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Having a baby can impose a lot of financial stress on your life. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to save money before your little one is born. This is a great way to apply good financial habits to your life before you get busy raising a child. We’ve put together a list of 25 ways of how to save money before having a baby.
1. Local Freebies
I live in Austin, and at just about any hospital or pediatric center I can find a kid-friendly Austin guide. It’s full of tons of cool shops, workshops, events and freebies for babies and kids.
This includes local nannies, kids eat free restaurants, excellent consignment shops, and many other ways to save money on kids and babies. This is not a unique idea just to Austin. The next time you’re at your pediatrician or OB, check out the magazine rack.
2. Coupons and Samples
These are especially easy to snag when you’re still pregnant or still in the hospital after giving birth. Manufacturers love to give out tons of freebies to maternity wards and OB clinics.
This can be (depending on the hospital and clinic) anything from breast pumps to diaper rash creams, coupons for baby products and formulas to car seat covers and blankies. You can even expect to get free binkies and diaper bags from the hospital – as long as you ask if they have any available.
You can also check out these 32 free product samples that come straight from the manufacturer. Most of the items on this list will be delivered right to your door.
3. Load up on Hospital-Provided Baby Items
Most hospitals nowadays will give you packs of diapers and items to clean your baby with. This can include a small bath tub, a sponge for you baby, baby soaps and shampoos, a nasal aspirator, brushes, nail clippers, alcohol swabs, a thermometer, and baby blankets.
Of course, you’ll need to clarify with the hospital if these are yours to take, but as a general rule, they are there for the taking. All in this can easily save you around $40!
4. If You Can, Nurse
Breastfeeding can not only be a great bonding experience, but it can (and does) save you a ton of cash. The extra expenses of bottles, bottle liners, bottle brushes for cleaning, and specialty bottle warmers can really add up.
To top it off, formulas are expensive, even with discounts and coupons that you might receive. Nothing is cheaper than breastfeeding, as long as you’re producing enough milk to satisfy your baby. Many OB clinics, new mom groups, women resource centers, and online groups can offer you advice on how to nurse your baby as well as how to up your milk production.
Most importantly, there are plenty of studies that show the benefits of breastfeeding your little one.
5. Hold Off On The New Wardrobe
While it may be tempting to go out and buy new clothes that fit and that (if applicable) allow for easier breastfeeding, try to remember that your body is still shifting things back into place. And it could be that you try to breastfeed, spending around $20 per bra to do so, only to find out that it just doesn’t work for you.
Since it’s likely that you’ll be spending the first couple of weeks at home with your baby, enjoy the comfy freedom of PJs and put off shopping for new clothes as long as you can.
6. Don’t Splurge In Advance
It’s so hard not to go right out and buy every adorable outfit you see when you find out that you’re pregnant. I know when I had my first, she had more clothes than she could wear – literally. She was a big baby and she grew fast. There were some outfits she either only worse once or never wore at all!
Babies come in all shapes and sizes and until you know what shape and size your baby is, buying a ton of clothes isn’t the best use of money.
7. Save Money And Headaches With Onesies
Of course, outfits with several layers and pieces are adorable. But when you’re operating on 3 hours of broken sleep and baby just can’t stop with the blowouts, that adorable outfit can be more of a nightmare than anything else. And with the amount of money you spent on it, you could have bought a 3 – 5 pack of cute onesies for under $10.
Onesies are super versatile and can be dressed up or down pretty easily. They’re also pretty cheap and can save you more than just cash when you’re in a stressful situation.
8. White, Yellow, Green, And Purple
This is especially handy advice for those of you who plan on having more children. While it’s awesome to get gender-specific clothing, the gender-neutral outfits can be used regardless of what gender your next child is.
(Plain or gender-neutral clothing also tends to be less expensive to buy!) These make for great hand-me-downs and can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. They can easily be paired with other items to let the world know if your baby is a girl or boy.
9. No Shoes, No Problem
Possibly the biggest waste of money you can partake in is to buy your baby shoes. They’re insanely expensive (with most pairs around here being a whopping $15 – $30 each) and can actually hinder your baby’s progress when it comes to walking. Getting cheap pairs of socks to keep their feet warm is much more practical and will save you tons of cash.
