high chair with fabric used because of cleaning concerns but I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to clean. The one I got was extremely well loved and it came out looking nearly brand new after a run through the washing machine and soak of the grip pieces. I would recommend it based on the easy cleaning alone.
  • Dr. Brown’s Wide Bottle Nipples: These nipples were great timing because I was literally looking at buying some on Amazon the same day these posted. I wasn’t sure what size nipples to get and these ended up being a size higher than I thought we needed. Probably not an A+ parenting move to decide on nipple size based on getting some for free but it worked out, with the added bonus of making feeding a lot faster!
  • Baby Spoons and Forks: I received a bag full of baby spoons and forks. We haven’t tried to use the forks yet but haven’t found much of a difference in spoons to recommend one brand over another.
  • Munchkin 360 Cup: I originally got this based on Feeding Littles’ recommendation but they have since changed their position and no longer recommend them. We were given this by a local mom that I had exchanged a number of things with through Facebook. One of the greatest perks of focusing on local exchanges is the connections you make. This mom and I have chatted with each other on fb messenger in the middle of the night when we were both up with our respective kids.
Infographic monthly baby costs for December

Clothes: $11.50 Spent, $68.80 saved

I made two thrifting trips in December, spending $11.50 total. I only go thrifting for baby clothes on half price clothes days when items are between $1-2.

In these trips, I scored: a new with tags Carter fleece Carter’s sleep sack that we use constantly, two rompers, terry cloth sleeper, a grandma onesie, and some random onesies.

I also got a sweater that looks like the college sweater but says ‘PRESCHOOL.’ It made it laugh – I’m an easy get.

Baby Gear: $14.22 spent, $48.94 saved

Only a couple gear transactions this month:

  • Wubbanub: I have not seen many Wubbanubs new in packages being sold on Facebook so I jumped on this. Wubbanubs are something I would buy new because of the pacifier, unless you’re crafty enough to sew on a new one.
  • Fabric Clothes Labels: Planning ahead for daycare labeling. We have not used these yet to give a recommendation.
  • Boppy: I posted a request for a boppy in preparation for our travels since we use a lot of pillows when feeding at home. I don’t wind getting a pillow like this used because the whole thing is machine washable. I wouldn’t list this as a must-have – we got by with a mountain of regular pillows fine – but we have gotten a lot of use out of it now that we have it. We also use it around the baby to prop him up in a seated position. That said, between the boppy lounger and the regular boppy, the lounger has been far more essential for us.
  • Pacifiers: Since the baby was getting older, we bought (new) +3 month-sized suckers. We never ended up using these. The baby preferred the softer newborn kind and can’t keep the harder +3m ones in his mouth. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Medical: $8 spent, $0 saved

We bought baby gas drops off a recommendation of multiple friends (including some in the medical field). It didn’t seem to change anything for our baby. We weren’t having major fussy issues before and in hindsight, this wasn’t something we needed.

Resale: $5 recouped

I resold a Baby K-tan that I had bought this from another mom but didn’t end up using.

Total Monthly Baby Expenses: $40.72 spent, $263.86 saved

December was a fine month for our baby budget. I’m glad we didn’t face too many added expenses from extended travel with the baby. Being able to drive was helpful in that we could bring what we already had stockpiled (like formula).

Of the items we got this month, the boppy has gotten the most use. I also really appreciated how easy it was to dress and undress a baby in a little romper. It definitely was easier to dress a baby in warm weather than for snow!

It was also nice to take a little break from trying to get all our baby gear secondhand through social media. Much like social media in general, the notification bings and constantly refreshed newsfeed can take a toll on your attention span after awhile.

I am again glad I worked ahead on acquiring baby gear so I didn’t have to worry about getting much for an extended time away. When we got back from the trip, I had already organized most of the things we needed for the next big development phase – solid foods!

While it isn’t reflected in this budget, I also think we did a decent job spreading the word to family members about no gifts for the baby. It wasn’t perfect but the grandparents at least focused on buying secondhand from baby consignment shops. As I’ve mentioned before, a big motivator for going secondhand is to reduce our waste and environmental footprint, so the grandmas shopping secondhand was greatly appreciated!

Any tips for keeping baby expenses in check when traveling? How did you fare with your kids over the holidays?

Caveat to this monthly baby budget report: These monthly baby budget reports are as accurate as possible but my baby costs record keeping is not 100% perfect. Reported savings are estimated to the best of my ability. Sometimes I am unable to find exact item online, account for fluctuating sales, or remember exact details of budget entries with generic descriptions. These monthly baby budgets do not include gifts from friends and family. While gifts only account for a small part of the baby things we use (we requested no gifts), my reports may slightly underestimate baby expenses if you account for gifted items.

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How I save on my monthly baby budget - $263 saved in December

About the Author

Elizabeth Jon is a Ph.D. researcher whose work focuses on pregnancy and education. At Shoestring Baby, she uses her skills to research baby name trends, in-depth baby gear reviews & money savings ideas for parents.

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