Top Tips For Nesting On A Budget

Baby's almost here, and you're in full-blown nesting mode! These hacks will help you indulge that nesting instinct without breaking the bank.

That energy burst from the second trimester has ground to a halt. You’re having a harder time sleeping at night. Oh, and you’re obsessed with getting your house set up for the imminent arrival of your firstborn. Yup, no doubt about it, you’ve entered the third trimester – and the “nesting” phase of pregnancy.

Of course, the first-time parent in you wants everything to be perfect for your future daughter or son. But the version of you that lives in the real world may not have oodles of cash to blow on buying every last thing that magazines, family, and friends claim you MUST have for your little one. So what’s a soon-to-be mama to do?

Fret not. There’s no need to stress about the whole nesting process.Take a look at these simple hacks to nest regardless of how far your budget can stretch.With these tips, you can nest to your heart’s content without breaking the bank!

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Nesting On A Budget

Settling Baby’s Nursery

At the very least, Baby needs a space to sleep – even if that space is a corner of your crowded one-bedroom apartment!

If you’re still in the nursery preparation stage, make sure that you choose simple muted colors for the walls. If you know Baby’s sex, you can go for a classic pastel pink or light blue, if you want. But keep in mind that something light, neutral, and classic is your best choice. Bold colors can seem chic, but can be too overwhelming/stimulating for Baby to handle, and will look dated more quickly. A wall decal or stencil is an easier way to add vibrancy; removable wall decals are an especially budget-friendly option that will allow you to update as needed.

As for furniture, you will need a crib and a couple of non toxic nursery rugs, for starters. Remember that your little one will be crawling around before long, so fabrics, furniture, and decorations should all be non-toxic to help keep Baby safe. Your baby will soon become mobile so its vital that any fabrics and furniture are safe and hygienic for their tiny hands and feet. And remember that little ones can make big messes: you’ll want multiple sheets, plenty of changing pad covers, and at least two rugs.

(For other tips on saving money while preparing Baby’s nursery, see this post I wrote on budget-conscious nursery planning and this post on how to save money/room when you’re in tight quarters.)

Organizing for Baby

Some of us (she raises her hand high) are obsessed with organization all the time. If you adore organizing, you may find nesting an enjoyable period of your pregnancy. But even the most organizationally-challenged mamas will find hidden organizational instincts kicking in when the urge to nest appears.

Be forewarned: Your new sense of organizational perfection can be overwhelming, especially if this is not how you usually roll. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tearing apart the cabinets and reorganizing them top to bottom (I sure did!), or vacuuming at all hours of the day or night.

The best tip I can give you here is to just run with it, and let the urge run its course. DO keep your partner informed on what’s going on, in case (ahem) he never quite got to the final chapters of all those fatherhood manuals that well-meaning relatives gave him. Focus your energies into something you love, whether this is baking, reading, or playing an instrument. Don’t worry if you feel emotional, weepy, or anxious, and lean on those closest to you for support.

If (like me) you love straightening your cupboards from top to bottom, then you are going to LOVE the nesting phase. This is a great time to declutter, top to bottom, one drawer or one room at a time. Babies bring SO much stuff, it’s truly frightening. The more excess you can purge now, the more prepared you’ll be to handle the gear and stuff explosion.

On the other hand, if organization is not your strong suit, here’s a big hint: Talk to your mama friends before you buy every single organizational device out there! Some of them will probably be overkill, and others you probably won’t need for several years. (More on this in the next section.)

Budget-Conscious Nesting

Finally, tempting though it may be to buy every last thing in the Baby section of your nearest superstore, DON’T. Just don’t. Not all at once, at least!

First off, you don’t have room for all of it, all at once. Just trust me on this one. Second, half of it you probably don’t really need. But how to tell what’s “must-have” and what’s not-so-much?

Easy: Ask other mamas. Sure, the idea of warm wipes for Baby’s tooshie seems sweet, but wipes warmers are one of the most-regretted baby “must have” purchases I know. Ditto a changing table, play yard, and baby monitor for every single room of the house. And while that fancy matching nursery bedding set may seem like a dream. it’s more like a death trap; your child will sleep safest with nothing but a sheet in that crib. No blankets, toys, or bumpers – NOTHING. So save your money.

For true nesting on a budget, there are lots of green money-saving options available. Ask close relatives or friends with slightly-older children if they will sell, give, or lend you their used baby essentials. Or check electronic bulletin boards where you work, or neighborhood parenting groups. (Check the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission’s Recalls List to make sure any equipment hasn’t been recalled. For used gear without the original owner’s manuals, check the manufacturer’s website, or try to locate and download a replacement.)

Even better, try to find a children’s consignment store or pop-up children’s resale event in your area (search here for events and stores near you). These venues are arguably the safest way to score gently-used baby and children’s equipment, at prices averaging 50%-75% off retail price. Because the store/sale owners are legally liable for selling recalled, expired, or otherwise-unsafe gear, they’re generally quite stringent about what they will and will not allow.

Not only are the prices unbeatable, but the quality control standards at stores and many resale events means that you’ll be getting great quality merchandise that has been inspected and is safe – which isn’t always the case with yard/tag sales, Craigslist, or Freecycle. I sell our outgrown stuff and help out at several of these events near me each fall and spring, and wish I’d discovered them before my eldest was born. We could have saved a bundle on so many essentials in our first few years of parenthood!

Yes, nesting can be overwhelming, but this is one of those times when you just have to go with your gut and nest away. Baby will be here soon enough, and you’ll want to be prepared!

What is your favorite tip for budget-friendly nesting? Let us know in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “Top Tips For Nesting On A Budget”

  1. These are really amazing tips for families on a budget! We decided to invest on more expensive items that would be very durable with our first child and for our second child we bought almost nothing and re use most of the things which were in great conditions.

    1. If you’re going to buy new, that is definitely the way to go! That was what we did as well, with the things we bought new; I still have (and love using) my glider-rocker that I bought new when pregnant, almost a decade ago! 🙂

  2. I’ve got a few friends nesting currently. It’s interesting to watch the difference, one wants everything new and the other is looking for as much to borrow as she can. There are so many options for parents!

    1. LOL that must be interesting to watch indeed! I felt the same when watching my SIL prep for their first – my niece probably has about 2x as many toys as my kids have owned, combined!

  3. We did pretty well that there were very few things we didn’t use. I never got a wipe warmer and we didn’t have a changing table and I tell people all the time it isn’t needed. We just sat on the floor to change my boys! I didn’t buy much used, but I knew we would be getting things to last through a few kids (mine and my nephews) so wanted something that would hold up.

    1. The only changing table per se that we had was a hand-me-down; all the other changing spaces were other tables, the last being a card table in our living room! Smart thinking, though, that you planned for not only yourself but also other family members down the line!

  4. This is such a great post. So many new parents feel pressure to have all of the “right” things. As long as babies are safe, all the other stuff is extra.

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