Welcoming a new baby into your family is one of the most joyous and exciting experiences you can imagine.  It’s also one of the most expensive.
Cribs, car seats, high chairs, swings, strollers…there’s so many decisions to make and it all costs so much money.
As a father of three I’ve been through it all and I’ve got some great tips to help you save money on all the baby stuff you’re going to need.
Register at Babies”R”Us
Even if you’re not going to have a baby shower, you should still take the time to set up a baby registry.  Not only will you get on their mailing list so you can receive lots of coupons to use in stores, you’ll also be eligible for the Registry Completion Discount Program.
Just add whatever baby items you’re planning on buying to the registry and about six to eight weeks before your due date you’ll receive a certificate to save 10 percent on all the unbought items on your registry.  There are no restrictions or exclusions so you can save good money on items you were going to buy anyway.
Formula Samples
If you use baby formula, you’ll be shocked when you realize how much it costs and how quickly your little one goes through it.  You should jump at every opportunity you can find to save money on formula.
The hospital where you deliver will gladly give you some free samples to take home with you, and most pediatricians will have plenty of samples to offer if you ask.  But you can also go directly to the formula companies for freebies.
For each of our kids, we went to the baby formula websites and signed up for their newsletters.  Not only did we get free cans of formula in the mail, we also got tons of coupons to use at the store.  Some coupons were for only $1 off, but many were $10 off.  Great deal!
Shop at Consignment Shops
When I see new parents spending a fortune on clothes for their kids I just shake my head.  Kids grow out of clothes so quickly that it just doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on them.  Why spend $20 for a designer t-shirt that won’t even fit them in three months?
Instead of throwing your money down the drain, find a local consignment shop that carries baby clothes.  You’ll be able to score name brand merchandise at rock-bottom prices, and because the clothes probably received very little use before they were grown out of they should be in nearly new condition.
Stick to the Essentials
Walk up and down the baby aisles of any retailer and you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.  There’s just so much stuff to choose from it can be hard to figure out what you need and what you don’t.
Obviously you’ll need plenty of diapers, wipes, formula, and onesies.  Make sure you stock up on those items because you’ll go through them quickly.
But other items you can skip entirely.  Baby wipe warmers, pee pee teepees, and baby knee pads are all examples of items dreamed up by the baby industry to make money off of new parents who don’t know any better.
Stock Up on Sale Items
As I mentioned above, your little one will go through diapers and formula faster than you can imagine.  A newborn can easily use up to 10 or 12 diapers a day!  You definitely want to keep a sizable supply on hand so you don’t end up making a late-night trip to the store.
Of course the best time to stock up is when they’re on sale.  Combine sale prices with coupons and you can find some killer deals.  Those formula coupons you received in the mail will certainly come in handy.
One final money-saving tip:  send an email to diaper companies like Pampers and Huggies and tell them you’re a fan of their product but you’re on a tight budget and can’t always afford them.  When we emailed them they happily sent us plenty of manufacturer coupons, including some for totally free products!
Mike Collins is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in personal finance topics. He’s also a husband and father of three children who keep him very busy.  You can read more about his quest to achieve finance freedom for his family at WealthyTurtle.com