Frugal Parenting for Lazy Moms and Dads

Two months into being a parent, and we’re starting to hit our stride. We are finally getting used to Baby FNP’s schedule, and are rocking diaper changes. But I think where we are really succeeding is in accidental frugal parenting.

No, seriously. Accidental.

When we found out that we were pregnant (finally!), we really didn’t discuss how much money we would be spending as a parent. I mean, we would occasionally talk about setting up college funds, the overwhelming cost of diapers, how we were going to handle medical bills, etc. But really, we bypassed the whole, “how much money are we going to spend on our kid?” convo.

And then our kid came a full two months early, and we were faced with the conundrum of having so many things to buy and not a lot of time, money, or energy to buy it.

That’s when our frugal parenting skills kicked in. So for those mom and dad’s-to-be who absolutely want to save money but don’t want to be cheap parents, here’s what we’ve learned and done so far.

5 Frugal Parenting Tips for Those Who Don’t Want to Work Hard

  1. Cloth Diaper Cheaply
    One of the main things we agreed we wanted to do was to cloth diaper. We had read all the talk about how it was better for the environment, cheaper on the wallet, and better for our kid’s health. Awesome. But buying a stash is pricey with the upfront costs. Many parents spend roughly $500 on enough diapers to get them through two days without laundry.

    So we randomly started following cloth diaper Facebook groups where we bought used. I probably bought about 15 used diapers for about $80-100. One of the moms gave me an entire bag of inserts (which range about $2 each) for free for buying her whole stash. Huzzah!

    To sweeten the deal, a friend of mine gave us another 10 used diapers for free. Best gift ever.

    Then, we bought another 10 of them brand new using coupons for 20% off…

  2. Know Your Baby Store
    Guess what? Babies R Us price matches AND accepts competitor’s coupons. Even non-baby store coupons are accepted. Just read the fine print. Those 20% off diapers were well fought for because I faced a checkout attendant who thought the diapers I bought were an exception to the coupling rule.

    But I had done my research, read the tiny ant print, and came in well aware that my coupons were good to go. Those 10 diapers we bought were suddenly down from $20/each to $7/each + tax.

  3. Don’t Buy a Damn Thing (Seriously)
    Everyone told me this, and I didn’t believe it. Let me reiterate what your mom warned you: you will get enough gifts. People will shower you, even if you don’t have a party.

    This rule is especially true about clothing, diapers, and wipes. Our girl has a wardrobe for the next 6 months.

  4. Raid the Hospital
    Most hospitals, I’m told, just toss the stuff in your room (or if you are in the NICU, your baby’s bed). That means diapers, wipes, little shirts, blankets, hats, bottles, etc… all gone.

    So take it. No, seriously. Ask for another bag, and TAKE IT. You’re paying for all that supplies anyways. Just help yourself to whatever they say is fair game. We are still going through the wipes we claimed in the nursery.

  5. Ask for Samples
    Formula moms: I feel ya. That sh!t is EXPENSIVE. I’m talking $80-120 a month in my area. But we are still going through samples because of the awesome doctors and our trip to the hospital.

    We just ask for them. It takes a bit of bravery, but we usually talk about how expensive formula is and the doctor comes back with a plastic bag full of samples from name brand formulas. They get so many, I think they are grateful that we are taking them off their hands.

  6. Those Resale Shops are Really Awesome
    You don’t need anything new except things that go in their mouth (and even then, I know moms who would debate this). Therefore, put your pride on the shelf and just hit the resale shops. Your baby and your mom won’t know the difference unless you really are horrible about thrift store shopping.

    I was told about this mega sale hosted by some of the richest moms in the city. I was reluctant because I am not one to buy used clothing for myself. But I was still intrigued at the promise of 1/2 off ticket price on the last day. So I went. And I came back with a garbage bag full of clothes, some nursing items, and a couple maternity clothing pieces for me for a grand total of $30.  SCORE ONE FOR LAZY MOM!

You don’t have to be obsessively couponing or sacrificing dinners out for the next 18 years. When you’re about to give birth, just follow these simple rules: accept people’s graciousness, take all the samples you can, and don’t be afraid to shop around some sales. Baby and your wallet will appreciate your frugal parenting (even if you don’t do a damn thing).

