You just found out you are pregnant, CONGRATS! Now what? You realize that there is just one thing after another that a baby needs but how to pay for it all? Here are my tips to save money on baby.
My TOP Tip for saving money with a baby is breastfeeding. No wasting anything, no cleaning anything. Even after breast pads (which Udder Covers sells a variety of reusable ones), cream, and a nursing cover (FREE Nursing Cover from Udder Covers with code BABYSAVINGS, just pay S&H), you still pay less than formula. If you need to pump, go through your insurance to get one. A law was just passed so you should be able to get a hospital grade quality pump completely free! Having supply issues? Try this Supply Boosting Cookie Recipe.
Although I am a very strong breastfeeding advocate, I do realize that it's not for everyone and sometimes you need to supplement and formula is expensive. Here are some well known formula makers, that you can sign up for email updates, along with money saving coupons and checks, they will sometimes send you samples. :)
2. Cloth Diaper
Okay I am going to be honest. I never cloth diapered. I did see a ton of benefits, except the extra laundry which meant more of my time. And being a full time mom, plus taking care of my friend's daughter, AND now being a Professional Blogger, I feel my time is valuable. Now I am NOT saying that people who cloth diaper don't value their time. This is just the reason I didn't BUT saying all that, I am seriously considering it with my next baby.
The up front cost is what is so hard to swallow. My friend found this site called Alvababy.com that sells cloth diapers for $5!!!
Now, again, I understand that clothing diapering isn't for everyone, so I suggest looking into the following retailers for possible coupons or samples. Also there are a TON of printable coupons online as well.
Huggies, Pampers (save points through their Gifts To Grow program and get cool stuff, like FREE Shutterfly products). Thing to remember when buying diapers is, the bigger the diaper, the fewer in the package, so make absolutely sure before you move up a size. And remember nothing is wrong with store brand, test them out, they may work for you. And if you are couponing, buy in BULK. Tape the receipt to the box, so you can exchange them if need be.
3. Make Your OWN Baby Food
I made about half of Sweet Pea's baby food. I had a food processor that got shocked during a lightning storm, even though we have surge protectors. PLUS I found jar baby food to be easier when we were on the go. But of course even that didn't make the task any easier. Invest in a good food processor and you're good to go. Make a TON and then freeze it.
Not into Homemade Baby Food? I signed up with Beechnut (who send you a welcome package for what ever stage your child enters) and Earth's Best. I also contacted HappyBaby who sent me free samples and coupons to try their products. Of course I love Buddy Fruits as well. Look in to ingredients with whatever baby food you choose.
4. Make Your OWN Baby Clothes
Okay I never did this, but I LOVE Pinterest and look at the most adorable things I have found:
Turn Old T-Shirts into Baby Sacks
Old Shirts into Dress
No Sew Onesie Make-Over
Those are just some ideas. You can also cut old onesies, hem it, and make them into shirts. Also look into garment extenders. There also a TON of online sites I love that sell baby clothes really cheap, including: Totsy, ThredUp (like new, used clothes), Zulily, and WittleBee. Another great way to save money on baby clothes is to shop consignment shops or yard sales. My mother-in-law did this for us. Our crib AND changing table were practically new and she only paid $150 for both! So deals are to be had and don't be afraid to haggle. Also there are some online sites where you can exchange stuff, like TheBump's Swap Spot board, SwapMamas.com, there are multiple Facebook groups, or if you feel like risking it, Craig's List. I have had a lot of luck with TheBump and SwapMamas! ALSO, don't snub your nose at sales racks. There is nothing wrong with your baby wearing last year's fashion when you are on a budget!
5. Everything Can Be a Toy
Boxes, pots, and pans; OH MY! My daughters FAVORITE toys are not the ones we intended for her. Although she loves her Sophie the Giraffe, is that a practical toy for the mom and dad who are on a budget to buy? Not really. Pans with plastic spoons are musical instruments. I also love Coffee mate containers filled with dry beans. They are BPA-free and make a great rattle!
6. Baby Gear is Expensive
Free is nice, but there are some things that are just going to be expensive because safety is more valuable in the long run. Car Seats are something you should NOT get used because you don't know if it was in a car accident. And even cheap ones can run between $60 to $100. If you don't get one as a baby shower gift, just remember, even the cheap ones have to meet the same standards according to government regulation as the higher end ones. You can read more about Car Seat Safety HERE.
7. Don't Waste Money on NON-Essentials
Poor new, first time parents. We fall for the gimmicks left and right of things we MUST register for and buy to have everything ready for baby. I have found that a diaper changing pad on top of a dresser, can not only save money but also save space. And don't buy expensive crib bedding sets, the Consumer Product Safety Administration AND the American Academy of Pediatrics advise against thick comforters and crib bumpers. So why are they still sold like that? Beats me. But all you need is a fitted sheet and a thin blanket. You also don't NEED a wipe warmer either. Be practical and do your research. Don't register for it but if you get it as a gift just say, "Thank You". And just ask for the gift receipt later. :D