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6 Simple Ways to Save on Baby

Baby on the way and worried about expenses? Read this for some helpful tips!!

Guest post from Alisha of The Savvy Bump

Are you pregnant or planning on starting a family and concerned about the cost of having a baby? Well don’t worry just yet, babies can actually be more affordable than you might think!

Here are 6 simple ways to save on baby expenses:

1. Have a Smart Baby Registry

Many pregnant women are generously thrown a baby shower — and a baby registry is often appreciated so family and friends know what you need. Make sure the majority of your baby registry items are “needs” and not “wants” and wait to shop until after your shower.

If you receive mostly needed items at your baby shower, your shopping list will get much smaller and your bank account will thank you. Even if you are not having a baby shower, create a baby registry or two anyway so you can take advantage of the 10% of completion coupon that stores like Babies “R” Us and Amazon will give you later on.

2. Use Gift Cards Wisely with Price-Matching

Price-matching can save you a lot of money on baby items, so make sure you take advantage of this strategy even when you’re shopping with gift cards. It can be easy to see gift cards as “free money” but you should stretch your gift cards as much as you would your own hard-earned cash.

Shopping with a Babies “R” Us gift card doesn’t mean paying Babies “R” Us prices! Take advantage of the price-matching policies at Target, Babies “R” Us, and other stores and pay the often-lower Amazon prices.

3. Don’t Open It

It is tempting to open all your gifts and purchases before your baby arrives so that everything is organized and ready — especially when the nesting urge hits. But beware, you’ll find that some items will get very little use.

For my family, it was the bouncer I paid for with a Target gift card. It ended up being an unnecessary baby item for us because we always used the Rock ‘n Play.

If you find you don’t need something after the baby arrives, then return it! Amazon, Target, and Walmart all have a 90-day return policy so if you end up not needing a gift or particular baby item you can either get a refund or exchange it for something you really need. That will definitely save you money!

4. Wait for the Best Price

Over at The Savvy Bump, my goal is to help you get the best prices on baby items. I post a variety of baby deals, and although you certainly don’t need everything you see, if you have a gift card, Swagbucks reward, or money in your budget to use on baby gear, I want to help you get the lowest price possible on quality items.

If you’re patient, you can save a lot of money because you’ll get the best deal on wipes, diapers, nursery furniture, car seats, and so on. Prices on Amazon change by the minute and you usually don’t have to wait long for a price drop — you just need to be patient and pay attention.

5. DIY and Buy/Sell Used Items

I am not that great with DIY projects, but I am getting better, thanks to Pinterest. Did you know that you can easily make your own Moby Wrap for a fraction of the price? Just start a Baby DIY board and do a search on Pinterest. You’ll find lots of great tutorials for many baby and nursery related DIY projects!

Another tip is to buy and sell used baby items. Garage sales, Craigslist, and eBay can be great places to score great deals on used or even new baby items. When you’re done with an item, sell it! Most things can be easily disinfected and they’ll work just as well as something new right out of the box.

6. Just Don’t Buy It

Do babies really need a swing, bouncer, and a Rock ‘n Play? Does a crib need to be $500 in order to give your baby a good night’s rest?

A Bumbo is cute but can you manage without it? Yes, you can! Some items might be useful and a lot of fun, but is it worth credit card debt or a decreased savings account?

If I could go back in time, I would definitely buy less and keep it simple. It is easy to get so excited about your first baby that you want everything you see at the store! It just isn’t worth it if your finances cannot handle it. Talk to experienced mothers and ask them what they could have done without. You’ll learn and save a lot!

The best strategy for keeping your finances healthy with a baby on board is to keep things simple. Your nursery needs to be full of love — not expensive furniture. You don’t need the latest and greatest baby gear, just make sure everything is safe and functional.

The most important thing to provide your baby with is your love and attention — and those things are always free.

Alisha is happily married to a husband she considers her best friend and they enjoy the adventure of raising their two year old daughter together. She blogs at The Savvy Bump to help pregnant women and moms find the best maternity and baby deals.

