Frugal Baby Tips

There are a ton of ways to save money when raising your baby without sacrificing quality. A Seattle Times article got me thinking about ways I’ve saved money that were not mentioned in the article.

1) Our hospital gives you mom and baby kits by default, not telling you up front that they charge for them. Plan ahead by specifying in your birth plan you do not want these kits and remembering to refuse them when you see the nurse providing one of the supplies (you probably won’t be shown a whole “kit,” just be given an individual item when it is needed). We prepared our own combo kit for about $35.

  • Baby Kit: $79 for 20 diapers, 1 pack of travel wipes, 1 thermometer, 1 baby shampoo, and 1 comb and brush.
  • Mom Kit: $114 for 2 disposable panties, 1 ice pack, 1 squirt bottle, and 1 pack of maxi pads.

2) Buy from second-hand baby stores. Clothes are outgrown so quickly that you can find great quality at a third or less the retail price. Garage sales are another plus. Buy ahead of season. For example, winter clothes get dumped at low prices in the spring. Buy good 18-month-old (and up) clothing when you find it — older toddlers are more mobile and wear their clothes longer, so their “gently used” clothing is in short supply.

3) Buy near-mint condition toys at garage sales. (Thrift stores, not so much.)  Plastic and wood toys? Yes. If a toy can be washed, you’re a fool not to be frugal. Plush animals? No. Friends and family will overload you with stuffed animals, and used ones often cannot be properly cleaned.

Never buy a used car seat, unless you know the seller and absolutely trust it has never been in a crash, not even a fender bender. Check for product recalls from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission because there are a lot of bad products still in circulation.

4) Breastfeeding is a huge money saver (no formula), time saver (no shopping for and preparing formula) and very convenient once you’re in your groove. Some moms we know gave us their never-used bottle supplies.

5) Cloth diapers save you $1,200 to $2,000 (maybe more) over 2 to 3 years, not to mention reaping the numerous benefits of cloth.

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