So you’re expecting? Congratulations! A new baby is an exciting event in one’s life (how’s that for understatement of the year!). In preparing for the little one’s arrival you’ll start to think of all of the things you are going to need for the baby as well as the costs! But it doesn’t have to always be expensive.
Here are 9 ways to save on baby costs:
1) Shop at wholesale stores
Places like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club will be your friend when it comes to shopping for your baby. We love the big boxes of diapers and wipes that we get at BJ’s. They also have great deals on car seats and strollers from time to time. Do your homework on what you expect prices to be of course, but we find that things like diapers are always worth getting at a wholesale store.
2) Reach out to friends, family, and co-workers
If you know anyone else who had a baby before you then talk to them about what they have. Not only can they give you some practical advice on what they bought but odds are they have a ton of stuff that’s relatively new that they would be happy to give you! Baby stuff takes up space and parents love to clear out the clutter. We’ve gotten tons of clothes (it’s great when you can be clothing kids close to free), toys, bassinet, high chair, swing, and much more from friends and family. Sometimes it was to keep while others said just give it back when we’re done. Understand that many items will be used for a baby for a few weeks or months and will still be like new! Heck, there was a time when we had to rush to put our little guy in clothes before he outgrew them. Seriously, reach out to friends, family, and co-workers!
3) Check Craigslist and local Mommy forums for toys and furniture
Remember my point above about parents wanting to get rid of clutter? Same idea here. A parent buys X for their baby, uses it for a couple of months, and now it sits in the garage practically new. We picked up a huge toy chest for $25 that originally cost about $75. It looked like new and the Mom was more than happy to have us take it off her hands. Bargains like that are all over the place! You want to be careful with something like a crib or anything that the baby would be supported in to make sure it’s fully intact and has all the parts. Safety first! Bargains second! (Car seats may not be a good idea to get used as they wear out over time).
This one is a personal choice for sure. But by breastfeeding you don’t have to buy formula! Plus it’s natural and better for your baby. But what about a pump? First, you may not need one, it depends on your situation. Second, you could rent them out if needed or possibly you may have a friend that doesn’t need theirs anymore. My wife bought her pump when her daughter was born. It was well worth the money as it was used for our son and will be used for the little one on the way.
5) Set Up a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
If your employer has this option you can set up flexible spending money to be taken out of your paycheck pre-tax for child care expenses. If you already have a plan but re having an additional child you can make flexible spending account changes to account for costs on the additional child. You then apply with a receipt to get the money back. The benefit here is this money isn’t taxed! The limit is $5000/year when I last checked. That’s a lot to not be taxed.
6) Set up Health Care Flexible Spending Account
Same idea as dependent care but this can be used for things such as prescription medication and doctor’s visit co-pays. Check with your employer for the contribution limit.
7) Set up a 529 plan for the little one
A 529 plan doesn’t only save for college in the future. Many states offer tax benefits now for money you contribute to a 529 plan.
8 ) Sign up for a baby registry
I’ve heard parents-to-be say that they don’t want a baby shower; that they don’t like the idea of a registry. But the truth is this is one even in your life that people genuinely want to help you start off on the right foot and want to contribute to your child’s well-being! You don’t know who may be planning a surprise shower for you or who wants to send you a gift. One thing they’ll ask about is a registry to get you something you need. You don’t have to get a baby registry. But it could also leave with a TON of onesies, bibs, and clothes as gifts rather than items you really need (nothing wrong with onesies, bibs, and clothes, but there comes a point where it too much). Maybe your aunts and uncles will chip in to get you a crib? Perhaps your college roommates will get together to buy you a car seat? You don’t know! Give them the option. Also, most places that have a registry make it very easy to return gifts. You’re going to find that you have extras you don’t need or items you thought you needed but don’t use. We had a registry and were still fortunate to get two car seats! We returned many a bib that we never used too.
9) Check product forums and sites like Amazon for reviews
If I’m making a big purchase I scour the web for product reviews! I want to know what everyone is saying. I’ll try to get as much information as I can. I want to know the pros and cons of an item from people who are not salespeople in the store. There are a ton of choices out there for expecting parents and it can be a daunting task trying to figure out what is best. Do your research! You may find that for some items spending a little more will save you in the long run. I’m thinking about products like strollers which take a lot of abuse. Amazon Bonus: They now have a program called Amazon Mom that offers discounts and free Amazon Prime for a time.