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48 Comments

  • Carrie says:

    #3 is so hard! But I totally agree. In fact, I would say don’t wash anything or remove tags until baby comes. The reason is, some of the things you wash (and make un-returnable) will be useless to you. My third baby was born at 10 pounds, and wore 6-9 months the day she was born. The newborn diapers and outfits I bought were useless.

  • Wendy says:

    #5 is the biggest one, I think. Between my two girls, I’ve ended up with quite a few baby items which weren’t used at all, were only used by one kid, or which I only used because I had them (but didn’t really need them). There were a few “wants” which got used a ton, of course, but most of the early baby stuff was really unnecessary.

  • Lori says:

    I just had my third baby 2 weeks ago, and I definately agree. So many things that I received with my first baby were unneccessary, a wipe warmer, a swing and a bouncer, a thousand receiving blankets. With my last baby shower I only needed boy clothes (after 2 girls) and diapers and wipes. I was blessed with those things that I needed. I also made some of the things that I wanted, never thought of making a Moby wrap…going to have to look into doing that.

  • Martina says:

    I would also say make a price range for clothing you willing to spend, for us it is now 0-2$.
    And for clothes shopping, do not go overboard, Babies are not really tough on their clothing yet, and you can get by with the bare minimums. Also Babies could care less about name brands…the pair of pants you bought at walmart in the clearance isle for 1$, does the same job as the 10 dollar name brand option.

    • Whitney says:

      This is especially true of clothing for newborn through 3 months. You can buy name brand for a fraction of the price (less than $1 often) at consignment or garage sales, often with tags still on.

  • Rachael says:

    Really, all baby needs are some clothes, diapers, a few blankets for swaddling and a place to sleep. If you can’t or don’t want to nurse, you’ll need all the things for bottle feeding. Anything else is extra. Now, some of those extras are really nice, like a comfy wrap to carry baby or a bouncer or swing, and you might not figure out which works till after baby has been around awhile. I dreamed of wearing my baby, he hated it from the start. And, really, the floor is not a bad place for baby in most of our houses.

    • I agree! The floor is a great place for a baby to move and strengthen their muscles. Swings and bouncers can be useful but they really restrict movement. My daughter was on a blanket on the floor a lot and she really got a work out!

  • Whitney says:

    I’m going to disagree with #1 (kind of). Make sure your registry includes everything you actually need, but don’t forget to include things others enjoy buying. Then, don’t be afraid to make returns, and then use that store credit to buy things that are necessary. Because honestly, while you may need nothing more than diapers, it isn’t something others will enjoy buying for you. If you only register for stuff you need, I guarantee many people will just buy you things not on your registry (like adorable but unnecessary infant shoes), often at another store, and it will be difficult to figure out where to return things.

    I also highly advise asking friends with kids what they thought they absolutely had to have, and then never ended up using, and take their advice. Two of my friends told me a diaper Genie was a waste of money. I didn’t believe them. Guess who was right? (Hint – not me.) There’s also a slew of products made especially for baby, but a similar product that does the same job can be had for less than half the price (baby food maker, I’m looking at you). After four babies, I’m astonished at the number of things I was so sure I needed for the first one, that were barely used. And there are so many practical items that made my life so much easier, that I didn’t even know to get the first time around.

    • Natalie F says:

      I agree completely. Very few people purchased the necessities from our registry. I am glad it was easy to return some things for true necessities.

      • Kristen says:

        You are completely right! if you don’t register for enough you will get a slew of clothing (experience) but maybe some of the things that you really could have used will be passed over!

    • Good point. A registry doesn’t need to be boring. It’s great to have a variety of items in all price ranges. Someone could get you something practical like diapers and something fun like a toy or cute bibs without spending too much. Another reason to have all your “needs” on a baby registry is so that you can use the 10% off completion coupon on them.

  • Anne says:

    This was great advice. We didn’t know our baby’s gender until birth so most of the gifts we received were practical. We didn’t get ANY receiving blankets!

    Hand-me-downs are great. I’ve learned with clothing that since I do laundry almost every day now, I can easily get by with 3-4 pjs and 7-10 outfits per size. We’ve spent little on clothes because we’ve received wonderful hand-me-downs. I just found out this morning that a co-worker of my husband offered him a baby/toddler backpack that he turned down a year ago! He thought it was the same as our Baby Bjorn. 🙂 Oh well!

