Babies are expensive. Period. Luckily, there are tons of easy ways you can save money with a baby before (and after) they are born. I’ve learned about these through my own research, through other online resources, my online Mom groups, and all my IRL Mom friends. Some of these came through pure trial and error as a first-time Mom, so I hope that my mistakes (and learnings) can help you all!
When I see articles like this on other blogs or on Pinterest, it’s generally really generic or tips I’ve already heard 100 times over. My goal here is to include a few of those (since some first-time Moms aren’t familiar with them at all), but include new money-saving ideas that you haven’t heard before.
Here are my tips on how to save money with a baby — on everything from diapers to formula to clothing and toys.
How to Save Money on Baby Food and Formula
Buy Larger Tubs of Purees vs. Smaller Single Serving Sizes
When it comes to baby food, the containers are labeled and pre-portioned in a way for you to buy the smaller sizes (so you’ll buy more of them). The truth is you can buy the same product in a different container/serving size and then just portion it out to save money.
Let’s look at an example using Gerber’s pureed bananas. A Gerber baby food serving (labeled “Supported Sitter – 1st Foods”) of banana comes in a 4 oz. glass jar for $1.00. This is one serving. If you buy the Gerber newborn starter kit, which includes 2 each of 3 different fruit purees in 2 oz. tubs for $4.39, you end up paying $0.73 per tub, which can 1 serving or 2 servings depending on your baby’s appetite (the package labels the 2 oz. as 1 serving). Lastly, you can purchase a Gerber Sitter 2nd Foods Meal, which contains 2 4 oz. tubs of the exact same product as above (literally pureed bananas) for $1.49, which comes out to $0.37 a serving if you’re using the 2 oz. serving guide.
Moral of the story? Check the packaging and labeling. Packs of larger containers or variety packs often can save you at least 50% vs. buying the individual, smaller jars (in the examples above).
Try Making Your Own Baby Food vs. Buying
I’ll be the first to admit that this was not the route I took with Henry. I just didn’t have the free time to make my own baby food and relied mostly on store-bought items when we first started out. (This changed greatly once he started moving beyond those couple months of purees, of course).
Stock up on produce and fruit that’s seasonal or on sale that week, shop at farmer’s markets (where produce is typically a lower price than traditional grocery stores), and freezing bulk/excess are all ways to make the most when in comes to saving money on your homemade baby food.
Sign up on Retailer Websites for Coupons in the Mail
One piece of advice I got as a new Mom was to sign up for free samples from every baby brand I could think of. When you’re first starting out, you don’t know which diaper or formula brand will work for your kid, so having (free!) sample-size options is a nice way to save some money. Here are a few retailers that offer baby coupons (tip: sign up while you’re pregnant and give your due date to receive them not too early so the items won’t expire):
- Similac – Similac StrongMoms Baby sends you formula coupons and samples, a free Shutterfly® photo book, and more.
- Enfamil – Enfamil FamilyBeginnings sends formula samples and coupons, as well as the option to earn 10 points/dollar on Enfamil purchases.
- Gerber – The MyGerber Baby program sends formula samples and coupons, and $10 off every 5th qualifying purchase on Gerber.com.
Take Advantage of What the Hospital & Pediatrician Offers You
Most hospitals will give you lots of free items when you leave after your stay, including things for Mom (Peri bottles and mesh underwear), but also things for baby (like diapers and formula bottles). Don’t be shy! Take advantage of anything they offer to you or ask them for it.
Similarly, your pediatrician may have formula samples for you to try during your first few visits after birth.
How to Save Money on Diapers and Wipes
Sign Up for the Brand’s Rewards Program or App
We mainly use Pampers and Huggies over here, both of which have their own respective rewards programs where you earn points for purchases that you can use toward cash, gift cards, or diaper coupons. A few brand-specific rewards programs include:
- Pampers (they have their own app, Pampers Club)
- Huggies (they used to have their own app, but now they integrate with the Fetch Rewards app – use code VBVBN at signup to get 2,000 points/$2 upon signup).
- Target Circle (this isn’t brand-specific, but they run sales on various brands of diapers and wipes on a monthly basis)
The amount you get back on each purchase is pennies, but you’re buying the products anyway, so why not be rewarded? The time spent uploading a receipt or scanning a QR code literally takes seconds.
