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Stretching your baby budget: When to splurge or save

What we'll cover

  • How to budget for your baby

  • Which items to save and splurge on

  • Tips for saving for baby expenses

With a baby on the way, you have plenty of things on your mind, like what color to paint the nursery and how many onesies is too many. But what about your budget for those things and everything else? While you may want to splurge in some areas, others are better for saving.

Baby items worth splurging on

Whether it's for safety, simplicity or durability, sometimes it's worth it to spend a bit more on your baby gear. These investment pieces could even save you money in the long run by avoiding the cost of replacing lower-quality items. If you plan to have multiple children, you can reuse some of these items, further stretching their value.

Car seat

Safe car seats can be found at lower price points, but when you're carrying precious cargo, it may be worth the cost of a new, high quality car seat. Higher-priced models can come with superior comfort (for the little ones) and be easier to clean and install (for you). Make sure you purchase one that can grow with your child. It's best to not buy one secondhand to make sure it complies with the most up-to-date safety standards and hasn't been in an accident.

These investment pieces could even save you money in the long run, by avoiding the cost of replacing lower-quality items.


When you're cruising with your baby on foot, a good stroller is worth every penny. Depending on your needs, you might look for special features like a jogging stroller, a lightweight model that's easy to pack up or a convertible stroller that can accommodate multiple kids.

Baby monitor

A high-quality baby monitor can give you peace of mind whether you're sitting in the next room or have to run across the street to grab something from the neighbors. Compare different models for video quality and battery life, and check out smart monitors with advanced features like sleep tracking and Wi-Fi.

Baby items you can save on

While some purchases are worth the splurge, other baby products may not be worth overstretching your budget.


Everyone loves a baby fashion show, but there's no need to shell out for designer duds. Kids are messy and grow quickly, so do yourself a favor by buying inexpensive clothes that will fit for a month or two and will withstand a few stains. You can find great deals on used baby clothing at secondhand stores, and be on the lookout for hand-me-down opportunities.


Your newborn or toddler doesn't care if they have the trendiest toy of the moment. A few basic and affordable toys — even safe household items like boxes, pots and pans — are enough to keep your baby stimulated and happy.

Diaper bag

You can spend a lot on a high-end, designer diaper bag, but at the end of the day, it just needs to be functional for you. A tote bag or oversized purse with plenty of pockets can even do the job.

Tips for sticking to your baby budget

When you're expecting, start preparing financially by building a baby budget plan. Start with a list of the essentials, then add the nice-to-haves and wishlist items. Use that master list to shop smart and identify the items you can splurge on and those that are better to save on. As with all budgets, it's all about balance.

An Ally Bank Savings Account can help you put aside money specifically for all the costs that come with raising a child and offers smart tools like buckets and boosters .

Save and spend the right way

Planning for all the baby gear you'll need can be overwhelming, but you don't have to overspend to get all the items your baby needs. With strategic saving and splurging, you can stick to a balanced baby budget.

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