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Preparing for parenthood is no easy feat, especially when you’re trying to live frugally. I’ve got a two-year-old son and I’m expecting another child this year. Needless to say, the first time around was a whirlwind! I didn’t know what items weren’t necessary to buy, how to find super-low prices, and so on. Now that I’m a little more knowledgeable, I’m tackling this time with a frugal mindset.
In this post, I’ll be sharing the six money-saving tips and tricks that I personally use or have used. From cutting costs to getting baby-related freebies, this post pretty much covers it all. So take a bit of time to relax and read – there’s no need to fret. Being a frugal soon-to-be-parent is possible!
1. Get The Lowest Price Per Diaper And Build A Stockpile
Diapers are hands down one of the most expensive baby items in the long run. During my first pregnancy, we were gifted several boxes of diapers at my baby shower. I made two major mistakes when it came to diapers:
- Not looking into the price per diaper until we were running low. I was stunned to find that name brands like Pampers and Huggies cost $0.21 to $0.24 per diaper on average. Ouch!
- I didn’t build a stockpile beyond what we’d been gifted. We went through our seemingly large stash far too quickly, and I vowed to make sure that wouldn’t happen again.
We quickly learned a few things – name brands certainly aren’t necessary, and paying full price for them never is. At the most, I pay $0.14 per diaper.
So, how do I go about getting the lowest price per diaper? I try sticking to Parents Choice brand (about 11.0 cents per diaper) and Target’s Up & Up brand (about 13.6 cents per diaper). In my experience, these brands work just as well as any name brand. We actually prefer them over Huggies, which cost over twice as much.
I also get excellent deals with coupons; I recently started our new stockpile with a 200+ count box of Pampers at $0.10 per diaper. Amazon makes it easy to instantly apply coupons to your purchases. However, finding manufacturer coupons for diapers is incredibly easy. They’re often in the Target Cartwheel app and on websites like Pampers and Huggies.
Honestly, even Googling “diaper coupons” or “cheapest diapers” brings up the most recent deals. Sure, it takes a bit of extra effort, but the monetary savings are so worthwhile! You can use the Unit Price Calculator to see what you’re paying per diaper to ensure you get the best deal.
2. Create Baby Registries For Coupons and Freebies
Creating online baby registries is an excellent way to receive coupons and freebies from companies. Some major names that give out baby-related goodies include Target and Buy Buy Baby. Here’s a list of the freebies and coupons from when I created online registries along with others I’ve found online:
- Target – Once you create an online baby registry, you can pick up a free welcome gift at the Target guest services desk. In 2015, this welcome gift bag included a bottle, pacifier, Honest Company baby wipes, free samples of baby lotion and other toiletries, a BOGO free Starbucks coupon, and a HUGE amount of coupons for various baby items. Additionally, you’ll receive coupons in the mail for 15% off and more. You can sign up for the Target baby registry in minutes.
- Buy Buy Baby – Buy Buy Baby is a baby and maternity store that’s a one-stop shop for parents. When you create a registry, you get a free goodie bag in-store. It contains product samples for diaper cream, lotion, and more, as well as several Buy Buy Baby coupons. You can create your registry online or in-store. You can also earn $25 off a $100 purchase by referring your fellow soon-to-be parents to the site to create their own registry.
- Motherhood Maternity – Motherhood Maternity is a clothing company that offers an assortment of comfortable apparel for expecting mothers. If you put your due date, name, and e-mail into their Perks Savings Program, you get all sorts of coupons and sample products. According to the signup page, you receive up to $400 in savings over the course of a calendar year!
- Toys R Us & Babies R Us – Toys R Us and Babies R Us are two well-known stores, and they also offer great incentives for creating a baby registry. When you make a Babies R Us registry online, you can get a free welcome gift in-stores. The gift includes store coupons, 10% back on purchases, free classes, and more. You can even get free returns for one year on items you purchase from your registry. This is excellent if you don’t end up using items or you receive duplicates as gifts.
These are all of the baby registry perks that I’m familiar with. Amazon also offers perks for Prime members, but I’ll cover that in a different section. Creating all of these registries is pretty hassle-free, and the free samples and coupons can save you quite a bit of cash. You can also see if your preferred stores offer coupons and welcome gifts simply by creating a registry on their website.
3. Request Formula Samples Online & Buy Generic Brands
Baby formula is quite an expensive necessity for many parents; the average cost of formula for your baby’s first year is $1,733.75. Fortunately, there are a few ways to cut down on the cost of formula. I strongly recommend requesting samples online. Similac will send you at least two free trial-size cans of formula and several coupons for $5.00 off formula.
Enfamil also sent us samples of free liquid formula and several coupons for $5.00 off formula. Our pediatrician also offered us free Similac samples every time we went in for an appointment! From what I’ve read in parenting forums, many pediatricians will happily give you free formula samples.
You can certainly save some money by using generic brands, too. For example, Wal-Mart and Target both have generic brands that are identical to Similac formulas. Similac Advance, which is what I used for my first son, is $25.99 per 1.45 lb container at Target. The Up & Up version is $17.49 per 1.45 lb container. That’s $8.50 in savings for baby formula with identical ingredients. Over your baby’s first year, that amount of savings adds up incredibly fast!