Choose the “Subscribe and Save” Option Offered at Many Retailers
By choosing the “Subscribe and Save” option on your favorite retailers, you can save money on diapers, wipes, and formula that you’re already buying. Many retailers offer this currently at the time of publication, including:
- Amazon (Subscribe and Save can save you 5% or 20%)
- Honest (their Bundle service saves you 17% on every diaper and wipe order)
Target discontinued their service recently, sadly, which sucks because that’s the brand of formula (Up and Up) we used with Henry!
Use Your Registry Discount
One of the big perks of registering at different places for your baby shower is the completion discount. I ended up registering with Target, Amazon, and BuyBuyBaby for Henry, and each offered a nice completion discount for any items not purchased. Additionally, some include other bonus discounts for 1 year after the baby is born, so you can continue to earn throughout that entire first year on further purchases. Signing up for multiple registry retailers also gives your friends and family more choices to choose whatever is best for them, so it’s a win-win! Here are the best registry discounts I’ve found:
- Amazon – You’ll get 10 to 15% off all unpurchased items on your registry, a goodie box worth $35 of baby items, and 20% off on eligible diapers for one year (from the arrival date of your child through your child’s first birthday) if you spend $500 from your registry.
- Target – You’ll get 15% off all unpurchased items on your registry, a free goodie bag with $80 worth of coupons & samples, and a year of exclusive deals on baby items through Target Circle.
- BuyBuyBaby – You’ll get a 15% off discount on all unpurchased items on your registry and a free goodie bag of coupons and samples.
- BabyList – You’ll receive a 15% off discount on all unpurchased items on your registry and a free baby box full of goodies.
- Crate&kids – You’ll receive a 10% completion discount on all unpurchased items on your registry.
- Pottery Barn Kids – You’ll receive a 20% completion discount on all unpurchased items on your registry.
- Walmart – You’ll receive a free welcome box worth $40.
Consider Having a Diaper Raffle at Your Baby Shower
I know this isn’t a way to save money on diapers technically, but it’s a good way to get a ton of free diapers in various sizes and brands to start you out! I’ve been to many baby showers that have games and raffles, and you can incorporate this by asking guests to bring a pack of diapers for their chance to win a prize (totally optional, of course — but 90% of people will do it). Sometimes they’re referred to as diaper raffles, diaper wishing wells, etc. We didn’t need to buy diapers for the first few months of Henry’s life due to the generosity of others at my baby shower.
How to Save Money on Baby Clothing & Toys
Buy from Secondhand Stores & Websites
I’ll go out on a limb to say that 20% of the items you buy for your baby will never get used. You buy one type of bottle only for them to refuse it, or they were born too big to ever wear the newborn clothes in their closet. You can get never used or barely used items for over 50% off at secondhand stores, including:
- chain secondhand clothing stores like Once Upon a Child
- locally-owned small businesses)
- ThredUp (sign up using this link to get a coupon for your first purchase)
- Poshmark (use code ‘RMALEADY’ to get $10 off your first order)
- Facebook Marketplace – there are lots of local groups where people trade or even give away baby toys and items. Just search for your town or county’s name and “baby” or “free” and you’re likely to find a few groups.
Yes, there is some junk out there, but you can find some real hidden gems with their original tags still intact. Even if you only find a few pieces you like, they can be useful for that extra set of clothes you need to send to daycare or keep in the car for accidents. With newborns in particular, you really can never have enough pajamas or onesies because so many get ruined with poop.
Sign Up for Retailers Rewards Programs
Similar to what I said about diapers and wipes above, lots of baby clothing retailers have their own Rewards program. My personal favorite is Carter’s, since I spend so much money there anyway that I love racking up points to get some free clothing each season. Here are a few baby clothing retailers with rewards programs:
- Carter’s – Carter’s Rewarding Moments gives you 1 point for each $1 you spend. Once you reach 150 points, you get $10 in rewards to spend on anything from Carter’s (online or in-store).
- Pottery Barn Kids – Their Key Rewards program includes all of their brands (Williams Sonoma, West Elm, etc.), which allows you to rack up even more points if you’re a fan of those stores, too. You can earn 2% back on each qualifying purchase.
- The Children’s Place – Their My Place Rewards program includes purchases from The Children’s Place, as well as Gymboree and Sugar & Jade. You earn 1 point for each $1 spent, and once you reach 100 points, you get a $5 reward.
- Kyte Baby – Their rewards program gives you 1 point for each $1 spent, and then 100 points equals a $5 reward.
- Gerber Childrenswear – Their rewards program gives you 1 point for each $1 spent, and then 100 points equals a $10 reward.
What tips did I miss? What are your go-to ways to save money with a baby?