Raising a baby can be expensive, but, with a little online savvy and some help from your friends, you can save bundles and even find some free baby stuff. Here's how to save money on baby and find the best baby freebies on the web.
Baby Freebies Online
Just as having a baby can be an expensive proposition for you, it can be a profitable one for retailers and manufacturers. Many companies will give away things to expectant and new moms in the hopes of earning your business for a long time to come.
Here's how to get free products, samples and coupons from the most trusted baby brands.
You can typically find free samples and discount coupons by navigating your browser directly to a manufacturer's website. To find these websites, do an online search for your favorite brands of formula, diapers, and baby foods.
You can also often get free trial subscriptions to leading parenting magazines. At the time of this writing, you can get a free 6-month subscription to American Baby magazine and a free 12-month subscription to Baby Talk magazine directly at the publications' websites.
It's a good idea, too, to check the URL of the freebie's registration page before you fill it out, to make sure you are on the website of the manufacturer or publisher. Third party sites, especially sites devoted to providing freebies, may be in the business of collecting and selling your personal information.
Savings on Diapers and Formula
These are two items you will probably spend the most money on before your baby becomes a toddler. Breastfeeding is, of course, the cheapest way around buying infant formula, but it's just not an option for everyone. Here are the best ways we have found to save.
See if you can find products cheaper online. Do a search on froogle.com for bulk groceries or formula. This site, run by Google, allows you to comparison shop across lots of different sites with just one search. And check prices at Amazon Grocery, too, which will ship these products to you, just like any other Amazon purchase. Shipping is often free for orders of $25 or more.
Join the Club.
Ask at the customer service desk of your local grocery store to see if they have any kind of Baby Savings Club. Some of the leading grocer chains offer additional savings for these types of purchases.
Discount Baby Furniture and Gear
When it comes to baby furniture and baby gear, you can save a lot simply by knowing where to look.
Let Your Friends Know What You Need.
The best way to get free baby stuff is to ask your friends and family for anything they might be hanging onto that they don't need anymore. Even your friends whose kids are a bit older may still have some items in the attic.
Have a Baby Shower.
Baby showers are a great way to get exactly what you need for the new baby. Even better, your guests can share more ways on how you might be able to save money on baby items in your particular area.
Join Moms Groups.
Join parenting groups both in your local area and online. These are fantastic resources for free information and a daily or weekly dose of sanity. Plus, once you get to know other moms in your area, you can swap secondhand baby clothes.
Join a Freecycling Network.
Freecycling allows you to give away things you don't need while taking things you do. Do a Google search to find a Freecycle Network in your area, or visit Freecycle.org and browse the groups or enter your town into the search box. Once you find a local freecycling group, you can usually post your own needs and you find a lot of good things, completely free.
Shop for used items.
Local consignment stores, thrift stores, and garage sales are a great place to find gently used baby furniture or gear. Check the newspaper for this weekend's garage sales or monitor an online garage sale announcement service. Go to Yahoo Groups and enter your city and "Garage Sale."
A note about buying baby items secondhand: If you buy used toys or baby gear, make sure they still have safety labels attached. Also, it's a good idea to always buy a new car seat for your child. You don't want to take a risk by getting a secondhand car seat that may have been in an accident.
The most important thing for our family when our kids were small was to consider carefully what it was we really needed. When we were excited about having our first child, we felt like we wanted one of everything. But we found that some gear was not necessary at all, and some of it just got in the way.
The simple approach is sometimes the best, so take a little time with each buying decision. If there is a piece of furniture or a baby item that you feel you really need, see if you can get it gently used. It's better on the pocketbook and the environment.
It's also tempting to invest in things the baby will need when he or she has grown older. You can save money by waiting until your baby actually needs a bigger, better stroller, for example, to see both what you can afford and what kind of features are truly the most important to you. It helps me to look at it this way: When you save money by not buying things you really don't need, you'll have more money to put aside for your child's future.