When I had my son 10 years ago I had NO idea how much baby stuff was or what was even needed. I paid full price for items, bought things I never used and didn’t need, and so on. I had no one showing me how to save money or what was really needed and as a teen mom and then single parent, it would have come in handy and would have saved me a lot of money to know this stuff. I always hear people talk about how expensive babies are and with my son I believed it, but when I had my daughter 3 years ago I knew a little better and with #3 on the way I know a lot better. In this post I’ll be sharing some tips on how to survive having a baby without breaking the bank. I’m finding that the older I get, the cheaper I get. I’m always looking for the best deal available before I buy something so that I can save some money and give our family extra money for other things we may want, for trips we want to take, or because some paychecks are just tight!
Facebook is an amazing tool. I am in several local moms groups on Facebook and yard/garage sale groups. If you go up to your search bar you can type in something like “Denver Moms Group” or “Denver Yard Sale” (change it to your city). Once you join one group you can ask if there are any others and usually they will provide you with a list of other groups to join if there is more then one available. I’ve been able to not only connect with local moms, but I’ve been able to sell some of the toddlers outgrown clothes and toys in those groups and that extra money helps to fund new clothes she will need.
Diapers – Now they can get pricey, but they aren’t as bad as people make it out to be. I’ve never tried cloth diapering and I’m not sure that it’s for me, but it’s a GREAT way to save money and you can use those facebook groups I talked about above to try and score some cheap ones and when your little one is done you can sell them again. If you’re not into cloth diapering that’s totally fine. There are plenty of ways to save on disposable diapers, coupons being the main way. There are lots of coupon blogs out there and they all give you the 101 on couponing and even break down how to use them and get good deals. I’m always seeing great deals on diapers and now that I’m getting further a long in my pregnancy I am going to start taking full advantage of all those diaper coupons and deals. Amazon mom is another great way to save on diapers. If you have an Amazon Prime account then Amazon Mom comes free with it, you just need to activate it. Amazon prime will run you $80 for the year, but I swear it’s the best thing ever. We are always shopping on Amazon and with Amazon mom you get 20% off diapers and free shipping, plus from time to time Amazon has coupons for diapers for up to $2 off. With a baby this can come in handy since the diapers come right to your door and you don’t need to take baby to the store, buy the diapers, and lug everything into the house.
Amazon Mom/Amazon Prime – I just talked about Amazon Mom for diapers, but it comes in handy with so much more than diapers. You can buy almost anything off amazon and sometimes it’s even cheaper than going to the store, plus you’ll get free 2 day shipping. I can’t say enough good things about Amazon Prime and we use it several times a month so it really comes in handy for our family. They also have a subscribe and save option which allows you to auto order baby necessities like diapers, soaps, ect and you save an extra % in the process. There is no need to remember to buy something or go to the store and if you don’t need something one month you can just skip that months delivery. Plus Amazon Mom has special offers for members and savings discounts on all kinds of baby items. I’ve been using it to order baby items and have noticed it’s cheaper than going to the big box stores a lot of the time or right around the same price.
Feeding – Breast milk is the cheapest way to feed baby since it’s free, but not everyone can do that. If you can breastfeed it’s a great way to save money and it’s best for baby. Breastfeeding is a lot of work and can be hard, but thankfully your insurance company should cover the cost of your breast pump and if you need help with lactation support. Formula is just like diapers, it’s a must have if you chose not to breastfeed or can’t and it can get pricey, BUT if you watch sales and coupons, it’s a lot more affordable. Plus, most formula companies allow you to sign up to receive coupons and they send them out every couple weeks or months. Also check those moms groups on facebook, a lot of times moms give away the coupons they don’t need or they sell formula they’re no longer using. When it comes time for baby to eat solids, making your baby food is the most affordable thing and you know baby is getting the best since you’re making it. Buy seasonal fruits and veggies since they’re cheaper and then make everything in big batches and freeze them in ice cube trays. Then all you need to do is take out a cube and toss it in the microwave or let it defrost and baby has cheap, but healthy food.
