Many parents worry about the cost of a new baby and even more will tell you how much money a baby will cost you. While it is true that babies are expensive and that you will have to buy some items you wouldn't other wise buy, some careful choices can make that amount a whole lot less. You can have a happy healthy baby without breaking the bank. You just have to know where to begin.

Shopping Options.
There are a number of things that you may want or need for your new baby. The first thing is to figure out where to shop in your area to save yourself lots of money. After all, your baby doesn't need you to go broke in order to be happy, well fed, and healthy. Choose your shopping locations with care to save a lot of money.

Second hand and consignment stores- Stop at all of the second hand stores and consignment stores in your area! If you have a few specific needs then stop there often. You can get clothing at great deals. It is a good idea to spend a few minutes making sure that each clothing item you buy is stain free (after all you can find plenty of cute outfits for great prices and you don't need to pay a couple of dollars for something stained). Sometimes you can also find great deals on other baby items as well including baby furniture, strollers, and swings. Looking around can let you make the best choices.

Garage Sales, Yard sales, and Moving sales- Where ever you have other people hoping to make a few dollars off of their used items you probably have a deal. Shopping sales in your area can help you save a ton of money on your children's clothing needs, toys, and gear. You can pick out items in great condition for small prices and collect stuff that way.

Newspaper Listings- There are often listings in the newspapers for items that people no longer want. You can take a glance and see if there is anything you want or need.

Online- You can find a lot of baby items on eBay and Craigslist. These options allow you a great deal and make it easy to pick and choose what you want and how much you are willing to pay for it. For eBay evaluate the item and your maximum amount that you are willing to pay for it. Subtract the amount shipping will cost and make your bid. Then don't check it till after the auction has closed. This will help you make sure that the excitement of the auction won't get you over paying, over bidding, and disappointed later on.

Walmart and Target sales- There are a lot of people against shopping at Walmart or Target for baby items, especially clothes. These people are under the impression that the quality isn't as high as more expensive brand names. Truth be told, the quality is usually just as good. Additionally your baby (or child) is only going to wear it a short time, is fairly likely to dirty them, and will look great whether you spent $4 on the outfit or $34 on it. Both stores offer sales and you can use these sales to save even more money then you normally would. Just keep your eyes open. Toys and clothing are the items that are most likely to go on sale, especially after the different holidays and seasons.

Big Lots- Big Lots doesn't have a regular supply of baby supplies. Instead they get items in and sell them at low prices. You can sometimes find great deals on various items. It is worth going in and checking out what they have, even doing it fairly often.

Evaluating the "Must Haves".
One of the hardest things to know is what you have to have as a new parent. Everyone has a different opinion of the gear that every parent needs and you may find that some of the items you bought you just don't use. Additionally you can find yourself with more stuff then you have room for. Here are some common baby items, and my opinion on whether new parents need them or not.

  • Car Seat- This one isn't debatable. You need a car seat. It has to be a rear facing car seat. It shouldn't be used unless you know where it came from and are 100% positive it has never been in an accident. It also shouldn't be more then five years old. You can sometimes find them on sale, which is always a good deal. I suggest not worrying about color (ours is navy blue and our daughter just doesn't care) or whose name is on it. Instead focus on how it will fit your child, how easy it is to use, and whether or not you want a baby carrier to go with it or if you would prefer a car seat that will later be a toddler seat.
  • Stroller- This items is a debatable one. In order to use a stroller with an infant you have to have one that does a full recline or carries the baby carrier from the car seat. This is fine and dandy, but they are often not used that often, are expensive, and are large. It might be a better idea to consider a baby carrier or sling to help you carry your baby around and then get anumbrella stroller (really cheap, small, easily stored) once your baby can hold up their own head and can go into one.
  • Newborn tub- How you bathe your baby is really going to be a matter of preference. A newborn tub isn't expensive, so if you think you want one, go for it. Most will sit over the kitchen sink or in the tub. They give your baby a place to be propped up while you bathe them. However, it is likely that you will find other methods of bathing your child. I took a bath with my son when he was really little. It made it quick, easy, and was often relaxing for both of us. As he grew he just took a bath in the tub with a few inches of water. The sink is also an okay place to bathe the baby.
  • Hooded Towels- These can be nice. You stick the hood on your baby's head and wrap them in the towel. However, they shouldn't be considered a necessity since you can easily wrap your baby in an adult towel or areceiving blanket.
  • A good place to put baby- Some parents swear by bouncy seats, others swings, and playpens. All in all, you will want a nice, safe place to put baby while he or she is out and about, but not being held. I personally am a fan of the swing. Most are also easy to hang toys on or from (or to rig up something) and they can make for a great place to nap, see the world, and start to play. I don't recommend spending a lot though since they only last a months and not years. You can buy used or look at places like Big Lots with the chance you might find a great deal.
The must haves are usually a matter of opinion. Have fun and put anything you want on your gift registry, but seriously consider the advantages to certain items when you are purchasing them for yourself. You may even want to wait till baby is here and consider the item and its use after you have some hands on experience. Plus it is a good idea to put off items that won't be used till later (walkers, exersaucers, high chairs) because storing these items can be a burden and you may find you don't need them after all.

Saving On Baby Furniture.
Baby furniture can cost you a fortune. However, you don't need all of it, can buy some of it on sale, and can even make it as cute as you want for a whole lot less. Consider the following: only buy what you have to have, buy used, and decorate it yourself. Your baby will need a changing table. You don't have to use an actual changing table. You only need something that is the right height. We used a dresser with our son and are currently using a child's desk for our daughter. Whatever you use you want space to store things under neath. You will also want to buy or make a pad that can go on top of it. This is what you will actually use for changing your baby. You will also need a bed. A bassinet or cradle is a great option for the first few months because it offers a safe place for the baby to sleep (co-sleeping is only safe if you have purchased a co-sleeper) and it is easy to move about and keep in your room. Whether you buy a bassinet or cradle or stick with a crib you can buy them used. If you choose a dresser for your changing table you are all set. If not then you may want a dresser or a book case for clothing. A book case makes it easy to stack clothing, get at it, and keep it organized. You can also use the lower shelves for baskets or small totes of toys and books.

The perfect way to make all your furniture match and to have great baby decor is to get out the paint. It is a good idea to buy a primer which will allow the paint to bond to the furniture even if it has a glossysurface . You can also scuff it up with sandpaper and then rinse it off for a more secure bond. Top your primer with the colors of your choice. Some great options are white with stenciled figures, shapes, or objects in great colors (pink flowers for the girls, blue cars for the boys, or the like). You can also do white with pastel accents, pastel colors, or something bolder such as primary colors. Have fun with it and create a great set out of mix matched used items, and save a bundle.

Having kids can be expensive. However, with some careful choices, evaluation, smart shopping, and creativity you can save a lot of money while still having a very happy baby. Your baby doesn't need all the coolest gadgets to be happy and often you will find that a little can go a long way. It isn't something that needs to be kept a secret either. We can all enjoy spending a little on our children and having a great family.