The $0 Baby Room Challenge

After discussing this with my wife I’ve decided to embark on an interesting challenge for us. I want to decorate and prepare the baby’s new room with a total budget of $0. So I can only reuse items from our first child or beg, borrow or steal items to complete the room. The only sort of exception to this is I can use our credit card points to get gift cards to buy some paint.

So why am I doing this? I think people spend too much money on their kids before they are born. This time we are limiting ourselves to using what we have or what we can obtain without any money. It’s the ultimate expression of frugal thinking in my mind.

Looking around the house last night I figure we am already most of the way there. Here’s what I know I have:

  • Cradle – Borrow the family one from my brother
  • Crib – Reuse our existing one
  • Change mat – Get our first toilet trained so we can steal his (he will be three by the time his sibling arrives)
  • Rocking chair – Use our existing one.
  • Paint and related supplies – Reuse what I have in the house already and buy the rest with gift cards
  • Drapes – Use an existing set from storage.
  • Bedding and blankets – Reuse from the first kid’s bedding and if it is a girl ask for bedding as a gift from one of the grandparents
  • Dresser – Borrow one from my parents which is just sitting in storage
  • Clothes – Reuse the gender neutral clothing from our first kid and if it is a girl beg, borrow and request gifts to get the initial amount

So far the only problem item I’ve thought of is how to bath the kid. We don’t own a little tub. So far my plan for that is to just use an existing towel in the bottom of the tub, unless we can get something from someone else.

So what do you think? Can I make it or am I missing something? Any ideas from parents who had more than one kid would be most appreciated.

8 thoughts on “The $0 Baby Room Challenge”

  1. You’re on the right track. If you are not the first person within your friends/family to have kids then there would likely be something to borrow from almost all of them. Most people that I know were more than willing to lend out baby stuff just to get it out of the house. The added benefit was that most of the people that I borrowed from did want their stuff back for their next child.

    My only suggestion is not to be cheap at the price of reusing damaged, or unsafe gear. But be creative with what you think you need. E.g., when your baby is still small you can use a large sink to bath him.

    We also did not buy much in the way of baby proofing items. For example, we had stairs but no gates, our parents’ never had for use when were were kids either. It meant being extra vigilant when they were very young, but after a while the kids were very respectful of the dangers in the house.

  2. Our second child is now 16 months (oldest is almost 4), and I would agree with what you have planned. We had very little in added expenses for the baby’s room because we moved our oldest to a new room. He needed some new furniture (a big boy bed, dresser, shelves for the room, etc) but if we could have found some hand me downs, we could have avoided most of that. Furniture for toddler/preschool age seems to last much longer than it did for the baby stage.

    We had a little tub that we only used a few times with our kids. The towel in the big tub works just as well unless you have a really small baby I guess.

    One added cost a few months down the road was for a new car seat. We could reuse the small one we had for the oldest, but once she got older and they were in the same type of seat, we obviously needed to buy another.

  3. CD

    We knew we wanted to have our kids in quick succession, so we deliberately decorated the “baby room” in generally neutral tones (we did not know until baby one arrived whether she was a she or a he) and same with baby 2. By the time baby 2 was expected, we had moved baby one (now toddler one) into her own room.

    Good luck

    Your life is about to get a little more hectic (fun, but hectic)


  4. Thanks for the ideas everyone. We are somewhat lucky that some safety items we already have because of the daycare (like a baby gate).

    We don’t want to know what we are having until the big day, so I intend to follow Qcash’s example and go neutral in the baby’s room.


  5. I just had my tenth, and we haven’t had a baby bath tub since number 3. We use the kitchen sink, or I take them into the shower with myself or my husband.

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