Between birth and potty training, the average baby goes through thousands of diapers. You can help lower diaper costs and save a lot of money by doing a few simple things. Cloth diapers are the best way to save money. Reusable diapers can save you money and prevent diapers from going to landfills. If you choose to use disposables, take advantage of programs such as Amazon Baby Subscribe and Save to cut diaper and wipe costs, or try a few store brands to find a brand you love for a fraction of the price of the more popular brands.
Babies grow out of their clothing FAST! Because of this, you should avoid paying full price unless it is a specific outfit for an event or family photos. But even then, I can almost guarantee you can find the exact pieces you’re looking for at a discount somewhere. To save money on clothing for your baby, take advantage of hand-me-downs, clearance sales at your favorite stores, and used clothing stores. Or even online at sites like Poshmark, Mercari, eBay, and thredUP. Additionally, there are a ton of Facebook B/S/T groups for baby clothing (even upscale brands), and local consignment events such as JBF and MoppetTogs. As soon as you're done with these items, you can sell or pass them along to a friend to help them save on baby clothes as well.
It is important to think about your needs before buying anything. The majority of baby "essentials" are actually items that you do not need. In most families, a swing or a bouncy chair will suffice, and the space for both items at home cannot be found or purchased. Most people do not use changing tables, so having a basket with a changing pad and diaper changing supplies in the main rooms of the house would make diaper changes much more convenient. Or skip the extra gear altogether and just change your baby on your bed/couch/a blanket on the floor. You can find most baby gear you need used, for a steep discount. This is a great way to save money on both large and small items.
Baby formula is expensive and so are the tools needed to use it. For caregivers able to breastfeed this can be a great way to save money and provide for their baby at the same time. It is also a lot less work if you are not pumping for your baby. Formula feeding can be expensive, but necessary. If you decide to formula feed there are a few simple things you can do to help lower the cost. Take advantage of programs made to help families afford formula for their babies. Use coupons and discounts offered by the formula brands to lower the overall cost of baby formula. Send emails to formula companies and join their email/mailing lists. It’s a great way to get coupons for free products and more!
If you’re wanting to go the route of purees for first foods, you have options! Consider making your own baby food from the fresh fruits and vegetables you feed your family to save money on baby food and reduce waste. You only need a small blender to do this, no fancy baby puree maker necessary. You can prepare more than you need ahead of time and freeze it in ice trays. Another option to save money on baby food is to try baby-led weaning, a feeding method that skips pureed foods in favor of self-feeding.
You can help to lower this expense if you have the right support system. Rather than using an expensive child care facility, you can trade childcare with a friend or ask a family member to watch your child. You can also save on childcare by working opposite shifts from your partner or finding a job that allows you to work from home, even part-time. During tax season, make sure to take advantage of the child care tax credits. There are also a lot of resources out there for childcare assistance for low-income families. Asking around in local parenting groups is a great way to find relevant means to help. Your local health and welfare office, childcare.gov, and ICCP are a few services that can help start the process as well.