When you first get pregnant, it doesn’t take long to realize that babies are expensive. While most of your expenses don’t necessarily seem that bad, they add up quickly. You’re getting everything you need for an entire person, after all – a little person who will often require a couple wardrobe changes a day, places where they can safely lay down and sleep, and a steady stream of supplies to keep their butt clean. Yes, babies are expensive – but don’t worry, there are several easy ways to save money on baby supplies that we’re going to cover.
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How to Save Money on Baby Supplies
One of the first things I did after I found out I was pregnant was start shopping. For the most part, it was window shopping – I was trying to figure out how much this baby was going to cost. I figured it out pretty quickly – babies are expensive. But I’m frugal and I love a good deal, so I wasn’t willing to just take the punch to the pocketbook. Here are some of my best ways of saving money on baby supplies.
1. Let the word get out
This is handy for two reasons. One – when family members (*coughgrandparentscough*) find out you’re expecting, they get you things. Two, if you have friends that are done having children or don’t currently have an infant, they can give or loan you things too. A friend of mine gave me her Pack n Play that her own children had outgrown (and then unexpectedly found herself pregnant again, but that’s another story). I’ve gotten all sorts of stuff, and some of it even gets to go back to the original owner when I’m done with it so I don’t have to worry about storing it long-term or getting rid of it.
2. Check out Facebook Marketplace
Not only is Facebook Marketplace much easier to sell on then Craigslist, it’s easier to find stuff too. I bought everything from a giant lot of cloth diapers ($200, and they were mostly brand new!) to my swing ($20, and I later saw the same swing listed for $60, which would still have been fair) to clothing ($1 per piece, but I wound up getting nearly thirty items for $20). Honestly, if I find myself needing something, this is one of the first places I check.
3. Look at local resale shops and consignment sales
Kids outgrow stuff quickly, babies outgrow stuff even more quickly. You can get a ton of stuff from resale shops that’s been lightly used or is even new. Pay attention to their social media – one of my local resale shops will get too many onesies in stock, and they’ll do $1 sales to get their inventory down. There are also consignment sales like Just Between Friends that can easily help you save money on baby supplies. We got an entire carload of stuff for about $80. Look for a local moms group on Facebook to find out what consignment sales are in your area and when they occur.
Can I hear a shoutout to everyone’s favorite place to buy…well, everything? Target often runs a good deal on baby items – you may have a minimum spending threshold (usually it’s $75) but believe me, with baby stuff, you can reach that easily. I use my debit RedCard and save 5% on all of my purchases (plus free shipping). I got the crib and crib mattress while a great sale was going on, plus they had a swimsuit sale happening so I got a maternity swimsuit – all for $120. Plus, I ordered it online and got it shipped to my house for free. Target also has Cartwheel on their app that usually has some good deals. I checked while I was writing this and there are deals on Cartwheel for several brands of formula, diapers, diaper ointments, and more.
5. Garage sales
I grew up going to garage sales. You can get all sorts of stuff for low prices, because people just want to get rid of it. Check if your city has a garage sale group on Facebook, or you can look at Craigslist. I always try to make a list of ones that I know will have the stuff I need. Here’s the big trick to garage sales – don’t be afraid to negotiate. When I’ve held a garage sale, I generally have things priced 30-50% higher than I really want – because people who do negotiate will go down to my real price, and people who don’t negotiate will get me a couple extra bucks. I know people are afraid to negotiate a price because it seems confrontational, but I’m telling you, it’s fine! It’s expected! If something is marked $8, ask if they’ll take $5. If you aren’t good at negotiating, start small – it says $12? Offer $10. This is how I got a perfectly good bouncer for $3. The deals are out there!
6. Thrift stores
People don’t want to go to the trouble of taking stuff to a consignment store or selling it themselves, so they take it to a thrift store. You can get all sorts of bargains. Ask at your local thrift store what sales they might have coming up for an even better deal.
7. Find the coupon bloggers
There are people out there who will let you know what the best deals are and when they pop up. Sometimes there are really amazing deals out there – I saw brand new LILLEbaby carriers going for $40 the other day. The model was on clearance – so it’s not like it was a case of a Chinese dupe either! That’s a carrier that’s normally $100+. Use your social media platform of choice and search for things like “baby deals.”
Bonus – for the formula mamas…
Obviously, the best option from a financial sense is to breastfeed, but from a practical standpoint that’s not always possible. If you’re unable to do so, remember – fed is best. There are also some options for helping with the costs here.
First, most of the formula companies have coupons available. Type in “(your preferred brand) coupons” in a search engine and it should be easy to find some. Make sure your mom friends know you want coupons too – since I breastfeed I don’t need mine.
Second, ask at your doctor’s office! I know someone with twins who got samples from her pediatrician – it was almost a month’s worth of formula!
Third, look into donor milk as an option. An overproducing breastfeeding mama will often get a stash going – but breastmilk has a limited freezer life. Generally, they would rather donate it to a mom in need than see it go to waste. I know the idea of using a stranger’s milk for your baby might seem odd, but it’s going to be good quality (after all, they feed their baby too), and it’ll have some useful things formula can’t replicate. Human Milk for Human Babies is a good place to start, along with local mom groups.
Bonus for all mamas
A piece of advice – don’t get caught up in all “girl” or “boy” stuff. Neutral everything is best, especially if you plan on using it for multiple children. If things aren’t neutral – your infant does not care. My daughter’s first sleep sack had blue and brown stars all over it – but I got it at the thrift store for $2, It kept her just as warm as a pink one would have.
Babies are definitely expensive – but they don’t have to be too expensive. I hope this gives you a few ideas on how to save money on baby supplies. I promise, it’s easier than it seems!