A new baby can cost a lot of money. But, sometimes we think we need more than we actually do. Truth is, babies don’t need that much. They need milk, sleep, cuddles and love. That’s pretty much it. If you can give them those 4 things their first year, you’ll be golden.
So when adding items to your baby registry and figuring out what you should purchase yourself, keep these simple things in mind. It could save you hundreds, if not a few thousand.
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Table of Contents
1. Ask for samples at the hospital & pediatricians office
Many brands know that if they are one of the first brands a new mom uses, she’s likely to stick with that brand for the long run. This means that lots of brands offer a bunch of samples as “gifts” for new moms in the hospital.
Take advantage of this. Simply tell the nurse that you want to try as many different types of products as possible and was hoping for samples. You can do this every time your at the doctors for all those well baby checks.
Of course, you have no obligation to stick with those brands once the samples are gone.
2. Use cloth diapers
I use a combo of cloth diapers and disposables. Cloth diapers are actually really easy, and I personally think a lot of people make them sound way more complicated then they are. We use these ones which are pretty inexpensive compared to others. They work great for us, and are rated well by others too. I did grab an extra set of bamboo inserts, which definitely come in handy as they get older.
In our house, we don’t have any fancy routine with our cloth diapers. I originally bought a sprayer that connects to the toilet, but never actually used it. When they poop in the diaper, it gets taken apart and tossed into the wet/dry diaper bag, and washed once the bag is full. I don’t want to deal with cloth diapers outside of the house though, so we use disposables for outings.
The best part is, if you have more babies, the savings keep on going.
3. Get disposables at the best price
If your buying diapers at full price, your missing out on savings. Nearly all major brands have constant coupons year long. I can always find 2 dollars off coupons on Huggies and Pampers. Many stores offer these as in store or digital coupons too.
A great way to save on diapers is through Amazon Family. If you have prime, you can sign up for it for free. You get 20% off of diapers. I buy our diapers through amazon, and I like that you can see the cost per diaper. For me, the standard price per diaper is about 19 cents. (Give or take depending on size.) But you should never be paying more than that. (They actually have name brands for quite a bit cheaper than this.)
You’ll save even more with Amazon if you hit the subscription button. The neat thing is you can order it with the subscription button, and go back and cancel the subscription after you pay for it if you like. (Totally recommend this, in case the price changes and you want to go with a different brand.
4. Ask for hand me downs
When your friends and family ask what you want for the new baby its perfectly ok to ask if they have any hand me downs they are willing to part with, or see if they know anyone who is looking to get rid of their baby stuff.
Often this is a win-win. Your loved ones want to help you during this exciting time, and this will save them from feeling like that have to get you a gift, and helps them to declutter items they are no longer using.
5. Check out local facebook groups for used items
There are quite a few baby items that are perfectly legit to buy used. Highchairs, strollers and bouncers are great to buy second hand. They usually hold up pretty well, and will cost a fraction of the price. (Never buy a car seat second hand. Too many unknowns and car seat saftey isn’t something to mess with.) Join the local “mom groups” or the “garage sale groups.” There are always loads of baby items available.
6. You don’t need a decked out nursery
Even though all those photos on Pinterest make nursery look so stinkin cute, you don’t need a fully loaded one. We had a room I set up as a nursery and we NEVER used it. Actually, I take that back. We did use it. It was a room to store all the baby stuff we didn’t end up using to get it out of our way, so we could actually had room to take care of our baby in the parts of the house we did use.
Since our babies have always slept in our room, it didn’t make sense to have a whole room dedicated to a baby who wasn’t even old enough to play in there.
7. Changing tables aren’t necessary
Buying a dedicated changing table is a waste of space and money. You can only use them for a few months, and then they are a not-so-funcitonal piece of furniture to deal with. Changing baby on the bed works just as well. So does the floor for that matter.
If you really want a specialized changing area, you can just get a changing pad and a pretty cover and put it on a low dresser. This makes it feel like you have a specialized changing table, but easily converted by simply removing the pad.