    We thought a rocking chair or glider would be an unnecessary expense but we bought one at about 6 weeks and probably paid too much because we waited until we needed it. We discovered at a relative’s house that it soothed our baby much better than anything else we did. She didn’t really care much for the bouncy seat or the swing for more than 15 minutes at a time and we never used our Bumbo. That said, every baby is different and the only way you can figure that out is by trial and error.

    Thankfully, I kept the very expensive breast pump that my sister-in-laws gave me sealed. I ended up with a hospital-grade one delivered to our condo because our baby had such bad jaundice and lost so much weight. After sinking $500+ into lactation consultants, the pump rental co-pays and parts, and doctor visit co-pays, we had to quit breastfeeding at one month. We couldn’t get my vasospasms caused by my daughter’s incorrect sucking under control despite considerable intervention. I’m glad we were able to return the breast pump to Target and that wasn’t another $300+ lost. We’ll need to budget for a breast pump for our future baby/babies (or the copays if we have to use a hospital one).

    We’re one of those rare families where breastfeeding cost us considerably more than it saved us but we’re glad baby got a month of all those good immunities. Thankfully with MSM and the regional blogs I follow, too, I learned how to stack coupons and use the Target giftcard deals to save money on formula.

    • Danielle says:

      Ugh! I’m sorry to hear about your bf experience. If you have better luck with future children check your health insurance! With the affordable care act breast pumps are now covered.

    • Waiting to find out the sex of your baby can be a money saver too! If you receive or purchase gender neutral items they can be used on with future babies as well. I have way too many pink and girly items especially if I’m ever blessed with a boy. (I definitely don’t have a problem with a boy sleeping in a pink swaddle though!)

      Thank you for sharing your breastfeeding story. Bravo for all the effort you put into it.

    • shelly says:

      Most health insurance plans now cover breast pumps. With ours, I was able to order mine up to 30 days before my due date 🙂 I had an amazing closed system breast pump delivered right to my door that was covered 100% by insurance!! (Just don’t go buy one on your own, they won’t reimburse you as you have to get it through one of their contracted providers).

  • Amie says:

    I agree with this post. There are a lot of things that babies DON”T NEED. I am so lucky that I’d saved everything from my first two sons so that when my third was born – last week – I really didn’t need anything. My preparation just involved washing and reorganizing what I had, purchasing a new breast pump, nursing bra, and bottles and liners – with the amazon discount and gift cards. I had a baby shower at work and just asked for diapers and wipes. I received a few cute outfits, a blanket, a few baby toys, a bunch of diapers and wipes, and some cash and a gift card. It was perfect considering we didn’t really need anything. I actually began stocking up on diapers and wipes several months before the baby was due. I bought wipes for $0-$.50 after coupons and sales at Kroger and I bought diapers at CVS when the Huggies buy $30 and get $10 ECB deals came around. I used coupons, rolled the $10 ECB and used point earned gift cards so I never spent more than $4 for a package. I’d already stocked up on stages n-2 before he was born and now I am buying Stage 3. My sister is expecting and she continually worries that she does not have enough for her baby. The things she lists as “needs” are not needs – a walker? no. diapers? yes. While it is nice to have all the cute things, it is really unnecessary and the baby won’t feel like he is missing a thing. Another way that I save money as the baby gets older, is by making my own baby food. It is super-easy.

  • Carla says:

    I agree with the shopping after baby comes. My coworker swore by the swing they got for their son. It was a lifesaver for them. Our son, however, never took to it. It was a wasted gift for us. Every child is different and will not necessarily respond the same way as your coworkers’, parent’s, sibling’s, or best friend’s baby did.

    • Yes, that is true. It is hard to know what will work for your baby. Instead of buying one of each (bouncer, swing, rock ‘n play, etc) it is best to try one at a time if a need arises and see how little you can manage with.

  • Love these suggestions. I BEG my friends to not open the gifts and not buy anything until at least after all the family and friends give gifts – especially for the first kid. Awesome sauce.

  • Elise says:

    I absolutely agree with #6. I was given so many things for my first baby, and ended up using very little. In fact, I’ve given all but the stroller away.

