Update 8/10/2015: We are currently expecting baby #2, and I have changed how we do some things according to what worked and what didn’t, as well as allowing for the change from one kid to one plus a baby. I’ve updated the post to reflect this and added in some resources to help you as you stockpile for your family!
Why I stockpile like crazy before a baby
In 2012, when my daughter was born, I was broke. Not a little broke, like money was kind of tight. I was b-r-o-k-e. My husband was in rehab after a nasty heroin and pain habit that had been going on for months. He had sold many of our valuables, borrowed thousands of dollars from family and friends “for things for the baby.” and he had lost two jobs, one for getting high on the job and nodding off, one for stealing to support his drug habit.
He had been “encouraging” me to stay home with the baby and not go get a job, so I’d trusted him to provide. Obviously, this didn’t work out well for me.
Stockpiling and food stamps were the only reason we had anything to eat, thankfully we had a freezer full of food I could eat out of. I was far too depressed and exhausted to cook a ton, and I certainly didn’t have the money to buy a lot of convenience food. That freezer full of food was the thing that kept me afloat, at least when it came to food.
The other thing I had done right was extreme couponing. I had a stockpile of toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, dish soap. I didn’t have to buy any of that, so that saved me a ton of money, as well as post-baby shopping time.
How to create a stockpile without couponing
When Logan was born, I had exactly zero interest in couponing, but I knew I would want to stockpile like a mad woman. My stable life (having an amazing husband who works hard, loves you and isn’t a drug addict is a huge asset to a crazy hormonal lady. Imagine that.) was great, but I had no idea how I would feel after Logan was born.
After Autumn was born, I was severely depressed to an almost debilitating degree, and I had no idea how much of that was circumstantial and how much of it was just how my body responded to the postpartum body changes.
So, to prepare for the crazy hormonal lady I would become (depression or no) I stockpiled, even on our tight budget. Let me teach you the things I learned from two pregnancies with amazing stockpiles.
First, get your freebies
For the frugal moms out there who are on a shoestring (or nonexistent!) budget for stockpiling, it’s time to start couponing and getting some freebies. I actually recommend the freebies for all moms because they never hurt, but especially for the ones on a tight budget. Freebies and the things I got from others are almost all I had to prepare for Autumn when I was pregnant with her in 2012.
I have a whole post dedicated to freebies for mommy and baby here where you can check out the best clubs to join, places to get freebies and then some deals where you pay shipping only.
Next, set your budget
I wish I could give you some magic formula for what the perfect budget is, but everyone is different. With Autumn, my “budget” was whatever I could get with couponing (spending less than $20 a month) and with Logan I saved extra money out of our grocery budget and bought
If you’re on a limited budget but aren’t sure about where to start or what good prices are, Baby Cheapskate is a great place to go. There are also tons of places you can go for couponing deals, including
- Cha-ching on a Shoestring’s Amazon deals (they also have a great list of Subscribe and Save deals.)
- Grocery Smart for good breakdowns with a five-star system for a lot of main-stream grocery stores
- Money Saving Mom has awesome deals in all categories
Know your goals & stay organized
For me, stockpiling for a new baby’s arrival is about a few things:
- household goods
- food & meals
- baby supplies
In this post I’m just talking about the household items, you can follow the links to the other posts for my strategy for stockpiling in the other areas.
When I started stockpiling for Logan I realized that I needed a sheet for keeping track of the things I had, so I made this inventory tracking sheet with three pages, one for household items, one for food and another for baby things. It’s very simple and straightforward because I really hate planning sheets that over-complicate things. Click below to get yours if you want one, I think they’re really convenient.
When I stockpiled for my pregnancy with Autumn, I wanted diapers, wipes, clothes (since I had nothing) and food, lots of food. I ended up with a lot of ingredients in the freezer and not many meals, and since it was just me at home with a newborn and I was dealing with the I was not motivated to do anything even resembling cooking. I lived off Cheerios and power bars when I wasn’t eating at my parent’s house. So, this time around I have a different plan. While I am making sure I do have a really nice pantry built up with ingredients like canned goods and dry goods, I’ll be focusing on heat-and-eat meals or meals I can dump frozen into my amazing new pressure cooker.
Stockpiling Your Way
Whether you’ve decided to do couponing method or if you’ve decided to grab a couple of things at the grocery store when you’re there for your normal shopping or if you’re doing a regular Amazon Prime Pantry box, you’ve got to be consistent.
- Couponers should shop weekly for the best deals, you don’t need me to tell you how because you’re already awesome at checking the sales matchups and finding your deals. 🙂
- If you’re picking things up here and there at the grocery store, watch for the weekly loss leaders to save you the most and avoid the mistake of letting your stockpile eat away at your grocery budget. (Heh, see what I did there? Eating away? I crack myself up…) You can also check Grocery Smarts if you ‘re not sure when a sale item is a good price.