Clothes/Shoes – We all want our kids to look their best and want name brand things, and trust me, it can get expensive! When I found out I was having my daughter I started shopping like crazy and soon found myself complaining about how expensive everything was. Then I started shopping with coupons + sales and realized I could get so much more for so much less when I shopped like that and my daughter still had super cute outfits. The main thing I can suggest is buying out of season. At the end of a season, say summer, start buying that seasons clothes. Right now is the perfect time to buy summer stuff since it’s all going on clearance to make room for the fall clothing. Buy bigger sizes and always try to use a coupon if you can. Signing up for store newsletter can be annoying with all the emails they send, but the coupons they send can save you lots of $$ and you’ll know when they’re having a sale. Also take full advantage of Craigslist, eBay, consignment stores, hand me downs, and moms groups. A lot of moms sell their kids gently used clothes and if you don’t have a problem using them, they’re a great way to save money. When it all comes down to it, your child doesn’t need fancy clothes or name brand. The cheaper brands of clothing work just fine and they’ll never even notice. Sell outgrown items for money to use towards new items.
Baby Gear – Don’t listen to what people tell you. The only thing your babies needs is a place to sleep, car seat and stroller or baby carrier. Everything else is just extra and makes life a little easier, but it’s definitely not needed. All of these you can buy used, but I don’t recommend buying a used car seat. There are so many things to be cautious of like expiration dates and if the car seat has been in an accident, but if you are getting a car seat from a friend or family member you can trust, that can really come in handy. Also, don’t listen to all the hype about the expensive brands. Yes, they’re nicer and have better features, but the cheaper ones are put through the same safety tests and they all have to meet the same safety standards. The cheaper model will work just fine! Again, watch sales and use coupons when you can. Places like Babies R Us and Target have special baby events throughout the year where they have big sales on baby items and those are great times to buy!
Consignment Sales – Denver has something called Just between friends. I think it happens twice a year, but it’s a huge consignment sale where people go and sell their old baby/kid stuff. It’s a great way to save on baby items, clothes, and toys! I believe most cities have these types of sales once or twice a year, just do a google search to find one in your city. Another great tool is using freecycle.org or using the freecycle on yahoo and even trading with other moms.
Baby registries/Baby Showers – These are great way to get things for babies! Most stores have registries and they really come in handy. They allow you to let people know what baby items you need and what brands you prefer. Register for the basics like diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, and soaps. If you’re having a baby shower doing a diaper raffle is a great way to stock up on diapers. I did this with my daughter and her shower was small, but I still had enough diapers to last a few months and that really came in handy. How it works is you ask people to bring a pack of diapers and for each pack they bring they get a ticket into a raffle. We did a few gift cards for $10-15 to places like Starbucks and Target and then drew names from the tickets. It was a huge hit and I recommend it to anyone having a shower. Even if you’re not going to have a baby shower, make a baby registry. They send out special coupons a few weeks before your due date or right after and those coupons can be used on items you need or want for baby. (I know Target and Babies R’ Us does this).
Coupons – I’ve mentioned coupons a lot in this post and they are a great tool in saving money. Some great ways to get coupons are in the newspaper, magazines, signing up for stores/brands newsletters, trading with other moms, following your favorite brands on social media since they tend to post coupons on there, and emailing companies and asking for coupons. I’ve emailed companies and told them about a good or bad experience and a lot of times they respond by sending coupons!
I even asked my facebook followers on their tips for surviving baby on a budget and the main things said were – Stock up during sales, Coupons are your best friend, Consignment shopping and hand me downs are great things, and fancy/expensive baby items aren’t a must have! Check out the thread to see all the tips and leave some of your own!
Is there anything I’m missing? Anything you would like to know? What are some ways you survive having a baby on a budget?