11 Ways To Stay Home With Your Baby For One Year Without Breaking The Bank

Image via Unsplash/Nicole Eliason

Some mothers want to stay home with their baby for longer than maternity leave might allow. If you are among them, don’t drain your savings account or have trouble making ends meet! By changing the way you deal with money, you can live comfortably while staying home with your baby for a year — or more!

1. Start saving.

When you find out you’re pregnant, you have eight or nine months at your job until you take maternity leave or leave your position. Save as much of those paychecks as possible! It’s ideal if you can put one paycheck a month entirely in savings, because then you’ll earn interest on that money. If you don’t make enough to do that, try to pick up overtime hours when they’re available, especially if you can do this early in your pregnancy. Later on, expect even a half day of work to wear you out!

2. Cut costs.

This is the perfect time to stop spending money on going out — you can’t drink anyway, so stop going to the bar! If you still want to see movies, rent them instead of paying outrageous theater prices. Brew coffee instead of buying from a coffeehouse. Try to spend money only on bills for a few months and see how easily you can do without the frivolous expenses.

3. Change your home life.

What a great time to go green! Instead of spending money on sandwich bags, invest in reusable Tupperware. Use dryer balls that last for years instead of dryer sheets that last one cycle. Use cotton fabric squares instead of buying paper napkins. Consider making your own bread instead of buying it — the cost of one store-bought loaf can make three at home! You can use baking soda and vinegar for a lot of things around the house instead of chemical cleansers — this is good for you and the baby, the environment, and your wallet!

4. Consider cloth.

A lot of people think cloth diapers are gross, because you’re going to put your hands in some pee and poop. But the thing is, cloth diapers are so affordable! You can get cloth diapers for newborns, but if you wait until your baby is a month old or so, you can buy regular-sized cloth diapers. These diapers aren’t the cloth and pins you might typically think of — there’s a great variety of them! You can get covers and inserts, all in ones, and more. Most diapers have snaps you can adjust to make the diaper more comfortable on smaller babies, and then unsnap as he grows. Most cloth diapers will last until the baby is 35 pounds — which is when they should be potty trained! Not only will you only have to buy cloth diapers once, but they get more absorbent the more you use them, so they have a great resale value! These are a great investment, and great for the environment.

5. Don’t buy maternity clothes.

Buying maternity clothes is a waste of money. You’re only going to be in each size for a few months before needing something else. If you have friends who had babies recently, ask if you can borrow some of their maternity clothes. Otherwise, hit up a thrift store and see what you can find. Billowy tops can be stylish whether you’re pregnant or not, so they are always a wise purchase. Sun dresses are great if you’re pregnant in the warmer months, as are skirts with elastic waistbands. You can make pants last a few months longer by wrapping a rubber band through the hole and buttoning pants that way.

6. Have a baby shower.

It might sound tacky, but people really love buying baby gifts! Don’t register for junk or things you don’t really need, but having a baby shower is a great way to get a lot of necessities. Register for only a few clothes in each size, because you don’t need a dozen newborn onesies when your baby will only fit in that size for a couple weeks. Three or four outfits in each size are best, because you’ll be doing a lot of laundry anyway. Registering with this mindset is smart because you’re more likely to get everything you actually need, instead of eight hundred three-month outfits and nothing else.

7. Buy used.

Whatever you don’t get from a baby shower, buy used! Thrift stores have baby clothes that look brand new — either because they are, or because they’ve only been worn once before the baby outgrew them! Wash the clothes and you’ll be good to go. You can sometimes luck out and find a great crib or baby swing for really affordable prices — just make sure they’re sturdy and not out-of-date, safety-wise, before you buy them!

8. Shop around.

You have nine months to get ready for your baby. Don’t run out and buy a brand new crib as soon as you get a positive test result. Wait and shop around, look for specials or coupons before you buy big items.

9. Find work at home.

If you don’t want to spend a year doing nothing at home other than enjoying your baby, don’t be afraid to work! There are a lot of opportunities online to make money. You can do surveys for websites, or write reviews and articles. You might even consider asking your boss if there’s a way for you to do even part of your job at home. Can you be available a few hours a day via email, and still send in reports and do more of your desk duties? Whether your job allows you to do this, or you find work online, working from home is a great way to explain away any gaps on your resume due to staying home with the baby.

10. Cut out what’s not necessary.

Baby wipe warmers. Bottle warmers. Pacifiers. Toys. Little tennis shoes. They might be convenient or cute, but are they necessary? Babies can deal with cold wipes, and you can make bottles warm by sitting them in hot water. You don’t need unnecessary stuff that clutters your baby’s room, and takes money out of your wallet. Some babies never use pacifiers, so don’t invest in a twelve pack of them until you know for sure. Toys won’t register with your baby for several months, and even then, a plastic cup is just as much fun as a store-bought toy! Shoes look cute on those little feet, but they’re not worth the expense when your baby won’t need them for a year or more! Think long and hard about each item you purchase or register for, and make sure you need it all.

11. Breastfeed.

Not everyone can do it, and it’s hard, but if you can breastfeed, you’ll save so much money, it’s unbelievable. Formula is expensive, and babies go through it quickly. For their first six months of life, babies only drink milk. If you can feed your baby yourself, you’ve just cut out a major expense. Some babies have latch problems, and some mothers have supply issues. But if breastfeeding doesn’t seem to be working for you in the first weeks or month, consider seeing a lactation consultant. It’s sometimes just a small issue that you can’t work through on your own, but an expert can help. It’s worth trying to push through. In addition to saving so much money, you’re giving your baby a great advantage by breastfeeding, and you’re getting a great opportunity to bond with your new child.