11 Tips to Handle Pregnancy Without Breaking the Bank

Regardless of how it may seem to others, pregnancy isn’t just nine months of waiting. While your little angel is growing inside, you have to start making preparations on the outside.

What you do now will have a large influence on how your baby is brought into the world, both in terms of health and circumstances. Budgeting will be a key aspect of ensuring financial stability as you welcome another member into the family.

You may not already know this, but pregnancy can cost anywhere from $9,000 – $250,000, depending on whether the mother has health insurance or not. It can cost a hefty fortune if you’re not careful, making wise decisions, and budgeting for your baby.

That amount doesn’t even take into account other pregnancy necessities, such as maternity clothes, pregnancy books, prenatal vitamins, morning sickness meds, sleep aids (body pillows, noise machines, and earplugs), stretch mark prevention cream, and more–that are essential for getting through any pregnancy comfortably (or as comfortably as possible!) 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of welcoming your first, or just another new, baby. You may feel the need to go overboard on pregnancy items to make you happy, comfortable, and healthy.

However, you will soon realize that a lot of the things that you may view as “necessities” are easy to go without. Budgeting for pregnancy is easy if you follow these tips.

Tips to have a pregnancy on a budget. Don't blow all your money during those 9 months of pregnancy, but find more affordable options to save.

11 Tips for Having a Pregnancy on a Budget

Here are some strategies for handling pregnancy preparation from a financially savvy perspective, without breaking the bank.

This post may contain affiliate links which I would receive a small commission should you make a purchase.

1. Don’t go overboard on the gender reveal

There’s something special about revealing the gender of your baby. It’s a pre-birth celebration where you get to learn a little bit more about that little person growing inside of you.

If you’re operating on a tight budget, you don’t have to forgo this celebration altogether. There are some minor adjustments you can make to save money while still making it a special occasion.

In lieu of having an expensive party, you can just take a photo or video of something creative and memorable. Then send it out to all your friends and family or post on social media for the big reveal.

Here are some ideas:

  • Invite a few close friends and family members for a get-together and hand out pink or blue hats depending on the sex of your baby.
  • Kindred Bravely recommends planning a photo op with Scrabble tiles that spell out “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl” and posting it on social media.
  • Take a photo of pink or blue baby shoes
  • Bring your envelope to a party store and ask them to fill a box with pink or blue helium balloons to open, confetti inside canons or a huge black balloon, or color-specific candies to fall out of a pinata.
  • Make up a Scavenger Hunt to have close family and friends find clues to eventually revealing the gender.
  • Take a photo of you and your partner wearing pink or blue.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Tips to have a pregnancy on a budget. Don't blow all your money during those 9 months of pregnancy, but find more affordable options to save.

2. Stick to affordable foods without sacrificing your health

Eating healthy is one of the most important things you can do when pregnant.

If you’re consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals, you’re less likely to have complications before your due date, and your child will be much healthier as a result.

Sticking to more inexpensive, but healthy options will make it easier for you to maintain a wholesome diet if you’re trying to maintain your pregnancy on a budget.

  • As meat can be an expensive source of protein, you can substitute it with vegetarian staples such as lentils, eggs, beans, cheese, and milk. If you’re craving carbs, brown rice is an affordable and healthy option.
  • Mix in some frozen vegetables and fruits here and there to make sure you’re receiving your daily allotment of vitamins. Frozen options tend to be less expensive than fresh ones.
  • Although organic is the healthiest way to eat in most cases, it’s not always the most affordable. If you’re on a tight budget, but feel the need to buy organic, only buy those items from the Dirty Dozen List. These tend to be fruits and vegetables without a peel or hard skin.
  • Read labels carefully. Make sure you can pronounce the ingredients in them and opt for foods low in sugar and fat.
Tips to have a pregnancy on a budget. Don't blow all your money during those 9 months of pregnancy, but find more affordable options to save.

Related Post: How I Lost All the Post-Baby Weight While Breastfeeding

3. Don’t buy a whole wardrobe of maternity clothes

Clothing can be a hefty expense during your pregnancy. With each passing month, your clothes will feel tighter and tighter as your baby continues to grow.

It’s not uncommon for women to go through several different wardrobes during these nine months, especially as the weather changes. When you’re trying to save money for your newborn, this is an unwelcomed expense.

