You wouldn’t think something so small would need so much stuff, but diapers, wipes, clothing, toys, food and formula for your baby cost a lot. Here are five ways to save on these products so you can worry less about money and focus more on your new little love.
Most children wear diapers until they are 2 or 3 years old. While some families save money by using cloth diapers, they’re not for everyone. If you prefer disposables, you’ll likely buy more than 4,000 diapers before your child is potty trained!
Buying in bulk online can greatly reduce your per-diaper cost. Websites like Amazon and Diapers.com offer low prices in addition to fast and free delivery when you spend a certain amount. You can subscribe to receive a set number of diapers every month to save even more — and save the hassle of running to the store when you’re on your last diaper.
You can also save by buying generic brands, which can be as much as 35 percent less than name brands, and are often just as good quality (if not better!). Shop around and compare before settling into a routine.
FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE FORMULA
At $20 to $30 per canister, formula can be very expensive. The good news is that formula companies and retailers offer a number of ways to save. In addition to traditional coupons, companies including Similac, Enfamil and Gerber will send you rebate checks of $5 or more that you can use as a form of payment at the register.
You can also ask your hospital, obstetrician or pediatrician for free samples. Some families get lucky with the first brand they try, while others go through several before finding the right one. Because of this, it’s best not to stockpile formula, but rather buy one or two packages at a time.
Babies grow out of clothing and toys very quickly, so why not take advantage of gently used items? If they haven’t already offered, ask friends and family if they have anything they would be willing to hand down or sell to you. Sometimes it helps to ask for a specific item that you need — like a high chair or a certain size of clothing.
If they don’t have what you need, you still have plenty of public options. Children’s resale shops and events, online and in-person garage sales, and traditional thrift stores sell slightly used, like-new and sometimes brand-new baby clothing, toys and products. You can often find outdoor gear, like bike trailers, jogging strollers, playhouses and ride-on toys, in excellent condition for a fraction of the retail price. Examine items thoroughly for wear and hazards, and research recall information before purchasing.
HOMEMADE BABY FOOD
Pouches and jars of store-bought food add up fast, and when your baby first starts eating solids, he or she may not even finish them. Luckily, it is very easy and cost-effective to make your own baby food.
Blogs like Weelicious, Wholesome Baby Food and Homemade Baby Food Recipes, in addition to numerous cookbooks and blogs, offer ideas for delicious purées to help your baby try a wide variety of nutrients and flavors. You don’t need any specialty equipment — a steamer basket, blender and fine-mesh strainer will do the trick. You can make large batches on the weekend and use ice cube trays to freeze single servings for later use. You can even buy pouches to fill yourself for on-the-go snacks.
Some parents skip purées altogether and practice baby-led weaning, feeding their baby the same food they are eating. Whatever technique you choose, speak with your pediatrician about when to start, how to do it and what reactions to watch for to keep your baby happy and healthy.
ONE DETERGENT FOR ALL
Babies have sensitive skin, but in most cases they don’t need their own laundry detergent. Save money by purchasing or making one detergent that’s free of scents and dyes for the whole family. Unless your baby has extremely sensitive skin or a medical condition, “free and clear” detergents shouldn’t irritate him or her. This will save you not only money but also time because you can wash everyone’s clothing together.
We all want to do what’s best for our children, but that doesn’t mean we have to spend frivolously. Decide which items you really need to spend extra money on, whether for health and safety or personal preference, and save on other items when you can.