There must be something in the water. Most of the female friends I have that are about my age seem to be getting pregnant right now. Despite the fact that I am not in the market, I have been helping plan for a bunch of babies on the way. The hardest part is helping my friends stay within their own budgets. Having a baby does not have to break the bank. In fact, here are a few inexpensive ways to prepare for a baby  on the way.
Estimate Child Care Costs
The number one expense that most new parents plan for is the cost of child care. Quality child care is expensive, so soon-to-be parents need to figure out whether it is worth paying for or not. It is surprising, but it may make more financial sense for one parent to stay home .
If staying at home isn’t an option, use personal references from other parents to find low cost but reputable options. In my area, there are multiple day cares within two miles. But if you ask a few of my neighbors for some suggestions, they all agree that the closest one to us is by far the best and is priced right in between the other options at about $250 per week per child.
Friends and Family
Instead of running out to the store, you can ask around to see what baby gear friends and family members might have. You might be surprised to find out that they have a spare stroller, crib, or car seat that you could use. You may even score big in terms of baby clothes. Children quickly outgrow everything, so current parents may already have the sizes you need and may be dying to get a little drawer space back.
Search Garage Sales and Thrift Stores
If your friends and family didn’t have all of the clothes or items you need, garage sales and thrift stores are a great way to get a number of necessary baby items at discounted prices. You can find everything from clothing to toys for cents on the dollar. Just be sure that whatever you buy is in safe, working condition. My aunt finds nearly new clothing at thrift stores on a regular basis for my growing nephew.
Sell Your Stuff
New parents will need to create a living space for the new baby and may want to get rid of the old possessions in their house that are taking up space. They can kill two birds with one stone by decluttering  and using the money fund the baby’s room. I use Craigslist to sell my stuff, but I know from friends’ experiences that Kijiji and garage sales work too.
Join the Baby Clubs
A bunch of places from supermarkets to retail stores have baby clubs that offer discounts to parents with children. By joining up at the stores you were going to shop at anyway, you will be able to take advantage of the extra discounts. Some stores even have credit cards that offer additional discounts for purchases. If you do sign up for those, remember to stick with your shopping list and pay off the balance as soon as possible. Savings become worthless if you end up paying more in interest charges.
In short, there are many ways to budget in a baby. What’s worked for you?