Babies are expensive. From medical costs and unpaid parental leave to diapers, day care, formula, and car seats, it can cost a small fortune to raise a child. For my family, having a baby meant we had to seriously revise our budget and lifestyle. So when I asked moms to reveal how they saved a ton of money during their pregnancy, all I could think was, "Wow, I could have used a few of these before my husband and I wound up with five kids."
Reddit user ABM12 recently shared some of her favorite tips for saving up for baby, then asked others to contribute their best money-saving ideas. Some of the commenters ideas were silly, because saving money by not drinking during pregnancy is somewhat of a no-brainer. Others seemed a bit unrealistic. like the first-time mom-to-be who plans to not use diapers (but, seriously, if it works can you teach me your ways?). Most of their suggestions were pretty darn awesome, though, and I have a feeling a lot of other soon-to-be parents are going to benefit from these rad suggestions.
From consignment sales, meal planning, and the constant use of coupons, to clearance racks, comparison shopping, and cloth diapers, these moms-to-be have some great ideas for saving money on baby essentials (and saving money for life in general). Fortunately, for us moms on a budget, there are deals to be had and a Target clearance rack full of adorable baby clothes at 70 percent off (because budget-conscious moms never pay full price for anything). Read on for more money-saving tips from real moms, because kids are expensive AF and we can use all the help we can get.
OK, while this one made me LOL, it's also accurate. Not buying wine and beer definitely reduced my family's grocery bills while I was pregnant. Now that baby is here, however, we set a weekly budget for adult beverages, try to buy our favorites when they are on sale, and try less expensive versions from certain retailers.
Meal planning is one of the easiest ways for our family to save money and avoid getting take-out or fast food after a long day. When you have five kids restaurant meals can really add up. Instead of waiting until we are all hungry and tired to decide what to eat, we plan a week's worth of meals on the weekend and buy everything we need in advance. Plus, making one weekly trip to the store, with a list based on the week's meal plan, means we only have one opportunity to impulse buy (the struggle is real).
Reducing Your Bills
This one was huge. We were able to reduce our internet, water softener, and cell phone bills just by calling and asking about different options or plans. While it's not always possible to reduce monthly expenses, we learned that it doesn't hurt (and it can possibly help) to ask.
Buying Used Items
While there's definitely things that you don't want to buy used for safety reasons, like car seats and cribs, we were able to score some great deals and save a ton of money by visiting local resale shops, consignment sales, yard sales, and utilizing Craigslist for things like a stroller, cloth diapers, baby clothes, and baby carriers.
Hand Me Downs
I sadly donated most of my kids' baby gear before my partner and I decided to have another baby, so we pretty much had to start over from scratch. Fortunately for us, however, several friends gifted us and lent us some gently-used items — including a swing, a bouncer, and a ton of clothes — so we didn't have to buy as much.
While your mileage may vary depending on what kind of cloth diapers you choose, and you can definitely spend a fortune on cute fluff to adorn your baby's bottom if you want to, I was able to save a ton of money by cloth diapering. I found some great deals on gently used diapers from a consignment sale and used inexpensive pre-fold diapers and covers to use during my baby's newborn months.
For me it's seriously fun (not to mention addictive) to shop around for the best deal. I try to never pay full price for anything and always check weekly ads, online sales, and coupon sites to see if I can save even more.
Sign Up For Subscription Programs
Through comparison shopping and maximizing discounts, I have been able to save a ton of money by subscribing to bulk items on Amazon and Target.com. For items like baby wipes, laundry detergent, toilet paper and our baby's expensive hypoallergenic formula, we have been able to save 15 - 20 percent off of the already discounted subscription prices. As an added bonus, they are shipped to our home on a schedule so we never run out and never have to run to the store for more.
Signing up for Amazon Prime has seriously saved my family money on shipping, but it also qualifies us for special sales, expedited shipping, and free movies and shows through their streaming service. It paid for itself in just a couple of months and is totally worth the annual price for our family.
Hold Off On Buying Things Until After Baby Gets Here
This is by far the best tip for saving money for baby that I wish I had heard before I had my first baby. You should definitely not buy most baby gear until baby gets here, and you figure out what they (and you) actually like and need. They might not sleep in that $300 bassinet, fit in that custom outfit, or like any of the swings or bouncy chairs in the store. As a parent, you will probably have to try a few things before you learn what works, too. Besides, babies really only need a few basics (clothes, diapers, and formula or breast milk) to be happy and healthy, and love and snuggles fit in any budget.