Monday, May 25, 2015

8 Simple Hacks for Your Baby Budget

Since I have nothing but my baby keeping me busy nowadays, there is a strong focus on how she is affecting my budget. I've compiled a few tips for how to hack your baby budget and save money for the more important things like healthcare!

1. Buy (or at least try) generic diapers. 
I was fortunate to receive nearly every brand of diaper in newborn size from the three showers I was given by my friends, family, and coworkers. This allowed me to test out each one. While I had no issues with Huggies, Luvs, or Pampers, I also had no issues with Parent's Choice, which just so happens to be the cheapest diaper sold at Wal-Mart (and is also the Wal-Mart brand). Say what you will about Wal-Mart, but my wallet does enjoy this money-saving alternative and costs as low as $0.13 a diaper versus upwards of $0.25 a diaper for the brand names. I'm sold.

2. Download coupons from Kroger (if you're near one).
I downloaded the Kroger app and have a reminder set to check the latest coupons every Sunday morning. Not only am I saving on my entire grocery budget, but they also have great deals for free and clear laundry detergent (alternative to using the costly Dreft), coupons for diaper creams (I'm embarassed at the amount I have stocked up), and diaper coupons which may help if you go with Huggies, Luvs, or Pampers. The "e-coupons" save directly to my Kroger card, so there's no need to print off coupons. Easy.

3. Buy secondhand clothing.
I rarely purchased anything new the last few months and was lucky to be near a Rhea Lana's consignment sale before my daughter was born and right after. I was able to purchase plenty of essentials for only 30% of retail. Not only do they have thousands of items to choose from, but you also buy high-quality clothing that will be outgrown faster than you can snap up that onesie. Perfect for my budget. Which leads me into number four...

4. Resell baby clothes, toys, and maternity clothes at a consignment sale.
Rhea Lana's also happens to be a place where you can make upwards of 70-80% back on everything you sell there. I've already prepped several pieces of clothing our daughter has grown out of, as well as my maternity jeans, shorts, and shirts. I also packaged up a few headbands, newborn size shoes, and books for the next sale, which will be this Fall. It takes a little time up front to prep the items and enter them into the system, but with a payoff of 70%, it's well worth the effort.

5. Breastfeed your baby.
We all have heard of the benefits of breastfeeding, but it can save you over $1,000 in the first year in formula costs. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but once you do, you can write blog posts without even thinking about it while your baby eats at the same time, ha! But in all seriousness, it's been a great bonding experience for my baby and I with the added perk of not costing me anything. It's always available, warm, and ready to eat.

6. Borrow big items from friends and family.
I have a neice that's ten months ahead of my daughter and have been lucky enough to borrow her clothes. I've also borrowed a few toys and even maternity clothes from friends and family. Everyone would be more than happy to lend out a swing or exersaucer that's taking up their living room if they don't currently need it for their own family. I had coworkers who were offering me strollers, new car seats, baby baths, toys, and much more, all at no cost.

7. Return duplicates of gifts in exchange for a gift card.
I received several duplicates and ended up returning multiple items to Target or Wal-Mart. I downloaded both of their apps and used the scanner to see what items were sold where. Wal-Mart has a return policy of no more than three returns without a receipt in one year, so be sure to pile up everything before heading there. I exchanged these items for gift cards which in turn I used for diapers, bath essentials, and a couple of "fun"items. These really helped out and didn't count against my budget at all.

8. Purchase books and toys from thrift stores.
Fill your child's library up with gently used books from Goodwill. It may take some digging, but I was able to find several classic board books for less than $1 each. I even found two baby sign language books. Regular prices for books can be expensive and an entire collection of books can be costly. I was lucky to have two large boxes from childhood to add to our bookshelf, so that helped, too. I can't wait to see which ones will be her favorites.

Do you have more hacks? Share below!

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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