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Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Your baby is now moving around inside it’s mother, slowly growing and learning. So while you wait for it to make a grand entrance, you are inundated with books and advice on what to do when and the best way to do it.

You want to do things right but what if you are on a budget and you can’t afford the Walking Stroller 2000? What follows are some tips and ideas to help you have a happy and healthy baby while not having to overly worry about making ends meet. Some of these will make you smack your head and say ‘Of Course!’ and as it is true with most things, the simplest solutions are often the best, it’s just that occasionaly we need the obvious pointed out to us.

Babies eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. That is their early occupation and also their early cost. There are, thankfully, several ways to bring this cost down. First off is breastfeeding. This is not only fantastic for both the mother and the baby, but also saves you hundreds of dollars in formula costs. If for no other reason, the monetary gain should make this a consideration. As the baby gets older, you can make your own baby food. All you need is an hour and a blender and you can make plenty of nutritious and tasty food. You can make a weeks worth at a time, too. Numerous recipes can be found on the Internet as well as at the local library.

All of this milk and food needs someplace to go and the best place is into a cloth diaper. If you can use cloth diapers all or at least half the time you will be doing both your wallet and the environment a favor.

Before you immediately turn these items down, if you haven’t yet you should go to the store and check the price of formula, disposable diapers, cloth diapers and calculate them over a two year time period.

The baby will need more to wear than just diapers. Here are some ways to get 'discount' clothes:
- Buy off season
- Shrink your husbands/wives old clothes (not
recommended)
- Make your own clothes (or at least your own
blankets and wipes)
- Set up an account at a second hand shop whereby
you can trade clothes in. This way when the
baby outgrows one outfit you can trade it in
for another.

Keep your eye out for free samples. Most doctors’ offices and hospital have small little ‘gift’ packs for you when you tour their facilities. These usually have slips for you to fill out and send in for free samples. Send away for as many different types of samples as you can. We ended up receiving magazine subscriptions, a teddy bear, birth announcements, picture frames, bottles of formula and a savings bond; all for taking the time to mail a small card.

In a related vein visit your local ‘baby store’ often (stores like Babies-R-Us, Moms-To-Be, Expectants). They often hold classes or seminars during which various prizes are given away. The Babies-R-Us near us recently held an in store scavenger hunt with the top prize being a Pack and Play. The opportunities are out there, you just need to keep an eye open and be willing to invest the time.

What remains the best way to have a ‘baby on a budget’ is simple word of mouth. Tell everyone you know that you are having a baby and when they ask what you need, don’t be shy about speaking up. Anyone who ever had a child has some item (baby clothes, maternity clothes, books, toys etc.) tucked away in the attic that they will never use again and may be happy to give to you.

Having a baby is an amazing and exciting experience. It is also a very stressful time and if you can eliminate some of the stress (in particular the worries about money), than do it and experience your new life happier.