How to Save Money on Baby Products

Getting Started
Modern baby products help to keep baby safe and comfortable. They also help to make baby care hygienic and efficient. What a combination: safe, comfortable, hygienic, and efficient! Who can resist?

As a single parent, you understand that life can be great when you make smart choices. What do you really need to raise a healthy baby, and how can you save on those products? Here are some tips to guide your spending and put a few extra dollars in your wallet.

Go slow
As a rule, you will want to buy baby products in bulk; but when you're switching brands, you'll want to go slow. Whether it's bottles, pacifiers, diapers, formula, laundry detergent, or nursing supplies, limit those initial purchases. You may love breastfeeding and not need more than a couple bottles. You may opt for bottle feeding after a few weeks and not need a wardrobe for breastfeeding. You don't want a large stash of a product that you can't use because of an allergy or because it doesn't work for you.

Go without
Do you need a bouncy seat and an infant car seat? Do you need a high chair and a booster seat? Do you need a crib and a pack 'n play? Decide what products are most important for you.

It's easy to get sucked into the baby product frenzy and think, "My baby couldn't sleep in a pack 'n play at home!" But then ask yourself, "Why not?" If a pack 'n play is safe and comfortable for your baby away from home, it should work at home too. Minimize the amount of furniture that you accumulate through the baby days.

Sadly, the parenting community must deal in the reality that some baby products present hazards. Crib pillows and bumpers are cute, but the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends an empty crib with no pillows, bumpers, or positioners. Better to go without.

Go generic
A sizeable population of shoppers have found that store brand products meet their expectations. Especially on consumables such as diapers, wipes, and food, try out generic products.

Diapers will be one of your big expenses. Generally speaking, you want to buy the smallest diaper that fits because the cost of diapers increases with the size. If a diaper is leaking, you may need to go to a bigger size rather than a different brand. Some babies can use generic diapers during the day and then switch to name brand diapers at night.

Go for second-hand stuff
Babies grow quickly. You'll want to savor each stage and have the right products for your baby's care and development. Babies outgrow nearly all the baby gear within two years--which means, you can find a lot of gently-used gear that will last as long as you need it. Prices for second-hand furniture, gear, clothes, and shoes may be a fraction of the original price.

While yard sales offer some great deals, it's not easy for a single parent of an infant to go yard sale-ing. A better option may be consignment sales. Urban areas often have a well-established, well-equipped consignment store such as Once Upon a Child. Seasonal consignment sales are the rage nearly everywhere. Kids Consignment Sales provides a state-by-state database of the most popular sale. For the single parent, these sales offer multiple benefits. Toys, furniture, gear, clothes, shoes--all under one roof. You can shop once or twice a year and knock out nearly all your shopping saving both time and money.

Go for samples and coupons
Used wisely, coupons can help you to get name brand products at or below the cost of store brands. Parents depend on sites such as the following: Gerber, Huggies, Similac, Beech Nut, and Earth's Best baby food . You can praise a product and request coupons on company websites. No guarantees, but you may receive some coupons directly from the company.

In addition to checking traditional coupon sites such as the Sunday paper and websites, you can find free offers at the hospital where you delivered, at your pediatrician's office, and at the grocery store. It's acceptable to ask your pediatrician if he has free samples of medicine or other products.

Join saver's clubs and memberships for everywhere you shop.

Go convertible
A recent trend in baby products has been items that can pull double duty. Rather than the old style car seats that had to be replaced as a child grew, the new products offer a convertible style where one product takes the child from infancy to childhood. Similarly, strollers convert for safety and comfort for multiple ages. Cribs convert to toddler beds.

You will want to shop smart. Many of the products are costly. If you're reasonably sure you will use the product at all stages, it can help with cost and clutter. If the end product is something you're unlikely to use, or if there's just not the budget now for a big ticket product, go simple. Get what you need for today.

Go prepared
Many baby and toddler food products available in the grocery store capitalize on convenience. You can save hundreds by preparing and packaging food and snacks for your baby. Regardless of what the websites' promises about "quick and easy" food for your baby, you will find that the process of making baby food is tedious, time consuming, and never ending. The end result, however, will be healthy foods for a fraction of the cost of prepared foods.

Also, be prepared with a small extra diaper bag to leave in your car. Stock a few diapers, a bottle/sippy cup, a change of clothes, some band aids, and wipes. Forgetting the diaper bag just one time can be costly.

Go safe
When you're trying hacks and tips for saving money, you need to keep your child's safety as your top priority. While cutting a package of wipes in half so you only use half at a time seems safe enough, converting an entertainment center into a changing table may not provide the same level of safety as the certified changing table. Products get recalled. Laws change. Always choose safety first.

Can it be done? Can you get baby products on a budget? Absolutely. If saving money and finding the best deals becomes one of your secret hobbies, you'll be able to purchase some safe, comfortable, hygienic, efficient products for you and your baby's enjoyment.