21 comments for “Frugal Parenting for Lazy Moms and Dads

  1. Brian
    July 13, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Those $5 Similac rebate checks are awesome… and Costco accepts them as a form of payment and the price of formula at Costco is pretty good. Between formula, allergy pills and diapers… our Costco membership fee was more than covered.

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      Yes! They are my favorite! We signed up every family member we could to get those coupons.

  2. July 13, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Way to go on the saving. If we do manage to have a kid, cloth diapers are NOT an option. My fatigue means I wouldn’t have it in me to wash things by hand, and my husband’s eczema means his skin is open in random spots so… no.

    But I know you can get some serious savings by using cloth, so that’s awesome.

    My plan is to get clothes from thrift stores and resale places too. The things are just going to be subjected to a variety of fluids, so why buy new?

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      We wash by machine only, though I do know some brave souls who do hand wash. That’s not for us! I just place the diapers in the wash during her midnight feed and retrieve them in the morning. Works great for us!

  3. Tim
    July 13, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    What would you recommend not skimping on?

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      I really haven’t found anything you couldn’t get away with skimping on, to be honest. But if we were to use disposables, we’d probably stick with the more expensive brand that tends to be more absorbent. We also really love our more expensive baby body lotion (Burt’s Bees) that was gifted to us. I cannot see us buying another brand because of how awesome it is. Oh, and having a NICU baby, we wouldn’t skimp on the formula that was recommended to us by our doctors. It was very pricey (about $10 more a can than generic versions), but it was a matter of health.

  4. July 14, 2015 at 5:53 am

    We also use cloth diapers when baby is at home. Though it’s kinda hassle, it’s really cheap and can really save much money. Congrats on receiving cloth diapers!

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      We just started traveling with cloth. It works for us, but we haven’t done any trips longer than 5 or 6 hours. We still bring disposables with us when we go out though!

  5. July 14, 2015 at 7:28 am

    It’s been a long time since I had to worry about parenting for a baby. However, I do have couple young grandkids … and I don’t enjoy working hard. Great tips.

  6. July 14, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    It’s definitely not easy being frugal with kids. I have two kiddos age 1 & 4 and let me tell you they continue to get more and more expensive. The biggest expense for us is childcare and seems to continue to grow…

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Daycare is one of my nightmares. It would run us about $1300 a month for one kid. I get chills just thinking about that expense!

  7. July 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    My frugal parenting tip is to remember that up until kids can tell you their interests, the majority of kid activities are for the adults. Just do your regular frugal adult activities with a kid in tow, and later on, you can do frugal family activities.

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Fabulous point! We have brought the baby to an orchestra concert in a park. Not exactly baby friendly, but she did great and it saved dough on seeing the same concert in the original venue.

  8. July 15, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    We love our cloth diapers! I was gifted some when I was pregnant, we have bought some new, and some used. We save so much money using them.

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Best part about them is their resale value! I already sold a couple we don’t like for about $30 (just about $2 less than what I paid for them).

  9. Sue
    July 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I was one of those who said-don’t buy anything! People are so generous with the first child. Here’s my advice for #2. Save as much as you can from #1’s stuff because people aren’t as generous with the second but that’s okay since most of the stuff can be used again. Congrats! And welcome to the crazy world of parenting : )

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Totally! My sister is learning that lesson now with her #2. Luckily, we have been able to share clothing and items between us making it less pressing to go shopping!

  10. July 15, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Not that I plan on having kids anytime or have looked into it, but for some reason the cloth diaper fad is not something I can get behind. It just sounds disgusting! Then again, I guess I don’t really know how it works. I’m just picturing a pile of poop-filled cloth diapers going into the wash machine….no way those things are getting clean!

    • Michelle
      July 15, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Much easier than you think! There’s so many ways to do it (some grosser than others). But I can assure you they get clean! We do our best to be hygienic as possible. Takes a bit of extra time, but better than mucking up the water system with diaper waste!

  11. July 18, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I recently went to a resale shop for children for a babyshower, and I was quite shocked to see how well taken care of the clothes were. Not just the clothes, but toys, and so many of them!

  12. July 19, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    These are great ideas! I would also like to suggest breastfeeding as a frugal way to save on baby. If a mom exclusively nurses then there is no need to buy formula.

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