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Baby-shower gifts on a budget

By on October 10, 2008

diaper wreath

Buying frugal gifts can be a challenge. Baby showers are one example of a special occasion where you don’t want to look like a cheapskate. Buying practical gifts makes the most sense. But if you’re not careful, even little gifts such as diapers and rattles can add up. Here are some inexpensive and practical gift ideas any mom-to-be will appreciate.

DOLLAR STORES: Check your local dollar stores for baby items. A mere $20 can buy quite a bit. They carry plenty of frugal options, such as wipes, socks, bibs, baby washcloths and lotions and baby hangers. You can find cheap gift wrap and greeting cards, too. Speaking of gift wrap, you can use receiving blankets, baby towels and crib sheets as gift wrap, too.

THINK BIG AND SMALL: When shopping, consider buying trial-sized merchandise. Look for lotions, powders, baby oil, shampoos, baby wash, etc. Think big, too. Avoid buying newborn sizes. Most people bombard new parents with newborn baby clothing. Buying larger-sized clothing or diapers will be appreciated because babies grow so fast.

SURVIVAL KITS: Buy a gift for mom at the hospital or a baby-care kit. Include quarters for hospital vending machines, snacks for dad, prepaid phone cards, tea, comfy socks or slippers, baby nail clippers and files, newborn hats, nose syringes, baby Tylenol, baby brush and comb, pacifier, gas drops, saline drops, rash ointment or a gift card for a local pharmacy.

HANDMADE AND HOMEMADE: If you’re crafty, make a baby blanket. If you don’t knit or crochet, make a simple fleece blanket. Take two pieces of fleece and pin them together. The size will be however large you want the blanket to be. One yard is good for a baby blanket. Cut out a 2-inch-by-2-inch square in each corner. Then cut a 2-inch-long slit every inch along the fleece. Make sure that you cut both pieces of fleece. Once you have made all of your cuts, go back around and tie the flaps together.

You could also make coupons for free nights of babysitting, housekeeping or cooking. You could make casseroles and pop them into the freezer for the new parents, too.

Another inexpensive handmade gift is a hankie bonnet. This gift starts out as a newborn baby bonnet and is saved and later used as a “something old” handkerchief for the child’s wedding day. Directions can be found at Bumble Bee Linens (

You can also make a diaper wreath. You’ll need a wreath form, small package of diapers, curling ribbon, small baby toys and supplies to decorate your wreath. Open each diaper and wrap it around the wreath so the top open section of the diaper is on the top. Tie it closed with curling ribbon.

Continue adding diapers all the way around the wreath. Push the diapers close together so there isn’t any space between each one. Using curling ribbon, tie baby items such as rattles, teething rings, spoons, folded pajamas, etc., to the wreath. Add a stuffed animal in the center if you want.

THINK AHEAD: You can buy a large assortment of baby food in jars for very little money. Consider buying a bulk box of baby wipes, too. Finally, welcoming a new baby with a piggy bank with loose change is a great gift, too. It’s never too early to start saving.

photo by Kate’s craft corner


  1. Diaper Cake Becca

    10/10/2008 at 12:58 pm

    Great Article!

    I do want to add, though, that one should be careful when shopping at the Dollar Store. Items that appear to be name brand often are not. Also, the baby wipes at these stores tend to be relatively harsh on baby’s sensitive skin.

    Shopping for a baby on a budget can also be greatly aided with coupons! Johnsons just recently had some great coupons ($3.00 off!) for some of their gift sets that could be printed off the internet. So never be afraid to look for coupons on items you know you want to get the new baby!

    Go name brand on diapers for the new baby (unless there is a specific store-brand you want the new mom to try because you used that brand and loved it!). Name brand diapers are usually on sale SOMEWHERE….and the Sunday paper usually has coupons for one brand or another, too!

    Quality over quantity is the way to go. In these tight times no one will expect an acquaintance to show up at the shower with really big ticket item. Bring what you can afford and what you have used, yourself. If there is a registry, try to get items off of that so that the new family gets what they need. Essentials are always the best thing to give….babies need lots of Onesies, Diapers, Wipes, Powder and cotton casual wear.

    Celebrate Baby!

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  3. Rockabye Baby!

    11/12/2008 at 4:38 pm

    these are all great ideas! I read a cool idea on another blog, which was to hire a cleaning service to clean up around the house for a couple of months. I thought that was really creative and a really great help to new moms who might be overwhelmed.

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