Thursday, January 15, 2015

minimalist mom - budget essentials list

I grew up loving things. I am a happy shopper and my primary love language is gifts. I enjoy little things and nice things. I am a thrift shopper so I have never been a heavy spender, but since we moved to our tiny house I have learned how to reduce the things I bring into our home. The advertising giants want you to believe that you need a ton of gadgets and supplies to raise a baby.

For example, Babies R Us has written in their search bar: "Search for something to keep baby happy!" What they won't tell you is that the thing that will keep your baby happiest is you! You don't need all the fancy gear and noisy toys. 

If Laura Ingalls didn't need it, you don't need it. 

Now there are definitely things that you may want and that will make life easier. When I was pregnant I got so frustrated about how most of the "minimalist mom" posts were filled with things that were way out of my itsy-bitsy budget! My list, on the other hand, represents a minimalist budget and will help you feel a little less overwhelmed and hopefully not make fear-based purchases. 

1. Crib

 You can start with a bassinet, but if you would like to save money you can start with a crib and skip the transition altogether. We got a secondhand bassinet and secondhand crib, so this was a non-expense for us. We did not have the two in the house at the same time, since she sleeps beside our bed. 

2. Swaddling blankets

These are your all-star players when it comes to baby gear. I use mine for:
  • swaddling
  • nursing covers
  • burp cloths
  • makeshift towels
  • carseat covers
  • lovey blanket (one for her to play with)
You can buy one here from Saranoni, or you can find them at just about any baby store. See my previous post for a swaddling tutorial! (PS: follow @saranoni on instagram for cute pictures of babies with blankets)

3. Clothing

I took a quick mental inventory, and through each stage of clothing I have used just about the same lineup of clothing needs:
  • 4 sleepers (one to wear, one to wash, one in the drawer and one in the diaper bag)
  • 4 cute outfits
  • 1 heavy coat (depending on your climate)
  • 1 light coat
  • 4 pairs of socks
You can tweak this list however you like, and this will make up the majority of what people will bring to your baby showers. Any clothes you don't need should be returned for diapers!

4. Diapers

This is a personal decision, but I chose to do disposable diapers due to the size of my house and laundry machine and the absence of a cloth diaper service in my area. For diapering, you will need diapers, wipes, diaper cream/ointment (depending on your baby's personal needs) and somewhere to change them. I have a little wipe-off changing pad that I keep at home and a changing pad in my diaper bag. Everly has never had real trouble with diaper rash, so for the occasional flare-up we use the Honest brand diaper cream. Aquaphor is another great choice.

5. Bathtime supplies

I bathe Everly in the sink and in our bathtub with a washcloth. I have a baby bathtub but don't use it yet since she can still fit in the sink. You will need:
  • baby soap
  • baby lotion
  • washcloth
  • brush (Tip: wash the baby's hair with a soft brush to get down to the roots!)
  • towel (baby towels are cute and small, but I only have one that I think is thick enough. Otherwise I use adult sized towels because I like to wrap her up and let her dry and be warm.)

6. Transport

For some people, this may be a stroller. I however, am obsessed with babywearing. I love having Everly right there on my tummy, and it keeps strangers from getting too close to her. I have both the Baby K'tan and the Ergobaby, and primarily use the K'tan at this stage/size. You buy the K'tan in your shirt size, and it is so unbelievably easy to wear and wash. I also love that it comes in colors that will go with your grown-up outfits rather than the baby's outfits!

Things I did not include and why

Diaper bag

Why? Because any bag that has diapers in it is a diaper bag. I have one from Skiphop that I love, but until I got that, I used a backpack from Target! Don't get oversold on diaper bags, but get something you want to use.


I didn't include these because I don't use them all that often and could really get by without them if I didn't work away from Everly. I have a pump that was provided by WIC, and use a MAM bottle because it's the only one Everly liked. If you choose to pump or formula feed, these will be an essential!


Babies don't walk. Socks will do just fine.


If you have some extra room in your baby budget once you get the basics, you can really get whatever looks fun! We have limited toys to good quality toys without batteries, but do not restrict the amount of books we collect. Books are a great thing to ask for from family and friends, and you will get a big variety with every person's preference (a great way to start a library for your baby!).

I hope this list gives you peace as you get closer to having a baby in your life!

-- Caroline

Something to add to the list? Leave a note in the comments!

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