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Baby Baby

When most people find out they’re going to have a baby, the first thing they usually worry about after the initial excitement quiets down is money. After all, a new baby is expensive, and chances are you haven’t set your budget with the little one in mind. If keeping your expenses in check is important to you, here are 5 easy ways you can save money on your new baby.

1. Beware of all the hype.

Everyone buys books and does research online these days. Most of the books and web sites are great sources of information (like this one). However some of these resources just play into your fearsĀ Puerto Rico Coupons.

My sister recently adopted a child and got a perfectly good used crib and mattress from a family member. However one of the books she read stated that her baby could get sick if she had a “used” mattress. While I’m sure that’s possible, the fact that the mattress came from a family member with healthy kids should say something (such as “its fine…”).

Don’t buy into hype or fears that cause you to spend more money. While you’ll want to do whatever it takes to ensure your new baby is safe and healthy, common sense goes a long way.

2. Know what you need. Know what you don’t need.

There are lots of things you will need when you bring your new baby home. There are lots of things you won’t need. While it’s fun to go baby shopping, chances are you won’t need most of what catches your eye in the store. What you do need when you bring the baby home are diapers, bottles/formula, wipes, first set of clothes (also known as a “layette”), crib, blankets and sheet, car seat, etc.

There are some items that you will end up needing, but you don’t have to purchase before the baby arrives. You can hold off and see what you get at your baby shower. (A lot of times you’ll be surprised with a good swing, baby toys, etc.) If you really need something after the baby is home, these are the items you can run to the store and pickup at any time. Or you can wait for them to go on sale. For instance, I’m sure you have your eye on that cute high chair, but trust me, your new baby will not need to use it until she’s around 6 months old. Save your money for now and buy the high chair when it’s on sale.

Finally there are the items you will never need. For instance, when we had our first baby, my wife just had to have that cute comforter for the crib. Trouble is babies cannot use comforters. While it was cute I admit, it will never be used in the crib or by our daughter, so it was an unnecessary expense. I’m not saying you can’t splurge on things that are fun or cute, but this is about saving money, and not buying things like crib comforters are ways you can cut back on the expenses.

Remember, if you’re not sure you need it then you probably don’t. You can always pick it up later, so the best advice is to wait and see.

3. Accept hand-me-downs.

This one is simple, but so many parents refuse to accept the help. When our daughter was born, other mothers at our church either gave or loaned us clothes their daughters had worn. Most of the clothes were in good condition and very stylish. We got or borrowed so many clothes from friends and relatives that we really didn’t have to buy much ourselves. This saved us hundreds of dollars in the first year alone. It also freed up our money so we could splurge on a few new outfits that we really liked, but couldn’t have budgeted for otherwise if we had to buy everything ourselves.

Some parents don’t like to borrow clothes because they’re afraid their baby will ruin them. Don’t worry about it. Other parents understand that babies spit up, have spills, get dirty, and can be rough on their clothing. Baby clothes are generally made to take the abuse, and as long as you take reasonably good care of the clothes, they’ll understand if an item or two gets stained or ripped. Trust me, they wouldn’t offer to loan you the clothes if they were afraid your baby might ruin them.

If the thought of ruining borrowed baby clothes still bothers you, then you can offer to pay for any damaged items, which will still save you money over buying everything new yourself.

Tip: use a permanent marker to put the initials of the mom who loaned the clothes on the tag of each item that is expected to be returned. That way you easily know what clothes belong to which moms. Just make sure to check first with the loaning mom to make sure it’s okay to mark on the tags. Most moms will think it’s a great idea if they haven’t already thought of it themselves.

4. Find a second-hand baby shop.

There are specialty baby shops that sell gently used clothing (usually brand name) and baby accessories (strollers, cribs, car seats, toys, etc). These stores typically only accept items that are in good condition. This is the best of both worlds… you buy the items so they’re yours, but since you’re buying used, the prices are steeply discounted. For example, we just purchased a pair of brand-name sneakers–the kind that light up when the baby takes a step–for only $8 at a second-hand store. The shoes are in perfect condition, and probably cost well over $20 brand-new.

Another way to save money is to get some money back. Take any baby items you no longer need, that are in good condition, and sell them back to the second-hand baby shops. Alternatively you could sell your used baby items on eBay. You won’t earn much, but every little bit helps, and generally you’ll make more than you would selling your items at a garage sale.

5. Breastfeed. Otherwise use store-brand formula.

If at all possible, you should breastfeed your baby. Not only is it healthier for the baby, but you won’t be spending money on formula. However some women can’t or simply choose not to breastfeed. In that case, purchase store-brand formula. Stores like Wal-Mart and Target sell their own branded baby formula that is just as healthy as the more expensive, premium formulas.

Due to a medical condition, my wife was unable to breastfeed our daughter, so we had to bottle feed instead. The formula we used was the Wal-Mart store brand called “Parent’s Choice.” Each can cost us around $10 less than brands like Enfamil and Similac. When you’re going through 4-5 cans of formula a month, which can add up to a lot of savings. Plus, our daughter is completely healthy, so we feel confident that we didn’t sacrifice anything in terms of quality or nutrition.

Tip: check with your doctor if you’re unsure or uncomfortable using a store brand, but from our experience and talking with our doctor, the store brands from Target or Wal-Mart are good choices.

There are many more ways you can save money on your new baby, but if you follow these five tips, you’ll be on your way to significant savings.

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