Guest post by Jess Coleman
As an expecting first-time mom and lover of all things frugal, I was so pumped (pun intended) to put together these money-saving pregnancy hacks! From scoring freebies to spending less on essentials, these tried-and-true tips are sure to help you save money during this exciting time.
Set up registries to receive free welcome gifts from BabyList, Target, Amazon, and BuyBuy Baby. I was amazed by the goodies I received just for signing up: sample size packs of diapers, wipes, onesies, swaddles, and travel-size bath products, to name a few.
These boxes often include different brands of bottles and pacifiers, so use those to see which your baby will prefer before shelling out for multiples of a specific brand.
Be sure to hang onto the coupons included with the samples as well. Target’s registry gift bag even includes a coupon for a free Starbucks beverage.
Tip: If your local Target is out of registry gift bags (mine was for months!), call Target’s customer service and they will ship you one free of charge.
Many baby registries have perks beyond the free gift bag. One of my favorites is the registry completion discount. Target, BuyBuy Baby, BabyList and Amazon all have 15 percent off completion discounts for any items left on your registry after a certain date – so make sure you’ve added everything you’ll need to the registry before then!
Other perks include group gifting options, free shipping, extended return windows, diaper discounts, and more.
Save on maternity clothes
Don’t rush out and buy a new maternity wardrobe the moment you find out you’re expecting. Instead, wait and see how your body carries that precious cargo – you may even find that your clothes fit you just fine for the majority of your pregnancy.
If you do find yourself struggling to squeeze into your existing wardrobe, consider purchasing a belly band to extend your pants’ waistband. Other budget-conscious options include borrowing maternity items from friends and shopping secondhand.
Speaking of secondhand, a great money-saving option is checking thrift stores (in-person and online) for essentials like baby clothes and nursery furniture. Things to avoid buying used include cribs, car seats, and strollers made before 2015. Check out OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace for items being sold locally.
Beat morning sickness for less
The only thing worse than morning sickness itself is the price tag on morning sickness medications. My OB let me in on a little secret: taking a combination of Unisom and Vitamin B-6 is just as effective. I’m happy to report that it worked for me (and tons of other women online), but obviously you’ll want to discuss this with your doc beforehand.
Have a baby shower
With social distancing restrictions in place, it can seem like a baby shower isn’t in the cards right now. Outdoor baby shower, drive-thru baby shower, virtual baby shower – there are plenty of options to safely celebrate.
Whatever your shower looks like, it’s a great opportunity to let friends and family dote on your new arrival (and YOU!). Ask that guests give baby books instead of cards, as they make a sweet keepsake. If your shower is in-person, opt for decorations that are similar to the style of decor you’re using in the nursery. You may be able to repurpose items from the shower for the nursery.
You don’t need everything you see. I loved Googling for lists of items that other women didn’t use, or regretted purchasing for their kiddos. Commonly listed items included wipe warmers, baby shoes, expensive outfits, and crib accessories. If your friends have had babies, they’re likely to have a list of items not to buy as well.
Sell your used stuff
When planning for a new baby, you’re probably thinking about all the things you’ll need to buy. But consider which unused items you can sell. If you’re making room for baby – clearing out a guest room, for example – you’re likely to come across furniture and other items that can go. List them on eBay, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist and earn some extra cash while you get rid of old stuff.
Return unwanted gifts ASAP
Whether it’s an impractical gift, a duplicate, or just not your style, there are several reasons you may need to return some well-meaning gifts. Do this as soon as you can. You don’t want to miss the store’s return window, plus you can apply that store credit towards something you’ll really use. Bonus: returning the item quickly means you’ll avoid having to run an errand with a newborn in tow.
Go light on the newborn items
Babies grow so fast. Start with one pack of newborn diapers and just a few newborn-sized clothing basics. Some newborns may not even fit into the size to begin with!
Investing in multi-purpose pieces from the start is a great way to save money. Consider a dresser with a changing pad on top instead of a changing table, a crib that will convert into a toddler bed, decor that will age with them, an adjustable car seat and stroller – you’ll be glad you thought ahead when your little one starts growing.
Request freebies and samples
Don’t be shy! Ask for samples from your OB and pediatrician. Pack an extra bag in your hospital bag to bring home items from the hospital. Brands and manufacturers often give tons of products to maternity wards for this exact reason, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Save on maternity classes
Ask your insurance provider and healthcare system which free baby prep classes are available. Since everything is currently virtual, you can also search for YouTube classes that teach you basics like diapering, bathing, labor techniques, etc.
Get your free breast pump
Most insurance companies offer a free electronic breast pump system. Just ask your doctor to write a prescription for one and call your insurance provider to find out which steps you’ll need to take. I got a Medela pumping system completely free within two weeks of starting the process, saving me about $200.
Do your research
I was eyeing a chic leather diaper bag backpack for $110 when I came across rave reviews about this perfect dupe for only $50! It’s perfect and I’m every bit in love with it as I would have been with the name brand version.
From nursery decor to clothes and toys, opting for more gender-neutral or unisex items means you’ll have more options on-hand for future children (if you’re planning to have more). Rigid gender norms are so last century, anyway.
Buy in bulk
Buying frequently-used items like diapers and wipes in bulk saves tons of money. Rumor has it that the store-brand diapers at Sam’s Club and Costco are actually manufactured by brand names, so you’re getting a great product for much less!
If you’re planning to have more children in the future, store and save your baby clothes and other items (like maternity clothes). Your future self will thank you when you don’t have to shell out for these items all over again!
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