Giving birth and raising a child is intimidating enough, WITHOUT worrying about the financial ramifications. We were concerned about money, but that’s really not any different from how we were before, and we knew that we would make it work. Our little bundle was worth every bit of the struggle. I am a die hard bargain hunter, and pretty darn good at stretching a buck, so I knew I could help save in places that Cris wasn’t familiar with, without much trouble. Besides, if we could save a little on things like toys, clothes, and diapers, we could have some extra for memory making trips.
Here are some of the ways we have come up with thus far.
Babies grow fast, and I am cheap. I also really love all the funny and memorable onesies we were given and bought. Because they have tapped out at this point, I took a chance and decided to cut them into t-shirts. I simply took my pinking shears and cut the bottoms off, leaving my self with a cute t-shirt that could be tucked in. They still fit across the chest and belly, but now they fit her body length, if only for a couple more months.
Another trick is taking those cute little rompers that look like a dress with sewn in bottoms and cutting the bottoms out. I usually cut the whole lining out, and if I really like the bottoms, I’ll add a strip of elastic to them, to make little bubble shorts. If they are pretty generic, I’ll throw them in my scrap box for later use. I can usually use the snaps on other projects.
I also cut a slit in the neckline in the back of t-shirts that still fit, like so.
I hemmed these, but most of the time, you don’t have to hem t-shirt fabric, just stretch it until it curls in a bit, and it won’t fray. If you really want to be fancy, you can take a spare small covered hair tie, and a button, make the hair tie into a loop on one side of the slit, sew it in place, then add a spare button on the other side and now you have a closure!
If you’re crafty, there are some adorable patterns on Pinterest for making little dresses out of pillow cases or old shirts with great patterns. All it takes is a search!
The next step is to shop smart. Places like Babies R Us, Gymboree, and even Target, are really fun to shop at and have adorable clothing, but they charge an arm and a leg for something your kid MIGHT wear once. I love to shop the sales, but even at the reduced prices, I sometimes cringe. I grew up shopping at places like Ross, and Burlington Coat Factory for great deals on nice clothes. But did you know these places usually have an amazing baby section, not to mention a whole toy department? Yes, sometimes the toy dept. might be a little messy because, well, kids, but in most cases, I have gone in and found something wonderful, for less than half of what I’d normally pay. Most of what we buy for Baby Wagon is not bought at a conventional department store. All Burlington coat factories have Baby Depots now. It is literally a store within a store, and you’ll be amazed at some of the deals you’ll find. We not only buy toys and clothing there, but countless sippy cups, utensils and bottles have found their way into my cart because they are such fantastic prices.
We also use our Amazon Prime membership to have diapers delivered every month. It is much cheaper to order large numbers in bulk and incredibly convenient. It’s awesome, when your down to the last few diapers, to know you have an order coming the next day.
Thrift stores, or baby consignment stores, are also a wealth of almost new baby stuff. Seriously, kids grow so fast and people need to make space in their homes for the next stage, so they donate. For a fraction of what you would pay for something new, you can get a gently loved item. These are great places to find baby gates, travel cribs, clothes, and carriers. I have even seen almost new strollers and cribs for pennies. Just make sure you check for all the hardware and all of the correct pieces before you make the commitment.
Last but not least, when you start telling people you’re expecting, friends usually come out of the woodwork with things from their kid’s old stashes. Even if your the first of your friends, chances are, there is a sister, brother, cousin or friend of a friend whose kid/ nephew/ niece recently outgrew this or that, and they are all too willing to get rid of the item in question. It really makes people feel good to know they are helping out new parents, so let them if they offer. If there is nothing you can use, save it for the next friend or gently let them know that you already have the item in question, but thank you so much for wanting to help.
As an extra tip? If you still have a bunch of stuff that no one needs after your kid has grown out of it, sell it! there are also several companies that will work with you to rent your baby gear out to traveling families so it can continue to make you money even after its no longer needed. One great site is Babierge.com. Get it? Like concierge? Similar to other sharing sites, this site provides a resource to post your gear on for people traveling in your area. This works in places with higher tourism rates, but try it, and you’d be surprised how many people use the site.
I know that these are all small ideas, but they can really add up if you put them all into practice.
How do you save money as a parent? Have a great tip of your own? Let us know in the comments below.