With expenses on the rise, it’s important to know how to save money on baby!
Starting a family is one of the most rewarding things in the world, but it doesn’t exactly come with a cheap price tag. For example, having children means more mouths to feed, more clothes to buy, additional unplanned expenses, and the list goes on.
Not to mention the fact that babies and toddlers have specific needs like diapers, formula, toys, nasal aspirators, and special shampoos. Let’s face it, kids come with a lot of extra stuff.
And there’s always the looming pressure to make sure that your kids have the best. Whether it’s a new parent magazine or an Instagram post from a fellow mom, we’re presented almost daily with reminders of everyone else’s latest and greatest.
We see flawless images of kids wearing the most stylish clothes on the market while playing with the best toys in their expertly decorated room. Without a doubt, you’ll walk away thinking that it’s virtually impossible to provide even a moderate standard of living for your family on a budget.
Our experience in raising our two children has taught us that while starting a family isn’t cheap, you CAN raise a baby on a budget!
So, we’ve compiled a resource list of our BEST money-saving tips for new or expecting parents. These money-saving hacks will help you save THOUSANDS of dollars on diapering, feeding, clothing, and baby gear.
Here are the Top 36 Ways to Save on Baby!
Save with FREE Baby Stuff
1. Sign-Up for Samples
First things first: EVERY little bit adds up! This even includes FREE samples for baby shampoo, body wash, and even diapers. There are legitimate websites that will send baby samples at no cost to your front door without having to enter in any bank information OR complete crazy surveys.
My go-to sites for sample news are:
2. Stock-Up at the Hospital
If your hospitalization is billed under insurance, scour your room for any baby supplies that you can take home with you (ie: bottles, nasal aspirator, wipes, diapers, etc). In addition, don’t be afraid to ask the hospital staff for any extras!
3. Create a Baby Registration
Registering for a baby will help others know what you need. But you will also score FREE STUFF for baby just for registering! Sign-up here at Amazon and Target to receive FREE registration gifts. Another reason to sign-up is to receive high-value coupons that will go a long way to save money on additional baby supplies.
4. Get a FREE Breast Pump Through Insurance
Insurance companies are required to provide a free breast pump to expectant mothers. Contact your insurance provider to find out the steps you need to take to receive yours!
5. Take Advantage of FREE Activities
Forego paying for baby learning classes and attend free community classes! Most libraries offer a weekly Mommy & Me type of class that is fun and costs nothing. Get plugged into local mom groups online or your local church to meet up for play dates at the park. These free activities are a great outlet for both baby and mommy!
6. Receive a FREE Book EVERY Month
Thanks to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, children from all over the globe may be able to receive a FREE book mailed to their home every single month from birth to age 5. Head this way to see if this program is available in your area!
Save on Baby Gear and Care Items
7. Use a Backpack Instead of a Diaper Bag
You will find that most items categorized as “baby” will be more expensive. That includes diaper bags. Instead of paying extra, consider using a standard backpack in place of a diaper bag to save money on baby!
8. Keep Baby Supplies Minimal
It’s true that there are so many A-DOR-A-BLE things you can buy for kids these days. But in all reality, a baby will do just fine with much less than what you think. Rely on the wisdom of seasoned moms by asking what their “must have” items are for baby. And then compile your own list. This will help save you a lot of time and money by weeding out unnecessary supplies. Don’t trust the “Baby Must-Have Lists” put out by retailers that WANT your money!
9. Save at Car Seat Trade-in Days
Twice per year Target offers a 20% off coupon toward a new car seat if you trade in ANY car seat (even if it’s expired). If you’re in the market for a new car seat, this is definitely an event to consider.
10. Borrow Items Instead of Buying
Ask to borrow a baby swing from a fellow mama for a few months instead of buying your own! Do a toy swap with a friend. Borrow board books from someone you know or check them out for free from the library!
11. Buy Gender Neutral
If you’re planning on having more than one child, gender neutral is the way to go to save money on baby expenses! This will eliminate baby expenses by avoiding buying two entirely different sets of baby supplies.
