Having a baby is no doubt the most expensive thing you ever will do in your adult life. Having one child cuts deeply enough into your budget, but those with two, three or nineteen – like that family on TV – must come up with some pretty creative ways to save money. Here are 27 tips to help you save some cash, whether you’re on your very first or you are trying for your own “Kids & Counting” television show.
27 Ways to Save Money When You Have a Baby …
1. Get as much from the hospital as you possibly can
When you are in the hospital, they are going to give you some baby stuff. You definitely should take that home and use it. Yet, I happened to be checking my phone during my hospital stay, and I found that manufacturers leave samples and huge value coupons in maternity wards – but you must ask for them because the nurses are busy.
On average, formula costs about $1,000 a year; plus, breastfeeding is much healthier.
3. Barefoot babies
Don’t buy shoes for your baby. They don’t need them, and they’re actually an impediment to learning to walk. Let them go barefoot unless you are taking them outside and it is cold. In that case, use thick socks or booties.
4. Don’t Buy Clothes For Your Baby To “Grow Into”
I made this mistake. I bought some baby clothes, because they were on sale, that I figured my son would fit into in a few weeks. Then he had a growth spurt and wore them for less than a week.
5. Test Bottles First
Don’t buy a bunch of bottles. My son didn’t like the expensive bottle I bought, and I had half a dozen of them. I ended up buying several much cheaper bottles.
6. Return Gifts
If you don’t like something, return it for store credit. Make sure you do it quickly before the time limit is up.
7. Buy Diapers in Bulk
Go to Costco or Sam’s Club, or whatever your local bulk store is, and buy your diapers in as large a quantity as you can.
8. Get a Stroller You Can Return
Buying a stroller is kind of like buying a car. Test drive it first, and if you don’t like it, take it back and get a different one.
9. Make Your Own Baby Food
You can save yourself some money if you make your own baby food. Mashing up a banana is an easy way to create something for your baby to eat and there are lots more recipes online.
10. Go Generic
Don’t listen to the commercials. I’ve found that generic diapers, wipes and other baby supplies are totally fine, and they cost about half as much as the name brand. Just because Huggies has a great commercial doesn’t mean you need to spend extra money to get them.
11. Borrow Short-Term Items
I learned that if I needed something temporarily, sometimes I could call up my friends who had kids who already had outgrown their stuff and borrow it. I did that with a baby bath and with a walker that had toys for my son to play with while he strolled around the living room.
12. Subscribe & Save
Subscribe to as many baby discount places as you can find. You also can sign up for discounts and coupons at Gerber.com and other places.
Decorate your baby’s room with crafts that you make yourself, using items that you can find around the house.
14. Listen for the Phrase “Finished Having Kids”
When someone mentions they are not planning to have any more kids, find out what they have that their kids already have outgrown and try buying things from them. I got my crib from a co-worker who told me she was done having kids. It cost $200 new, and I got it for $75 – in excellent condition.
15. Minimize Birthdays and Holidays
Until your child is old enough to appreciate birthdays and Christmas, minimize your celebration. They won’t know the difference, and you will save money.
16. Get a Breast Pump
These are expensive, but I got mine from a friend who didn’t need it anymore. The price when they are new is about $250 to $300. I paid $50 for mine and an addition $30 for the attachments, which is what you should buy new for hygienic purposes.
17. Dollar Tree Shopping Spree
You can find so many baby items at Dollar Tree; with everything very simply priced at a dollar. It’s also the best place to get toys for your infant or toddler.
18. Call for Medical Advice
Hospital nurse hotlines and your pediatrician often will give advice over the phone. That saves you the co-pay and a bill to your insurance company.
19. Bottle Warmers Are Unnecessary
I never used mine. I just used warm water instead.
20. Replace Your Changing Table with a Bath Towel
You don’t need to buy a changing table. Just get a big bath towel because you hardly ever will use your table and a towel allows you to change wherever you happen to be.
21. Backpack as Diaper Bag
Instead of a diaper bag, use an old backpack that you have in the closet.
22. Skip the Ear Thermometer
They aren’t accurate, and the rectal or mouth thermometers are way cheaper.
23. Kid-Pool Instead of Day Care
If you need day care, try setting up a ‘kid-pool’ with some friends and trade off babysitting.
24. Get Advice
If this is your first kid, ask your friends who have kids for advice – on everything. If your friends are anything like mine, you will get lots of money-saving tips.
25. Don’t Build a Nursery
We decided not to build a nursery and just put the crib in our home office.
26. Buy Unisex
The clothes that you buy, the toys that you give your kids to play with, and the other items that you purchase should be unisex if possible. That way, you can use them for another child later. That’s a trick I didn’t learn with my son, and now that we’re expecting a daughter I’m sorry I didn’t get that advice earlier. But now you can take advantage of my experience!
27. Prepare Food When Baby Time is Close
My husband thought of this because we just didn’t have the budget to eat out, and we knew how tired we both were going to be with jobs (on maternity leave for me) and a new baby. Casseroles are a good choice, but you can freeze lots of meals.
What are some ways you've saved money with a new baby?
Vera is a blogger trying to lead a frugal (but not frustrating) lifestyle. She is also an avid food enthusiast who loves everything about cooking, especially using modern tech in cooking that can make even a novice cook look like an expert chef. You can find her at Frugal Frogs.