According to a recent tally by Baby Center, families can expect to spend $9,300 and $23,380 per year per child. For some families, this number is feasible but for many families, the rising costs of baby formula, supplies, diapers, and healthcare can be overwhelming. If you’re on a relatively fixed income or it’s been hard to find a better paying job, the best next step is to focus on cost savings.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 ways you can save money when you have a baby.
1. Borrow As Much As Possible
Many parents save supplies like their bassinet, clothes, breast pumps, and even pac ‘n plays; often they save those items in anticipation of having another child, but are willing to lend out things that aren’t currently being used. Try to borrow baby supplies from other parents in your friend group, family, neighborhood, or church community. This will significantly cut down on the amount of items you’ll have to buy new. Make a list of things you need and encourage your community to keep you in mind for those items; hopefully they also keep you in mind for more expensive items like educational toys and car seats as well!
2. Find Multi-Use Items
Some baby items are multifunctional and can even grow with your baby. For instance, Some cribs convert to toddler beds and some high chairs convert into seats for toddlers and older kids. When looking for baby items, prioritize 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 items to get the most life out of your goods.
3. Go To Your Local Thrift Stores
While we don’t recommend buying gear like strollers and car seats from your local thrift shop which may stock outdated or unsafe baby items, you can’t go wrong thrifting baby clothes. Ask around for the best thrift stores for baby clothes to find some cute, brand name outfits for cheap and be sure to stock up on other things like hats, shoes, and swimsuits for your little one.
4. Try Before You Buy
If possible, test out items before buying multiples—you may find that your baby doesn’t like the 100 pack of diapers you bought or the bottle nipples you got on sale last year and can’t return. It’s safer to buy a few of those everyday items and see how your little one likes it before buying more. Same goes for things like car seats and strollers. If you weren’t able to buy one before the baby arrived, buy one to take home and test; if it doesn’t work, return it and try another.
5. Make Your Own Baby Food
Avoid pre-packaged baby foods if possible; instead, once your baby transitions off milk, make your own baby food. Most of the expensive baby foods are simply pureed fruits and veggies so start mashing healthy foods like ripe avocado, sweet potatoes, and meats for your baby’s meals. Especially if you cook a lot at home, it can be cost effective to simply mash the leftover veggies from your dinner to feed your baby.
6. Find Healthcare Shortcuts
We recommend securing healthcare for you and your little one when pregnant, but even with excellent insurance, healthcare costs can be overwhelming for many families.
• Talk to your doctor about needs for your baby; most likely, your baby doesn’t need special baby laundry detergent or name-brand pain relievers but is just as comfortable with cheaper alternatives.
• Ask your baby's pediatrician for free product samples; they may have items like formula or special creams to give away which will save you in the long run.
• Finally, be sure to call your nurses’ line or pediatrician before going in for a visit. Appointments can come with costly co-pays so take photos and notes of anything that’s concerning and check in with your healthcare provider to validate the concern before going in for a doctor’s visit.
7. Return Gifts You Don’t Need
If you have a baby shower, you may end up with gifts you didn’t put on your registry; be sure to ask for gift receipts in advance so you’ll be able to return things you don’t need. Even if all you get is store credit, you’ll be able to purchase more practical items without digging into your own pocket.
8. Lean On Your Hospital For Postpartum Supplies
After delivery, your body may need some extra help to recover. We encourage you to take as many supplies from the hospital as you can. Be upfront and ask for as much as they’re able to give you for free and ask your doctor about low cost healing tips! Instead of expensive creams, they may recommend things like a witch hazel and frozen pads as inexpensive options.
9. Join Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook Groups
Go to local yard sales to find baby items in great condition but if you’re tight on time, join local Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups and Buy Nothing groups. Don’t limit yourself to just your neighborhood—check out nearby community Facebook pages as well. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask those groups explicitly to see if someone can help you track down what you need.
10. Friends and Family Help For Nights Out
Whether you want to go hang with an old girlfriend or desperately need a date night, we recommend swapping date nights with other parents in your friend circle or family. Ask another couple to trade babysitting duties with you so you can watch your kids and theirs for their night out and vice versa. This allows you to cut down on babysitting costs which have been increasing in recent years.
We hope these tips come in handy as you welcome a new (and expensive) baby into your life!