    Interestingly, the bumbo, which my sister-in law lent us, was the one thing I felt I couldn’t live without. I haven’t had time to look for one yet, but I’ve seen them at yard sales and on craigslist for an average of $10, so I’m hoping to have one by the time LO is old enough to use it. 🙂

  • Caren says:

    We found that borrowing a lot of the big gear was extremely practical! Most babies don’t wear out items (although my 4th baby literally broke our bouncy seat). But, we borrowed things like a Bumbo, high chair, and exersaucer. It worked well and I didn’t have to buy them! My friends were happy to lend items b/c they know I take care of things.

  • elizabeth says:

    Great post! Totally agree about not opening items until necessary. Something that has been helpful to me is keeping an ear open for people who are looking to get rid of baby items. This got me a ton of free stuff when #3 came along. Some was really kinky, but other stuff was like new, especially after a scrubbing. I always pass the stuff along when I’m done. In that way, the circle is unbroken! I have gotten a lot of things from ‘friends of friends,’ and often the items have been given to them freely as well. Anything I don’t want I pass along. In fact, when a young cashier at my local store had an unplanned pregnancy, I was able to really help her out with major items, at no cost to my family. I just requested that she pass it along when she was done.

  • Jen says:

    I am expecting #4. The things I really use are my pack and play w/ bassinet option on it, car seat, baby swing and a baby seat. Thats it. No fancy wipe warmers or toys. They just take up room. The baby naps in the baby seat or swing during the day. We don’t find out gender so I buy 2 boy outfits, 2 girl ones (whatever we don’t have goes in gift bin) and I buy white stretchy blankets, white socks and white onesies. If I need more clothes later my husband gets a few or I order online.

  • Living So Abundantly says:

    Also, tape the receipt to the box or package of diapers. We had to return a lot of newborn diapers, because my baby boy was a big boy and only wore newborn diapers for 2 weeks. Our Walmart did take packages of diapers without receipts, but CVS would not take them back without one(diapers purchased at a later time).

    Take advantage of the gift card deals available. I was able to get a $20 gift card for Target just for making a baby registry and a $10 gift card for Baby’s ‘R Us.

    Ask your friends about their experiences. We are in need of a double stroller and didn’t know which kind would work well. I simply put something like: Parents–what double stroller did you use? Would you recommend it or not? Why? GO! We had so many comments on that post with things we never thought of, and because of the practical comments of parents who had already been there, done that, we knew what would work best for us. We then went to Baby’s ‘R Us, where they let you try out the stroller. Not only did they let us try it out, the sales associate let us see if it would fit in our trunk(A MUST!). It did. We didn’t purchase it, but we simply put it on the registry. We will price match and take advantage of the 10% off if no one gets it for us.

    I loved the tips above. =)

  • Jill says:

    I think every family is different for sure as to what is a need vs want. I have 4 boys. My first 2 were preemie twins and slept upright in their bouncy seats for the first two mths of their lives due to really bad reflux-so obviously I needed two of those! I just had boy #4 ten weeks ago and we live in a two story house (bedrooms upstairs) he hangs out in a Moses basket which sets on a stand in our living room during the day-this wouldn’t be an essential for most people, but for us it is. If I put him on the floor his almost 4yr old brothers and 2yr old brother would run him over! I also never used a baby sling until this baby, now w 4 boys under 4 yrs old, I need all the help I can get w freeing up my arms for other tasks!

  • karen says:

    Breastfeed.

    It’s cheap. It’s easier than cleaning bottles. And once you get practiced, it’s very calming.

    I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s well worth trying for a few weeks, which is long enough to know if it’s the right choice for you.

    • Amanda says:

      I really agree with this. Your baby’s food is also always warm and ready to go, as long as you’re together, even if you forget the diaper bag

      If you work, talk to your health insurance provider about getting a breast pump covered, too. It’s very possible to keep nursing once you go back to work. Try to connect with other nursing/pumping moms, because having that support often means the difference between a successful nursing relationship, and having it all fall apart within a few weeks.

      We also used cloth diapers, which are definitely easier to use than you might guess.

      • Natalie F says:

        Agree completely. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover the pump, it is still cheaper to purchase a good pump and avoid formula.

