Dealing with Diapers and Baby Supplies on a Budget

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments

If there is anything more beautiful than the sight of a mother holding her newborn, I don’t know what it is.  For many years I worked as a labor and delivery coach, and one thing I heard all the time was “How do I manage all the diapers and baby supplies without spending a fortune?”

When couples make a decision to have a baby, they rarely realize just how expensive this kind of stuff will be.  As the pregnancy progresses, they start stocking up on some items and the sticker shock is palpable.  Luckily, there are ways to get everything you need and not spend a fortune.

Free, Nearly Free, and Cheap

Thank goodness for the environmental movement, since it has lead to wonderful resources like  This is a website where you can acquire just about anything for free, as long as you are willing to go get it.  You can get whole bagfuls of baby clothes someone else no longer needs without spending a dime.

Garage sales are a great place to pick up things like onesies for a few cents a piece.  While it may offend your sensibilities at first, realize that those faint stains are no big deal, as your child will add to them very soon.  Why pay a dollar a piece or more at the store when you can get six for a dollar elsewhere?  Avoid picking up a car seat at a garage sale though; you don’t know what it has been through.

Cheap options exist for things like cribs, changing tables, and other big ticket items if you head to thrift shops.  Give them a good going over with some diluted bleach and you are ready to welcome baby home.  You can also beg, borrow, or steal some of these items, like a swing, from friends who have toddlers.


How is it that a container for waste has become such a controversial topic?  We have all heard the arguments; disposable diapers are environmentally unsound, cloth diapers are a nuisance.  The fact is both are expensive, it is just a matter of degree.

With cloth diapers you will spend more up front, but if you have your own washing machine, the overall cost is much lower, even more so if you have several children.  This is one thing worth investing in; good wraps make all the difference.  Wool wraps are generally regarded as the best for both baby and clothing.  Finding then second hand is easy on auction sites.  You won’t need more than half a dozen per size.

Using a diaper service is convenient, but generally expensive, ask a relative to give you this as a gift for the first few months if you want to try it out.

Disposable diapers are the most expensive option over the two to four years it takes to get a child toilet trained.  The best place to purchase these is at a grocery warehouse.  Name brands mean nothing; get the cheapest diaper you can find that works for your child.  Working means they don’t leak material out the back or leg openings and can hold a night’s worth of urine without soaking the bedding.

No matter what, try to remember that in comparison to the total expense of raising a child and getting them through college, these expenses are petty cash.  Enjoy your baby, save where you can, and expect the unexpected.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Megan says:

    Cloth diapers do cost a bit up front, but they can save you soooo much money in the long run. I have 2 kids and used disposable diapers on the first and I estimate that I spent about $1400 on diapers. For my second baby I decided to try cloth. They are so easy to use and I spent about $500 on them. I know that I wont have to spend any more and that is quite a relief.

  • FrugalMom says:

    I am a huge fan of freecycle, and I have gotten lots of baby stuff from there. Yesterday I actually gave away three bags of kids clothes, a bag of toys my kids no longer needed, magazines and a rocker.

  • Money Beagle says:

    I think it’s important to shop around for diapers. I just did a post on my blog, which unfortunately doesn’t get much traffic, showing that Kirkland brand diapers (the Costco brand) recently went up 26-33% in cost, making them about the most expensive diaper on the market.

    • MoneyNing says:

      I wonder if moms noticed the change in price, but I bet that Costco tried to hide the cost by changing the packaging size too? (I’m not trying to say something bad about the warehouse store, because this seems to be a common tactic among retailers).

  • kenyantykoon says:

    I also find the image of a mother and a newborn beautiful. I am not married nor do I have kids but I will make sure that before we take the plunge all these things will have been taken care of so that money issues never ever come to play. Simple prudence it is called… it will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

  • Corey says:

    FYI – you spelled the site name as instead of


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