4. Stick To The Essentials
It’s so easy to get caught up in overbuying for your firstborn. This is because you may not be sure what you need versus what isn’t necessary. Additionally, the temptation to overspend a bit can be strong – lots of baby items are frankly adorable! However, you’ll want to stick to the essentials considering it costs approximately $12,000 to raise a baby during their first year of life. Here’s how you can narrow down your costs:
- Start with a baby essentials list like this one from TheBump.com. Review the list and see what you already have. Additionally, consider which items you can buy secondhand. Clothes, toys, swings, and bassinets are major items that can easily be purchased at thrift stores and garage sales. Buying these things secondhand saved us hundreds of dollars. For safety-related items like car seats, stick with buying new.
- Discover which items are more trendy than practical. During my first pregnancy, my sister sent me a few articles on this topic. I like this one from Parents.com and this one from Mom365.com. We never needed a $25 bottle warmer or a $40 wipe warmer – those are just two example items totaling $65. Consider what you really need and which fad items you can pass up. If you change your mind, you can always purchase them down the line.
- If friends and family ask you what you need, don’t be afraid to request small, affordable items. Our first baby registry for my baby shower consisted primarily of diapers and items that were $10 or less. Some examples include wash cloths, towels, scratch gloves, bottles, and other necessities. Those items add up to a minimum of about $40 to $50. Every little bit counts!
This last tip is optional, but I highly recommend creating a Pinterest account and using search terms like “baby essentials” and “DIY baby items”. You’ll find dozens of different ideas for frugal ways to get the items your little one needs.
5. List Making: A True Life Saver
I’ve always been a huge fan of list making, but I find that it’s particularly helpful if you’re expecting a child. For my second pregnancy, I bought this simple hardcover notebook to keep all of my lists in one place. Here are some ideas for lists you can make to help you save money while staying organized:
- Write down the items you need from the “Essentials” section, and put a price next to them. I did this recently and also put a letter next to each item to indicate which store had the best price. My main stores for low prices are Amazon (A), Target (T), and Wal-Mart (W). Doing this will give you a pretty accurate estimate of how much money you’ll be spending.
- Create hospital packing lists for yourself, your spouse, and your baby. BabyCenter.com and TodaysParent.com both have excellent lists for packing. My spouse and I discovered that you can get tons of these items at Dollar Tree. We also made sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks to avoid using the hospital vending machine. That saved us a lot of money during our four-day hospital stay.
- Create a third-trimester checklist. Towards the end of your pregnancy or your spouse’s pregnancy, you’ll want to finish up preparing. We made lists for meals we could prep and freeze – such a life saver and money saver! This time around, we also plan to coordinate care visits and make a list/schedule. If you Google “third-trimester checklist” or type that into Pinterest, you’ll find additional ideas.
In addition to using lists like this to save money, I wrote down questions to ask my doctor during OB appointments. This really reduces some pregnancy-related anxiety, and it helps you feel confident that you’re getting the answers you need.
6. Use Amazon Prime To Your Advantage
If you have Amazon Prime or you’re considering getting it, this program can be extremely beneficial for parents. When you’re enrolled in Amazon Prime, you can get the benefits of Amazon Mom when creating a baby registry. I just created mine a few weeks ago, but these are some of the great perks:
- Save 20% on diaper subscriptions. If you get diapers auto-delivered every 1-6 months, you get a 20% discount on them. This makes name brands like Pampers Swaddlers only $0.08 per diaper – it’s impossible to find lower prices than that. We haven’t decided if we’ll be using the subscription service, but it’s an excellent deal.
- Receive Amazon Family coupons. Once you’re registered, you’ll have access to tons of Amazon Family coupons. Some of the current coupons include 30% off baby food and $20.00 off formula. These coupons are usually for larger quantities of food and formula, so they’re a great resource if you want to buy in bulk.
- Receive a free Welcome Box. Once you fill out your registry and make a purchase of $10 or more, you become eligible for a Welcome Box. This box contains an assortment of free full-sized and trial-sized products. The contents of the box change, but people have reported receiving wipes, diapers, bottles, lotion samples, and much more.
- Get free 90 day returns on any items you purchase from your registry. Again, this is a great deal and can save you money if you don’t end up using items you buy.
If you already have Prime, all of this is free. If you don’t already have it, you can get it for $10.99 per month or $99 per year. You can also receive a free 30-day trial if you haven’t used Prime before. I’m not sure if all of the aforementioned benefits are still available if you’re just using a Prime trial. However, I find that paying for Prime is incredibly worth it when it comes to parenting on a budget.
Wrapping Things Up
I hope that this post has helped you figure out a few ways to save money as an expecting parent. Every penny really does count when it comes to having a new baby. From getting inexpensive diapers to free formula samples, there are so many options for cutting down your costs.
Frugal For Less is full of excellent posts about saving money, but I picked a few I’d recommend for any expecting, new, or seasoned parent. Check out these articles for more helpful information and resources:
- 7 Websites That Will Help You Save Money While Shopping Online
- 32 Free Product Samples Straight From The Manufacturer
- 10 Ways Amazon Prime Can Save Money For Online Shoppers
- 52 Tips And Tricks For Saving Money When Eating Out At Restaurants
Saving money doesn’t mean you have to limit your enjoyment or that you have to cut back on providing for your kids. There are plenty of ways to reduce costs while still living a comfortable life. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!