10. Hit Up Consignment Shops
When it comes to special occasions, of course, you want your baby to look adorable. But special occasion and holiday attire for kids can be so expensive. Especially when you consider that at the rate they grow, they’ll likely only wear it once or twice.
Join up with local swap shops in your area or check out consignment shops to grab your baby’s special occasion clothes. Not only can you usually get better quality, high-end brands for cheap, you can save a lot of money period by buying them second hand.
11. Grab Versatile Gear
Feel free to spend a little extra up front to get stuff like the Graco Stylus Click Connect Travel System, which comes with a stroller and car seat. These can be used together and used separately as your baby grows. Similarly, you may choose to invest in a Safety 1st Grow & Go 3-in-1 car seat, which will save you years of hassle and a bit of cash long term.
You can also apply this principle to furniture, opting for things like changing table/dresser combos and cribs that can be converted into toddler beds.
12. Return Unwanted Gifts – And Fast!
Stores will often put strict return and exchange policies even on wish list items for new moms. If you have any unwanted gifts, take them back as quickly as possible. You can even ask your hubby, best bud, or dear old mom to help you out with this one, as chances are you won’t feel up to waiting in the customer service lines!
13. Skip the Accoutrement
Sure you want to decorate baby’s room, and that’s great! There’s no reason not to. But don’t go overboard and buy things like crib pillows, which are about the most useless thing you can buy. They’re cute, no doubt, but your baby can’t use them as they can cause SIDS.
Though it doesn’t come with the same warning, you can also save some cash by skipping out on things like crib skirts and outrageously priced lamps. There are tons of DIY guides out there to make adorable decorations for cheap (and sometimes free).
14. Buy These Items In Bulk
Sure it may seem like a hassle to shove a giant box of diapers and a humongous box of wipes into your car and lug it into the house. And yes, it may seem unsightly to have them just waiting in the corner or closet or under the bed for use. But buying these babies in bulk can easily save you a couple of hundred bucks a year – at least!
15. Don’t Stock Up On Much On These
After reading rave reviews, you may be tempted to go load up on all the best brands of bottles, binkies, teething rings and more. But the fact is, just because adults like them doesn’t mean babies will. Wait and see if your baby likes the bottle and binky you’ve bought for them before you buy a lot of them. You may end up saving tons of cash as I did when you discover that your little one prefers a cheaper brand.
16. Keep It Simple
You may be tempted to spend hundreds of dollars on specialty baby-and-me classes. You really needn’t. Our local libraries offer tons of free mommy-and-me classes for babies, toddlers, and pre-k/kindergarteners. Depending on the library, we’ve found free dance classes, free reading classes, game times, social classes, and so much more. You can save so much money and build a wonderful support system at the same time!
17. Be Prepared
I think this has happened to every mom at some point or another. You leave, coffee on roof and diaper bag on the couch, and out you go with baby for a day of errands. When that diaper needs changing or your baby is ready for some clean clothes and a little snack (if they’re old enough to eat), you may find that you’re out quite a few bucks for a whole pack of diapers, a whole container of wipes, a new outfit, and some snacks.
Instead, keep an ’emergency baby bag’ in your car at all times. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but if you do, it’s all there. Just remember to change the snacks out regularly and to refill it any time you do end up using it!
18 – Skimp On The Doc – Sort Of
When you’re at your child’s checkup, don’t be afraid to ask for free samples rather than shelling out cash for prescriptions. Most pediatricians are fine with giving out samples instead and you can save quite a bit of money this way.
Likewise, you can always call ahead and talk to your child’s doctor before you make an appointment. Oftentimes and experienced pediatrician will be able to diagnose over the phone, saving you the cost of a co-pay and gas!
19. Save Money On Food As Much As Possible
There are tons of amazing websites out there that are happy to provide new moms with coupons for baby food. Write to baby food manufacturers and most times they will send out coupons.
Sign up for company newsletters and coupon programs to get even more savings. Ask about deals at local stores and see if they have any ‘baby club’ offers. (Sometimes you can get $10+ dollars off your next purchase when you spend x amount on the first!)