    • Breastfeeding definitely saved us a lot of money! I have a Lansinoh breast pump and it was under $100. I used it a lot and when the motor died, the company overnighted me a new one for free.

  • Rachel says:

    Resist the urge (especially with a first baby) to buy gender-specific gear. Clothing is one thing, but you’ll regret the pink infant carseat, pink infant carrier, pink sheets, pink bumpers, etc. when the second baby is a boy.

  • august says:

    I’m so proud of how we managed to have a fantastic nursery for a fraction of the cost because of money saving strategies.

    I’m due today (still a no show, but fingers are crossed) and can say that we covered everything our son will need (including cloth diapers until he’s potty trained) for under $700. We were blessed to be gifted a custom nursery (décor) from my parents and a dresser from my husband’s boss, but other than that, we handled everything else. There’s really no need to go crazy. Our nursery looks like something out of a magazine if I do say so my self, and the fact that we paid for everything on a poverty level income with an almost 4 year old proves that it can be done. You just have to be willing to DIY and get creative!

  • Mel says:

    Thank you savvy bump blog for the recent amazon diaper deal. :whee:

  • Mary says:

    Is Target now price matching online prices? I am interested in price matching a breast pump from Amazon so that I can buy it with a Target gift card.

  • Colleen says:

    #3 is the hardest! When I was nesting, I just wanted to fold up all of his little baby clothes and put them away. Then we spent the first 6 weeks in the hospital and ended up only actually wearing a few outfits and with a New England winter, those were the fleece sleep sacks. Lesson learned – baby #2 will have a lot of brand new, never worn clothes!

  • Ashley P says:

    Make friends with moms who have older kids! I can’t tell you how many second-hand maternity clothes, baby clothes, and baby gear I got for free from people who didn’t need them anymore.

    I got my bassinet free because my niece outgrew it. My brother-in-law sent me the swing and bouncy seat my nephew had outgrown. My aunt gave us a playpen that she had used when she was babysitting. She didn’t babysit for long, so the playpen was practically brand new. An old school friend that I had friended on Facebook gave me a bottle warmer, wipe warmer, hooded towels and bottles of lotion. A lot of parents with kids only a little older than mine gave me diapers that didn’t fit their babies anymore.

    Bags, and bags and BAGS of clothes! Everything from Newborn to 3 years! And this was all stuff we got OUTSIDE of the shower.

    When I’m done having kids, I’ll be passing their stuff on to other families that need it and keep the cycle going! 🙂

  • My favorite ways to save: I’m trading stuff around a LOT with my siblings who are also in the middle of having kids–every couple months I box up stuff to send to one sister and pick up a couple from another sister. As kids are added onto the end, things trickle back to the original owners. We each add some new items and throw out items that are worn out.

    Don’t be afraid to re-gift. I really appreciate all the gifts we received, but some of them are being appreciated by passing along to another new mother.

  • ShoppingFool says:

    I did(and still do now) shop for my kids outfits(though not most of their picture outfits, one new one a year doesn’t hurt!) through church consignment sales. I consign in or just shop at about 4 different ones that I find good quality gently used items in the ranges I need twice a year. New baby clothes were almost always a waste for us, they grow so quickly!

    As far as personal preference(and this is me rattling on..lol) a bumbo was a requirement with my second. She was developmentally behind due to a set of large reconstructive surgeries. She didn’t walk until about 13-15 months, could barely crawl by one year, etc etc. Thankfully a friend loaned us hers to get us through, because we would have been miserable without it. We also ended up using two other toys that helped hold her upright as well, huge space suckers, but given her special needs and the joy she got from them, they were so worth it to us. 🙂

  • Claire says:

    I am lucky to have 5 older siblings who are, for the most part, done having kids. They’ve been handing us all their baby stuff, so I have yet to buy anything! We got a free crib, bouncer, swing, cradle, porta-crib, and quite a few gently used outfits.
    If you know someone who has an older baby who would lend you some of these items–your baby won’t need them forever!–then you can avoid buying them AND avoid storing them when your child grows out of them. Lots of moms are happy to hand-down or lend their baby gadgets. Or, in my case, my sisters just wanted to get rid of some unusable stuff that had been cluttering up their house.

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