As soon I found out I was pregnant I started planning what we needed for the baby. I love planning in general, but found it very easy to get carried away – retailers and manufacturers have done a very good job at making us feel like we need everything that’s on store shelves. Don’t stress. While there are lots of things that make life with baby a little easier, they need very little, especially in the early days.
Here are a few tips on how you can save money while setting up your perfect nursery (and as a bonus, they’re all better for the environment too!). Making conscious choices to save money in some areas will also mean you have enough left over to buy healthier mattresses, furniture, and baby care products.
Cloth Diapers – These have come a long way since the days of pins and rubber covers. Whatever your preconceptions are about them, it’s worth giving them some serious thought. Depending on the types you go with, they will likely pay back in 6 months to 1 year. And the added bonus is you won’t run out in the middle of the night or have to go searching for the best deals every week for disposables. Consider adding them to your registry to help offset the upfront cost. Find a store that specializes in cloth diapering for tutorials on cloth diapering. You might be surprised to find out how easy they are.
Cloth Wipes – These tend to fall more under the radar than cloth diapers, but are so easy. Disposable wipes are still great to have around for travelling and really messy diaper changes, but using cloth regularly will save you money, use less chemicals and produce less waste. Just spritz them with water (or follow this recipe with an oil like calendula or almond oil, and a drop of tea tree and lavender essential oils to the spray bottle for anti-bacterial and calming scents if you wish), wipe, and toss in with the cloth diapers to wash and reuse.
DIY Laundry Detergent – This isn’t really nursery-related but since we’re talking about diapers I wanted to throw it in. I’m not a DIYer, but my friend made me a batch of detergent, and I am now a convert. Here’s the recipe. A couple notes: the version I’ve tried uses Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, readily available at health food stores. Also, essential oils are optional; if you like scented, you can choose different scents than the citrus ones listed. I’ve tested an unscented version on cloth diapers with great success. Making your own not only saves money, but also reduces packaging and is healthier for you and the environment compared to conventional brands.
Used Clothes and Toys – This is especially useful for young babies, since they grow out of things so quickly. Used gear is often in great shape and comes at a fraction of the price. Check out local consignment stores, mom-to-mom sales, Facebook buy and sell groups, and garage sales.
Library Books – Augment your in-home library with books from the public library. It keeps everyone from getting bored of your selection, and you won’t have to stock up on as many new ones. Plus, trips to the library to return and restock make for fun outings with your baby.
Buy Less – One of the easiest ways to save money is to choose not to buy something. No matter how cute an outfit or stuffed animal is, if you have too many they’re not going to get used. You’re then stuck with a cluttered house and more to get rid of down the road (trust me!). Get the essentials before baby is born, but wait until you’ve met baby and get into a groove before deciding whether you need the latest gadget (my kids never had the luxury of a wipes warmer and they seem to have fared OK) or product (try testers of lotions/soaps first to make sure baby’s skin doesn’t react).
Have fun with this new adventure! Starting to make some green living changes now will pay back in spades as your kids grow. They are inheriting what we leave behind; you can show them first-hand how you’re making the world a better place.
Please contact me if you’d like more tips on setting up a nursery, including how to improve indoor air quality and how to choose safer products for your baby.