During a baby’s first year the birth weight triples. Your child grows taller by more than 50 percent within his or her first year of life. This is a lot of growth and understandably your baby is going to grow into and out of clothes quickly. It is not cheap to provide for a child.
Some reports estimate new parents spend between $7,000-$14,000 on their baby the first year alone. Second time parents fare only slightly better. So how can savvy parents save and still keep their little one clothed decently?
One of the first tools in your savings arsenal is time and commitment. It is completely possible to save 50 percent or more on your baby’s clothing, but you must be diligent, and you must know where to look.
Beyond the obvious places, such as thrift stores and yard sales, find significant deals through the following tips, tricks and baby clothes hacks. Keep more of that $7,000 in your pocket.
Tip 1: Register, Register, Register
Many stores offer gift registries so take full advantage of this. Register at all of them and make a point of registering for at least a few each week, before and after your baby is born.
Often, just for registering you receive free gifts. Both Amazon and Target offer trial sized items, and sometimes full-sized items, for you to try for free just for registering. Additionally, once registered, exclusive coupons are sent to you regularly.
Tip 2: Join The Club
Baby clubs exist in many of the larger retail stores. Join all of them. Join the ones online, too. All of them offer invaluable advice and high value coupons. Free samples are regularly a feature of being a part of the club.
Most of the baby clubs cost nothing to join, making it even sweeter. Even if you are breastfeeding, join the formula clubs because you never know when you may need a backup.
Tip 3: Frequent Stores that Allow Coupon Stacking
What’s coupon stacking? Stores allowing you to bundle more than one coupon together at one visit are engaging in coupon stacking. Kohl’s allows you to use up to four even if the item is already discounted.
Follow them or any of your favorite baby clothing brand lines via their social media. You learn about the big upcoming sales there first.
Tip 4: Buy Bigger Clothing
Stretch your clothing dollars further by purchasing some of your baby’s clothing a size or two larger. Second hand clothing or hand me downs are great for this. At mealtime they double as a bib.
Slip it over your baby’s head before mealtime, then take it off, toss it into the washer and it is good to go. The good news is the shirt is available for when your child needs a larger size.
Tip 5: Keep those Tags On
You may receive many new clothing items for your baby. Since babies grow so quickly it is likely your baby may never get to wear some of those items before he or she outgrows them.
If you take the new clothing with the tags on them to the consignment store you receive a higher return for them. Resolve to only take the tags off when you actually go to put them on your baby.
Tip 6: Use Price Match Competitions to Your Advantage
Many stores such as Target and Walmart operate a price match guarantee. In other words, if you find the exact same item on sale for less somewhere else, they match the lower price.
A good way to do this is to install an Amazon app on your phone. This way you have the proof of the lower price at your fingertips.
Tip 7: Crack the Clothing Codes
When looking for discounted clothes for your baby, understanding the codes stores use to indicate a discounted item is key. Old Navy uses the extension of .47, .99 or .97 to indicate something that is marked down or on clearance, even if it is not on a clearance rack. Costco uses the same codes.
Tip 8: Think Ahead to the Next Child
Even if you do not plan to have more than one child, save some of the clothing just in case. A significant savings comes from handed down items from older siblings.
With this in mind, plan to purchase unisex colors and styles. Ask around via your social media to your friends and family who may have older children ready to hand down gently used clothing.
Tip 9: Infants do not Need Shoes
While infants do need to have their feet covered and warm, placing shoes on their feet is just decoration. Save more money by having only one pair of go-to shoes for outings and put the rest of your money toward other more useful clothing items.
Tip 10: Buy Holiday Clothing Second Hand
Next year your child will not fit into his or her cute holiday outfit so there is little sense in spending half your grocery budget on it, even if it is cute. Instead, visit a children’s consignment shop where many of the holiday cuteness is obtainable for less.
Tip 11: Mommy and Me Groups
Nearly every city and town offer some form of Mom and Baby group. These groups meet regularly, usually once a week, and discuss raising children, discounted items and other topics of interest.
This is a great place to trade clothing with other mothers. Additionally, look for a Freecycle group in your area. These groups place something they want to get rid of for free. Many times, all you must do is arrange to pick it up.
Tip 12: Do the Yard Sale Rounds
Since babies grow into and out of clothing so quickly, chances are good that a yard sale is going to have loads of baby clothes. In fact, many of the advertisements in the local papers list when baby items and clothing are available.
Make a point of getting there extremely early, as soon as it opens, to get a good selection.
Great pricing you can receive is at the end of the day, an hour or so before the end of the yard sale. At this point the owner may simply give them to you to be rid of them.