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It’s a good thing babies are so stinking cute, because they sure can rack up the bills. According to the USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child Calculator, parents in the U.S. can expect to fork out more than 16 grand during a baby’s first year alone. Of course, children are priceless and you would go to any length to obtain whatever your little one needs.
The good news is you can save big on everything from the essentials to adorable extras you just have to have when you know a few simple tricks. Check out these stress-free ways to cut costs on baby items.
1. Register For The Good Stuff
Whether your friends are planning a shower for your first bundle of joy or you are on your third girl and have boxes of hand-me-downs, you should sign up with several baby gift registries, especially for big-ticket items. Sure, doing so makes it easier for loved ones to pick the perfect gift, but it can save you big bucks, to boot. The best registries offer perks such as freebies and completion discounts as your due date draws near.
2. Opt for Double-Duty Gear
It’s amazing how quickly newborns grow—and outgrow—so many pricey items! You can save some cash by selecting big and small gear that serves multiple purposes. For instance, play yards are perfect for tummy time, but many will also work as beds and changing tables. You can use safety seats to boost interactive playtime and as high chair substitutes. Cribs that convert to toddler beds and car seats that convert into boosters save money over time, as well.
3. Subscribe and Save
Certain online retailers as well as some of their brick-and-mortar counterparts offer deep discounts when you set up automatic reordering of essential products, such as diapers, wipes or formula. These subscription services vary. For example, Sam’s Club requires membership, and you can save more at Amazon if you join Prime. Comparing prices with other subscription offers at retailers such as Target, Walmart and Diapers.com can help you find the best deals.
4. Stockpile Diapies and Wipies
You may be able to find terrific sales on stuff you will need tons of (think diapers, wipes, ointments, etc.) long before the little one arrives. Make a list of everyday supplies and their regular prices. Comparison shop your local stores weekly. When you see a great deal, head out and load up. Trust us, you’ll use them.
5. Match Prices on the Go
Familiarize yourself with your favorite baby stores’ price match policies, and then check for better deals on mobile sites while you are out and about. Retailers such as BuyBuy Baby, Babies “R” Us, Target and Walmart will match competitors’ prices for identical items when you provide proof at the time of purchase (sometimes even within a week or so after). Of course, there are conditions, so be sure to read the fine print.
6. Pair Coupons and Apps
Print and digital coupons can be a fantastic way to save on everyday baby items, like diapers, baby food and shampoo. Likewise, shopping apps such as Ibotta and Checkout 51 as well as store-specific apps, such as Target’s Cartwheel app and Walmart’s Savings Catcher can help you save on necessities. Maximize these savings by stacking manufacturer and store coupons plus using multiple apps for digital coupons and cash back.
7. Loyalty Pays Off
Signing up for loyalty rewards programs offered by your favorite brands can net you awesome freebies, deep discounts and insider perks, as well. Enroll in programs offered by all of your favorite brands so that you do not miss any goodies. Follow them on social media for even more offers and info. Pampers, Huggies and Seventh Generation all have their own reward programs, so once you find your favorite diaper brand, it’ll pay to sign up.
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Buy Used
This applies for everything from clothing and shoes to the heaps of baby gear a new bundle seems to require. While you may have the urge to buy only brand-new items for your brand-new baby, you can find high-quality, very gently used items for so much less. If you have a resale store like Once Upon A Child in your area, be sure to check it out. They’ll only buy used items in great condition, so this isn’t like shopping a Salvation Army. There are tons of Facebook “mom” groups out there for swapping and selling baby things. And don’t forget Craigslist and eBay as well. Families desperate to rid their homes of baby clutter will often post items in Craigslist’s “free” section, so don’t forget to look there, too.
Your new baby will likely cost you some big bucks, so there is no better time to start saving than right now. With so many simple strategies to alleviate some of your budget concerns, you can focus on the important stuff, like what color to paint the nursery and where your child should attend college (it’s never too early, right?).