I think a lot of the people freak out because of financial reasons when they see those two lines on the pregnancy test. Are we ready? Am I ready? I haven’t paid off my credit card in years, can I really afford a baby? You then go to a huge baby store and then you freak out even more. Big items like furniture, strollers, car seats, swings etc can be very expensive, but even small things are $10-$15 dollars and they add up rather quickly. So what do you do? In our case, we froze as we walked into a BuyBuyBaby (more like ByeByeAllYourMoney), looked at each other, grabbed each others’ hands, and walked in. We got this! And it wasn’t nearly as hard as we thought it would be.

I’m all about savings and bargains. Not the crazy coupon lady, I actually almost never clip coupons, but love me some sales and promo codes. There are 3929292982 articles online on how to save in those first few months. I think we excelled at it, so here I am, sharing.

  1. Do your research.

2 minutes alone with Google will tell you tons. That, for example, the cheapest changing pad at a popular store is $30 and a very highly rated one on Amazon is only $17. In my experience and living in North Eastern part of the country, BuyBuyBaby is a complete rip off, Babies R Us is tolerable and actually does offer great deals and sales from time to time, and Amazon is just the best. So check things out before you buy.

  1. Use your baby shower wisely.

Well, yes if you are registered at BuyBuyBaby how I was (a very bad experience I wish I knew), your family and friends will have to pay $30 for a silly changing pad cover. So I was happy I registered at Amazon too. Here is my first baby shower trick. Not only your loved ones will not be overpaying, but also, if you return items, you will get credit for it which you can use towards buying anything (and let’s be real, Amazon does sell everything) for anyone. Same goes for BuyBuyBaby (which is a BedBath&Beyond company, so you can use store credit for purchases at either BBB store).

The second baby shower trick is a diaper raffle, especially if you have a lot of people coming to your celebration. Have everyone who wants to participate bring a box of diapers, make a basket with some wine, fancy cheese and chocolate and raffle it off. It’s pretty crazy, but I first purchased diapers for my daughter when she was 5 months old, its hundreds of dollars in savings. Not only that, but I also got to try out all the different brands and it was awesome. Some people do books instead of diapers which I think is a great idea, but diapers are way more practical.

Overall, I would also recommend asking for gift cards. Truth be told, when you are a first time mom, you have no clue what you will need. Not only that, but every child is different, if one mom says you HAVE to have something because her child couldn’t get enough of it, has nothing to do with how your kid will react to the thing.

  1. Don’t be afraid/ashamed/feel funny about used baby items. 

I do know a few people who feel like their child will only have the best of everything and usually that means everything has to be brand new. I disagree. And my wallet thanks me. I didn’t have to have a brand new $150 swing my friend passed down to me (after she got it from our other friend), my daughter loved it, but she was only in it for maybe 3 months. Same goes for the baby gym – 5 min on it here and there – there is no way I could have justified spending $80 on it. 2 of my girlfriend used it before and were happy to get rid of it. Oh and all the clothing… Of course not ALL the clothing, I could not resist and go a little crazy at the GAP store when everything was on clearance (I literally purchased items for $1-$5 each). But onesies I got that were only worn once or twice by my friend’s daughter, were perfectly fine, and so were other items. Head to the baby consignment shop. I’ve discovered those recently and was thrilled to learn there are 2 in my area. Wish I knew sooner, beautiful high end clothing, some items were with tags still on them, and so many many gadgets and furniture items… But I know some people are funny when they don’t know who owned things previously, so if that’s an issue, understandable. Just remember everything and anything can be properly cleaned and checked for safety/recalls etc. Be reasonable.

  1. Avoid going for the top brand. 

Once again, my baby will have the best of everything, which not only means it has to be brand new, but also that it has to be the top brand out there. Instead of reaching for the most expensive diaper, formula, wipes, do some research and don’t be afraid to try some of the less expensive brands. I do like Pampers, do I use Pampers diapers? NO. They are ridiculously expensive. We have been using Babies R Us brand diapers and honestly, if Pampers cost the same, I’d still go for Babies R Us. They are durable, no leaks, no messes, they seem to fit comfortably and look very cute. Same goes for formula. My doctor told me to check the labels out… And imagine my surprise, when I compared all the ingredients on the Enfamil box to those of the CVS brand or Babies R Us brand, how my jaw dropped. Because they were IDENTICAL! The only difference was the price tag. Ridiculous!!!

