Babies are a blessing, but they are also expensive! You could save a ton of money by cloth diapering your baby and by breastfeeding, which is the healthiest feeding option for little ones. But if disposable diapers are more your style and you can’t or choose not to breastfeed, here are some tips for saving money on diapers and formula. We’re also highlighting some ways to save a few bucks on baby clothing and other items.
- Buy in bulk: The larger the box of diapers, the more bang you’ll get for your buck. So, buy value boxes at club stores (Sam’s Club has Pampers and Costco has Huggies), on diapers.com or Amazon Mom, or at baby stores like Babies R Us, where there are often sales and specials. This will eliminate your need for late-night diapers runs to the grocery store, where small packs can be quite expensive!
- Don’t rush your baby into the next size: The larger the size, the fewer diapers there are in a package that costs the same price. For example, an Economy Plus Case of Pampers Swaddlers currently costs $47.49 on diapers.com. The size 3 box (for babies 16 to 28 pounds) has 162 diapers, while the size 4 box (for babies 22 to 37 pounds) has only 144 diapers. So if your little one still fits comfortably in the smaller size and doesn’t often have leaks, stick with that size as long as you can.
- Try store brands: Different diaper brands work best for different children. That means less expensive store-brand diapers might work better than, or just as well as, name-brand ones for your baby. So give them a try! Many parents swear by Target’s Up & Up diapers, and Walmart’s Parent’s Choice.
- Use coupons: There are so many ways to get diaper coupons, you should never pay full price for them. Diaper brands often post coupons on their website or social media pages. Pampers, for example, will post coupons here, and Huggies posts them here. You can also often find diaper coupons in your Sunday paper inserts or on coupon websites like coupons.com. Be sure to check the catalina coupons the cashier hands you at the grocery store, too. They might include diaper savings!
- Register with your formula company: Many of the major formula companies have programs through which you can receive free samples, coupons, and more in the mail if you sign up through their websites. When you join Enfamil Family Beginnings, you’ll receive over $250 worth of samples and gifts, and up to $60 worth of coupons to use as your baby grows. Similac StrongMoms members will receive up to $329 worth of free samples, coupons, and other gifts. You could also receive a free Gerber Baby Nutrition Kit that includes samples of and coupons for Gerber Good Start formula.
- Use powdered formula over liquid: Powdered formula requires a bit more work than liquid because you have to mix it, but it is also up to 50 percent cheaper!
- Try store brands: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that store-brand formulas meet the same nutritional guidelines as name-brand ones. It monitors all formulas to make sure they do so. At the same time, store brand formulas can cost up to half the price of name-brand ones! So give the store brands a try and see if they work for your baby (and be sure to check with your pediatrician). As with diapers, you can try Target’s Up & Up brand or Walmart’s Parent’s Choice.
- Use coupons: As with diapers, you can sometimes find formula coupons on the brands’ Facebook pages, in your Sunday paper, and on coupon sites like coupons.com.
- Don’t buy too far in advance: It’s tempting to stock up on baby clothing in bigger sizes when you see a good deal. The problem is, your baby may outgrow them by the time the following season comes—babies are known to have sudden growth spurts. So show some restraint and try to buy clothes closer to when your baby will need them.
- Extend the life of baby clothes: If your baby gets too long for his onesies but they still fit him weight-wise, these onesie extenders from One Step Ahead will give them new life. Cut the feet off of footed pajamas that get too short. Cut up outgrown shirts or onesies to use as burp cloths or washcloths.
- Launder clothing properly: We know how crazed you are as a new mom, but washing clothes properly can make them last longer. Treating stains promptly will give them a better chance of coming out. Hanging clothes to dry will keep them from shrinking, so they’ll fit your baby longer.
- Only buy what you need: Babies are most comfortable in soft, cotton clothing. Bottoms with snaps or zippers are easiest for quick diaper changes. I remember buying adorable jeans and corduroys for my twins when they were infants, only to pack them away unworn because they were too uncomfortable for the boys. The twins also never wore their heavy winter coats—I simply packed them into their infant carriers with JJ Cole BundleMes. And though tiny shoes are adorable, babies don’t need them before they can walk (even when they’re learning to walk, they learn best barefoot!).
Miscellaneous Baby Items:
- Don’t buy what you can get for free: I was so excited to organize my twins’ closet when I was pregnant, I ran out and bought tons of tiny baby hangers. Then I realized that when you buy clothes, you can keep the plastic hangers they come with for free. Oops! You live, you learn!
- Stick with the essentials: A baby wipes warmer may seem like a cool idea, but most babies survive just fine with room-temperature wipes! Your baby also probably doesn’t need a spa bathtub or a separate changing table (you can strap a changing pad to the top of his or her dresser). If you’re not sure what you really “need,” your best bet is to talk to other parents about what they used often and what they didn’t use.
- Create a baby registry: Plenty of friends and family members will want to buy something for your new little one. By creating a registry, you can ensure you’ll get things you really need rather than a huge pile of receiving blankets or tons of newborn-sized outfits.
- Find new uses for things: Since babies are not supposed to have blankets in their cribs, I used the comforters from my twins’ crib bedding sets as play mats on the floor once they got bigger. I also used tiny burp cloths that were still in great condition as washcloths. If you get creative, you could re-purpose all sorts of baby items!