12. Use Hand Towels for Bibs
Let’s face it, baby bibs don’t cover much surface area, and simultaneously most of them are way too easy for baby to unfasten. Our FAVORITE bibs were made by a friend of the family from hand towels! These do a much better job of keeping clothes clean and in addition, are more challenging for baby to remove. Plus they can easily be tossed in the wash! Check out this easy tutorial to make yourself from Mommy Savers OR you can purchase some HERE!
13. Avoid Pricey Nursery Décor
Your nursery can still be cute and cozy WITHOUT buying the $600 convertible crib for your baby! We bought this crib for $129 (price fluctuates) for our second child and we’ve been very happy with the quality and the price! As tempting as it is to make an Instagram-worthy nursery, you can create an incredibly functional and attractive nursery without consequently breaking the bank. More importantly, your baby will be happy with or without the elaborate décor. If you’re looking for a way for baby to sleep like a champ, be sure to check out this DIY No Sew Blackout Roller Shade to keep the room darkened for optimal sleep for your baby!
14. Skip the Changing Table
Trust me when I say you do NOT need a changing table! Instead, use the top of a medium-height, sturdy dresser. Or you can buy a sturdy cube organizer like this one which fits a standard changing pad perfectly. Plus the cubes are great for organizing diaper supplies and making them easily accessible. Then once baby is no longer in diapers, you won’t have an extra changing table taking up space.
15. Pass on Pricey Baby Bedding
For baby safety, NOTHING should be in their crib except the firm mattress they sleep on with a sheet to cover it! This applies to crib bumpers, nighttime soothers, pillows, and blankets. Baby bedding is adorable but is a waste of money and unsafe for baby.
Save on Baby Food
16. Make Own Baby Food
Grab some fresh produce and make your own baby food to save money. This will cut your baby food budget by at LEAST 50% if not more. Prep, portion, and freeze until baby is ready to eat. Then thaw by setting in the fridge overnight or running under cold water.
Breastfeeding when compared to formula-feeding cuts down on cost significantly. Only a few supplies are needed if you’re a new mom: breast pump, nursing cream, nursing pads, nursing bra, milk storage bags, and a few bottles. Once baby is nursing well, you basically only need exactly the two milk jugs that God gave you!
18. Save on Formula Feeding
Breastfeeding is not an option for all moms and that’s okay! There are great ways to save money on formula! Ask your pediatrician for free samples or coupons during each visit. In addition, you can write to formula companies and check their websites for coupons. Join mommy community groups on Facebook and you may find other moms giving away free, unused formula!
19. Make Own Toddler Meals
Toddlerhood starts at the age of 1 which is basically just after you blink. That is to say, it comes FAST after you have a baby! A HUGE way we saved money was to avoid convenience foods from the store. Make your own toddler meals and pop them in the freezer to save on grocery expenses. For more helpful tips to save money on food, don’t miss How to Save Money on Groceries: the ULTIMATE Guide!
Save on Baby Clothes
20. Shop Clothes Secondhand
Secondhand is the way to go for baby clothes! Prices are typically better when you go to a yard sale instead of Facebook Marketplace. However, you CAN find great bundle deals on Facebook. Be wary of costly markup at popup Children’s Consignment Events throughout the year. BUT when they have a 50% off at the end of the event, you can score some great deals.
21. Only Buy Clothes on Sale
While we always encourage new parents to buy used clothes whenever possible, sometimes you may have to or simply prefer to buy new clothes for baby. When buying new, you CAN save BIG when you shop for clothing that is on sale! And when I say “sale,” I mean call-your-BFF-and-brag kind of sales; not those, “I saved 10%!” kind of sales. Deep discounts are easiest to find as you near the end of a season as retailers are clearing space for the next season.
22. Go with a Larger Size on Clothes
Purchasing a size up will allow you to get more use out of clothing! We especially love to do this with pajamas because they always tend to shrink up so quickly.
23. Forego the Baby Shoes
Newborn baby shoes are just about the cutest thing you will find on the market. But your baby really does NOT need them. I know, I know, they complete an outfit so well! Save yourself some money and the leg work by not having to run around to find the darn things anyway after baby kicks them off. Comfy socks are best!
Save on Baby Diapers
24. Learn to Coupon
You should NEVER have to pay full price for diapers when you know how to coupon. Once you learn to coupon for diapers, you can stock up and save! My favorite sites for diapers deals are: Everyone Loves Couponing and Krazy Coupon Lady.
