• Thu, Apr 12 2007

25 Ways to Save Money with a Baby

baby stuff1)  Check consignment stores or thrift stores for maternity clothes.  One day I saw a bunch of nice maternity clothes at Good Will.  Check your local store a few times as donations will come in regularly.  Also, see if you can borrow some from a friend.  You probably won’t wear them that long anyway.  Another place to look is ebay.

2)  Register for your shower.  People will be more likely to get you what you need.  Also, if you are registered at Target, they have a more flexible return policy.

3)  Nurse if you possibly can.  Formulas can cost a lot of money.  If you’re lucky, formula will cost about $1200-$1400 a year.  If you child has colic or some other tummy problems, the more expensive formulas could cost double that amount.

4)  Check the consignment store for breastpumps.  The consignment store where I shop usually has a nice Medela single or double breastpump for sale.  You’re going to sterilize a new one or used one anyway, so get the used one and save $100 or more.

5)  Find out where you can get free breastfeeding advice.  Some hospitals have a free lactation center and others have lactation nurses that will call and check up on you.  You could also check with your local La Leche group for help.  Finding support is important if you want to continue breastfeeding.

6)  Don’t rush out and spend lots of money on a breastfeeding wardrobe.  More than likely you’ll spend the first two weeks inside resting and breastfeeding anyway.  After that time you can see what your needs really are.  Many times we overestimate what we’ll need and we buy too much.

7)  Don’t worry about brand names.  Wal-Mart and Target have come out with some cute lines of clothing.  You don’t have to have the most expensive name brands.

8)  Accept hand-me-downs.  Don’t give people the idea that you’re too good to take second hand stuff. 

9)  Be sure and tell people how much you appreciate the things they’ve passed down to you.  If you don’t seem thankful, then they may find someone else to give their stuff to.

10)  Shop thrift stores, consignment stores, and yard sales for baby clothes, baby equipment, bottles, toys, and more.  I can’t say that one enough.  Two weeks ago I was at a yard sale and picked up some Avent bottles for 25 cents each!  I don’t have any babies, but we have some friends that use these bottles with their baby.  I spent just a few dollars and they will be happy to get the extra bottles. 

I think this picture speaks volumes about why you should shop at consignment stores.  :)

consignment store

11)  Buy some neutral things so that they can be used by your next baby, no matter the gender.  I have been saving a lot of my daughter’s jeans and denim overalls for my son. 

12)  Make your own baby food.  Parents.com has some recipes to get you started.

13)  Only buy what you need.  There are so many gadgets and products on the market.  Many of these items are unnecessary.  Talk to some of your friends and find out what their favorites are and why.

14)  Say “Yes!” if your doctor asks if you want to be added to a mailing list.  You will get lots of freebies in the mail.

15)  Keep those samples of formula the doctor gives you or that you get in the mail.  Even if you plan on breastfeeding, you might still need them.

16)  Visit websites and get put on their mailing list.  I did this with some formula and diaper companies.  They will sometimes send free samples and coupons.

17)  Before leaving the hospital, make sure they give you your free stuff.  Usually Similac or Enfamil provides hospitals with a diaper bag full of goodies for all new moms.  Inside, you will usually find diaper cream, lotion, coupons, and all sorts of great things.

18)  Forget about buying expensive shoes until baby can walk.  Unless your baby can walk, there really is no need to buy the $35 shoes.  All your baby needs is some socks or booties. If you want your baby to have on shoes, then go for the less expensive pair or a pair from the consignment store.  More than likely, your baby will kick them off anyway and you certainly don’t need the more expensive ones since your baby won’t be walking.

19)  Set up a photo website, email pictures, or make photo cds for everyone.  Making copies of photos can be really expensive.  I learned that lesson early.  Now I email pictures of the kids.  It’s less expensive and everyone gets regular updates.   Family members and friends can print off their favorites or save them to a cd.  About once a year, I make a photo cd for the grandparents.  Speaking of which, it’s time to do that again!

