Surviving Winter with A Baby on a Budget

As a transplant from Texas, and a mom of 3 (now 4) my biggest concern when surviving my first winter with a baby in New England was

“What the heck are we supposed to wear?”

The options are limitless, really: infant-sized snowsuits, fizzy baby buntings, wool and silk layers that can cost a small fortune.

My husband was in school full-time, so we didn’t have the ability to spend lots of money on things our infant twins would grow out of in a few weeks, and because Ricky spent most of his young life in Texas, we didn’t have much in the way of hand-me-downs. So what did we do?

Aside from spending most of my limited free time searching the internet for tips, there were a few helpful choices we made as a family that ensured we didn’t go broke, and still enjoyed the snow, during our first and each subsequent winter we’ve had children.

The best tip?

Buy secondhand. Especially with little ones, who use their winter gear for all of a single season, secondhand is by far the easiest (and most ethical) way to gear up baby for the cold. Check your local thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, and parent swap groups for great gear.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, search for a resale/consignment store in your area. Though usually a bit pricier than buying directly from someone, consignment shops still price their wares well below what you would pay retail.

Don’t go overboard

Unless you will be spending all your daylight hours outside in the snow and ice and cold with your kids, chances are you can stand to scale down your shopping. One snowsuit set, one pair of mittens, one pair of boots, etc., is all you’ll need per kid. There’s really no need to buy multiples of each item, unless you’re anticipating a growth spurt (or you have multiples).

Layer, layer, layer

Mons of yesteryear were totally right when they recommended lots of layers during winter–the more the merrier! A good base layer, preferably made from some sort of wicking material, and layers that can be easily removed will serve your littles better than one giant thick snow suit that becomes TOO hot after a couple hours of play.

Use what you have

Unless you’ve just moved across the country to a completely new climate with two new babies (ha!), chances are you have some clothing around the house that can be used during the colder seasons. On top of layers, a rain suit doubles as a snow suit–bonus, less bulky! Those snow boots from big brother last year may fit younger sister now, even if they have robots (and really, who doesn’t love robots?). Be creative with your winter wardrobe choices, and you may be surprised by how little you actually have to purchase each year.

Be intentional

Above all, intentional purchases, reusing items from previous years, and going into winter with a spirit of fun and adventure matter more than the latest set of snow boots or gear–plus, your young kids care more about actually BEING in the snow than whether their mittens are brand new.

Adventuring with your kids in the winter months can make for some of the most rewarding and energy-busting memories of their childhoods, and doesn’t need to cost too much to do so. Whether you have one baby or twelve, I hope you are able to enjoy every snow flake and sled ride this year!

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