Ways We Save Money series today by talking about how we save money on baby things. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section!
1. Accept hand-me-downs
We have been blessed by many friends giving us gently used baby and children's clothes since the summer before Vera was born. A way to save money on kids' clothing is to let your friends and family members know that you appreciate hand-me-downs! Between hand-me-downs and gifts from family and friends, we have had to purchase very little clothing for our girls so far.
2. Buy used
This goes right along with my last point. Don't be afraid of items that are gently used! We have found great deals on baby items at consignment stores, Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, and Craigslist. Our changing table, pack 'n' play, glider, Boppy, nursery lamps, dresser, swing, papasan, and many baby carriers were all used before coming into our home to be used by our family.
Some women are not able to breastfeed for various reasons, but the Lord has given me favor in successfully breastfeeding both of our girls. This has saved hundreds of dollars over the cost of formula and bottles. If you are able to breastfeed, it can be a huge money-saver, not just in formula, etc., but in terms of overall health of your baby (heightened immune system, etc.) and reduced visits to the doctor. To date, neither of our girls have ever had to visit the doctor due to illness of any kind and they have not ever been on antibiotics. I came across a great article on breastfeeding recently that may help you if you are preparing (or struggling).
4. Cloth diapering
It's not for everyone, but cloth diapering really works for our family! Even with two in cloth currently, it is doable. I cannot even begin to calculate how much money cloth diapering saves our family, but I know it is a lot! Even if you can only cloth diaper part-time (a few diapers a day), it will still save you money. If you have questions about cloth diapering, feel free to email me.
5. Homemade baby food
Homemade baby food is not really as technical as it sounds. We do "baby led weaning" which, in a nutshell, means giving your baby the food you are eating (pieces of banana, chunks of avocado, etc.) and allowing her to feed herself. If you wait until your baby is really ready for solids, you won't have to puree stuff for her; she can just eat slightly mashed versions of what you are eating. Easy, low-stress, and money-saving! A great guide to homemade baby food can be found at Wholesome Baby Food.
6. Learn to take good pictures (or make friends with a photographer)
Before Vera was born, Tad bought me a Nikon D3000 and a 35mm prime lens. I have been learning how to use it over the last two years, and I am finally comfortable shooting with it on manual (see some recent results on Monday!). I've read countless online tutorials about photography and peppered my friends with questions, and now I finally think I "get it" when it comes to the technical aspects of digital photography. I've been practicing a lot on my girls, and I have really enjoyed taking their newborn photos and other milestone photos. Of course, nothing replaces a real photographer :), so try and make friends with one and offer to exchange talents (i.e., you could sew curtains or something for them and they could take pictures for you). Or find someone who is just starting out their business and will shoot photos for you for their portfolio. I'm hoping as I get better with my camera, I will be able to exchange family portraits with some friends of mine.
7. Shop clearance
I have found some great deals on baby clothes on the clearance racks. Like I said, I haven't had to buy much for my girls, but I do try and shop used or on the clearance racks when I do need to purchase something.
8. Don't buy everything
You don't need to buy into the mentality that you need every baby item, gadget, toy, and outfit that is advertised when you walk into the baby section. We have lived just fine without a wipes warmer, a video monitor, an exersaucer, a Johnny Jump Up, a special machine to make baby food, and more. You need less than you think you do for your baby!
Your turn now! How does your family save money on baby items?
Life as Mom