20)  Test drive a stroller before you buy it.  This one saved us at least $200.  My husband and I thought we would need a double stroller.  Thankfully, we test drove them around the baby store and realized how difficult and awkward they were.  Plus, I don’t think it would have fit very well in our van.

21)  Use cloth diapers.  Cloth diapers aren’t what they used to be.  Cloth diapers now come with elastic legs and snaps or velcro closures.  You can even buy them used or new on ebay.

22)  Make your own baby wipes.  Here’s my post on how to make them.

23)  Use bibs!  I am a firm believer in the use of bibs.  Bibs will save you money since you won’t be ruining good clothes and they will save you money because you won’t be washing clothes so much.  When my kids eat spaghetti, I usually take off their shirt.  It seems spaghetti always gets everywhere.  Another alternative to bibs is to buy larger shirts at a yard sale.  Put the oversized shirts on your baby when he eats.  You will get more coverage that way.

24)  Try out generic diapers and see which ones work for you.  Some people say generic diapers didn’t work for their children, but I’ve never had any problems with my two kids.  I’ve tried Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, Food Lion, Sam’s, and more.  Never any problems.  I think it depends on the child.  Give them a try and if they don’t work then take them back to the store.  Most store brands have a guarantee statement printed on the package.

25)  Shop the clearance rack frequently.  I once got a $100 stroller at Target for $22.

Well, there are the 25 ways I could think of.  That’s certainly not every way to save money with a baby.  Perhaps one day in the future I could post another 25 ways to save.  Do you have any ways that you save on money on your baby?  Let us know!

Images from morrisons.co.uk, tgtbt.com.

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  • http://ourfamilyporch.blogspot.com/ Revka

    I love shopping at thrift and consignment stores! It’s amazing what you will find.

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com kellys

    I too love thrift stores and consignment stores. I save so much money!

    I want to go to that store :)

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  • http://EverydayDisasters.com Christine

    All I could think on reading this list was that you don’t save money with a baby – you just spend less. & just wait until they get older. (I liked homemade wipes, too bad I’m past that stage.)

  • http://awesomemom.blogspot.com/ Awesome Mom

    Ebay is cracking down on people who try and sell used cloth diapers. Diaperswappers.com is a great place to find them used.

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com Karen

    Awesome Mom: I didn’t know ebay was cracking down on used diapers. If you state in the auction that they’re used, I don’t see what the problem would be. Thanks for the info.

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  • mandamum

    Some breastpumps, like the Medela kind meant to be used by only one user, cannot be completely sterilized because the pump motor is not completely sealed off from the rest (like it is in hospital-grade pumps meant to be used by several users). They are also built to last for one user. So buying these used may expose you to germs, even if you sterilize the parts that come off (or buy a new set) and may leave you with a pump that breaks down sooner. Just a caveat. HOWEVER, some insurance plans will cover a pump rental or purchase–check into yours, if you need a pump! Or consider manual expression–no pump necessary.

    –Amanda

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com Karen

    Amanda, Thanks for commenting. My concern is that if a Medela pump can expose another breast pump user to germs, then that means it can expose a single user to bacteria too.

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com kellys

    Amanda –

    I loved my Medela double breast pump and hope it lasts through all my kids.

  • Shell

    I got my Medella Double Breast Pump at a consignment shop…couldn’t pass it up at $200 off the shelf price of the pump alone. Plus it came with every accessory that you could buy for it. I sterilized everything and bought new tubing.

    I have read a lot on this and there are a lot of negative statements from Medella about “sharing.” HOWEVER, further research showed that there were no reported cases of anything ever happinging from sharing a breast pump.

    The only downside which was presented by the lactation specialist at the hospital was that you don’t know how much time is on the motor so you don’t know how long it will last, also it isn’t covered under Medella’s warranty so if it breaks down after three uses you are out of luck, unless your consignment shop offers a guarantee, which mine did.

    I haven’t had the baby yet, but I will let you know if there are any negative consequences.

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  • Frugal Living

    These tips are very useful.I’ll always go for shopping in thrift stores only and keep these things in mind whenever I’ll Shopping for my baby.Thanks for the post.