You’ve spent months getting ready in anticipation of your little one’s arrival. While it has been fun preparing the nursery area, picking out those adorable infant outfits and stocking up on baby supplies, when you sit down to do your bills, you see a tidy amount of money has been spent even before your baby is born. You may wonder how taking care of such a little person can cost such big money.
After months waiting for your little bundle of joy to arrive he (or she!) is finally here, and all those supplies you’d stocked up on are put to good use – and fast! After what seems like only a few days, your first supply is depleted and you find yourself back in the baby aisles. If you are like most new parents, before you know it you’re drawn to all the sweet, hard to resist baby items, and your mind wanders back to all those credit card bills from your last shopping spree . . .
Having a new baby doesn’t need to equate to going into debt because there are many money saving ways you can use to help keep your monthly bills manageable. The key is to spend smart and think creatively. Here are a few money saving tips you can try:
*Avoid Impulse Purchases
Those outfits, toys and little footsie socks are endearing, but you don’t need that many sets. Babies quickly grow out of their clothes and its better to stick with a few select outfits during this early age. Your little one is too young to notice they are lacking in a full toy box. All you really need is a few age appropriate items. You can save considerable amounts of money by avoiding the toy aisles until your child is older and has definitive likes and dislikes in toys.
This is a very personal decision, but if you’re open to nursing, it has been well documented that breastfeeding is healthiest form of infant nutrition; it is just a bonus that its free. There are no formula, bottle or nipples to buy either which can get costly.
*Consider Store Brands
Often there is virtually no difference between generic vs. brand name products. Items such as wipes, soaps, shampoos and other miscellaneous items are a fraction of the price if you buy generic names. The only exception is perhaps diapers. In my experience some store brands are good, but many of them don’t keep baby dry overnight.
If you get a poor quality store brand diaper, you’ll spend more money in water and laundry detergent washing sheets, blankets and clothing. A way to save is to use store brand during the day and go with a brand name for overnights when diapers will be on for longer periods of time.
It is worth your while to invest some time in clipping coupons. Coupons can drastically slash costs on baby items, but the trick is to only purchase items you’ll use. Don’t buy items because it was a good deal if you don’t typically use the product.
*Mailing Lists and Freebies
Putting yourself on product mailing lists is a great way you can save money as a new parent. There are many freebies offered to new moms and dads in magazines (many free subscriptions are chock full of savings!), and you can also request them directly from the companies.
Baby supplies such as diapers, formula, foods, wipes, and anti-rash ointments are offered through samples or at drastic savings. Check your doctor’s office and the hospital; usually these offers are lying around waiting rooms waiting to be filled out.
*Hand me Downs
When others hear you’ve recently become new parents, they’re often anxious to share. You can save significant amounts of money by accepting their offers. When you accept hand me downs you can save a bundle on clothing and baby equipment; you can share with the next couple you know who is expecting.
*Shop Consignment or Thrift Shops
Some items you’ll probably want new, but a great deal of savings can be had by buying certain items second hand. Most stores only accept gently used items for resale and you can buy quality items at low prices. As a additional benefit, with consignments you can even sell items back when you’re baby no longer needs them.
This is my personal favorite way to save. The trick in buying clearance is to plan ahead and buy off-season when stores are preparing for their new seasonal items to arrive. It is during this time stores place the old stock on clearance. Our baby recently turned a year old and we already have a full wardrobe which will last her until her 2nd birthday for a fraction of the cost. Many of these outfits we purchased cost as little as two or three dollars.
Baby expenses can get costly, but they don’t have to empty your bank account. As a new parent there are a lot of things to learn and saving money on baby goodies is just another learning curve. Finding good deals are great fun and your pocketbook will thank you for making the effort.