It comes to no surprise that having children can be expensive. It is estimated that to raise a child from birth to 18 (before university) can cost $243,660. Now that Hubby and I are expecting our first son, the need to start buying baby supplies. We were VERY fortunate to be given lots of gifts which ultimately limited the amount we had to buy for the Princess. We are now fully aware of the true costs, both up front and hidden, and are prepping for the arrival of our Rainbow. Here are just a few ways to save money on the initial costs.
- Buy on Sale. Seems pretty obvious but some people leave shopping to the last-minute and end up paying full price on things that routinely go on sale. Monitor stores that carry the items you are looking for and watch for them to go on sale.
- Coupons. There are many sites that you can sign up for coupons that are mailed to your home. In Canada, it’s much harder to Extreme Coupon but you are still able to save money on things such as diapers, clothes and baby wash. Many of these same sites will send you free samples. Also, feel free to email your favourite brands directly. I LOVE Johnson & Johnson products and wrote to the manufacturer explaining that I really love their products and in response, they sent me free high-priced coupons as well as a voucher for a free pack of their assorted products. The worst thing they can say is no and at the best, you receive free products and coupons. Also, to maximize on the savings, apply coupons to items that are on sale.
- Baby Item Swaps. As Mommy’s and Daddy’s, we have a group of fellow parents who like us, keep our baby stuff “just in case” we come to expect another baby. So why not capitalize on free stuff while making room in your closets. A friend of mine is expecting a girl and only has boys and I am expecting a boy and was elbow deep in girl stuff, so we met up and did a swap. We were able to trade items at no cost. A little piece of advice, don’t include clothes that are stained or torn.
- Donation Parties. In lieu of baby showers, a new trend is Donation Parties. Women who are expecting make a list of the things that they need and ask close friends and family who have baby stuff and go through the list and see who is willing to give you which items. This may not be for everyone, and that is why it is best to only invite people who you are VERY close with and not your neighbour whom you only see occasionally.
- EBay or Kijiji. These online sites are great for purchasing baby items at a lower cost. Babies and children grow really fast and only wear items for a short period so most of the clothes are in great condition. Be aware of what you are buying and ensure that it is the correct season for your child. Also, ask to see pictures and know if the items come from pet or smoke free homes. I wouldn’t recommend buying certain items, but clothing is usually pretty safe. Be sure to wash it before you put it on your baby.
- Buy What You Need, Not Want. You can find lists in every parenting magazine of things that you “NEED” for your little one. Everyone would love those wipe warmers and new fangled gadgets, but your baby doesn’t need them and more often than not, they are money traps. When we brought the Princess home, I dressed her in dress clothes, and what a disaster. I have learned that less is more. Sleepers and onesies are the best clothes in the first few months of life. Babies eat, poop, sleep and repeat and do not care what they are wearing. They have no preference for which items get stained in their latest diaper assault.
- Keep Stock of What You Already Have. If you already have children, keeping essential items is always a great money saver. Hubby and I kept our crib, breast pump, glass bottles, play pen and bedding (as it is gender neutral). Do keep an eye on certain items that may be too old such as car seats as they expire after 5 years.