- Amazon shoppers can find good deals any time of the month, but might want to limit their stockpiling to once a month or once every other month, so they stay within their budget. Adding little things to your box throughout the month as you think about them will help you make sure you get the little things you need. Then, fill up your box with other filler items off your inventory guide. There are lots of ways to save with Amazon, including using subscribe and save for the products you’ll definitely use, and if you’re going to be buying lots of baby things then Amazon Family might be a good choice too.
- Boxed shoppers (I personally use their iPhone app, but you can shop online through their website too) – my biggest tip is to just remember your budget! It’s easy to forget when you’re on your phone and you see a good deal, so just keep it in mind. 😀 Also, you can use the code JLNTA to get free shipping and a $15 credit on your first order… don’t forget that!
- Sams and Costco shoppers – don’t overdo it in one trip! It’s tempting to go into stockpile mode in the big box stores and forget you have to do things like eat real food and drive the car for the rest of the month…
It seems obvious, but be consistent and stay on budget when you’re stockpiing before baby comes. You’ll thank yourself for it later. Even little things like buying an extra pack of toilet paper is helpful!
Use whatever tools that work for your style of shopping and don’t feel bad if you aren’t one of those moms who goes on CVS coupon frenzies, but also don’t be ashamed if you are!
It takes all kinds of shoppers to build a great stockpile for your family, just likes it takes all kinds of mommies to raise amazing, wonderful little people!
I’m not usually a user of convenience items, but when I’m getting ready for a new little person it’s a different story. The last thing I wanted to be doing postpartum was dishes, so I invested in some of the disposable products we usually don’t use.
- Paper Towels and Napkins
- Paper plates
- Disposable flatware
Running out of the essentials in the kitchen just makes more work for everyone, but buying a lot of extra things in the kitchen can turn even the most well-organized kitchen into a disaster, so I tried everything to make sure I was sufficiently stocked, but saving storage space by getting concentrated products whenever I could. Our concentrated multi-purpose cleaner is nice because it takes up so little space when compared to even standard individual bottles, much less the equivalent of how many bottles we would need to make up the same amount of cleaner you can make with one bottle of concentrate. I also have essential oils on hand which have replaced a lot of over the counter meds we used to have and allow us to make our own easy homemade spray cleaner
When I was pregnant with Autumn, I had a lot of food stockpiled but my ex lost his job before she was born and so we ate through our stockpile very quickly. I ate a lot of Cheerios and Zone Bars after she was born because I was too exhausted and depressed to do any real cooking. This time, I knew things would be different because that just wasn’t going to fly with my husband home and a toddler home with my full time. I knew that this time around I needed to take better care of myself and my family.
- Dry goods like: pasta, beans, sugar, flour
- Easy breakfasts: freezer burritos, oatmeal, breads
- Freezer meals like these:
- Snacks for all family members
- Love with Food was something we invested in during my pregnancy.
- Thrive Market is another place where I buy a lot of snacks because they have such a great selection.
- I also use my grocery shopping routine to get protein bars very cheap for Ian since he works third shift and usually can’t eat a full meal over his lunch break
- Pads, either disposable and/or washable
- Medicines – try getting a 90 day prescription from your doctor instead of a 30 day, or start using a pharmacy that delivers to save you time and trips out of the house after baby arrives
- Herbs and essential oils you use regularly
- Toothpaste and brushes
Get your copy of the PDF Guide,
My Top 10 Resources for Stockpiling for Baby on a Budget
Pregnancy, Baby and New Mama Things
- Something reasonably priced to help you fit into your pants longer, like a Belly Band, which I got and reviewed here.
- New mama bottom spray
- Postpartum bath herbs
Despite what lots of dumb people tell new moms, breastfeeding isn’t free.
While you may not need all of the things in this section, I really recommend having them on hand in case you do. One milk increasing supplement, one set of breast pads, etc. And for heaven’s sake, get a good, supportive nursing bra!
- Breastfeeding tea to increase milk supply or a supplement like More Milk Plus (capsules or tincture), fenugreek, or if you’re into essential oils fennel oil which you can get from Doterra or your trusted brand.
- Breast pads, either disposable ones or washables you can get for the cost of shipping
- Nursing pillow of some kind (read about the ones I’ve tried here)
- Containers for frozen milk
- Disposable and washable pads
- Water bottle/bottles – Flats of water bottles are something that’s perfect to add to a Prime Pantry box, because you won’t have to lift it if you’re super huge (or just super uncomfortable!). I got a $10 plastic bottle that holds 30 oz, because when you’re nursing you need to drink enough water to drown a mermaid.
- Snacks for nursing area
- Pet things
- Batteries (especially for baby things like swings!)
- Night lights