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Attachment Parenting

How To Be a Frugal Parent

Can you be frugal and still have everything that your baby really needs? Excellent question! The key is to identify what babies truly need. Advertisers and manufacturers would have you believe that baby needs fancy expensive “stuff” that will keep you in debt until your baby is in college. Not true. Babies need very little in order to be happy. And those things are, in order of importance:

  • A Mommy and/or Daddy to love
  • Nutritious food
  • To be kept warm
  • Something to cover their bottoms

Its really pretty simple eh?

Free Food for Baby

“The newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.” – Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, author of Childbirth Without Fear.

The interesting thing about the first 3 is that they can all be met at the same time with breastfeeding! You can’t get much more frugal than free can you?

Not only does breastfeeding save you money that you would have spent on formula, bottles and such, but you will save money on doctor bills. Formula feeding carries risks: Increased ear infections, respiratory illness, increased incidence of certain cancers, long term implications for obesity, diabetes, and I could go on.

Baby Clothes

My best tip for obtaining baby clothes frugally is to make it known that you welcome hand-me-downs. Most mothers hate throwing away perfectly good baby stuff. When babies are young, they almost never wear things out before they are outgrown. If someone gives you things, accept it gratefully and thank them. Even if the stuff isn’t as good as you would like and you end up donating it to charity, you still send a message that you aren’t too proud for used things. And truly, it has nothing to do with charity. Obtaining used things is better for the environment. And you can put the money you save to better use. Why not start a savings account for your little one and add to it when you use creative frugality to save money? Your child will thank you later!

EBay, thrift stores and consignment shops are also great places to find baby clothes frugally.

Experts agree that babies don’t really need shoes when they’re learning to walk because it’s best for their toes to grip the floor. If it’s cold and baby’s tootsies are cold, use soft soled baby shoes. They’re flexible and the healthiest, safest choice.

Saving Money On Diapers

The most frugal way of dealing with this issue is to forgo diapers altogether the way women around the world do. It’s called “elimination communication” and basically involves watching for baby’s elimination cues (and they do exist, even in newborns) and holding her over the potty so she can take care of business. However, if you’re not so inclined, the next best thing is cloth diapers.

Ask people to give you cloth diapers at your baby shower instead of those cute but impractical outfits. A lot of the cloth diaper companies that sell online have baby registries. Buy the high quality cloth diapers if you plan on using them for more than one child. They will likely last you for years. I recommend Fuzzi Bunz.

More Frugal Baby Ideas

Frugality is mostly about what you don’t buy than what you do, so I suggest thinking about what you can do without. Do you really need a crib or bassinet? Why not let baby sleep with you? It works for 90% of the population. Do you need a baby swing? Why not wear baby on your body in a sling? It promotes bonding, keeps baby happy, you burn extra calories and get things done too! Everybody wins.

Does baby really need those educational toys and gadgets? You know, Einstein didn’t have flash cards. All the stimulation your baby needs is you! Talk to baby, read to baby, sing to baby, let baby watch your daily activities from his spot in the baby sling, and breastfeed your baby.

The best baby toys are things you have around the house. (Ever noticed how babies and toddlers would rather play with your keys than any expensive toy?) Babies would rather bang on pots and pans with wooden spoons than just about anything else. Save empty plastic food containers that would have been thrown away, and toss them into an empty cabinet down low in your kitchen. This will provide hours of frugal fun for baby!

One exception: Baby car seats are best obtained new…don’t risk taking a chance on a used car seat that “looks” fine but that may have been involved in a fender bender. Baby’s needs are truly few, and the best things you can give your baby are free.

by Carrie Lauth
About the author: For more tips on raising baby naturally, visit and get your free report: Organic Baby: How To Raise A Happy Healthy Baby

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About the author

Natural Parenting – who has written posts on A Much Better Way.


13 Responses to “How To Be a Frugal Parent”

  1. For parents who plan to put their babies in cribs make sure the mattress is new and firm as well.

    Posted by Bonnie Kuelker | September 28, 2008, 11:04 pm
  2. Interesting article – thank you for sharing. What’s everyone’s opinion on the news releases regarding the relative unsafe car seats?

    Posted by Britax Infant Car Seats | October 8, 2009, 8:50 am
  3. hi, great article! One way I have saved money as a frugal daddy is getting my nieces and nephews to babysit. I trust them more than anyone else, and they loved taking caring of baby anyways.

    Posted by ken | November 18, 2009, 6:42 pm
  4. Thanks to this site for providing various information about baby care.Public will get many important ideas from this site.I always depend on websites to gather news,ideas and various things.Even i always buy products from site.Last week i bought several items from and they are good.Anyway thanks to this site again.

    Posted by Patrick | November 19, 2009, 8:13 pm
  5. Wonderful content which you furnished on this blog. I really amazing to see this post online. Thanks for your post and keep posting the good stuff.

    Posted by RocketHeads | December 11, 2009, 4:44 am
  6. This is a great post thanks a lot !

    Posted by Bargain Hunt Online | July 18, 2010, 2:58 pm
  7. I don’t understand why parents buy expensive designer clothes for a baby. They will only wear something for 2-3 months before they grow out of it. You may as well buy cheap. It doesn’t have to last long.

    The Baby Shoe Company.

    Posted by Gary | September 24, 2010, 8:35 am
  8. Breastfeeding is definitely cheap! After our little ones transitioned out of that phase, my husband and I would cook up a month or two worth of baby food (carrots, beans, lean chicken & beef, etc) and pureé and freeze it. We would buy the veggies fresh from a farmer’s market when it was in-season. Very healthy food that costs a lot less than the store-bought, processed stuff.

    Posted by Hannah Paulley | September 25, 2010, 1:46 pm
  9. Breastfeeding is definitely the healthiest formula. And I used cloth diapers with my kids and they were easy and simple to use. I would definitely use it again.

    Posted by Sarra | November 10, 2010, 6:19 pm
  10. While breastfeeding is definitely the healthiest option, they are making changes to formula where it has artificially modified nutrients that act almost identical to natural breast milk.

    Posted by Hilary Ann | February 15, 2011, 9:26 pm
  11. Everyone wants to save money. It doesn’t matter how much you make or who you are, paying less is always better than paying more. Therefore, saving you money is the most obvious reason to use online coupons for your baby needs.

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    Posted by rosejanne camoro | June 18, 2011, 4:36 pm
  12. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I’m inspired! Very useful information specifically the ultimate part :) I care for such information much. I was looking for this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

    Posted by baby car seats strollers | August 26, 2011, 8:10 am
  13. Great post! All very true. Babies don’t have to be expensive at all.

    Posted by April | October 25, 2011, 3:43 pm
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