Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More Bang for Your Buck | Money-saving Tips for Parents of Young Kids

Kids are expensive.  For realz.  They require lots of stuff.  And that stuff adds up.  Luckily, baby showers can help offset the cost of some of those goodies early on, but what happens when your baby is a year old or older and you've spent all the gift cards and they've grown out of their swing/bouncer/jumparoo and all those sweet bitty clothes?  It still costs money to get them what they need...every day of their life.

This was our first baby shower haul for Max.  The only things that are still in use are those Sassy foam play mats, the Twilight Turtle, and some blankets.

There are some things that Max needs that I have to purchase pretty regularly.  Since I've had 16 months to comparison shop, I've come to find some great places to get what he needs at a fraction of the price. I'm sure there are other parents out there who are looking to save a buck here or there, so I thought I'd share a few products I like and places I like to shop.

Amazon Mom:  If you already have an Amazon Prime account, this is easy peasy.  Basically, its a subscription service.  And you get deep discounts on some products.  Like 20% off diapers.  We've used this service since Max was itty bitty, and we get our diapers and wipes delivered to our door...and lots of them.  When you buy the big bulk packs, you save money already.  And then when you use this subscription service, you save even more money.  AND you don't have to lug packs of diapers home from the store.  It's a win all around!

Costco:  I love Costco.  I get my photos printed there.  I buy lots of groceries there.  In fact, a lot of our furniture is from Costco.  You really can't beat their deals.  Two deals I have benefited from are the Diaper Genie Refill Packs and Similac formula.  I bought the generic Target refill packs for the Diaper Genie for a while, but then I realized that I could save a couple of cents per refill (seems trivial but hey, it all adds up, as my husband says) when I bought a pack of 4 at Costco.  I had to feed Max formula for about a month and half (he weaned himself from the breast at 10.5 months and I couldn't give him whole milk until he was 1), and we chose to use Similac.  Costco has the BEST deal for Similac--45% more than the traditional packaging for just about $5 more than what you'd pay elsewhere for the smaller pack--so if that's your formula of choice, get it there.  Also, if Huggies are your diaper brand of choice, they sell them at Costco, likely for a fraction of the cost.

Pampers Rewards:.  We are a Pampers family.  We started with the sensitive Swaddlers, used Baby Dry at night once Max started sleeping through the night, and now Max is chillin' in Cruisers.  We also use their wipes.  Most packs of Pampers diapers and wipes come with a reward code that you can enter at the Pampers Rewards website after creating a free account.  It keeps track of your rewards points and you can redeem them for a wide variety of goods.  We've used our rewards to receive a kid's cup, a free photobook from Shutterfly, and a Sesame Street DVD.  Who doesn't love free stuff?! 
This was the DVD we got.  As seen here, it normally costs $14.98!

Target:  Target has lots of great deals, especially if you buy their generic up&up brand.  I used their breastmilk storage bags, disposable nursing pads, and bottle inserts for Playtex Drop-Ins bottles. Perhaps my favorite thing of theirs that I use for Max is their acetaminophen, which is their generic brand of infant Tylenol.
source
It's the same as regular Tylenol, ingredient wise, but it's a) cheaper and b) dye free.  Max tolerates it very well and loves the taste.  Be sure to check with your child's pediatrician regarding dosage amounts, though.

Thrift Stores/Consignment Shops:  Obviously, you need to use some discretion when shopping for baby items at these locations, but sometimes you can find some great deals.  My mom found some very gently used Cincinnati Bengals gear at her local Once Upon A Child.  That stuff is expensive if bought new, and Max grew out of stuff so fast when he was a little guy that paying full price for something like that was ludicrous.  I also happened upon a Baby Bjorn at that same store, still in its box, for $40 (the same model costs $80 at buybuyBABY).

Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles/Other doting relatives/friends:  Ask me the last time I bought Max clothes. Seriously, ask.  The answer is...I don't remember.  Actually, yes I do.  I bought him some new pajamas a couple of weeks ago because he had outgrown all of his footie-PJs and it's getting cold at night.  But other than that, I can't remember the last time I bought him clothes.  That's because my mom, sister, mother-in-law, and other friends/relatives have taken care of that for me.  Every time I see my mom, she's got another stack of clothes for Max.  My mother-in-law scored some pretty cute duds from Portugal last summer, and he's got enough European-cut pants to last him through the winter.  I'm not even going to bother buying him clothes for Christmas.  I'm sure it'll be taken care of.

Coupons/Coupon Apps:  I have had great luck with the Retail Me Not app, and also with Target's Cartwheel app.  Also, buybuyBABY honors Bed Bath & Beyond coupons as well as their own...however I always forget to take them with me when I shop there.  One time I did remember my coupon was when we bought Max's convertible car seat.  That 20% discount put a huge dent in the price!

Returns:  Seriously, don't be afraid to return stuff, especially gifts.  I wish I had returned some of Max's birthday gifts.  He has 5 ride-on toys.  FIVE!  He enjoys them all in their own right, but I doubt he'd miss one or two of them.  Get store credit and use it to purchase something your child needs or really wants one day instead of hoarding a bunch of stuff you don't need.
Multiple ride-on toys do come in handy when friends are over.

Hope some of these tips were helpful!  How do you like to save money when it comes to products for your kids?

2 comments:

  1. great advice :) and sweet blogging friends!!! like you. i love consignment stores- love.

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    1. Consignment stores are great for things that don't get used much/get grown out of quickly, too! I have friends who got their little babies' snowboots/snowsuits at consignment stores. My mother in law got Max a snowsuit last winter and he never wore it. Ever. Some things definitely go to waste!

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