The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: Stylish Diaper Bags on a Budget

Diaper bag

QuestionI'm [5] months pregnant and on the hunt for a stylish (and budget friendly) diaper bag. Any recommendations? —Katherine M.

QuestionFirst off, congratulations! You're about to embark on the most magical journey of your life. This journey can also get really expensive, really fast, so you're right to want a diaper bag that's affordable.

Now there seem to be two schools of thought among moms when it comes to diaper bags: Those who say a diaper bag is essential and those who say any ol' bag can double as a diaper bag. I started out with a traditional diaper bag, then moved on to a regular handbag for carrying all my little one's supplies and gear. I liked the idea of having a "real" diaper bag for those early months - it's sort of a rite of passage, and it functioned really well. Plus, once I knew what I needed in a bag, I could easily pick out a regular bag that would do the job equally well.
I'll start by sharing the diaper bag that I got at my baby shower. I registered for it at Target on a whim while wandering through the baby aisle scanning products to add to my registry. That's how I stumbled upon this JJ Cole diaper bag ($44.99 at Target stores and TARGET.COM). It's not out-of-this-world stylish but I liked the neutral gray and white color palette (Dad won't mind holding it briefly), the trendy trellis pattern and most of all, I loved how lightweight it felt.

A word of warming: if you click on over to Target's website, this bag gets only 2 stars and many awful reviews, but honestly, I don't understand why so many people had problems with this bag. I abused mine daily and it held up great. It's still in good condition - no loose threads, no broken zippers, nothing - and I'd still use it but I got bored with the design (typical of me when it comes to handbags, I like to switch things up). That's why I didn't "invest" in a pricey diaper bag from the get-go. And I'm still glad I didn't.

My bag worked really well - it fit everything I needed, I could stow it under my stroller or hang it from the stroller bar (even though you're not supposed to), and I could toss it over my shoulder easily with baby in my arms. It has lots of pockets and it wipes clean easily. This is very very important. You never know when you'll be about to head out the door and - oops! - baby projectile vomits all over your freshly laundered outfit and the diaper bag.

My sister, on the hand, bought a gorgeous designer diaper bag from Henri Bendel (similar) when she had her little boy, who is just a few months younger than my son. My sister is definitely more fashionable than me and she's also a great bargain hunter, so she got her bag during a Black Friday sale for a steal. She loves the bag but admits that it's super heavy even when it's empty, and it's showing signs of wear which is a bummer considering how much the bag cost. Would she buy it again? She's not so sure.

My advice? Register for a diaper bag you like, but be prepared to change things up in a couple months. I switched to a large faux cognac leather satchel with a crossbody strap after a few months and it works equally as well. Just make sure you can throw your bag over your shoulder with ease and that it's not too heavy. Something like this would probably work:

If you're not planning on registering for a bag, check out the options at Marshalls and TJMaxx - my stores always have at least one or two in stock, and they're always top brands for way less (I know, I sound like an ad but it's true!). I've seen brands like SkipHop and JJ Cole.

A few moms in my breastfeeding group had Kate Spade diaper bags purchased from the outlets - this is another great option! Use coupons, too, for maximum savings is what they told me.

Finally, check sites like and I always see good deals on diaper bags on these sites.

Tips for buying a stylish & budget-friendly diaper bag at

Dear Readers: What advice would you give Katherine? Let her know in the comments!

Editor's Note: Sorry for the lack of posts lately, my husband just started a new job and I've been busier than usual. Thanks for your patience.
If you want stylish check out Lily Jade. But i personally would never spend so much on a diaper bag. Seriously it will be the last of your concerns with the crap that gets spilled in it and trying to get stuff out and hold your baby at the same time, just keep it simple. Lily Jade does sell the insert they use for their bags which you could put into a favorite large bag you already have as a money saving option. For us though a backpack has been the best thing. One with pockets on the outside that can hold sippy cups or bottle or keys and with a zipper front pocket for quick little things you dont want to fumble looking for. its the best solution for hands free, not slipping or falling in front of you solution. No one is going to be looking at your diaper bag lol just saying....
#1 nadya on 2014-10-21 09:45 (Reply)
Cute bags! So stylish
#2 Mel (Homepage) on 2014-10-21 20:29 (Reply)
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