Tuesday, September 3, 2019

5 Essential Shopping Hacks All Moms Should Know

While I'm quite a bit out of the baby stage, I was in that stage for a while, and I know how expensive it can be. Here's some tips from a reader on how to save money when it comes to your baby essentials.

Every new mom needs to stretch her budget. By now, you’ve probably learned out of pure necessity how to save, recycle and get more out of everything from bottles to baby clothes. While you may be a pro at removing stains from bodysuits and preventing shrunken socks, we know you’ll take every money-saving tip you can get. That’s why we’re sharing our best shopping hacks for parents.

Smart shopping starts before baby is born and continues throughout their life. Whether you’re expecting a little one shortly or need more budgeting help, we’ll reveal how to save the most you can while buying essential baby items for the newborn phase and beyond. With the extra money you’ll have left over, you can put away for your child’s college fund, enjoy a bigger budget for the holidays or go on a family vacation!

1. Build a Smart Baby Registry

The smarter you build your baby registry, the less money you’ll have to spend on infant essentials throughout the first year of your child’s life. It all comes down to understanding which supplies you need, the different sizes you’ll require and the type of gifts moms most often miss from their list. First, always add the must-haves, including the crib, travel system and glider. While these big ticket items can get expensive, many family members are willing to pitch in together to purchase expensive essentials as a group present.

Next, add different sizes of baby clothing such as pajamas, bodysuits and leggings. Your child may not even fit into newborn garments, starting with 0-3 month sizes as soon as they are born. Your son or daughter will also grow quickly. Parents who include only the smallest clothing sizes on their baby registry will usually have to buy tons of new PJs, shirts and pants within a few months. Additional registry essentials include different sized diapers, feeding supplies and disposable wipes. Don’t forget must-haves like the high chair and play yard. It may seem like ages until your baby will use them—but time will fly faster than you think. These gifts will come in handy when you’re trying to save money on everything from toys to solid foods at the grocery store.

2. Avoid Buying Items You Don’t Need

Help your family and friends focus on the gifts you need so they don’t even think of buying the ones you don’t. The most common registry gifts that parents hardly use (or use much later) include baby shoes, wipe warmers and lightweight strollers. You won’t need any footwear until your little one is walking, which is probably around the time they turn one. Instead, save the sandals and sneakers for their first birthday and focus on socks and booties for crawling around the house and staying warm.

Wipe warmers are a luxury, never a necessity—and trust us, your baby won’t know the difference anyway. Plus, the stroller that fits with your car seat or comes with your travel system will probably be the one you use for years to come. To help your budget stretch as long as possible, focus on finding one that includes a warranty and is reputable with experienced parents.

3. Shop the Year’s Biggest Baby Sales

Most moms already know when to shop their favorite stores for clothing and beauty sales. In many cases, the same sale windows apply for baby clothes. Search for new items in August, when back to school shopping sales and tax-free days are at their prime. It’s also smart to buy clothing during January’s semi-annual sales, which are an easy way for clothing stores to get rid of their items from Christmas.

If your little one needs toys to keep them busy, try shopping as close to the holidays as possible. Yes, you may need an extra dose of sanity to brave the stores or navigate through quick sellouts online. However, we can promise you will enjoy hefty discounts on everything from rattles and teethers to wagons and walkers.

4. Compare Prices at Different Stores

Have you ever bought something at a store you love, only to discover it’s cheaper somewhere else? While disappointing, there are many practical reasons why this occurs. Some companies have deals with the manufacturer, especially if they’re trying to liquidate seasonal clothes or toys. A baby boutique or department store may also be having internal sales on children’s items.

Before you buy, check the online pricing at more than one retailer. Pay extra attention to the stores that offer free shipping and discounts for frequent shoppers. You may even be able to save if you opt for a monthly subscription on recurring items like baby food or formula. Some businesses will also offer a price match if you can prove you found it for less money at their competitor.

5. Use Baby Coupons and Rewards

If you’ve never used coupons before, mama, now is the time to start. You’ll probably begin receiving them from children’s supply and clothing stores once you build your baby registry. As long as you keep shopping, you can expect to continue to get them in your mailbox or email inbox. Keep them with you each time you go to the store or buy online.

Many companies also offer rewards programs through their eCommerce store or app. Look for special decals on the product box or search your favorite app store for more information. In many cases, you can punch in reward codes to rack up points. Over time, these points will accumulate and can be used to purchase more of the same item. You may even be able to get free gift cards and toys.

Shopping Smart Is Better for Mom—and Baby

Ask any mom: Once you start saving big money on the items you need every day, the feeling will become downright addictive. You may even find yourself feeling like a shopping competitor, using every coupon, rewards program and registry hack you can to keep more cash in your pocket! It’s not only fun, but it’s smart for you and baby. The more money you keep, the happier and more at ease you feel. This carefree spirit will allow you to give more to your family on a daily basis.
Deep savings on baby items also help in the long-term. Raising a child will cost you tens of thousands of dollars throughout your lifetime, but you can still put away for retirement and spending quality time together if you think before you buy. Enjoying peace of mind is easier than you think—and it all starts with your shopping cart!

See my disclaimer.