Before I had kids, a good friend told me that if you waited until you were ready (emotionally and financially) you’d never have kids. Bringing a new baby into the mix does bring new expenses, but over the last 7 years and 3 babies I’ve found a few ways to take care of the essentials without feeling extra broke afterward.
This article is the first in a series that will help you afford those baby essentials, like diapers, wipes, clothing, and everything else (including gear, and toys). Later I’ll write about how to afford day trips, camps, and other educational experiences as your children age.
Diapers and Wipes
The absolute biggest expenses that you can never skip are diapers and wipes. While I do like Pampers Swaddlers for my Newborns, once we get above a size 1, I switch to Luvs. With the boys, I had to use special nighttime diapers, but Luvs are just fine for my third baby, even at night. No leaks.
I actually don’t think it matters what brand of diapers you buy- pick what works for you and your family, but you will have to buy them on a regular basis. Sometimes the store brands are made by the same companies that make the name brands, so they’re really just as good.
Amazon Prime Family is my biggest secret for saving on diapers and wipes. I subscribe to save 20% and they show up at my door. I’ve been a member since it was Amazon Mom back in 2010. But you can’t just assume they have the best price.
How do you know if a price is good?
Take the cost of the box of diapers, divided by the number of diapers in the box to calculate the cost of each diaper. Then compare. I like to pay .12 a diaper, or less, for Luvs.
You can also search Babycheapskate.com to find out the best diaper and wipe prices for the week.
Sometimes, my grocery store or Walgreens actually has better deals on the price per diaper than even Amazon, so keep a lookout in your flyers. A few weeks ago, Shoprite had a deal where you could get the big boxes of Luvs for $24.99 each and save $20 instantly when you bought 3.
I got 2 boxes of Size 3 (148 diapers each) and 1 box of size 4 (128 diapers each).
That’s 424 diapers for $54.97. 12.9 cents per diaper. BUT they also had a Shoprite from Home deal to save another $25 when you spent $75 on baby supplies. So I bought a few baby snacks to make up the difference and printed three $2 coupons from Coupons.com and ended up getting 424 diapers for $23.97. That’s 5.6 cents per diaper! Now I’m stocked up for awhile.
BJ’s is also a good place to combine store and manufacturer coupons to save more on diapers. Just be aware of your price per diaper to see if you’re really getting the best deal.
Stocking up before baby is born? Read this article that predicts how many boxes you’ll need based on CDC growth charts.
Tip #1: Never pay full price.
Babies grow out of clothes very very fast and most of my favorite baby brands offer sales on a regular basis. Subscribe to receive emails from your favorite stores and pay attention to their sale cycles. I keep it in my head (probably not the best idea) but you can keep a price book of the lowest prices you see for certain items, like graphic tees, shorts, and pj’s so you know when to stock up.
- The Children’s Place
- Old Navy
- Gymboree Children’s Clothing
- StrideRite (They are worth the extra cost because they really do last longer, especially with boys, BUT when you can get them on sale, Jackpot! Plus there’s Always free shipping and free returns on all orders.)
Tip #2 Sign up for E-bates if you do a lot of online shopping and install the chrome extension.
When you go to checkout the browser extension will remind you to activate your Ebates shopping session and you’ll get a percentage back. It accumulates in your account and then once it reaches a certain amount they pay you via Paypal. I’ve gotten over $80 back over the years. Maybe not a TON each year, but every little bit helps. The browser extension also finds and applies coupon codes for you, so that’s another way to save.
Everything Else- Use Your Baby Registry
Again, Baby Cheapskate is a great resource. In fact, you should probably buy the book, The Baby Cheapskate Guide to Bargains. There are also essential guides on the website that teach you about how to save on buying formula, toys, and more!
My last tip on saving on “Everything Else”… all of that baby gear you want (not always need) is to leverage your baby registry.
Put EVERYTHING on it. I mean EVERYTHING. There are a few reasons for this.
- You might receive it as a gift. It’s not up to you to decide what people buy, but putting a lot of things on the registry, including big ticket items is smart. Your friends and family might go in together to get you your big items. Don’t feel guilty that people will think you’re greedy for registering for big things… just put it on there.
- If you don’t receive the big ticket items as a gift (perfectly ok, no judgement or feeling entitled that all your baby gear should be given to you) then you can take advantage of the discount that most registries offer. It’s usually 10% and allowed for one purchase that you make of items left on your registry. You have up to a certain amount of months to use it.
Plus- Amazon has a special promotion going on right now, until August, that if $1000 (from you and gift givers) is bought through your registry, you get a $100 credit toward diapers and wipes. Whaaattt!?
Want some help building your Amazon Registry? Get my resource guide to find out my favorite ways to spend $1000 on baby gear (including my absolute favorite products) to give you some ideas.
Check out all of the details on the Amazon promotion here. There are a bunch of terms, including that you must be a Prime Member to take advantage of it. But you already signed up for Prime to save on diapers, right?
Some final thoughts and ways to save:
- Shop consignment sales and develop a system for selling (rotating) out your old, unneeded baby gear with new to you items at affordable prices.
- Pay attention to seasonal sales and buy at the lowest prices. This often involves buying ahead of when you’ll need the items.
- Check Facebook resale groups and Craigslist. Most baby gear and toys are “gently used” because babies grow out of things so fast. You can get awesome deals. Once I paid $10 for a Step2 Kitchen. The stickers were peeling so I contacted the company and re-ordered the stickers and battery operated elements. The cost was minimal and my kids are STILL using that kitchen 7 years later. I also bought a LittleTikes Pickup Truck for $10 that they still play with.
- Swap clothes and toys with family and friends.
- Ask friends and family without kids to save you coupons for diapers, wipes and other baby items.
- Buy in bulk and stock up when you can.
Other articles you may enjoy for making life with kids affordable (coming soon)
- Ways to Save on a Trip to the Amusement Park
- How to Afford day trips and Family Entertainment
I hope this series helps you save on all of those baby essentials so you can stress less about finances and enjoy your family more. If you are unexpectedly expecting a new family member and wondering how the heck you’re ever going to make this work on a budget, I’ve got your back. It’s do-able.
Want to hear from me about more ways to save on babies and kid stuff, like family fun?
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