You can also make your own baby food for a fraction of the cost. There are tons of great recipes out there! If you’re worried about getting the consistency right, consider looking into the Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Baby Care System.
It’ll end up saving you an unthinkable amount of money, and you can rest assured that the consistency is just right for your baby. It also comes with nifty storage containers so you can make sure that the food is kept fresh!
20. Don’t Be Afraid Of Off-Brands
When I had my first daughter, I wanted the top of the line, best name brands possible. The thought of using a store-brand diaper made my skin crawl. I loved my baby way too much to put her in some cheap diaper! But when we ran out of diapers and my husband and I were too tired to make the journey to Walmart (a 30-minute drive), we ended up stopping in at Dollar General, instead.
The quality was actually better than the on-brand diapers we’d been using, and they were a few dollars cheaper to boot. I learned my lesson and tried many off brand products for my baby since. Though not all of them worked out, I have ended up saving tons of money by being willing to give all brands a chance.
21. Join Mom Groups
Not only can you save yourself lots of stress, hardships, sadness, and headaches by having a group of ladies who are where you are, you can save some money, too.
Joining a new mommy group means that you can pass clothing around, get free electric pumps (not the ‘intimate’ parts, just the actual pump itself), and sometimes it even means scoring great things like strollers that other babies have outgrown.
There is a wealth of information, friendship, help, and freebies when you take the time to join a mommy group.
22. Make Friends At The Doctor’s Office.
When I was pregnant with my third, (I wish I’d known this sooner) I used to chit-chat with the ladies at the front desk. I knew them by name and used to bring them little gifts every once in a while.
That was how I discovered that they keep an absolute gold pot of coupons, freebies, and resource guides behind the desk – literally. One day after my appointment, my husband pulled me to the side. It turned out that I had inadvertently brought one of the ladies her favorite kind of doughnut. In exchange, when I went back for my appointment, she loaded my husband up with secret goodies that not all clients have access to.
We had coupons for things like swaddling blankets (buy one get two free), car screens (we only had to pay for shipping), and so much more.
We totaled it up and found that our coupons were worth well over 400 dollars!
23. DIY When And Where You Can
I already touched on this subject, but it’s such a crucial way to save money. We were lucky in that my father is a retired carpenter. He was able to build our first baby’s crib for ‘next to nothing’ as we say. I’m pretty crafty myself and was able to crotchet a few blankets for all of my babies.
It’s amazing the number of things you can make for yourself, and how much money you can save doing it. And what’s better is that DIY stuff is so popular nowadays! You can find tons of awesome guides and tutorials for just about anything you can imagine.
24. Check Out Women’s Resources
Even if you don’t come from a low-income household, programs like WIC can offer you free or cheap resources. From classes that cover the proper way to breastfeed to giving out pamphlets full of helpful information, checking out local women’s resource centers can help you save money with your new baby.
In the Austin area, there are several ‘pregnancy outreach centers’ that will help you with everything from pumps to strollers to clothes and even scheduling appointments! It’s always worth looking into for all the money you’ll save.
25. Gift Registries
This is one that you’ll presumably already know about. But here’s how to make the most of it so that you save the most money. Yes, you should go ahead and put dreams items like a crib, stroller system, and other more expensive items.
But you should also fill it out with the right kind of small items. Only ask for a couple of packs of newborn diapers. The hospital will likely give you several, and your baby probably won’t be in them for more than a couple of weeks. They will even breeze through size ones. Focus on a few size twos and even more size threes, which will likely be the ones they spend the most time in.
Asking for wipes is great, as your baby can’t outgrow them and you literally cannot have too many. Even if you still manage to hang out to unopened packs long after your child has stopped needing them, they’re still handy for wiping up messes.
If you want to ask for clothes, ask for 0-3 and 3-6 month sized clothing. Put needs before wants and you’ll find that your gifts go a lot further, thusly saving you quite a pretty penny. You can now make a free baby registry on Amazon and get free 90-day returns on most items.
There are plenty of ways to have a child without the need to spend a fortune. Hopefully these 25 tips on how to save money before having a baby have been helpful in some way or another. If you have any tips that aren’t on this list and should be, let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!