See I told you, this would help!
- SC = Store Coupon
- MC = Manufacturer Coupon
- SS = Smart Source
- RP = Red Plum
- PG = Proctor and Gamble
- WYB = When You Buy
- B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
- .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
- .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
- EXP = Expiration Date
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“Having a baby costs so much money!”
It seems like almost every day you hear it said that “A newborn baby needs very little aside from loving parents”. But those with a newborn know that some of the simplest necessities cost the most: diapers, clothing, a car seat, and food. Welcome to our final week of sharing some ideas for saving money on baby basics.
(This is a carseat that we got when our twins were born. The seat was in great condition but the cover wasn’t when our 3rd child was born, so I made a new cover. Total cost $10.)
Spend Less on Baby Clothes and Gear
In our society, both baby clothes and baby gear seem to be status symbols among young families and often new parents feel guilty if they don’t provide the most stylish and highly rated products for their children. An obvious step in spending less money is to care less about status and more about your relationship with your baby. As long as he is fed, warm, clean, and loved, your baby will be happy. However, it can also be a comfort to know that your baby is comfy and safe in a quality outfit, crib, or car seat.
1. Keep things simple
Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Keep reminding yourself that newborns need surprisingly little. While growing babies and toddlers need some form of diversion to keep them from destroying everything in the house or whining like crazy, they don’t necessarily need expensive diversions. I’m continually surprised by how long a child’s attention can be held by a cardboard box or a piece of junk mail that makes a cool crinkly noise. Just because Babies R’ Us or American Baby lists 101 different items for which you “need” to register doesn’t mean that everything on the list is a true necessity. Bear in mind that the more you “need,” the more money they make. How many outfits, toys, and gadgets does a baby really need? Take some time to evaluate what is truly necessary and purchase quality products instead of buying lots of junk that will just end up cluttering your house and your life.
2. Look for freebies
If you read this blog then I already know that you are all about finding free products. Try putting your money saving skills to work for some bigger items. You will be surprised what people are willing to give away after they are through with the baby stage. When you announce your news, you may even discover that a family member has been saving some heirlooms for you. I personally received furniture (crib, rocker, chest of drawers, book shelf), books, a baby gate, clothing (large amounts), and a changing pad and cover.
3. Buy items second hand
How many times does an infant wear an outfit before he grows out of it? Is a play gym, bouncy seat, or teddy bear more entertaining because it is new? Many second hand items are surprisingly gently used. Start your hunt early and you are likely to find some great deals. Shop yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, and consignment sales/shops around town, search classifieds in your local paper or online, and start making offers on Ebay and Craigslist. You will tend to find slightly higher prices at consignment shops as two parties are splitting the profits, but in my experience they tend to carry higher quality merchandise than a thrift store or yard sale. Many consignment stores will only receive name brand clothing or gear. Classifieds and online sales will vary by seller, but don’t be afraid to barter with someone.
Please remember to shop with caution for used items. You will want to purchase new Breast pumps and car seats for health and safety reasons. Some products that used to be considered standard have now proven to be unsafe, such as walkers or certain crib designs. Buyers should also check a purchase carefully for damage and do some research to make sure that a product has not been recalled.
4. Hit the clearance rack
You probably won’t find the rock bottom prices of a yard sale in the mall, but there are times when some sweet deals can be found. One of the advantages to buying new, name brand products is their resale value, but we’ll get to that later. Two keys to finding great sales in the mall (which can often be a money trap): when to shop and where to shop.
When to shop – The best time to look for sales is at the end of a season. If you know your child will need a new winter coat next year, buy it in February and put it away (even though by that point the store will be full of Easter outfits!). If you need to outfit your little beach bum for next year’s summer vacation, buy in August (when the stores are advertising for the new school year). The week after Christmas is a great time to find deals on all items, especially toys as stores try to move out the old merchandise to make room for the new. Also look for big sales on holidays like Memorial or Labor Day when department stores advertise big mark downs as well as special coupons for percentages off your total purchase. Gymboree regularly runs a special where customers can earn $25 worth of Gymbucks for each $50 purchase.
Where to shop – I’m not talking about which store to shop in, but rather where to look in the store. Very rarely are the advertised deals really the best deals in the store. Don’t ever buy the often tempting items in the front of the store or on the edge of the aisle. Make a bee line for the clearance rack, usually at the back of the store. If you are shopping for children’s clothing you may be able to find items for just a few dollars, often 50%-75% off the regular price. If you’re shopping for gear at a store like Babies R’ Us, ask where you might be able to find items that have been marked down. Sometimes stores will sell an older model of an item for a large discount. Usually the only difference between the old and the new model is the color scheme. Babies R’ Us sends some great percentage-off coupons to those on their mailing list. If you can combine these “hidden” deals with a percentage-off coupon on a big sale weekend (as mentioned above), then you are in for a steal! Just be sure to read all of your coupons carefully before you get to the register.
There are a few additional “wheres” that are not to be forgotten. Outlet malls can be a great source for everyday low prices on name brands, and they usually have their own clearance racks. Look for online outlets and clearance “racks” as well. Check out overstock.com they have some great prices.
5. Sell quality used items
Finally, whether you buy a like-new item from a yard sale or find great deals in retail stores, take good care of it so that you can resell it. If you are a good saleswoman, you can often earn back part or all of your original investment. For example, I bought a Jeep jogging stroller for $25 at a yard sale (it usually sells for around $200). If I take great care of it like the previous owner did, I could probably turn around and sell it for $20-$25 when I’m done with it!
There are a few helpful hints to reselling clothing. Firstly, only buy name brand – no one wants to purchase Walmart clothes second hand. Secondly, new is best, although you may be able to get away with very gently used high quality clothes. Try to buy as many items in the collection as you can find. An outfit with the matching accessories will command a higher price and be easier to sell when offered as a set as opposed to just selling one random piece. Lastly, pay careful attention to washing instructions or, better yet, try to keep them from getting too dirty in the first place. Put some play clothes on your kids when they play in the mud or eat spaghetti.
Here is a quick example with some current sale prices from the Gymboree website. All of these items are from the Skate Legend collection.
Skate Monkey Flip Flop
Skate Monkey Rash Guard
Skate Monkey Swim Trunk
Skate Monkey Tee
Receive: $25 Gymbucks
Skate Monkey Polo Shirt
Patchwork Cargo Short
Grand Total: $79.17 for beach attire, two nice outfits, and a matching hoodie.
Total Saved: $60.08 (43% off)
(note: you can’t use Gymbucks until certain redemption dates, but use them towards more clothes that you will later resell)
When your little man has outgrown these adorable duds, post them online and make back your investment. Then take the cash and start all over!
See more posts about buying frugal for baby:
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