The cost of raising a child from birth to age 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is upwards of $225,000. The spending starts right away with the need for diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, blankets, and clothing, just to name a few of the essentials.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to cut back on the expenses. Here are ten easy ways to save money on baby items:
1.Buy on sale. This is a no-brainer.Watch the ads and you’ll know where to shop for the week. Just remember that a sale doesn’t mean you have to outlay a lot of cash. Diapers are always on sale somewhere so you don’t have to stockpile when you see them marked down.
2.Always use a coupon. Coupon sources for baby items are bountiful: the Sunday paper, magazines (like All You), and store websites (like Target). Online there are numerous free printable (like Coupons.com) and clipless coupons sites (like Cellfire). Visit the websites of your favorite brands and sign-up for special offers and coupons: Johnson & Johnson, Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, Seventh Generation, Enfamil, Similac, BeechNut, Gerber, and Earth’s Best. The point is coupons are everywhere so get as many baby item coupons as you can. To maximize your savings, stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon whenever possible**.**
3.Sometimes less is more savings. For example, when using coupons, buying two jumbo packs of diapers can be more economical than purchasing one mega pack. Let’s do the math: Purchase (2) size one Pampers jumbo packs at $8.99 each. You get 80 diapers for $17.98, less (2) coupons for $1.50 off, for a pre-tax price of $14.98. Now let’s say you purchase (1) size one Pampers mega pack. You get 66 diapers for $17.49, less (1) coupon for $1.50 off, for a pre-tax price of %15.99. It pays to do a little math before buying anything in bulk.
5.Enroll in rewards programs. With Pampers’ Gifts to Grow program members get points for purchases. Accumulated points can be redeemed for prizes. Huggies’ Enjoy the Ride works the same way. Also checkout the Toys R Us and BeechNut rewards programs.
6.Ebates. Membership and participation in Ebates.com is free. Create an account, log-in to Ebates.com before you shop online, search for your favorite products and stores and click the link to their website. You will automatically get cash back from your online purchases via check on a quarterly schedule or deposit into your PayPal account.
7.Used is the new New. In a down economy more people shop their local thrift stores and clothing exchange retailers. One of my favorite used clothing stores is Other Mothers. A great time to stop by is on Saturday morning when they have tons of items on sale for a quarter. Also checkout Craigslist for freebies and used baby items. Note: it is recommended to buy car seats new due to possibility of damage or the chance it has been in an accident.
8.Make your own diaper wipes. All you need to start saving money on this baby item staple is an old diaper wipe box or any airtight container, water, baby oil, baby bath or shampoo, and a roll of paper towels. Cut the roll in half and remove the cardboard from the middle. Boil two cups of water and let it cool. Pour the water in a large mixing cup and add two tablespoons of baby oil and two tablespoons of baby bath or shampoo. Mix together and pour over the towels, covering evenly.
9.Make your own baby food. There are a lot of resources available if you should choose this healthy, economic option. Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food is one thorough online source. Mommy Made is a great book with lots of healthy recipes for babies and toddlers.
10.Spend now, save for college. By shopping online, dining out at participating restaurants, and grocery shopping you can be saving for your child’s college education through Upromise. Registration is easy and free. Sign-up today to turn your some of your everyday spending into money for college.
Has your family come up with creative ways to save money? Post a comment below to share it.