It's a mystery every new parent ponders: how can something so tiny cost so much? According to the US Department of Agriculture's latest figures, raising a child born in 2011 through age 17 will cost an average of $234,900. That's the cost for food, shelter and other necessities. Baby's first year will cost more than $10,000, according to BabyCenter.com. Of course the amount you spend depends on your income and how hard you work to save. I scored a new car seat for free, more than a hundred dollars in free formula and a breast pump at an 80 percent discount. Check out these secrets for saving hundreds of dollars on baby gear.
Stocking Up on Free Formula
Formula companies know that if they can gain a mom's trust, they'll likely earn her business. So before your baby is born you'll probably start receiving advertisements, emails and special offers from formula companies. Even if you plan to breast feed, why not stock up on freebies? If you end up not using the baby formula, donate it to a local non-profit. When you sign up for Similac StrongMoms, in addition to coupons, you'll get free tubs of formula. You can also sign up for free samples of Parent's Choice formula. This is a printable certificate you can take to your pediatrician's office to score a free tub of Enfamil. You can score lots of free baby stuff-- including several tubs of free formula-- when you join at EverdayFamily.com. Finally, check out flyers at your pediatrician's office. I found one with a free offer for a case of pre-made newborn bottles, which are normally very pricey.
I had no idea that buying a car seat would be so complicated-- and expensive! A family member ended up buying us our infant car seat off of our registry, which was a very generous gift. And just as we thought we had picked out our stroller we found an amazing deal from Britax Registry Rewards. From now until April 1, 2013, when you buy a Britax stroller, car seat, baby carrier and two accessories you can get a convertible car seat for free. We happened to buy our Britax stroller when they were offering a free large accessory with purchase, so right away we had two of the most expensive items crossed off our list. We ended up buying another small accessory which meant we only needed the UPC from a car seat and a baby carrier to score the free car seat. I put out a plea on Facebook and found someone who had just purchased a Britax car seat who was willing to send me the UPC from the box. I found the baby carrier at a deep discount on eBay and bam-- I had all five UPCs needed to score the free car seat, a savings of about $319! The lesson here? Shop around, investigate rewards programs and utilize the power of Facebook.
Newborns can go through ten diapers a day, which equals hundreds in the first month alone. Months before my baby arrived I started putting my coupon skills to work, shopping for diaper deals. I combined sales with coupons to get diapers at a deep discount, often for just ten cents a piece. I applied the same strategy on wipes to hit my target price of a penny per wipe. By the time my baby arrived I had stockpiled nearly 1,000 diapers in various sizes and couple of month's worth of wipes. Keep in mind that if your baby grows out of a certain size of diaper, many retailers allow you to exchange unopened packages for other sizes.
Breast Pump Savings
Perhaps the best freebie of all when it comes to a new baby is breast feeding. But for working moms, the commitment often requires investing in a breast pump. My hospital recommended the Modela Pump in Style, which sells for about $300. If I purchased it through the hospital, I could get a 20 percent discount, which meant I'd still be spending well over $200. Thankfully a family member offered to sell me her gently used pump for $40, roughly an 80 percent savings! Breast pump companies will tell you not to use a secondhand pump, but all of the tubing and shields can be replaced, which means you are basically purchasing a motor. And as it turns out, my hospital gave me all of the replacement tubing and parts for free, plus they offered to test the motor to make sure it was working properly. If you have a trusted family member or friend that is willing to sell you a breast pump at a great price, why not take advantage of the savings? Put the money in your child's 529 college savings plan and in 17 years you'll end up with enough to pay for at least a semester of books, right?