25. Learn to Cloth Diaper
You can save $2000 or more if you use cloth diapers instead of disposables! The startup cost for cloth diapering is higher than using disposables but the savings start to stack up pretty quickly. Be sure to keep cloth diapering simple by only purchasing: cloth diapers, a trash can to be the diaper pail, a wet bag for out of the house, a diaper sprayer, and some wash cloths for wipes. There is a HUGE market for buying gently used cloth diapers as well. Just buy diapers in good, used condition with no visible wear or stains and disinfect with a bleach wash.
26. Use Cloth Wipes
Even if you don’t want to go all-in with using cloth diapers, you should consider using cloth wipes! Soft baby washcloths are PERFECT for reusable baby wipes. You can make your own homemade solution (check out All About Cloth Diapers for solution recipes)! Or instead, just wet some wipes with water and throw them into a storage container. Be sure to only moisten a few washcloths at a time to avoid a mildew smell.
27. Use Loyalty Programs and Subscribe & Save
If couponing is not something you’re interested in, then these next few options are for you! Pampers, Huggies, and Seventh Generation all have their own loyalty programs to reward you with savings when you purchase their brands. (Hint: You CAN also participate in programs even if you’re using coupons). In addition, save money on baby diapers the hassle-free way with Amazon and Target’s “Subscribe & Save” options. When you sign up for one of these subscription options, diapers will be shipped to your house on a schedule of your choosing with saving as much as 20% off the regular price!
28. Stock Up on Diaper Sales
Plan ahead so that you’re not in a pinch and need to buy diapers when they’re full price! Stock up on diapers when they’re on sale. Be sure to keep your receipts so that you can exchange any new diaper packs that your babe has outgrown for the appropriate size!
Save on Baby Fun
29. Shop Toys Secondhand
Trust me when I say that there is NO shortage of gently used baby toys on the market today! Check Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army, or your local consignment events to save tons on baby toys!
30. Shop Books Secondhand
Apart from the books we were given at our baby shower, we’ve actually never purchased brand-new books for the kids! We love to purchase gently used books from our local used book store, yard sales, Facebook Marketplace, Goodwill/Salvation Army, or Thrift Books.com.
31. Purchase New Toys ONLY on Birthdays and Christmas
Challenge yourself to skip buying new toys apart from birthdays and Christmas (as long your baby isn’t a December baby). More importantly, your baby just mostly wants time with YOU anyway. And they’ll have fun playing with things around the house: pots and pans, ripping up paper, stacking books, etc.
32. Know the Best Time of Year to Buy New
A great way to find deep discounts on new items is knowing when to buy! Key times for epic toy clearance will be July, November, December, and mid-January. Cash in on deals when the season is about to end and stock up for the following year!
33. Keep Birthday Parties Simple
Don’t blow your budget on elaborate birthday parties for the sake of being able to post pictures! Keep it simple and on the cheap. Your child won’t be able to taste the difference between a homemade cake compared to a pricey bakery cake. If you want to go all out for birthdays, consider “going bigger” only on milestone birthdays.
Save on Baby Services
34. Skip the Professional Photography
Consider purchasing a used DSLR camera and learn to take those milestone pictures yourself! There are several free tutorials on the Internet to teach you the beginner basics of using a DSLR camera. You will save $100s by not hiring someone to do what you can do yourself! In addition, you won’t have to wait for the photographer to show up!
35. Create a Babysitting Co-Op
Talk with other moms and create a babysitting co-op! The idea is to rotate times where a mom will watch another mom’s children in the co-op for FREE. And then they trade-off to give another mom some free babysitting time!
36. Cut Your Child’s Hair Yourself
If you have a son, challenge yourself to learn how to cut his hair at home with an electric hair trimmer! Check out this free tutorial from Healthy Christian Home for a great overview on learning to cut hair at home. Boys’ cuts are usually more simple but if you’re really brave or have the skills, you could try out on a girl’s hair.
We hope this list has inspired you with new creative ideas to save money on baby!
Let us know in the comments some of YOUR favorite ways to be thrifty on baby expenses.