As a parent, you want the best for your baby. The truth is you really don’t need much of what is marketed to you at all. But, for the things you really do need… here are some ways to save money and get it cheap!
Saving Money on Baby Gear
So much of the baby gear we’re told we “need” we really don’t. Which baby items are truly essential? For most, it’s a place for baby to sleep, a car seat, basic clothing items, diapers, and not too much else. Borrow something first to see if you really like it. Then, if you do, look for ways to get it for less.
Buy used when possible. Search secondhand sites like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace for what you need. Or, shop retail stores like Once Upon a Child or thrift stores for items like cribs, strollers, high chairs, bouncers, and so on. The exception would be car seats; don’t buy them used. You never really know if it has been in an accident and the frame has been compromised.
Take advantage of baby registries for what you need, not necessarily what you want. You’ll get lots of cute baby stuff regardless of whether or not you register for it, so it’s wiser to register for things that will truly help your budget. Think about things like diapers, wipes, bottles, diaper creme, baby wash, and other consumable products.
Make sure you register for big-ticket items you really need, like car seats, strollers, and high chairs. Friends and family often want to pool their resources and get you and your baby something will use frequently and be greatly appreciated.
Invest in quality baby items that will last, especially if you plan on having more than one child. High-quality items also are more valuable when it comes time to re-sell them.
Look for items that have multiple uses, or convert to something else. For example, cribs that convert into toddler beds can last twice as long. There are even high chairs that convert to play tables.
Instead of opting for a diaper bag, go with a multi-functional bag you can use after your baby is past the diaper stage. Also, keep in mind that your husband may carry it too — so avoid anything too feminine.
Saving Money on Baby Formula
Try breastfeeding to see if it works for you. Not only will you save money by not having to buy baby formula, breast milk is healthier for baby.
Be aware that all baby formulas have to meet guidelines set by the FDA for quality and safety. For that reason, it pays to consider store brands and generic formulas, which can cost up to 40% less than name-brands. This is an especially effective tactic if your child does not have any known sensitivities.
Look for formula deals on Amazon.com. They have great prices, and if you have Amazon Prime you can get them delivered to your home quickly and inexpensively.
When you’re at your doctor’s visits, ask for formula samples. Often, your pediatrician will have some that he or she can give to you.
Saving Money on Baby Clothes
Resist the urge to buy too many baby clothes ahead of time. You don’t know what you’ll receive as gifts. You also can’t be 100% sure of the gender, even if you think you know for sure.
If you plan on having more children, invest in unisex clothing when possible. Also, keep in mind that it’s easier to hand down something blue to a girl than pink to a boy.
Shop clearance racks for deals you can use in the future. Keep in mind that not all babies wear 6-9 months sizes when they’re actually 6-9 months, so consider your own baby’s growth rate when “guestimating” which sizes will work during each season. When you’re buying items at 75% off, it’s worth it to roll the dice on sizes. You can always give what isn’t used away as gifts, or sell or consign it to recoup your money.
Don’t buy shoes for non-walking babies. They’re simply not necessary. Save your money for when your baby will need them.
Your baby will inevitably spit up on things, or have blowouts when you’re away from home. Make sure you carry a stain stick in your diaper bag to avoid staining clothing permanently.
Saving Money on Baby Food
Make your own baby food! It’s quite simple, and you can make big batches and freeze for later use. Just puree steamed veggies or toss them in the blender to create the right consistency. You can freeze them in ice cube trays and pop them out and you have individually-sized servings you can store in a Gallon Freezer bag for later.
When possible, eat the same foods your baby does. This saves time and money. For example, having peas for dinner? Use a blender to puree some for your baby. Other great family-friendly foods include sweet potatoes, bananas, and squash. Chances are your diet could improve by eating more fruits and veggies too.
Only used jarred foods for convenience. When you see it on sale, stock up. Or, look for coupons. Look on baby food manufacturer sites to see if they provide online coupons you can print.
Saving Money on Baby Wipes and Diapers
Buy in diapers and wipes bulk at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. Or, consider store brands that cost less than their name-brand counterparts.
Diaper Genie refills can be expensive, so use them for messy/smelly diapers only. Throw your wet diapers in a regular plastic bag or directly into the trash can.
Wipe warmers aren’t necessary. Instead, just warm up the baby wipe in your hand before using it.
If you use cloth diapers, throw high-quality wipes into the diaper pail and wash with dirty diapers and reuse as diaper liners or make into wipes again.
Swim diapers are extremely costly, sometimes as much as $2 -$3 per diaper. If you child was in the water briefly and didn’t get them dirty, they can be washed and used again. Just make sure you air dry them and do not put them in the dryer.
Don’t overbuy newborn sizes. You really don’t know how big your baby will be at birth, or how rapidly he will grow. Some babies outgrow newborn diapers within a week or two. The same goes for stocking up on diapers when your baby or toddler is close to the next size up. You don’t want to be left with a lot of diapers that are too small. Small diapers are not only less comfortable for your baby, they’re also prone to leaks.
Instead of using commercial baby wipes, use baby washcloths that you can wash and re-use over and over again. Or, use one wipe for messy diapers and washcloths for the rest of the cleanup process.
Don’t buy individual small packages of wipes for travel. Instead, pack a washcloth in a Ziplock bag .