My wife and I, late 20-somethings, love going out and taking part in activities. A weekend spent just binging a show is boring; we want get outside, make something, travel. The problem we’ve recently encountered is that it’s somewhat expensive to keep this lifestyle up while accounting for a soon-to-be-born baby. With my wife now halfway through the pregnancy, I’ve collected some of the tips for how we enjoy ourselves on a budget. If you and your partner are expecting, these tips can help you, too. Let’s go in order of what you can do throughout the stages of pregnancy.
Best done early in the pregnancy when there’s still energy to walk around and a large belly won’t get in the way, traveling can easily be done on a budget while pregnant. Knowing how and where to cut costs is key to budgeting a trip—regardless of whether the traveler is pregnant.
Your best bet is to stay at a hostel. While some hostels may not be nearly as comfortable as a hotel, early in the pregnancy, you shouldn’t be too worried about having the squishiest bed.
There are also services like AirBnB that tend to be fairly cheap, allowing you to rent out someone’s house or room, giving you better privacy than a hostel, but still keeping within budget compared to a hotel.
Once you are at the destination, search for free things to do. It’s easy enough to find a local travel site that will list budget-friendly attractions. For example, my wife and I traveled from our home in Boise, Idaho, to my grandmother’s house in San Diego. A quick search, and we found a list of free places to visit, from the beach to the trails of Balboa Park.
Another clever trick is to look for local moving companies. They want you to move to their neck of the woods, so they will let you in on local secrets for living on the cheap side and things you can do for free.
Do you like hiking? Do you like the thought of searching for buried treasure? Try geocaching. You can do it at home or while traveling, with sites cataloging GPS coordinates of the cache. You simply sign up and go out on an adventure. There might be a small trinket for you to exchange—don’t forget to bring your own to replace what you take—or just a notebook for you to sign with your name and date.
While I used my late grandfather’s metal detector (he was pretty big into the metal detector community, especially finding and repurposing old jewelry) to help find the caches, all you really need is an app on your phone.
Much like traveling, geocaching is best done early in the pregnancy, when you still feel like exercising. At six months pregnant, I doubt my wife would want to go geocaching now, as it’s starting to be hard enough to get around at all. Waddling instead of walking is just around the corner.
The Guessing Game
My wife and I are big into games. We bonded early in our relationship over video games. We have a weekly board game night, sometimes with friends, sometimes just between the two of us. While a cheap board game can provide a great return on the investment, thus helping your entertainment budget, being pregnant provides plenty of opportunities to make up games.
In early-to-mid pregnancy, or even later if you choose to not find out via ultrasound, you can guess your unborn child’s gender based on old wives’ tales and myths.
Stuck for a name? There’s free apps that act a bit like Tinder for names. You and your partner create an account, and the app serves up a name for your consideration. If you both like it, the name is added to the list. Some of the names we said no to were odd names—perfect for making up a story of how your kid would go through life with out-of-the-ordinary names, such as what professions befit the name.
For something a bit different, and can be done after pregnancy saps away energy, you can create a registry for the baby shower. Dream big, but do research (which, as a writer, is something I find fun). Which car seat is right for you? Fun fact: I didn’t know there are infant-only seats, which one of my good friends insisted on getting for us prior to the baby shower, and convertible seats that can also fit through toddler ages. I’d suggest the convertible type to stay within a budget.
Do you want to go with bottles or breastfeeding? Which is better? Bottles, formula and breast pumps are expensive, but could be worth it in the long run. If you are on a super tight budget, it may be better to just breastfeed. Either way, you can add the items to the registry.
This part is all about asking questions—what you need, as opposed to what you would have in your wildest dreams. Do you need a $20 Sophie the Giraffe toy? Probably not—you could make do with something much cheaper. But it doesn’t hurt to add it to the registry, just for fun.
Finally, when all you want to do is sit down, you can do DIY projects at a table. This past weekend, my wife and I started creating our own mobile from paper and a butterfly punch (the most expensive part of the project). It’s still going to be far cheaper than a store-bought mobile, and it’s something we can do together that is low energy but entertaining.
My wife also wants to make quiet books for when we take our daughter, post-birth, traveling. It’s more involved than a simple mobile, but the payoff will be greater. Some buttons and felt, and glue or needles and thread are the main materials needed.
With dwindling energy and a budget, it can be hard for expecting parents to find ways to stay active—in body or mind. With a bit of research, a couple of apps, a few cheap materials, and some free time, you can take part in enjoyable activities without breaking the bank all throughout a pregnancy.
How are you going to budget for a baby but keep an active lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!