4 ways to save on baby costs by pre-planning
Pregnancy is a time of high emotions, and can often result in emotional, physical, and financial stress. Today we're going to discuss four ways you can save costs and stress by pre-planning while you are pregnant.
1. Shop the Sales Now.
While there are certain things you can't buy until you know the sex of your child, there are a lot of things that can be purchased in advance. While my husband and I are preparing to adopt our second child, we have shopped the sales for diapers during the last three years, and currently have a stockpile of diapers to last throughout our child's entire diapering experience. I purchased these diapers by following the deals at sites like Diaper & Baby Coupons
and many more.
One of my favorite times to buy is when CVS has diapers for $9.99 a pack, and you get $10 in Extra Care Bucks to spend in the store when you spend $30 on diapers. This means I've paid a net price of less than $7 for each pack of Jumbo diapers that would have been much more expensive at the grocery store. Also, once you do know the sex of your child, then you can really shop the sales for gender specific items.
I also watch clearance deals for baby items at all stores. I was recently able to pick up two sets of neutral color crib sheets for free at Target with coupons! Many times companies will offer savings on their Facebook page, and I even scored a free sippy cup once from a company's Facebook page! I also blog about weekly diaper deals and other money saving tips at Debt Free Spending
. Start planning and shopping now to save before the baby comes.
2. Purchase Gift Cards in Advance.
My husband and I have already started stashing away gift cards for our favorite places now, as a way of saving when the baby comes. I know how much I may need a massage when I'm up every night, or when stress levels get high. To prevent the baby blues, I've already stashed away gift cards to the local spa, so I won't have the financial guilt of treating myself once the baby comes.
Several of our local restaurants also offer gift card extras during the holidays, so if you're pregnant (or adopting) around this time, you can snag extra bonuses during this season. Last year, one local restaurant offered an extra $10 when you spent $50, and another one gave you a free appetizer with any gift card purchase of $50 or more!
On a more practical side, you can always start with department stores like Target, Walmart, and Kmart so you have a little cushion for things like over the counter meds when baby is sick. There are so many extra expenses that can come up and try to break your budget, but not if you're prepared!
3. Pretend You Have Less Now.
Start now by living on a budget that will reflect accurate post-birth finances. Now is the time to try living on less, or even on one income to see if you can really maintain a more frugal lifestyle. While my hubby and I make great efforts to save and live frugally all the time, it has been essential for us to make those tough decisions now, instead of trying to communicate about financial issues once the baby is here and we are completely sleep deprived!
Set up small goals for yourself now, so that the financial change isn't so drastic once the baby arrives. This may be something small like making your coffee at home, instead of heading to Starbucks each day. It may also include making gifts for others, or starting a gift closet at home, so you're not running out and buying gifts at full price. These are just some tips to get you started in changing your lifestyle now so your transition into parenthood isn't as stressful.
4. Buy Second Hand.
Another way to save during pregnancy is to buy second hand. When our son came home from Guatemala, we had several baby showers from co-workers, and family. This was mostly because it had taken us so long to become parents, that everyone was ecstatic and wanted to celebrate with us. However, I cannot tell you how many of those gifts were never used. Infants and children need very little to be content, and many times our materialistic culture acts like every new product is life altering. Let me assure you that every new gadget that comes out is not necessary. It's wiser to use the money you have to buy many items second hand, then if you have extra, splurge on the gift card for that massage. You will need it once the the baby comes!
Stephanie Brandt is a teacher by day and a blogger by night. She blogs about finances, family, and frugality at www.debtfreespending.com.