8. Breastfeed If Possible
Breastfeeding has many benefits. Finacial being one of them. Even when you factor in the cost of a breast pump and all the parts, it’s still loads cheaper than a year of formula.
This source estimates that it can cost an average $1,150 for a year’s worth of formula. This source estimates it can cost at lowest $815 for the cheapest formula, to upward of $3,000 for organic formula.
9. Save On A Breast Pump
Did you know that most insurance companies will cover a breast pump? Contact your insurance company and see which pumps they cover. You’ll need an order from your doctor or midwife, but that’s pretty much it. I got a $200 dollar pump for free.
If you don’t want to contact your insurance company directly, you can go through Babies R Us. I used the number on this page and spoke with them. They contacted my insurance company and kept me updated through email. It was great!
10. Try powdered Formula
If you are buying formula you’ll save a lot more by buing the powdered variety instead of the premade formula. Try contacting the different formula companies and see if they will give you coupons. This can be a great way to save.
11. Avoid the “baby treats”
I’ve fallen victim to this too. Being in the baby food ailse at the grocery store, those cute little containers of ‘baby O’s’ and ‘baby puffs.’ Fruit and veggies are so much cheaper! Plus way healthier too. Cut up banana, steamed apple slices and veggies sticks, way better snacks for your little ones.
12. Make your own baby food
Speaking of which, making your own baby food is way less expensive. Instead of baby oatmeal, you can buy regular rolled oats and blend them into a fine powder. Store this and add a scoop to water to make a simple baby oat cereal.
You can make the baby fruit and veggie purees too. Get an inexpensive steamer and just lightly steam your choice of produce, then blend it up. You can freeze your purees in an ice cube tray and pop out the perfect sized morsels for the day and thaw in the fridge. Way more affordable than store bought baby food.
13. Don’t buy baby shoes for a non-walking baby
If your baby doesn’t walk, they don’t need shoes. Their little feet grow so fast that there’s just no point. Even walking babies only need one pair of shoes at a time. I think that first year we had to switch out shoes every 6 weeks or so just to keep up with his growth. So 3 pairs of size 7 shoes are overkill.
14. Don’t buy the super cute crib accessories
Those crib bumpers can be so cute. But they are actually a safety hazard. Babies can get stuck and suffocate. Basically, you would have to remove them every time you put baby to sleep. Which just sounds insane.
15. Don’t buy an entire breastfeeding wardrobe
Those breastfeeding tops can be super expensive. You may want to check out the clothes you have in your closet first to see if they will work for you. I had a lot of tank tops that worked perfectly for breastfeeding. I never had to buy a single “breastfeeding” piece of clothing.
Anything low cut usually works pretty well. If you want to wear a T-shirt, simply wear a low cut tank top under it and pull it down and the T-shirt up for easy boob access.
16. Look for “Grow With Me” furniture
Spending a little more on furniture that will last you twice as long is totally worth it. One example is this high chair that turns into a preschool aged table and chair set. Extra props if you can get one like this pre-owned.
17. Skip the expensive baby and me classes
These classes can be super expensive. I do think there is value in these sort of activities for both mom and baby though. Mom gets to socialize with other moms which can be great for that feeling of community. And the stimulation and change of environment is great for baby. The good thing is lots of communities have free options. You can check out your local library for storytime and other little one centered activities.
There are other organizations too that host get-togethers. Hike it Baby, for example, connects parents with each other to go on group led hiking with families in mind. It’s great for getting in shape, fostering a love of the outdoors for children and connecting with other parents. Who knows you may even make a few friends. (The first 90 days are free, and then they ask for a small fee to help keep up with running the organization.)
18. Take advantage of Your Baby Registry
Some registries will give you a completion discount. Amazon’s baby registry is fantastic for this! We used it for our babies registry and it saved us a few hundred on items I already planned on purchasing anyway. How it works is, you make your list and send it to your friends and family. You can opt into gift cards too! (We got a few hundred from sweet coworkers and friends.) And apply them toward your “final” discounted purchase. This basically means they’ll give you 15% off of the rest of your baby items on the list.
They also have rotating perks. Meaning that they offer different freebies throughout the year. You can check out all the perks they have here.