10 Genius Tips to Save Money the First Year
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Borrow clothing/items/supplies from anyone who has them available
A lot of the things you'll use – even before the baby arrives – will only be needed for a short time. Maternity clothes, baby bathtubs, baby gyms or bouncers have a limited-time use, so if you have friends have recently had little ones consider asking if they have any items they'd be willing to let you borrow. They might even be happy for the chance to clear up some storage space in their house for a while.
Look beyond the baby stores to decorate and stock your nursery
It's certainly fun to shop the baby stores and see the fully coordinated nursery decor and furniture, but the cost can be astronomical for a crib quilt that's about the same size as an average towel.
Of course there are plenty of consignment shops that cater to the pregnancy and newborn market, and they're a great place to find very gently used items, but don't stop there. Do you have a friend who can sew? A trip to the fabric store can yield some adorable choices and you can score a fully custom crib set for a fraction of the price.
There are also great deals to be had in some of the large discount stores, like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, or even Target. And don't just shop the baby section. There are great options for artwork, furniture, and other items that can easily incorporate into a nursery all over the store!
Finally, do your online research. Check Amazon for reviews, to compare prices, and often to score a deal far better than you'll find in your local big box stores.
Sometimes making an investment pays off
Every once in a while, it's truly worth it to spend more because you'll save in other ways. When you're trying to save money the first year, sometimes you need to look at the long haul. For example, some families find that knowing they'll be able to use them for multiple children makes the upfront cost of cloth diapers a good investment.
Of course, breast milk is always on tap at a much better price than formula, but you might find it easier to make it work with a high quality breast pump. (Do check with your insurance first as some plans will cover this purchase!)
Finally, when you're going to spend several years using a stroller to get around, it may be worth your while to spend a bit more to get one with the features you really need. Small storage for your small apartment? Easy fold for traveling and moving around a busy city? One-handed push for mamas with several little ones to take care of? A stroller that will make your life easier every day is well worth the extra cost.
Shop consignment sales
As soon as you find out you're expecting, start looking for the consignment sales in your area. For example, my local moms of multiples club hosts two sales each year that can be a huge score for all kinds of baby gear, clothing, and even items that were never used. There are several companies that host these shows in cities around the country including Just Between Friends, Rhea Lana, and others. They may also be held by local churches or other groups, so check out garage sale listings and Facebook swap pages to keep an eye out for upcoming sales.
Sign up for deals and discounts wherever you can
Consider the places that you usually shop in addition to specialty baby stores. Many grocery stores and online retailers offer discounts, like Amazon Family‘s program that offers 20% off many baby essentials. You can also register at product manufacturers' websites to get on the mailing list for coupons and deals for the brands you know and trust.
There is a whole world of baby products out there, but you don't need them all. You don't need fancy items or products that only serve one specific purpose, like a wipes warmer. You can even save on basics like bibs by only using them when you're out on-the-go and simply undressing baby for mealtimes at home. Additionally, your baby really doesn't need a ton of toys. They take up space and can add up to a huge investment. A few basic items like blocks and books can provide lots of fun combined with household items like pots and pans.
Don’t spend on pre-packaged baby food
Take any samples/freebies/extras you can get
Ask your nurse at the hospital and they can tell you which items you should take. Anything that has been opened and brought to your room can typically go home with you for no additional cost. Ask at your doctor's office if they have samples for any new products you are considering, from formulas to lotions to medications. Register for samples or freebies like the Amazon Baby Box whenever possible.
Consider nanny sharing
Depending on your schedule, you may need childcare for less than a solid 40 hours a week, which can be a challenge with some daycare centers. If you have local friends or mom's groups, you might be able to partner with another family to share nanny services. This might look like the nanny keeping kids from both families at one home, or rotating days, or whatever system works out for you. This way the nanny can get more hours, but the cost can be divided between multiple families. Learn more about nanny sharing here.
Buy when seasons/styles change
A little advance planning can save a lot of money! Purchase summer swimwear or winter coats at the end of the season in preparation for the next time you'll need them. It's not always possible to predict sizing, but with some items you can make your best guess. Also look into when the seasons are for baby gear. When companies change to new models, fabrics, or patterns you can often find steeply discounted items that stores want to move before the new stock arrives. This is a great time to buy strollers, car seats, carriers, or other big ticket items.