Each week, our resident Couponista, Amy Leneker, shares her personal shopping experiences and extreme couponing tips so that you too can be a Coupon Expert!
I’m a sucker for babies. I love the way they smell, the way they snuggle into your neck, the way they look so peaceful when sleeping. But there is a price you pay to have all that cuteness in your life! According to an estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs approximately $250,000 to raise a child up to the age of 17. Yikes! But before that number keeps you awake at night, here are a few tips and tricks on how to baby your wallet as you plan for your new addition.
When we first found out we were pregnant, a friend gave us some great advice. She suggested we buy a box of diapers from Costco each paycheck until the little one arrived. By the time our son arrived, a section of our garage looked like a diaper warehouse. But it payed off! And if you’re worried about buying too much of one size, don’t be. Costco will exchange unopened boxes of diapers so we were able to get the sizes we needed. Make sure and watch the Costco coupon books because several times a year diapers go on sale, sometimes for as much as $8 off per box.
Tip 2: Use Coupons for Baby Gear
I still find it hard to believe that something so small could require so much gear! After lots (and lots!) of comparison shopping, I found it hard to beat the prices at Toys R Us because of their coupons. They will often have a 20 percent off coupon for baby gear. When we were pregnant, I used to ask my neighbors for their coupons, too. I had a great stockpile of them in my coupon caddy so I never had to pay full price for anything.
Tip 3: Use Coupons to Save on Formula
All of the major formula companies (Enfamil, Similac, etc) have membership programs. If you join (it only takes a minute or two online) they will send you free baby products, including a diaper bag, baby formula, and coupons for formula. When I was no longer able to nurse, I switched to formula and the membership programs made a real difference. You may have read this in one of my other posts – my favorite tip is to register everyone you know for the program. That way instead of getting one free canister of formula, you can get dozens. I continued to receive formula and coupons long after my kids were toddlers so I donated all of that to our local food bank.
I learned quickly after a baby that I wouldn’t have time to finish that book I started when pregnant. My days of lying in bed reading for hours were over! I found that magazines were the only thing I could read because I could read an article in just a few minutes. Baby Talk is my favorite baby magazine and it’s FREE. If you’re going to a baby shower, make sure and register the new mama for Baby Talk and include a note in the card to let her know. She’ll be glad you did!
The cost of raising a baby can be daunting. But as every mom will attest, babies are simply priceless.