New Parents: Save Money on Child Expenses
By Eric Stauffer
I remember it like it was yesterday. Our first son was coming in about three months and we were frantically trying to get our hands on what felt like a hundred different baby items, all while trying to not break the bank. Bottles, cribs, diapers, oh the diapers. You name it, we needed it.
My wife and I did what many soon-to-be parents did, we asked friends, checked online and talked to our parents about what we were going to need and started writing a list. While writing said list, we realized it was going to be pretty expensive to bring a new baby into this world.
The good news is that through trial and error we figured out tricks to save money on much of what you need for a new bundle of joy. Below I will share with you what we have come up with for keeping a little more green in the bank.
Buy in bulk
I cannot stress this enough when it comes to baby consumables like diapers, wipes, baby formula, etc. Anything that you use on a regular basis and always need to refill, buy it in bulk.
You have to price shop on a per unit basis. For example, find out what it costs per diaper, rather than per box. Each type of store will carry a different box size, so you need to divide the cost by the number of diapers in order to find out how much each one costs. Do this for everything that are consumables and purchased on a regular basis.
We ended up checking out the local grocery stores, Target, Costco, and Sams Club. In our area, diapers, wipes and formula were the cheapest at Costco. We would go once a month and buy loads of each. It hurt on that day, but we spent less on a monthly basis than running to the local grocery store.
Second hand Stores are Your Friend
While some people enjoy finding clothes at the Salvation Army or Goodwill, other adults stay away. The rules are different when it comes to kid’s second hand stores because everything is practically new!
Once you see how quick your first child goes from zero to one, you will understand what everyone means when they say your kids grow up fast. So they do not fit into anything for very long. My wife and I frequently bought our son clothes at a local kid’s second hand store for a fraction of retail. We often found practically new Polo brand button up shirts for $3, as an example.
Second hand stores are a great place for things like Baby Bjorn’s and high chairs as well. Most anything you buy will be 50-80% less than buying it brand new.
Craigslist – Your New Past Time
My wife and I were training for a half marathon, and we wanted to run on the weekend together so we started investigating running strollers. Anyone who has looked into those knows they can run you a pretty penny.
We tried the second hand stores, but they said those are always gone in about 10 minutes. We tried looking at less expensiveones at Target, but they didn’t seem very good. Finally, we started poking around on Craigslist.
B.O.B. Ironman Jogging Stroller – $75
It was practically brand new! This is a $500 stroller and you couldn’t tell the difference between it and one that just came out of the box. The best part is, we could sell it for the same price we bought it for when we are done with it.
Craigslist is great for bigger items you cannot find at second hand stores, or for those fancier brands that you have your heart set on. Pottery Barn cribs can run you $1000, but you can find them on CL for around $250.
Do Not Be Afraid To Take Stuff Back
We ended up with what seemed like a closet full of clothes as gifts at the baby shower. The problem was that 80% of it was for 0-3 month olds. Our son literally could have worn a new outfit every day the first 2 months of his life. We figured that the 0-3 months are so small, and everyone thought it was the cutest stuff.
We ended up with hundreds of dollars in gift cards to a handful of stores like Target that we held onto until our son was older. Then we could go outfit his wardrobe again with new stuff.
Pro Tip: Keep the tags on until they actually wear it. You will be surprised how many things get stuck in the closet and not found again until they have already outgrown it.