You will only wear these clothes for a very short time, so it’s not worth it to splurge on a new wardrobe.

Even if you have a future pregnancy down the road, there’s a good chance that the seasons won’t even match up. Therefore, you’re even less likely to wear them again.

Here are some tips about maternity clothing:

  • Borrowing maternity clothes or getting them second-hand is a great way to save money without having to suffer from tight waistbands and shirts that reveal your belly.
  • Ask around to see if any mothers kept their pregnancy clothing. If so, they’ll likely be happy to part with them.
  • Check local Facebook Mom groups, coworkers, or even family friends.
  • Purchase a size up in regular clothing instead of buying ‘maternity-specific’ clothes. You will probably be able to get away with this well-into your 3rd trimester. This way it gives you a little extra room so you may even be able to wear it again when you’re not pregnant.
  • Don’t buy these clothes until you need it! You may be excited to splurge on maternity gear, but wait until you know how big your belly is going to get and what season that it will happen.
  • Use rental subscription services, like Le Tote. They send you a variety of maternity clothing which you can wear and send right back for more new pieces every week!

4. Do pregnancy workouts and birthing classes at home

Many couples participate in some form of birthing class to prepare for going into labor. The movement, stretching, and breathing techniques taught in these classes also help to keep you in good shape.

As pregnancy takes a toll on the entire body, it’s important to get some form of exercise. If you’re interested in these techniques but are on a pregnancy budget, you can always perform them at home.

There is enough information online in the form of “how-to” videos, articles, and books to help you learn everything that could be taught by a professional.

You could rent a DVD with instructions in a “follow-along” format. Youtube is also a great resource for these specific types of videos.

Check out the following FREE informational videos:

Prenatal At-Home Workout

Prenatal & Birthing Class- Part 1 of 3 (view the rest of the series there, as well)

Breathing and Relaxation Techniques for Labor

Related Post: 26 Things to Do in Your Third Trimester to Prepare for Childbirth and Your Newborn


5. Opt Out of Professional Maternity Photos

This is such an exciting time for you and you’re going to want to pull out all the stops for documenting every step of the way.

Every woman envisions their lovely maternity photo sessions in an open field with their partner kissing their belly under the perfect sunlight. However, it’s not a necessary expense and you won’t look back on these photos down the road.

The most important photos will be the ones that include your child!

Since professional photography is VERY expensive nowadays, opt for a more affordable (or free) option.

Head to a local park or area with a nice backdrop. Enlist the help of a friend or relative to take them for you.

Tips to have a pregnancy on a budget. Don't blow all your money during those 9 months of pregnancy, but find more affordable options to save.
This photo was taken by a friend on an iPhone at a local park

Now with smartphones creating beautiful pictures, you can get high-quality photos yourself. Just add in a good Instagram or Lightroom filter and I guarantee that you will get at least 1 bump shot that you will have forever.

If you’re trying to cut corners, save the money for photo sessions once the baby is actually here! You’ll enjoy those photos much more, trust me!

6. Don’t buy products until you actually need them

Tips to make pregnancy more affordable and and fit into your budget. Don't blow all your money during those 9 months of pregnancy. Save it for the baby.

It is definitely better to be overprepared rather than underprepared when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. However, not when it’s at the risk of you wasting money.

You will hear plenty of unsolicited advice when you’re pregnant. One of them being the ‘necessities’ that you will need. Everyone experiences pregnancy differently, so we may not use the same things as another mom.

There are plenty of items that I was told to get, that I never had to use.So wait until you really feel like you can’t live without something before you make a purchase.

Some items include:

  • Maternity clothes. Your style, bump size, or season might change before you need them.
  • Pregnancy books. Every resource you need is available online or from a doctor. I bought so many pregnancy books and never opened them. If you like reading from a book though, many moms are always looking to get rid of these so look for used ones.
  • Morning sickness pills. Hopefully, you won’t end up needing these, but if you’re past the first trimester, you should be fine!
  • Sleep aids (body pillows, sound machines, earplugs). I slept great through my entire pregnancy (after already purchasing a body pillow that I didn’t use) even with my huge bump.
  • Stretch mark prevention cream. I think this is just a gimmic. There’s no research to back up that this works and many say that stretch marks are genetic. If your mom had them, you probabbly will regardless of the cream you use.
  • Belly Band/Belt. These are good for back support when your belly gets large, but you may not get as uncomfortable as you think.
  • A new car. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you may think you need to upgrade your car to something bigger or an SUV/Van. You’d be surprised at how much you can fit in a smaller car and for 1 child, a regular car is just fine.
  • A new home. Seriously though. Even if you’re in a 1 bedroom apartment, a baby does not take up or need that much space. You can still get away with living in a small space for the first few months or even years with a little one.

