I went online looking for car seat reviews a few days ago and was reminded once again just how expensive baby gear is.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend that much!
Garrett honestly hasn’t cost us that much, so I thought it might be useful to pass on some of the methods we used for saving money when we were getting ready for his arrival.
First things first:
General Shopping Tips
- Never pay for what you can get for free. I was excited to find a number of “just pay shipping” promotions. At first, I just knew that these things were scams, but surprise! They’re not! Some of the ones I fell in love with were Free Seven Slings sling, Free Baby Leggings, Free Carseat canopy, Free Nursing Cover from Uddercovers, Free Nursing pillow, Free Baby Einstein Bundle. Yes, you do still have to pay to ship, but that doesn’t make it any less of a good deal. I’d pay the $7 shipping fee for my sling many times over for the many hours of use it’s given me!
- Get your baby shopping started early. This is my biggest recommendation. I think there’s a stigma about new parents getting really excited and spending a bunch of money on things they didn’t need because they just had to get all this cute stuff for the baby, but It really is best for your pocketbook to start looking for bargains early on, and here’s why: You can look for deals, without pressure to buy. In other words, if you’re not sure it’s really the best deal, or if, frankly, you wanted something in a different color, you’ve still got a few more months to keep looking because there’s always another deal down the road.
- stockpile diapers and wipes before the baby’s born. As a general rule, if you wait until you need an item to buy it, you’ll end up paying a higher price. If you start buying before you need it, you can shop sales and then use diapers from your stockpile as you continue to replenish them whenever you find another great deal.
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to get diapers cheaply.
Drug stores often have sales and customer rewards deals that you can stack with coupons to end up with really cheap diapers. For example, Rite Aid has a sale this week on Pampers jumbo packs for $9.99. Plus, if you buy $30 worth of P&G products, you get a $10 +up reward (which is basically a $10 Rite Aid gift card). Not only that, but through yesterday, if you bought $25 worth of pampers, you get another $5 +up reward.
There’s a printable coupon out for $1.50 off of a package of Pampers, so if you get 3 packages of diapers and use 3 of these coupons, you end up paying $25.50 +tax and getting a $15 +up reward back. You end up with three packages of diapers for $10.50 (or $3.50 each).
Southern Savers is a great site for keeping an eye out for deals. I like to check it every Friday or Saturday to see if there’s anything worth getting the next week.
Another great way to get diapers is through amazon.com. Especially if you use a paying search engine such as Swagbucks.
I know, I beat the Amazon–swagbucks drum a lot, but it really is the best thing since sliced bread! Not only can you get pretty cheap diapers through the Amazon Mom program and the subscribe and save feature, You can pay for them with gift cards earned from using The Swagbucks search engine instead of Google. Pretty sweet deal!
If you’re new to cloth diapering, let me just recommend that you not try to start with cheap pre-folds and rubber pants. Pre-folds are fine… for burp cloths.
My opinion is that it cuts down on a lot of chaos if you only have to deal with one type of cloth diaper rather than getting a whole slew of them to try out. After you get into the routine, you’re baby’s a little bigger and isn’t as high maintenance. That’s the time to get more diverse in your diapering.
My personal preference is pocket diapers. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been extremely happy with Smarti Pants. They keep the baby dry, fit multiple sizes like a charm, and are super easy to use and wash.
Unfortunately, good cloth diapers are expensive, and there doesn’t seem to be any really super easy way to save money buying them the way there is with disposable diapers. Some places you might try are:
Craigslist– I’ve seen some really great deals on Craigslist. Phenomenal actually. A lot of moms liquidate their gently used diaper stashes on Craigslist, so be sure to check your local listing periodically.
When my second baby was born, my first was still in diapers full time, and I needed to increase my stash, so I found some brand new Fuzzibunz that a mom had received as a baby shower gift from a well-meaning friend for half the price I would have paid retail!
eBay– A friend of mine recently bought some used Fuzzibunz and Bum Genius on eBay and is extremely happy with them. I’ve also bought some of the super cheap Chinese-made diapers through eBay, and had mixed results with them. Overall, they were a worthwhile investment, and you can read my review here.
Other than diapers, clothing is the other big baby necessity. Clothes are one item that we’ve used the most and yet, spent the least on.
For us, a lot of clothing came in the form of hand-me-downs from Garrett’s cousins. That’s one of the benefits of not being the first in your family to have kids.
Other than that, though, here are the best places we’ve found for baby and toddler clothing:
- Goodwill and other thrift/second-hand stores. Don’t be afraid to buy used baby clothing. Babies don’t usually wear their clothes out very fast. Well… not until they start crawling. Ask me how I know. We have a thrift store near us that sells baby clothing for .25 to .50 cents per item. I try to hit Goodwill on their half-off days, but even if I don’t, the baby clothes are typically $1.99 a piece.
- Yard sales. Baby items abound at yard sales. One thing to remember when yard-saling is to go to more upscale neighborhoods. That’s where you’re most likely to find good, gently used clothing with low-price tags.
- Look for hand-me-downs. Let it be known that you’re happy to take outgrown clothes and baby items. Honestly, though, You probably won’t have to worry about it. People tend to feel inclined to give stuff to babies.
The bottom line here is that you don’t have to spend that much of your hard-earned money buying stuff for a baby. Their basic necessities are food and clothing – and you.
But what about baby gear? Ah, that part comes in part two, which you can read here.
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