Tips for Saving Money on Newborn Baby Expenses
Newborns and New Expenses
Having a newborn is a momentous celebration in any family. Don't let the deluge of new expenses spoil the fun. Here are some tips for how to save on newborn baby expenses.
Things That Are Safe For You To Borrow and Use After Checking for Recalls From the Manufacturer
Borrowing Used Baby Items
The number one way to save money on newborn baby expenses is to borrow from family and friends. If you do not have anyone to borrow from, you may also consider buying these items used from a consignment shop or on Craigslist or eBay. But, be careful - not all baby items are safe to use after the first baby.
As long as you check for manufacturer recalls on items, you can safely borrow the following items:
- baby clothes
- burp cloths
- swaddle blankets
- crib sheets
- changing pads
- changing pad covers
- nursing pillows
- Bumbo seats
- night lights
- decorative crib bumpers
- high chairs*
- car mirrors
- baby monitor
*Items with a star should be checked for recalls before use.
Items that are not safe to borrow and you are better off getting your own are:
- breast pumps - Breast milk is considered a bodily fluid. Due to sanitary issues, each breast pump user needs her own tubing to use the pump. Some pumps do not have interchangeable tubing, so should not be used by another mama.
- crib mattress - crib mattresses should be firm. If a mattress has been used before it has lost it's firmness. This is a safety issue and puts your infant at risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- car seats & car seat bases - car seats that have been in a car accident should never be used again. The integrity of the car seats' safety features has been compromised. Also, car seats come with an expiration date. Never use a car seat or car seat base that is past it's expiration. The manufacturer makes no claims as to the safety of using an expired car seat.
- bottles & bottle sanitizer - it's best if a new set of bottles is purchased for each baby. While bottles and sanitizers can be re-used, it's best if you start with new, clean bottles & sanitizers.
Sales & Coupons
If you're a member of the baby store rewards programs, you will be on their mailing list to receive weekly coupons and flyers announcing their sales. If you wait to a sale to stock up on your basics like formula, wipes and diapers, you will save a bundle. Don't forget you can also use manufacturer's coupons at the same time.
These days every store has a Rewards Program, and baby stores like Babies "R" Us & Buy Buy Baby are no exception. If you registered for the baby at a baby store, they will already have your information on file. Sometimes they offer you a discount when you purchase items off of your registry. So, before you buy anything, add it to your registry. Also, the store will often send you a coupon or store credit which is a percentage of the amount of items that were purchased by friends and family from your registry.
Babies "R" Us also has a VIB (Very Important Baby) program. If you put money on a pre-paid card, you will get back 10% of all purchases made with that card. The VIB card can only be used for buying diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.
If you will be formula feeding, be sure to sign up with Enfamil & Similac. They will send you samples of their formula as well as periodic coupons for up to $5 off.
Pampers Village gives you points for every pack of diapers and wipes you buy. Just enter the code on their website and earn points towards prizes. The prizes are things like photo services like baby announcements or re-prints, baby toys, potty seats, or the option to enter in drawings for "Diapers for Life".
A little known fact is that baby formula is regulated. That means whether you're buying the brand name or the store's generic brand, it will have the same ingredients. Don't believe me - just read the labels.
The big box stores also have their own brands of diapers that are just as good, sometimes better than the major brands found in baby stores. Buy a small pack to try it out and see if it's worth saving money on it.
Buying in Bulk
Most major brands of formula and diapers are available at the big box stores like BJ's, Sam's Club and Costco. The larger, bulk sizes will cost you less in the long run. You're going to need and use it anyway, so why not buy in bulk and save.
Update: We switched from Pampers to Kirkland brand diapers from Costco. They're cheaper, and work better for us. We use a Pampers nighttime diaper for overnight use.
Minimal Use of Baby Products During Diaper Changes
This may sound shocking to most, but you do not need to use powder, ointment or even a baby wipe at each diaper change. My son was in the NICU for 10 days when he was born and we visited him there. I learned from the nurses in the hospital that they don't use powder at all. They only use ointment if the baby has signs of diaper rash, and wipes are only used if your baby has had a bowel movement, and when changing the morning diaper. You'd also be surprised to know that their version of wipes is a small piece of a cross between a tissue and a paper towel that has been wet with water. They actually say that unnecessary, over-use of baby wipes dry-out a baby's bottom and cause diaper rash.
Update: My son is almost 2 and has never had a diaper rash. We use a baby wipe when changing the morning diaper, and after bowel movements. If he looks a little red once in awhile we put some A&D ointment on him.
Cloth diapering is not for everyone. But, if you're up to the challenge, you can potentially save thousands of dollars, while also doing the environment a favor. The webpage Diaper Decisions highlights the cost of cloth diapers as compared to disposable diapers over your baby's time wearing diapers.
Make Your Own Baby Wipes
How Do You Save Money on Newborn Necessities?
Which money saving method do you think you are most likely to try?
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