If you’re expecting your first child, you might be a little overwhelmed with all the baby gear friends, family, and magazines say you “have to have”–not to mention the exorbitant costs of these items. And beyond gear, you have to purchase diapers, wipes, clothes, and feeding supplies. The good news is that if you’re savvy, there are plenty of ways to cut costs on baby items while still making sure your child is well cared for.
1. Consider Breastfeeding
Not only is breastfeeding healthy for you and your baby, it also helps you avoid the high cost of formula, bottles, and other supplies. You can also get a free breast pump for your insurance, which makes nursing possible if you’re heading back to work.
2. Avoid Buying Brand New
All that expensive baby gear will only be used for a few months–which means there are plenty of barely used items available in consignment stores, online sales sites, and yard sales. The same goes for baby clothes; those tiny, adorable items you have to have might only fit your little one for a couple weeks, so avoid the urge to splurge. You can also seek out hand-me-downs from friends who have older children.
3. Shop Store Brand
According to Modern Mom, the name brand diapers and wipes aren’t worth the substantial additional cost. Store brand versions of these items work just as well and are often a fraction of the price.
4. Plan Ahead
Caring for yourself is as important as caring for your child. U.S. News and World Report suggests cooking freezer meals before the baby is born. By stocking up on nutritious, easy to reheat dinners, you’ll be saving time and money, without reaching for the takeout menu.
5. Take Your Time
It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to feel pressure to buy everything at once. For example, most infants don’t use a high chair until they are about six months old, so there’s no reason to purchase this before your baby is born. By spreading out these expenses, you can mitigate the amount of money you have to shell out all at once.
6. Test it Out
What works well for one baby may not necessarily work for another. Before buying big ticket items like a swing or a stroller, borrow from a friend or family member to see how well it works before taking the plunge to buy your own.