(Clara Sage at 4 months. Isn't she cute??)
Let's face it, babies are expensive creatures. Between the diapers, formula, baby food, and clothes, the cost of raising a child can really add up! Here are some of my favorite ways to save money on babies:
- Diapers: Consider cloth diapers. I know, I know, but before you turn your nose up at the idea, keep in mind that the average child will cost about $1600 for two years worth of disposable diapers. The cloth diapers of today are vastly improved over the ones from just a few years ago. Cloth diapers are not that much more effort, plus they are better for the environment. For more information on cloth diapers, check out Diaper Jungle's Cloth Diaper Guide. If you must use disposable diapers, a good way to stock up on these is to get them for free from CVS using Extra Care Bucks. For more CVS tips, visit MoneySavingMom's CVS 101. Also, generic store brands are often half the price of brand-name diapers, but work just about as well.
- Formula: If you cannot breast feed, try stocking up on samples. Every time you take your baby to the pediatrician, ask for samples of formula. Many times they keep several different varieties on hand. If you start asking for samples from birth, you can accumulate a large collection of formulas for free. For more formula samples, sign up for Enfamil's Family Beginnings. When you receive $5 coupons good towards any formula, try to get the smallest container to maximize savings and pay the least out of pocket.
- Baby Food: Making your own baby food is simple and easy to do. You can find more information on making your own baby food at WholesomeBabyFood.com. To save on store-bought baby food, many people do not know that stage 1 baby food is the same as stage 2. The only difference is the portion size. Many times stage 2 baby food comes in a slightly larger bottle. I like to purchase the stage 2 foods, pour some out into a bowl for a feeding and save the rest in the fridge to use the next day.
- Clothing: To save on clothing, it is important to realize that newborns outgrow clothes at a rapid rate. Also, frequent spills, diaper leaks, and food stains make purchasing new clothes seem... well, pointless really. Try shopping at a second hand store, consignment shop, or yard sale. Also, buying clothes out of season can be a big money saver.
- College Savings: It is never too early to start saving for your baby's college education. Consider starting a 529 plan and then automatically contribute a portion of your income. uPromise is another great resource for college savings, and you can invite other friends or family to contribute to your child's fund by linking their store discount cards or credit cards to the account.
Have another great baby money-saving tip to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!