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/ Source: TODAY
By Emily Sher

Everything changes once you become a parent, and that definitely includes finances. While there seems to be an infinite amount of "must-have" items to care for your child, you have to draw the line somewhere simply to avoid going broke.

TODAY Parenting Team members shared some of their collective wisdom on the matter with tips and ideas on how to budget with a baby. For more great advice, and to contribute your own hard-earned wisdom, join us here.

1. Don't buy a new couch any time soon. (Carolyn Jackson)

"Our new couch, bought while I was pregnant with my daughter, now has butter, pen, possible chocolate (let's hope so), spit up, and a whole range of stains that I've not been entirely successful at getting out."

2. Be thrifty with clothing because no one notices. (Doyin Richards)

"In twenty years from now, will they (or anyone else) care that I bought their shoes at Payless instead of Bloomingdales? Of course not."

"When my family spends big money on things for our kids, it's always for things that create lasting memories."
"When my family spends big money on things for our kids, it's always for things that create lasting memories."Doyin Richards

3. Wait to see if you really will use nursery room furniture before buying it. (Jane Weaver)

"The gliding rocker became the most expensive cat bed ever."

4. When shopping for cribs, value safety over looks. (Momma Young)

"With each baby I vowed to never buy another crib. Why bother, they preferred our bed, their bassinet or Daddy's arms. OK, don’t ditch the crib but decide if you need to spend so much on what baby will hardly use."

"Find an affordable crib with high safety marks."
"Find an affordable crib with high safety marks."Momma Young

5. White board meal planning will keep the take-out at bay. (Katie Lockwood)

"[Every Sunday] we write our meals on a white board to keep ourselves on task and help us resist the urge to order out or go through the drive-thru."

"[On Sundays] my husband and I discuss meal planning, after-school events, transportation, meetings, and anything else that pops up and needs some strategizing."
"[On Sundays] my husband and I discuss meal planning, after-school events, transportation, meetings, and anything else that pops up and needs some strategizing."Katie Lockwood

6. Try to resist the appeal of expensive, adorable little outfits ... (Marianne Jones)

"I discovered very quickly that my baby, and me for that matter, didn't like fussy clothes."

7. ...but budget for plenty of stretchy additions to your own wardrobe. (Keeper of the Fruit Loops)

"All forms of Lycra, push up and Spanx become a necessary part of your wardrobe. Undergarments after childbirth will henceforth be chosen based on words like 'sturdy' and 'support' rather than 'lacy' and 'sexy.' Case closed."

8. Don't pay professionals when you can do it yourself. (Jenny Sanchez)

"I painted a mural in [my daughter's] room, took my own first birthday shots and made my own smash cake. Don't spend a ton of money on things and professionals when you can do it yourself!"

Courtesy of Jenny Sanchez

9. Baby wipes are a necessity; the baby wipe warmer is not. (Danielle Herzog)

"Listen baby, it's a cold world out there. We can't have you thinking someone is going to warm your butt every time it needs to be wiped. Get used to the feeling of cold hitting it — it will happen often. You might even like it later in life. Who knows, you can be a freak like that."

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