4 Easy ways to save BIG money on baby essentials
Okay, we've already established that raising a baby is expensive and thank goodness, we've figured out a few ways to save on the big one-time purchases. But what about the items that you'll have to buy every month? Or even every week? Well, you can save on those too. Here are my top tips for saving money on things like diapers, formula and more:
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1. Think outside the box. I actually mean this one literally. Have you considered cloth diapers? They require an initial investment of a few hundred dollars, but since most are one-size-fits-all, once you build your stash, you won't have to shell out for diapers in the forseeable future. What about homemade baby food? In less than an hour's time, you can make a month's worth of organic purees for a fraction of what you would spend on the non-organic packaged stuff. You can even make your own wipes using just paper towels and baby body wash. Spend some time online researching how much you can save by DIYing or using greener options. You don't have to do everything, just by committing to one of the biggies, you can save tons.
2. Comparison shop. I know I've said it before but this is one of your most important money-saving tools. Check big box stores, check baby specialty stores, look at bulk retailers and of course, look online. When comparing be sure to check unit prices, not just the package price. Spending $.24 per disposable diaper versus $.32 cents per disposable diaper makes a huge difference when you're buying hundreds of them every month.
3. Manufacturers' Web sites. Major manufacturers of items like formula and baby food are desperately competing for your hard-earned dollars. Register on their Web sites and you'll get a fresh batch of coupons either in your mailbox or inbox monthly. Sometimes you'll even get coupons for items specific to your child's age. Since the coupons are from the maker of the product you can use them at just about any store, which means you can use them wherever you've found the best unit price or even combine the coupon with a great sale. Plus, many of them have far-out expiration dates--some are even good for up to a year.
4. Go generic. Ask your mom friends or simply peruse a few parenting message boards and you'll find that lots of moms swear by off-brand products. For the most part, you're getting very similar quality at a huge savings. Although my son is mostly breastfed, I top him off with a little formula a few times a day. Last week I found a generic of the pricey name-brand organic formula we'd been using for $11 less per container! The numbers speak for themselves.
Image via Tom & Katrien/Flickr