Are you a parent-to-be or are you planning to have a family but you're unsure if you can afford it?
Is the current crazy economy causing your budget to be limited?
Do you want to quit money or pursue a frugal lifestyle?
Since the dawn of time, people have been having babies and starting families with or without money. If you ask some people, they will tell you that you need to be exceedingly wealthy to be able to afford a child, and that there are a ton of things you will need to acquire. If there is someone around you who is of that opinion, ignore them.
Don't get me wrong, having a nest egg and money for a rainy day is a good insurance, whether you have a family or not. But the idea that having a kid costs a fortune and that there is no way around it, that is pure BS. Most things that people these days call essential, are things that weren't even around say ten, twenty years ago. And people had babies then too, didn't they? The people who live outside of cities, in villages or in the mountains, or have their own homestead, do you think they collect all those things for every baby they have? Not likely.
What costs a lot of money is not the baby's need, but the parents' want and greed. When people think they need something it is usually not due to necessity, but rather because they think it is cool or pretty. Or because it says something about them and their family to others. It makes them feel good about themselves, superior even. It has to do with pride, not need.
What a baby needs the most doesn't have to cost any money at all actually, because what a baby needs the most is love, your arms, nutrition and clothes/diapers to wear. There is absolutely no way to spoil a baby, so go ahead and give your child all the love you have and more. They need it.
If you can breastfeed or chestfeed, you won't need to pay for formula and if you can't, there are still people who donate breastmilk and there are ways to get formula for free. There are also plenty of ways to get bottles and even breastpumps for free, should you need those items.
When it comes to diapers, you'd be doing the environment, your wallet and your baby's bum all a favour by going for cloth diapers. It saves water, it saves money and it is healthier for your baby's skin. You can easily acquire them second hand, for free or for very little money, or you could, in an evening, sew your own. It is not that difficult. If people try to talk you out of using cloth diapers, they have most likely never tried using cloth diapers on their kids and don't even know anyone who has. Because once you've tried it, or seen them being used, you'll be hooked. They are no more difficult to clean than the baby's clothes and blankets and if it's poo you're worried about, you're gonna have to face that fear sooner or later. Your kid will be pooing, a lot, and you will be the one dealing with it so... deal with it.
Baby clothes are incredibly easy to acquire. First of all, people love to give parents-to-be baby clothes. So some, if not all, will be given to you by friends and family. I would suggest to create a capsule wardrobe for your child and the items you've decided are essential, either sew them, crochet/knit them, get them second hand or get them for free. Check Craigslist, parenting groups, Facebook's marketplace and the like. There are so many parents out there who donate baby clothes for free. These days it is easy to find organic and sustainable ones as well, and sometimes even new unused ones.
When it comes to where the baby will sleep, your arms will often be the favourite position, but to give your arms a rest, I'd suggest going for a baby sling or a carrier. You can acquire one second hand for free or for anything between 5 and 200 euro. It all depends on what you want and where you are looking. For when you want to put your baby down, there is no need to buy a crib. You can use a bassinet, or make one, or use the pram (if you chose to get one), or a sleeper on a mattress next to you. No need to spend money on big furniture. If you are quite set on having a crib, despite their resemblance to tiny baby prisons, get a used one for free.
Should you decide to get a pram, you can easily get one second hand or for free. They're so easy to find. People have babies all the time and sell/give away their prams almost as often.
When it comes to toys and stuffed animals, your baby don't need many of them, they do not need to be blinking and making sounds, and they do not need to be new. Give them a good clean if you get them free or second hand, and they'll be good to go.
Going for organic wooden toys, and making your own softer toys is a way to acquire healthy toys that will be good for all of your children, if you plan on having more than one, and could be kept for grandchildren or donated to children in need, when your kids are all grown up. Quality before quantity.
If you need a car-seat, don't get a used one. For safety reasons. If you get one second hand that for some reason has never been used, make sure of that fact. Otherwise you could get one for a fraction of the regular price, if you get it during one of the big sales during the year. Be it Black Friday, Christmas, Easter, Summer, Winter - you name it. We live in a consumerist world and while we don't need to join them, we can use that fact to our advantage and get the necessities at minimum cost.
Other things that shops will lure you into buying, like blankets, sheets, decorations, changing pads, changing pad covers and so forth, you can make just as easily, out of things you already have at home. Learn how to up-cycle and recycle. You can even use that method to create your own carrier, baby clothes and cloth diapers. Old sheets can be turned into excellent cloth wipes, which are healthier for your baby and kinder to your wallet. You can also crochet or braid old sheets into a bassinet.
When your baby gets old enough to try foods, just make sure you know what to give at which month in development and make it yourself. That is an excellent way to introduce them to things they will grow up eating, and a great way to manage the nutritional value of the food and keep track of ingredients, in case of allergies.