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Decorating Your Nursery

Our next project to tackle for the baby's arrival is getting the nursery ready. This morning it's a bit like a construction zone as my husband is stalling a ceiling fan and light plus we have all these boxes fill with stuff that we're donating or mailing to a relative.

Preparing a nursery does involve getting some new pieces of furniture and baby gear. Since this is our first time, I went ahead and check out a few sources to get an idea of the expenses for the baby.

Nursery Gear – Costs

I wrote earlier this year on Five Cent Nickel that we're preparing as best we can financially for the baby's arrival. I looked for estimates on some baby furniture and this is what I found:

  • Crib ($120 – $850)
  • Changing Table ($80 – $250)
  • Rocker ($189 – $600)
  • Bassinet ($50 – $260)
  • Hamper ($20 – $60)
  • Mobile ($20 – $55)
  • Dresser ($80 – $500)
  • Baby Monitor ($40 – $60)

These numbers are from  The Bump and Baby Center and they aren't including other recurring expenses such as diapers. Needless to say, just these few items can add up fairly quickly. To keep costs low and still get good quality items for our baby we turned to resources like Consumer Reports.

Cheaper Alternatives for Your Baby Nursery Supplies

You don't have to go broke to create a welcoming place for your baby. Don't feel pressured to buy all new items if you don't want to. Your focus should be getting high quality items at a reasonable price.

That's our goal as we search for baby gear in the nursery. Here are a few options you have so you can decorate in style within a budget.

Family/Friends Hand Me Downs

Family and friends have been generous with sharing some baby clothes and toys that their children outgrew. The nursery already has a closet full of clothes.

Yard Sales

With the weather warming up slowly, I'm noticing more and more yard sales popping up on the weekends. If you're willing to haggle, you can find some great treasures.  Try and remember these tips when you’re hunting for some furniture.

  • Have your shopping list handy. Don't get distracted and buy more stuff – be focused on what you need for the baby's nursery. You'll save money and you'll avoid cluttering up your place.
  • Go early in the day to find a good deal. You may be able to snag a great sale by beating the crowds.
  • If you buy more than one item, see if you can get a ‘bundle’ discount. It doesn’t hurt to ask the seller and you may walk away with what you need in fewer trips.
  • Double check the furniture’s condition. It doesn't pay to save money if the quality is shoddy. Look for like new condition on items that you'll be using for a while.
  • Bring cash with you. Don't make the seller hold items until you come back later in the day after you got money. Have the cash on hand and be ready to tote your stuff away.


Can you find some great deals on Craigslist and have good quality pieces? I decided to find out this weekend by hunting for a few different items.There are plenty of parents willing to part with baby gear at very good prices if you're not too picky.

Thoughts on Nursery Costs

What about those who've been through this before, how did you decorate your baby nursery? Were you able to find some great deals and bargains? What would you recommend getting new and what could you feel comfortable getting used?

Join In the Baby Expenses Series

Are you a parent or a parent to be with some helpful advice or stories? Please go ahead and join in on the fun, there are 3 ways you can be a part of it:

  1. Leave your tips in the comment section. I  love reviewing thoughtful comments from readers. Some topics have several ‘right’ answers and I think sharing different view points can be helpful.
  2. Submit your stories for future posts. As you know, baby and expenses can cover a variety of topics. If you have a short story or some tips you want to share, please submit them. If you’re a blogger, please share your site’s address with the email so I can credit you if you want.
  3. Write a blog post about your experience. Please include a link in your bio for your site and if you have a relevant post on your site, please link to it in your post.

Thank you to those who have participated already. I look forward to sharing stories, tips, and advice from others here.

Photo Credit: melindarp

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

30 comments add your comment

  1. We’re going to be trying for our first child very soon and are so grateful that my husband’s sister is saving so much of her baby “stuff” for us. I happily accept hand me downs. It will really help cut the costs this baby will bring.

    Great post. I hadn’t considered yard sales at all (then again I’m in manhattan so…of course I didn’t.)

    Loving the baby series.


    • Glad to hear you have a sister in law that saves. Some baby items are practically new even if used because they’re only handy for a short window of time. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Best wishes for you two!

  2. Set your ground rules with your parent, in-laws, friends and other relatives. They will all want to buy or give you stuff. We wanted to buy some of the big ticket items ourselves to suit our own tastes (crib, rocker, dresser, stroller, car seat) and the rest of the accessories were fair game for people to buy for us. Don’t stock up on clothes, you’ll get plenty for gifts at baby showers, etc.

    We didn’t buy used, but we shopped around throughout my wife’s pregnancy and bought things as they came on sale (not all at once). With safety ratings changing all the time, we felt it was important to get at least get a new crib and car seat.

    Get a dresser instead of a change table, it’s essentially the same thing and quite a bit cheaper.

    • Thanks for the tips Echo! We’re fortunate to have supportive help from family and friends. We’re taking it one step at time and we’ll look for sales as you suggested.

      I appreciate the help 😀

  3. I can’t wait for the Yard Sales too! Parents I know really found good deals there. Second-hand clothes shop for kids are nice too. You can get almost new Gap pants and other known brands for $5 or less.

    • I hoping when the weather is consistently warm next month we can do some serious shopping at yard sales.

  4. I couldn’t believe the cost of baby furniture! Or worse the bedding…I saw bedding that cost nearly $1,000! I was like all he is going to do is poop on it hahaha.

    We opted for an expensive crib that turns into a toddler and the full bed.

    • We picked out a similar crib/bed for our registry. We looked at several models, but besides the good reviews we really like how sturdy it felt.

  5. I think I came across a blog that said there’s websites out there where people are giving their baby things away for free. May be worth searching for, as I know baby things get expensive!

  6. I love your emphasis on Craigslist and yard sales, especially for durables like cribs, high chairs, strollers and other baby furniture. As I like to say, the baby isn’t going to notice whether or not his/her crib is new. Save your money for things you CAN’T get used — like diapers!

  7. Think family hand me downs and whatever else you can get from a baby shower is the best way to go.

  8. Craigslist, Freecycle and yard sales are great places to find stuff, but cribs and car seats aren’t good to buy used. There are new safety regulations for cribs, and all of them sold as of June need to meet these requirements:

    We’re expecting our first in the fall and are looking to be both frugal and as free from chemicals as possible. (So, organic mattress/clothes, real wood furniture, etc.)

    Our nursery-to-be has a large closet, so we’re not going to buy a dresser.

    It’s already painted red and white, which will be perfect. (Primary colors are more stimulating than pastels.)

    If possible, we’re going to co-sleep, so we shouldn’t need a bassinet, but a friend already offered a bassinet if we want/need it.

    There are portable changing tables (pads, really) that can be used anywhere flat. Instead of buying a changing table, we’re going to use one of those on the guest bed, most likely (except when we have overnight guests, of course!). Also, there are pack-and-plays that have changing tables built in — that’s our second choice.

    We’re going to cloth diaper which is a lot less expensive than disposables and more baby-friendly.

    I found a website (hmmm…. that I can’t find now … I thought I bookmarked it …) that has stainless steel bottles that convert to sippy cups.

    That’s where we are so far. Enjoying this series of posts, since it’s so timely for us!

    • Thanks for the information – it’s great to keep up to date with the latest safety notices.

  9. We had some success with Craigslist – we bought at $400 rocker (the more sofa looking kind with a footstool) for only $150. It’s so soft and was well maintained. I would definitely recommend watching Craigslist as well! If you have a Gmail profile you can also save some time by adding a Craigslist gadget with what you’re watching for in your area. As you know, the good stuff goes fast on Craigslist – so this will save you some time and help you find what you want!