Feb 14, 2018

Smart Ways to Save for Baby

After the initial joy and elation wore off from seeing my first positive pregnancy test, reality started to sink in and I started hyperventilating about everything I needed to buy in order to prepare for baby. I will always be an accountant at heart and it is rare for me to not constantly crunch numbers in my head for everything I do. But preparing for a baby? It was almost too much to handle! I have learned a lot in my first 2 years as a mother though, and in an attempt to pass on some of that wisdom I am sharing a few of my Smart Ways to Save for Baby (that you may or may not be aware of yet).
Have you ever heard of Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups?

Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups are awesome for finding gently used baby products for CHEAP. I live in a large metropolitan area so there are many groups specific to surrounding suburbs and neighborhoods. I have joined several based on the distance I am willing to travel for pickup. Try typing "Your Neighborhood Parent Swap," "Your Neighborhood Online Rummage Sale," "Your Neighborhood Buy / Sell / Trade," or even "Your Neighborhood Garage Sale" into the search bar on Facebook. Chances are, something will pop up! Some of these may be baby specific but I have found a lot of good baby stuff in the general sale sites too. I used to be weird about buying things secondhand, but I'm a true convert now and love finding a good deal. Don't forget, you can use these sites to sell your stuff too (because there will be something you buy or are gifted that baby absolutely hates).

Register. Everywhere.

You don't have to tell anyone that you are registered at 10 stores. You don't even have to finish building your registry everywhere. I found that most stores (even Amazon) offer gift bags upon opening your registry. These gift bags usually include things like: a bottle, a pacifier, wipes, coupons, soaps and lotions, swaddle blankets, bibs, and other baby products. It is a great way to test multiple different bottles and pacifiers to see what baby likes before committing to purchasing a whole set. Babies can be picky and you don't want to be stuck with 20 bottles that he/she won't drink from. Trust me, I made that mistake (and I think it is a pretty common mistake to make)!

Take advantage of Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts if they are offered through your work.

These are pre-tax benefits that you can use to pay for healthcare expenses (things like: office copays, hospital bills, pharmacy expenses) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts can be used for child care, preschool, even summer camps. Max both of these out. You will use them.

Don't overstock one brand or one size of diapers before baby arrives.

I had no idea that diapers could be so polarizing. I found out quickly that I had a clear preference for a diaper brand and it wasn't what I expected based on recommendations I received from friends. You also never know if a certain brand will irritate baby's skin. So it is best to test a few different kinds before fully committing to one.

If you have the patience for cloth diapers, you can save even more money by going that route. It can be a fairly big investment initially, but eventually the $30 per month you are saving by not using disposables adds up (and if rumors are true, cloth diapers can help make potty training easier)!

Breastfeed. If you are able to.

I am definitely not here to shame anyone into breastfeeding. But on strictly a financial basis, breastfeeding can save you about $120 a month in formula expense. Some of that is offset by the additional calories mom has to consume, but net/net you'll come out ahead! Check with your insurance too. Under the ACA breast-pumps are provided to new mothers free of charge. That's another $300-$400 savings!

Don't stock up on nursing tops just yet either. Breastfeeding won't work out for everyone. Wait to see how it is working for you and baby before you go shopping for expensive nursing bras and tops (or at least keep the tags on). I ended up wearing my normal tops anyway. You just find a way to make it work!

Join Amazon Prime and take advantage of Subscribe & Save.

Amazon Prime members can save 20% on diapers through the Subscribe & Save program. It is easy to change your delivery preference and move different brands, sizes, and products in and out of your subscription queue. We subscribe to everything from diaper cream, baby shampoo, wipes, dog food, vitamins, snacks, and even paper towels. If you subscribe to 5 or more items per month you save 15% on everything in your subscription (20% for diapers). It is a great way to save money on your frequent purchases...and to save yourself from needing to run to the store at midnight because you unexpectedly ran out of diapers.

Start paying for child care when you find out you are pregnant.

I should be clear here because I don't mean that you should really start paying for child care before you actually have a child, but if you start setting aside money every week or month based on child care rates in your area, not only will you get used to adjusting your budget before you actually have to, but you will also have a pretty sizable savings account when baby arrives for any unplanned expenses! Start searching for child care now too. It is never too early. It took me over a year to find an infant opening in my area! Thank goodness we had grandparents willing to fill in until we got everything figured out.

What are some ways that you have saved on baby expenses? Please share in the comments below!

XO, Bev

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