Wrapping your arms around the fragile frame of a newborn is holding the world in a warm blanket. With a new child in your family comes a whole lotta love, as well as a whole lotta baby products. From bottles of baby shampoo to crates of diapers, your life is going to explode with tiny clothes and car seats. And your wallet’s going to feel the pinch.
To help ease the strain on your budget, here are five money-saving tips from a baby veteran. Hopefully some of them work for you, so that you spend less time worrying about your money, and more time holding your swaddled masterpiece.
Tip 1: Make Those Baby Gifts Matter
If you want all of those gifts from showers and excited grandmas to make a difference, then be sure to organize them. Take some time to sort all of the gifts—and especially the clothes—into boxes for each age. Usually I’ve sorted them into newborn, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months.
Organizing everything isn’t just a good idea, it’s vital. It’ll help you know exactly what you have at each stage, making it easier to find later on, but also preventing you from over-spending on duplicates.
Extra Advice: Having a box for each age will also make it easy to store all of the clothes/toys after your little one outgrows them.
Tip 2: Use Digital and Printed Coupons
If you are a new parent, then there are companies out there desperately trying to get your attention. Use that excitement to your advantage. When you sign up with companies like Gerber, Huggies, or Similac, they usually send you gift packs, coupons, and helpful advice.
It can also be helpful to connect with other new parents so that you can swap coupons. This is especially true if you are using baby formula, since coupons can save you so much.
Extra Advice: Sometimes it may make sense for both mom and dad to sign up for a company’s list. That way you get twice the coupons.
Tip 3: Visit Clearance Sections
I know this tip is pretty obvious, but it is also one of the most beneficial. The quickest way to slash a few bucks off of a needed purchase is to find it on clearance. If you’ve followed Tip 1, then you will know what items you will need in a few months, so you’ll be able to buy them ahead of time.
Extra Advice: I like to ask store employees about the clearance sections, and find out what day of the week they tend to move stuff to clearance. That way I can be one of the first ones to have a look around at the discounts.
Tip 4: Shop Secondhand Stores & Off-price Retailers
There are a growing number of quality secondhand stores that specialize in children’s clothing and accessories. Where I’m at, in Utah, the most popular of these is Kid-to-Kid, where you can usually find like-new stuff for 70% off. I’ve found some amazing strollers this way, without having to spend a few hundred bucks on them.
Now let’s talk off-price retailers, like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross. These retailers often have a great selection of children’s clothes and toys. You’ve got to do a bit of looking for what you need, but the payoff is usually worth it, since all of the items are brand new.
Extra Advice: Off-price retailers are my go-to place for picking up birthday and Christmas gifts, since the toy sections usually have great stuff at a steep discount. In fact, when I see a great deal I usually buy it, and just hold on to it until the next birthday rolls around.
Tip 5: Share Baby Items
A lot of the higher-cost baby items—think bassinet, swing, bouncy chair—sit around in people’s homes after their baby grows out of them. If you need something, it’s worth asking around to see if any friends or family have one that you can borrow. We had one bouncy chair that made its way through our four kids, three cousins, and two neighbors.
Extra Advice: It may also make sense for you to try something out before shelling out a bundle of cash for your own. Some kids just don’t like swings—a fact that gets harder to swallow after investing $100 or $200 bucks.