Many couples believe that they have to wait to have children until they can afford them. But the truth is children don’t have to be expensive. This past year I have saved thousands of dollars on baby costs, and you can too!
Chances are you know someone who has recently had a baby. Ask them if they are willing to let you borrow some of their baby items.
I have a very generous sister-in-law who let me borrow her baby swing, Bumbo Seat*, and several toys. My son only used the swing for a few months, but I was thankful to be able to use it. And the great thing about it was that I didn’t have to find a place in storage to keep the items that we borrowed!
2. Accept Hand-Me-Downs
When you have a baby, many times people will gladly give you baby items that they no longer need. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to accept second-hand baby gear. I was given a couple of bags of hand-me-down clothes from a family friend. Although I had to discard about half of the clothes that were worn out or stained, there was a bag of clothes left that came in handy.
We were also given a crib from some friends who wanted to get rid of theirs before they moved. We gladly accepted it. All the crib needed was a good cleaning and a little paint to look brand new!
3. Re-purpose What You Already Have
I only spent $20 on a gallon of paint for my son’s nursery, yet it is decorated in a cute Nautical theme. The crib was free as I mentioned above, my husband’s old dresser worked great as a dresser and changing station, and put our recliner in his room instead of buying a rocking chair or glider. For the decor on the walls I used craft supplies that I already had.
4. Buy Second Hand Clothes
Every once in awhile I will score a great deal on a clearance rack for baby clothes at department stores, but most of the time baby clothes are just as expensive as adult clothes which is money down the drain since they grow out of the clothes so fast.
My favorite place to shop for baby clothes is children’s consignment stores. These stores will often carry quality merchandise versus thrift stores that take whatever is donated.
Look up local children’s retail stores in your area or ask a friend with kids if she knows of any children’s consignment stores. I was surprised at how many stores are located near me that I had never noticed before. Many of these stores offer loyalty programs where after a certain number of purchases you receive a discount.
If you would like to hear about more ways to save on clothes, you can read four ways I save on toddler clothes.
5. Say “NO”
When you have a baby, you are bombarded with advertisements, family, and friends telling you what your baby needs to be happy. The truth is they don’t need many of these items! A baby needs love, nutrition, clothes, and a place to sleep. The rest really is extra.
Decide what items you want to spend your money on, and stand your ground. Don’t buy an item just because someone else thinks your baby needs it.
6. Buy Store Brand
You may have to shop around before you find a store brand that you like for a particular item. I discovered that Target will discount their jumbo box of wipes by 20% making them very inexpensive. Plus I like their wipes better than even the name brand wipes. Also, I used Purex Baby Laundry Detergent* instead of spending big bucks on Dreft Baby Laundry Detergent*.
However, be careful with store brand diapers. I have tried diapers from Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie, Dollar General, and Publix. None of them are great, but the store brand that I liked the most are Walmart.
Fortunately, I haven’t had to buy store brand diapers since my son turned one. I finally caught on to the cycle of diaper sales at our local grocery store, and am able to purchase name brand diapers like Huggies and Luvs for much cheaper than store brand diapers. Check out how my friend Kristen purchased over 2,000 diapers for less than $50! She continues to get great deals on diapers by shopping sales and using coupons.
Another way to save on diapers is to sign up for an Amazon Prime Subscription*. When you do this, you automatically save 20% on diapers and get free shipping.
You can save thousands of dollars by simply breastfeeding instead of using formula. It is hard work especially the first couple of months. But if you stick with it, breastfeeding gets so much easier and is actually pretty convenient. No washing bottles, no preparing formula, no checking sales for formula, or cutting coupons. If you want further help, check out my 8 practical tips for successful breastfeeding.
8. DIY Baby Food
Pre-made baby food can add up really fast! You can save a lot of money by simply making your own baby food and mashing up soft foods like avocados and bananas.
I started feeding my son baby food at 6 months. Most of the food that he ate was food that I made by following these recipes from Tip Junkie. By 9 months he started eating table food, and I no longer had to make baby food. For more ideas, read my easy and simple meal ideas for a one year old.
9. Sign Up for Baby Clubs
There are so many stores and brands that offer exclusive saving for parents with babies! I love the baby club coupons that I receive once a month from the local grocery store, Winn-Dixie. They are coupons for items like diapers and wipes and meat and other foods. I also signed up for the baby club at Publix (another local grocery store) and Pampers Rewards. I earned enough points through Pampers Rewards that I was able to order one of my son’s Christmas gifts for free!
10. Get Creative
Just because an item is labeled “baby” doesn’t mean you have to use it. These are some ways I got creative and saved money.
- Have you read my alternatives to prepackaged baby snacks? I never had to buy puff cereal or yogurt melts because I came up with my own snacks that were much more cost effective.
- It is easy to spend hundreds of dollars on professional photos of your baby, especially during the newborn stage when you want to capture pictures of your tiny baby. But you don’t have to spend that much to get quality photos. I took my son to JCPenny to get his photos taken and only spent $20 because of their great sales and promotions.
- The gifts that you give your baby don’t have to be over the top expensive. For Christmas, my son received one toy from us because he already had so many, and the rest of his gifts were clothes that he needed. We also kept his Easter basket simple, but he still loved it!
- Instead of buying new changing pad covers, I used pillow cases that we weren’t using and that matched the colors of his bedroom.