  1. Check how much you spend in $ per oz/diaper/wipe. 

These are the items you need on a daily basis for many months, right? When I first went to a baby store, I was staring at the diaper shelf for a few minutes without saying a word. Are you kidding me?! Every package had a different number of diapers, different price tag, and it was sooo confusing. Add to that some promos with $2 off here and there, and it got even more complicated. The key is to look at the cost per oz/diaper/wipe. When it comes to diapers anything more than $0.16 per diaper is a rip off, doesn’t matter if you get coupons, and you are getting stuff on sale. For wipes it’s $0.02 per wipe. Formula it’s $0.60 per oz. Fun fact, Pampers N are offered on jet.com for $36.99 for a pack of 104. When you subscribe to receiving it regularly its $24.99. And currently there is an additional 15% discount when you subscribe and receive your first 3 orders. Here is how much you pay per diaper: roughly you pay $0.35, $0.25 & $0.18 cents respectively. Crazy!!! $0.18 is not bad but that’s after 2 promos and will not be valid after 3 orders. If you are a huge fan of Pampers, I guess it’s worth it hunting deals like this. Or, you can buy amazing Babies R Us diapers and pay $0.16 for each one any time any day. Voila!!!

To put it into a perspective let’s look at what we spend annually (assuming your baby needs 10 diapers a day):

Cost per Diaper Expense a Year
$0.35 $1,277.50
$0.25 $912
$0.18 $657
$0.16 $584

How about taking that $60o difference and going on a vacation?!

  1. Make items you already have work for you and your baby.

I’m sure some people get to dwell on this: do I really need to spend a $100 on a baby steamer/blender machine that has mediocre reviews? Do I have counter space for an extra appliance? Will I be making all of my baby’s food? I’ll give 2 examples where I got to save a decent amount of money by making what we already have work for us. I do steam and prep all of my kid’s food. The steamer we have and our blender are perfect. The 2nd example is baby food containers. Yes, I understand, glass jars would be ideal. But I was settling for plastic and even bought a 6 packs of mini containers at a baby store, they were on sale. I still spent almost $10 and have yet to figure out why. Because at the dollar store we got a 4 pack/$1 of perfectly sized containers!!! And I love them.

There is a million of examples for this. Like, how about a $10 bath rinser? Seriously? There is nothing else in your house you can use to pour water over your child?

  1. Be a formula raider! 

We were pretty nervous about all the additional expenses that we will have to incur when the baby arrives, that we even discussed buying 1 pack of a diapers a week until we give birth but decided against it. What I did do and it was not planned, it just happened, I raided my doctor’s office for sample formula boxes/bottles every time I went for a visit. My pregnancy had no complications, so I’d say I had to visit my doctor about 12 times or so. Every time I went I grabbed a sampler bag they had. They were different most of the time. It was very cool too because they would be stored in awesome bags you can use for diapers or tissues or anything you need in your diaper bag, some of them were in insulated bags that we use for lunches and now for baby bottles. What did those cute useful bags contain? First of all, a sample of formula, either individual ready-to-use bottles (which are amazing but sooo expensive) or a box of dry formula; some had bottles and nipples; ton of coupons for formula purchases; even a nursing pillow!!! Every time I went I grabbed a couple of those. As a result by the end of my pregnancy I had this huge box filled with all the formula. I actually intended to breast feed exclusively, but just in case I kept all those. I’m glad I did (it felt wrong dumping everything). The first night home my beast was starving and the milk didn’t kick in till 3 days later. I wasn’t going to let her starve, so all that formula came in handy. We also let her try all the different brands (she took everything but I know of kids who’d only take one particular type). Lesson – if you come across samples, take them!!! You never know when you are going to need them.

  1. Instead of buying a changing table, get a changing pad

It’s only $17 (on Amazon) and you can place it on any dresser you have (mine was a simple no thrills 4 drawer dresser from IKEA). There is a special bolt you drill into the wall allowing to secure it, but if you are not satisfied with that you can additionally purchase a changing pad frame ($25-35 on Amazon). Alternative is buying a changing table (they range from $65 to $300 on same old Amazon), but why do it if you can utilize a dresser you already own (and will use afterwards).

In the end of the day, just don’t give in to the baby craze. Your friends will be telling you that you need this and that, the people at the store will be telling you how buying 234798457894 items is just the reality and you will need all those things… Just stay strong, and even in the moments of hormonal overload, try and act rationally (think crazy but act rationally if you can), and save. Good luck!