Simple ways to capture precious moments without spending a lot

Creative Baby Keepsakes on a Budget

by Kimberly Danger

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Ask any mom with grown children. The baby years go by too fast. Wouldn't it be nice if you could freeze time and hold on to all those cute little expressions, mannerism, and milestones? Here are some creative, yet simple ways to capture those precious moments without spending a lot.

Clay Handprint

Make your baby's handprint in clay at home for a fraction of the cost of a prepackaged kit. Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup water. Heat over medium heat until boiling, then lower heat and stir until thick. Spread mixture into a mold like a whipped topping container or margarine lid. When cool, press your baby's hand into the dough to form a handprint. String with a pink or blue ribbon and use a toothpick to write the date before it dries.

Handprint Book

A handprint book is a creative way to record baby's growth. Purchase a journal or scrapbook with unlined paper (such as a small scrapbook). On each page, write baby's age and use an inkpad to do his handprint. Add journaling about what baby is doing at the moment and what he has recently learned.

Baby's First Year Calendar

You can make a baby's first year calendar at home using a regular calendar or custom-make one on your computer. In each daily square, jot down a comment about your baby that day. Your comments can range from the very ordinary (Nicholas loved playing peek-a-boo today) to a significant milestone (Emma took her first steps today!).

Patchwork Memories

Hate to throw out or get rid of your baby's cute infant outfits? Create a blanket made from squares of your favorite baby clothes. It is sure to be a cherished heirloom for years to come.

Baptismal Keepsake

If you know how to sew, make your baby's baptism gown out of your wedding dress train. It is a special way to reuse something that was very meaningful to you at one time, and leaves your dress intact if you want to pass it on to a daughter someday.

Say Cheese!

Take your own portrait photos using a sheet and some props. Use simple props that won't distract from the subject. A few strands of pearls, a metal washtub, fresh flowers, a ball or a teddy bear, some tulle, a wagon, or antique toys all add appeal to your photos without distracting from the subject.

Happy Birthday!

Start a "birthday tablecloth" for your child. Have guests sign the tablecloth, noting their favorite memory of your child from the past year. You can also do your child's handprints on it with an inkpad. Be sure to date each entry. Over a period of time, your child will have a wonderful keepsake.

Reviewed November 2017

Take the Next Step

  • Babies are little. The costs to raise them can be too! Visit the The Dollar Stretcher Guide to Raising Baby on a Budget for more baby savings.
  • Give baby a good financial start on life: Compare savings and money market account rates and open an account for them today.
  • Is your family heading for debt trouble? Many families are and don't even know it. This simple checklist can help you determine if you are and what you can do to avoid it.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Kimberly Danger is the owner/publisher of, an online resource for parents interested in saving time and money. Ms. Danger lives in Southern Minnesota with her husband and two kids.

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