1. Be practical about your registry
When you hit the stores to do your baby registry, you may be tempted to grab that scanner and just start scanning every adorable outfit and toy you see. But before you do, really stop and think about what you will need versus what you want. I’m not saying not to include anything fun and playful, but make sure to add things like baby shampoo, wipes, diapers and washcloths. They may not be as fun, but you’ll be thankful in the long run.
2. Skip the fancy crib bedding
This is the number one money-saving tip that I really wish someone had told me before I had a baby! I splurged on a pricey crib bedding set complete with blanket, pillows and bumper, along with matching curtains. Well, little did I know that The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies don’t sleep with the blanket, pillows or the bumper! So the entire bedding set went into the closet and only came out when I had a visitor and I wanted to make the room look pretty. This was easily the biggest waste of money that I spent as a new mom.
3. Buy an infant-to-toddler feeding seat instead of a high chair
If you’re planning on purchasing a high chair, consider an infant-to-toddler feeding seat instead. Not only do these save space, but the majority of them can be used from birth to as old as four years. The cost is also a plus. Infant-to-toddler feeding seats generally cost between $30-50, which is quite a bit cheaper than most highchairs.
4. Sign up for all available freebies
There are quite a few companies that offer free samples and coupons, such as Enfamil’s Family Beginnings Program and the Gerber Generation. When I had my child, I signed up for both of these programs and was sent quite a few goodies, including a full size can of formula! Many companies also have rewards programs where you can earn coupons, toys and other items, such as the Huggies Rewards Program and the Pampers Gifts to Grow Program. Believe me, those codes add up faster than you’d think!
5. Wait until after you’ve had your baby shower to buy items
You may be tempted to buy baby items every time you run into Target for a great coupon deal or a gallon of milk, but restrain yourself! If you are lucky enough to be given a baby shower, wait until after the shower to see what you still need. You can make a list before the shower, cross off the items you receive from friends and family, and then purchase just what is left on your list. You’ll save money and ensure that you don’t have duplicates that you don’t need.
6. Don’t go crazy decorating your baby’s room
This was another tip that I really could have used as a new mom! I decorated my baby’s room in a fun jungle theme – monkeys, tigers, and stuffed bears, oh my! I thought it was absolutely adorable, but not long after my son turned two, he was asking for everything Cars. I then went out and purchased Cars bedding, Cars curtains – Cars everything! A year later he was completely over Cars and asking for everything Angry Birds! It took me a while before I finally learned my lesson, but I now realize that kids’ tastes change a lot faster than you would think. Instead, purchase as many items as you can in neutral colors so when they start asking for a new theme you can easily just change one or two aspects of the room.
7. Skip the bottle and wipe warmers
These were two items that, based on marketing, I thought that I really needed to have as a new mom. After all, the baby’s bottle needs to be warmed, and you don’t want to put a cold wipe against your newborn’s skin, right? However, in actuality, both of these items turned out to be products that were completely unnecessary. There are many other options for warming a bottle, such as simply placing it in a warm cup of water. I also found out rather quickly that this takes much less time than waiting for the bottle warmer to heat up. And the wipe warmer? Simply squeeze the wipe in the palm of your hand for a few seconds and it’s just fine.
8. Check height and weight restrictions when buying strollers and car seats
Height and weight limits can vary greatly on both strollers and car seats. Some strollers can only handle up to 35 pounds while others can go as high as 55 pounds. If you end up buying one of these items with a lower weight or height limit, you may end up having to purchase a second model down the line.
9. Check your area for baby fairs
Baby fairs can be a great place to pick up free samples, coupons and lots of information. These vary from city to city but are usually very similar to bridal fairs. Vendors come to sell their wares (and often offer special deals or hand out samples), and many fairs offer free workshops and information centers. Many baby fairs actually partner with local hospitals or physicians and can be a great place to pick up pamphlets and information on topics from choosing a pediatrician to making your own baby food.
10. Buy gender-neutral clothes
Most people save their baby clothes in case they have another child in the future, but if you buy all blue clothes with trucks on them and then end up having a girl, they really don’t come in quite as handy as you may have thought! Instead, opt for at least a portion of the onesies and clothing to be in a gender-neutral color so you have less to buy for the next child.