There is no doubt that having a baby can be expensive. Parenting.com estimates that new parents will spend an average of $12,000 in the baby's first year. However, the good news is that parents don't have to spend that much!
There are several ways to cut back the cost of having a baby. Simple things new parents can do can lead to big savings. If a company puts "baby" on the labeling of a product, they can basically double the price. For instance, you can buy gallons of "nursery" or "baby" purified water for formula for $1.50 or more or you can buy regular purified water for $0.79.
Marketing geared toward new parents is intense. Of course when parents find out they're expecting they can only think of getting the best for their little bundle of joy, but sometimes that's just not feasible or necessary. Most of the time a lot of the baby items we think we need end up going to waste.
For parents looking to cut back on baby #1, we've put together a list of cost saving tips to help. These tips may not be for everyone, but for parents in need of some ideas on how to save, these may help.
20 Sign Up For Couponing and Loyalty Programs
We have all heard that babies go through a lot of diapers a day. They can use anywhere from 6 to 12 or more per day, which really adds up.
So many stores our there have membership and rewards programs that can help you save big, not to mention, newspapers that have manufacturers coupons, as well as in store coupons.
The best way to save big on things like diapers, wipes and formula, other than buying store brands is combing all of your resources to get the best deals possible. For instance, if you shop at Target you can use the cartwheel app, redcard and manufacturers coupons to get three times the savings.
19 Cloth Diapers
The idea of cloth diapers may not be for every modern mom, it certainly wasn't for me. However, if you're trying to be as frugal as possible, this might be the way to go.
Cloth diapers can save you money in the long run, but mostly only if you are planning on having multiple children. The cost to buy, clean and maintain cloth diapers may not be worth the effort.
Forbes.com says that disposable diapers cost anywhere between 25 and 30 cents each, while cloth diapers are about 7 cents per use, which could save $600 a year. They also state that it could possibly cost up to $500 to get started with cloth diapers! You do the math.
This one might be obvious, but breastfeeding can save you a ton of money on formula costs. Formula is anything but cheap and even opting for the store brands can cost upwards of $150 a month.
Medelabreastfeedingus.com says, "the Surgeon General estimates that families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200 - $1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone." That's a lot of money!
Obviously, baby has to eat, and mom has to stay healthy too, but if you're able to breastfeed and keep yourself happy and healthy, breastfeeding is a good route.
17 Shop at Discount Stores And Buy Store Brands
As I mentioned before, store brand items can save you big bucks! For parents who aren't leaning toward certain brands and don't have a preference on what they use, stores like Aldi and Lidl can save you a good deal of money.
Babygearlab.com found that the average cost of Pampers Swaddlers is about 33 cents per diapers, while Kirkland brand is about 20 cents per diaper, saving you almost $2 a day.
That might not sound like a lot, but $2 a day adds up to $730 a year! Shopping at discount stores and skipping the big name brands can save you big during baby's first year.
16 Use Cloth Wipes
This one is for the devoted super saving parents who are willing to do whatever it takes, in my humble opinion, anyway. Cloth wipes are not always practical, but they will save you money.
Washable, reusable baby wipes can be cost saving, as well as good for the environment. These go hand in hand with cloth diapers, so for parents who are going that route, cloth diapers might be easier than you think.
Cloth wipes can be pre-moistened and stored just like regular store bought wipes. You don't have to make it a full-time commitment either. When traveling it might be easier to have regular wipes on hand, but at home, you can save extra cash by using cloth ones.
15 Thrift And Buy Used Baby Items
Thrift stores can be hit or miss, but every now and then you can hit the thrift store jackpot. There are so many baby consignment shops out there and if you get lucky looking for baby clothes and gear, especially newborn sizes you can hit the gold mine.
Parents.com says that buying used baby clothes is one of the best ways to save money when having a baby. One of the reasons why is that babies grow extremely fast and don't wear one size for very long.
There are even online consignment shops for kids like Swap.com and Thredup.com. Moms often set up Instagram accounts to buy and sell used clothes as well.
14 Buy Items That Are Multipurpose
There are so many baby items out there that serve more than one purpose. Buying gear that a grows with your baby or is multi-functional will save not just save you money, but also can be space saving as well.
Items like a playard can be used for several different things and for almost two years of a babies life. Most pack and plays come with a bassinet and even a changing table or storage for a newborn, but later can be used for a bigger baby to play or sleep in.
Even items like a Boppy can be used for more than one thing. It's not only used for nursing comfort, but can also be used to prop baby up and practice tummy time as well.
13 Don't Buy Non-necessities
There are certain things that your baby will outgrow, or maybe never even use. Have you ever heard parents complain of having too much stuff and their baby not liking half the stuff they have? Sadly, that was all a waste of money.
Seek advice from other parents about what they wasted money on and what they would say to be a non-necessity. If you aren't sure about a product, ask other moms for advice before you buy it!
You don't need a bouncer, swing, bassinet, pack and play and crib. If you think you do, you definitely don't need all of these within the first few months. Wait until the baby is born to decide what will best suit your needs.
12 Make Freezer Meals Before Baby Comes
After having a baby, the last thing you'll want to do is cook. Your first instinct will be to order out, which will get expensive after a few meals.
The best way to prepare, unless you know you have help cooking on the way, is to stock up and freeze meals ahead of time. Make budget-friendly meals that anyone, even the worst cook in the world, can pop into the over or microwave.
Thesimpledollar.com estimates that Americans eat out 4.5 times a week on average, that number will only grow right after childbirth. Not only will it be healthier to prepare your own meals, but it will definitely be more affordable.