If you do tend to buy things before necessary, either buy used/borrow or don’t open the package and save the receipt. This way you can return it if you don’t end up using it.

Related Post: Essentials for Your Postpartum Recovery Kit

7. Sign Up for a Baby Registry that Gives Back

When you’re ready to start your registry, Amazon is unmatched for the benefits it provides.

Along with getting all your most-loved baby items that you registered for, you will get a free welcome box, discount on any unpurchased items from your registry (which you can continue to add on until you use your discount), and the world’s largest selection of items that there is.

Start your baby registry with Amazon to have access to millions of products and be able to use gift cards or credits on any purchase across the whole site!

Related Post: The Ultimate Baby Registry Guide

8. Only Choose In-Network Doctors and Labs

As amazing as it is to have health insurance, it can be a very confusing and stressful process. Understanding your policy is important to making the best financial decisions about your prenatal care.

Always find out if the doctors, labs, and hospitals that you’re going to are covered under your policy. It’s not the office’s job to tell you if they are not covered before the appointment, it’s yours.

I’ve heard so many bad experiences in regards to health insurances not being accepted at certain hospitals or for routine labwork/ultrasounds.

After you’ve seen the doctor and realize the service wasn’t covered, you’re still liable to pay. So do yourself a favor and always triple-check that they are accepted as an in-network provider!

Read more about What You Should Be Doing Financially Before Baby Arrives

9. Use an FSA to Cover Additional Medical Expenses for Prenatal Care

Depending on your insurance plan, you may still end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in copays and deductibles during pregnancy. A way to replenish some of this money back is to set aside tax-free money in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

A Flexible Savings Account (FSA) is an account that your employer may offer, in addition to health insurance, that lets you save between 20-30% of prenatal expenses.

If this is an eligible benefit for you, max it out! Between prenatal care and newborn/infant care, you’ll definitely be making enough doctors visits to cover it.

Ask your Employer’s Human Resources about whether you are eligible.

Related Post: Financial Must-Dos Before Baby

10. Don’t Splurge on the Baby Shower

This only applies if you are footing the bill for your shower. However, even if you’re not, offer to keep the money saved for essential baby items you may have not received from your registry.

There are a ton of ways that you can keep your baby shower low budget and still have a beautiful party. It will take some creativity, but you’ll find that spark!

Here are some ideas:

  • DIY all decorations, centerpieces, games, and stationery. You can create beautiful designs from your own printer and get wonderful inspiration for FREE on Pinterest!
  • Reuse old decorations and borrow from friends or relatives. You can easily repurpose old vases, banners, streamers, etc from different parties to make them baby-friendly.
  • Host the party at someone’s home to cut costs. Have a potluck where all the guests bring a dish.
  • If it’s being thrown at a restaurant/caterer, opt for a BYOB so you’re not overpaying for alcohol.
  • Use a theme to get additional baby essentials, such as diapers or books, by sending a Bring a Pack of Diapers or A Book addition in the invitation.

Check out some ideas from How to Throw a Beautifully Budgeted Baby Shower on Swaddles n Bottles Blog.

However, if someone is offering to throw you a shower, let them! You’ll receive lots of items that you need without paying the bill.

Tips to have a pregnancy on a budget. Don't blow all your money during those 9 months of pregnancy, but find more affordable options to save.

11. Use Free Pregnancy Trackers and Apps

Instead of wasting money on Pregnancy Journals to track your pregnancy memories, there are many FREE printable ones online.

Download this free Pregnancy Journal Printable from Nursery Design Studio here. Print out the pages, put them in a binder, and you have a free pregnancy journal as a memento of this beautiful time.

Also, there are free apps, like The Bump Pregnancy Tracker that give you insight on what your baby is doing and how your body is changing throughout your pregnancy.

With a little online research and some in-person recommendations, you’ll find there are many ways to save money while preparing for baby.

Use the strategies mentioned above so that you can stress less about finances and really enjoy this exciting and special time!


About the Author:

Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net which offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life.

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