Hi, Mommas!  If you're like me, you're counting down the days until you can welcome your baby home (not to mention being able to walk normally again versus waddling around), but you're overwhelmed by all the stuff you think you need. Depending on what site you're reading, you're starting to think maybe you need to have a third job just to pay for all the stuff this tiny human will require! Well, this doesn’t have to be true.  I'm here to break down the bare necessities as simply as I can in five uncomplicated steps that I've used myself.

1. Where should baby sleep?

The great debate seems to be, "To bassinet or not to bassinet?"  Every mom I've spoken to who bought a bassinet lamented their decision because they didn't get as much use out of it as they thought.  Babies grow insanely fast and, unfortunately, bassinets don't grow with your baby.

I thought about getting a crib immediately, but we live in a tiny apartment where space is a premium. I made the decision to postpone getting a crib right away in lieu of something that does triple duty instead—the Graco Pack N’ Play with Reversible Napper and Changer.

Here's why I chose this product:

  • The napper feature is perfect for when my baby is still a newborn. I plan on having her sleep there for a bit while she's still small. And when she outgrows the napper, there's a built-in bassinet feature—score!
  • Flip the napper around and it morphs into a diaper changer. I love stuff that can do double duty.  It's easy to clean and so handy when your baby has a monster blow-out and you don't want to run around the house with a poopy baby in a dripping diaper.
  • The Pack N' Play is essentially a play pen that you can set up anywhere—be it your living room, your parents' house or the hotel.

Amazon normally sells the Forrester model for $99.99. According to the website, howmuchisit.org, bassinets can cost anywhere from $45 (the plainest, no-frills model you can get) to as much as $260 for a fully loaded one.  Keep in mind that not all bassinets convert to accommodate your baby as she or he grows. Without factoring in the cost for having to get a crib in a few months, you'll save $72.50 just by getting this highly useful piece of baby gear.

2. Where should I store baby's clothing?

I, personally, don't think it's necessary to have your baby's room rival those professionally staged ones in the glossy magazines when they're newborns. For starters, they aren't going to remember it, and you can use the money you saved for other things, like a college tuition fund. Until we move into a larger place, I scored some clear, plastic bins from a friend's spring-cleaning session and repurposed them into my baby's temporary armoire. The clear bins are easy to keep clean and since they're clear, I can easily see what's inside. Added bonus? When my baby is old enough to have real furniture, I can repurpose these yet again.

If you were to buy some bins brand new on Amazon, prices would vary from model to model.  The one I linked to has them for sale for about $35. The exact model I have is the Sterilite 7 drawer cart with wheels. Walmart sells them in a pack of two for around $54. I Googled how much a baby's armoire costs, and I nearly had a small heart attack.  Target offers one for $199.99. Pottery Barn Kids has the most expensive one I found on my quick and dirty search for $1,499. If I averaged the two extremes, the average cost is $849.50. Be still, my beating heart. If you bought the set of two Sterilite carts in lieu of a baby armoire, you would save a mind boggling $795.50.

3. Where do I change poopy diapers?

Another piece of space-gobbling furniture that I really don't think is necessary is the baby dresser with changing table. This piece of furniture might look cute in your baby's room when he or she is still a baby, but that same piece of furniture is going to look really awkward in your kid's room when he or she’s in junior high. So why spend the money? I cleared off my dresser, bought a changing pad on Amazon and voila! I not only have an additional place to change my baby if I'm not by the Pack N' Play, but I was able to repurpose a piece of furniture I already have and use on a daily basis.

The changing pad I purchased was on sale for $10.78 on Amazon.  According to costhelper.com, "the majority of changing tables are $100-$200." Let's take the average of $150 for the cost of a changing table. By repurposing your dresser and adding a changing pad, you could save a whopping $139.22.

4. Diapers!  Gah!  So expensive!  Help!

There are two options when it comes to diapers—cloth or disposable. I'm going to be talking about using disposable diapers. The best advice I can give is to have a diaper raffle for your baby shower.  For every box of diapers your guests bring in, they get a raffle ticket, and the winning raffle ticket will win a prize.  When you're sending out the invites for that baby shower, ask specifically for the brand of diaper you want and ask for diapers in size 1, 2 or 3. Believe it or not, you won't need that many diapers in the newborn size as they grow super fast.

If you become an Amazon Mom user, you can save 20% on diapers and other baby essentials by subscribing for regular deliveries. In addition, if you choose five or more household items for subscription deliveries, you also save 20% on those! Did I mention the free shipping? There's a yearly fee to join, but if you take advantage of the free shipping and the discounts from subscription deliveries, then the fee pays for itself. 

5. Quick tip on how to save money on breastfeeding

Before you register for a breast pump on your baby registry, do yourself a favor and call your insurance carrier. Thanks to new healthcare changes, breastfeeding equipment (pumps, storage bags, etc.) may be either fully covered by your insurance carrier or partially covered. Give them a call and ask them as carriers and policies may differ in terms of what they do or do not cover.

This is a guest post by Bonnie from Los Angeles, CA. 


For more money-saving tips, check out:

How to Set Up a Couponing Spreadsheet—Download Included

The Amazon App Is the Secret to Price Matching at Target

Save Your Cell Phone from These Battery Killers

5 Tips to Welcome Baby Home on a Budget