11 Skimp A Little On The Nursery
Nurseries are definitely fun, exciting and adorable, but they don't always have to be so elaborate and fancy. There are ways to save on decorating, or cut back altogether.
Though it may make you a little sad to sacrifice this part of having a baby, as it is one of the most fun things to do, the good news is, your baby will never know if they have a fancy nursery or not.
Skimping on the nursery can be one of your biggest cost cutters. Buying a used crib or opting for a chair that isn't necessarily a "glider" can really help cut unnecessary costs. You can also try to add to the nursery slowly as time goes by, picking up things here and there.
10 Sign Up For Free Samples
Who does't love free samples? It's like when you go to Costco or Sam's Club and basically eat lunch for free from samples, only it can save you even more money than that.
Not only are there free samples out there up for grabs, but many of them come with coupons and multiple products to test. Free samples can be found on certain websites that you can register to, and you can also receive them when you register at stores like Target or Amazon.
Getting samples will not only help you save money by getting free products to use, but it can also help to eliminate waste. If you don't like something you try, you know not to waste money buying it.
9 Take What The Hospital Supplies You
One thing I didn't know with my first baby is that I would be given a ton of stuff from the hospital that I could take home with me, and even ask for extra!
Most hospital will give you recovery items like tucks, pads, a perineal bottle and even those gigantic granny panties. They also give you receiving blankets, pacifiers, nose suctions, onesies and diapers. I was able to take home all of these items.
Certain items like the onesies, blankets and nose suction are things you'll be able to hang on to for a while, while others you'll go through quickly, like the pads and diapers. Either way, taking them home will help save money.
8 Buy Unisex Items
Buy unisex clothes, shoes, accessories, blankets, gear and anything else that you can make work for either gender! Unisex items are easy to find these days. Not everything is blue for boys and pink for girls anymore.
If you're expecting baby #1 and planning on having baby #2 some day, you can reuse everything whether they're the same gender or not!
Even skipping out of the pink carseat or nursery items will help cut costs the next time around. Buying gender neutral clothes that can be reused later will definitely cut costs when baby #2 comes around.
7 Buy Some Items In Bulk
There are several items that are worth buying in bulk, or stocking up on ahead of time, especially if you find a good price or coupons.
If you have the space and extra cash at the time, it's worth buying the things that you know you'll need a lot of in the future, like diapers and wipes. You have nine months to build a stock pile, and it's definitely worth it.
The good thing about diapers is that you can exchange them if you need a different size. Even if you buy too many of one size because you don't know how quickly the baby will grow, you can exchange them for the right size later.
6 Check Your Insurance and Doctor's Rates
Before you get too far into your pregnancy, you'll want to check on your insurance coverage and doctor's rates. You don't want a surprise later or the stress of not knowing how you'll pay your bills.
If you can, it would be best to get good insurance for pregnancy before you get pregnant, but if you get pregnant unexpectedly, you'll want to know exactly what is covered by your insurance.
You'll also want to check on insurance plans for after you deliver to make sure that the baby is fully covered for all of his care as well. You don't want any surprises from doctors that you weren't aware of.
5 Make Your Own Baby Food
This was actually one of my favorite things to do for my babies. Not only will it save you money, it's also comforting to know that your little one is getting nothing but the good stuff.
Moneycrashers.com estimates that it can cost up to almost $50 a month to buy jars of baby food for your baby. That amounts to $600 a year. They also estimate that making and freezing your own food will only cost $15 a month in comparison.
Making your own baby food also said to be more nutritional and organic along with being more economic. And don't feel the need to buy an expensive food processor or machine to puree a blender will do just fine.
4 Ditch The Changing Table
Diaper changing tables are cute and convenient to an extent, but are definitely not a necessity and can you can definitely do without.
There are plenty of other places that you can and, trust me, you will change your babies diaper. You'll end up using your bed, couch and even the floor more than the changing table, especially as baby gets older.
Opting for a dresser and using a closet or other cheaper storage options will save money on a formal diaper changing table. Unless you find a really good deal on a used one, avoid buying a new one.
3 Don't Buy Infant Shoes
Baby shoes are adorable! They're little and cute and trendy, however, babies don't walk! They don't need shoes! Before your baby begins to walk, shoes are not a necessity. Socks will do just fine at keeping your babies feet warm.
It will be so tempting not to buy all of the adorable baby shoes you see. They just seem to make an outfit complete, but don't give in. Cut back on baby shoes and accessories that you won't use or need.
You'll spend a ton of money on creating adorable outfits for baby to wear once, and shoes will probably be a part of them, but they aren't at all necessary. Fight the temptation!
2 Shop the Clearance Rack
Everyone loves a good sale! Shopping the clearance rack instead of paying full price for baby items is one of the most obvious ways to save, but not everyone does it.
It's hard to resist some of the adorable clothes out there, but rest assured they will go on sale and then on clearance. Once a season changes, all of the baby clothes you've had your eye on will begin to be marked down.
Stock up on the clearance clothes you find for the following season. Size up and buy clearance winter clothes for next winter that way you will not only have a stock pile of clothes, you'll save a lot more money.
1 Only Buy A Couple Bottles and Pacifiers
Don't go overboard buying a ton of one or any brand of bottles and pacifiers. You'll never know what brand your baby will take and you could end up tossing a ton of barely used baby bottles and pacifiers.
Some babies are very particular about the type of bottle and pacifier and they might not take the brand that you had your heart set on for them.
If you spend a ton of money on a ton of one specific brand and end up having to switch, you will have wasted those, plus had to spend more money on new ones. Just buy one or two of each until you know what baby will take.
Sources: Thebump.com, Moneycrashers.com, Parents.com, Forbes.com