People often say that babies are expensive—and that’s only half true.
The reality is that the cost of pregnancy and a baby’s first year can be managed, but the second year can be tough. A newborn is privileged with gifts from her baby shower and since breastfeeding is free, food costs are low. But once your baby starts eating solids and starts growing out of her baby clothes and toys, expenses rise.
In this post, we’re sharing 16 hacks to make pregnancy cheaper so you can save the money for the expensive toddler years.
16 Pregnancy Hacks to Save Money
If you’re on a budget and looking to minimize expenses, follow these tips.
#1 Try to Avoid Buying Newborn Clothes
I know! But baby clothes are so cute. But here’s the reality: You’re likely to get more than enough items when you add up the gifts from the baby shower, any birthdays or holidays and after-birth presents. Although you may need a few odd items, such as a winter jacket or cardigan, you’ll likely have enough until your baby grows out of them. For that reason, try to save the clothes shopping for when she’s older and there’s fewer gifts.
#2 Ask for Larger Sizes
If you’re having a large baby shower or have a large family, you’re likely to end up with many baby clothes. Keeping with the theme above, you’ll be getting more bang for their buck if you ask for larger sizes. Instead of being completely out of clothes when your newborn grows, you’ll already be stocked up and won’t need to budget for it. You can do this by adding larger sizes to your baby registry or simply by sharing the idea with your closet friends and family.
#3 Ask for Gender Neutral Items
Even if you know the sex of your baby, when it comes to baby shower gifts, ask for gender-neutral items or only add neutral items to your registry. That’s because if you plan to have more kids in the future, you can reuse your items, even if they’re different genders. For example, you won’t have to worry about your baby boy reusing pink frilly pajamas.
#4 Register on Multiple Registries
Having multiple registries has a few advantages. Firstly, people are more likely to buy things on your list (as opposed to random things) if you make it easily accessible to them. For example, if you register on Amazon and someone doesn’t like shopping online, they can use your Babies “R” Us registry instead. Simply mention on your baby shower invitation that you’re registered in multiple places and list them. Another reason is that some registries offer discounts on unbought items. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the savings offered make the store the least expensive place to buy it.
#5 Return Gifts You Don’t Use
For some people, it may seem tacky to return a gift—but this is for your baby! After the baby shower, look through your gifts but don’t rush to rip off the tags just yet. After birth, use the items as you need them. After a bit, you’ll have a good idea of what you’re likely to use and what you just have too much of. Return the gifts you’re unlikely to use in exchange for cash or store credit. Use that money to buy diapers or whatever other supplies you need!
#6 Check Local Facebook Groups
Do a search on Facebook for local buy and sell groups. There’s some specific to moms and children too! This is an easy way to get the items you need without the steep price tag. Since you can’t predict when items will be listed, start keeping an eye out for what you need early to give yourself some time. Remember, you shouldn’t buy all baby items used, such as cribs and car seats. Although it’s possible to find safe ones, it’s usually recommended against because you don’t know if they meet current safety standards.
#7 Insurance Coverage for Breastfeeding Supplies
If you don’t know, all new health plans must cover breastfeeding equipment and supplies for as long as the mother chooses to breastfeed. It also requires plans to cover prenatal and postnatal lactation support and counseling. These benefits are without cost-sharing, meaning plans may not apply co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible. That means, most employees have this support through their workplace. The exception is if your workplace has a plan that existed before March 23, 2010. If your employer hasn’t made any changes to their old plan, it’s considered “grandfathered” in and may not provide this benefit. Some plans have specific requirements for breast pumps, so be sure to inquire with your provider. For more information, you can read the National Women’s Law Center’s Tool Kit or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists FAQ.
We recommend the Serenity Electric Breast Pump by Baby Doppler. It’s lightweight and quiet, making it ideal for on-the-go pumping for busy moms. It’s 2-phase extraction technology and adjustable 10-step suction ensure comfort while also taking the stress out of milk extraction. Get Your Serenity Pump today for $69.95.
#8 Take Advantage of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Talk to your insurance provider about how you can use your HSA when it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you’re not familiar, an HSA lets you spend a certain amount of money on health expenses each year. The amount you contribute is not subject to federal income tax, meaning you’ll pay less taxes and have more to spend on other important baby things.
Baby Doppler accepts HSA. You can use your contributions to purchase:
For more information, read our full guide on How to Use HSA + FSA
#9 Breastfeed Instead of Formula Feeding
We’ve written a lot about why breastfeeding is important:
- Breastfeeding vs Formula: Which is Better?
- Everything You Need to Know About Breastfeeding: For Complete Beginners
- Is It True That Breastfeeding Can Help Prevent Breast Cancer?
But another advantage is that it’s also cheaper. Although it may be more frustrating in the beginning, breastfeeding is free while formula will always be an ongoing cost. Plus, if you read the above two tips, breastfeeding supplies are likely covered through your insurance or HSA. For example, your HSA contributions are eligible to purchase the Serenity Breast Pump.
#10 Use Bra Extenders
Maternity bras can cost anywhere from $10 to $60+ for higher quality ones. Save yourself some money by using bra extenders instead if you can. For some women, their cup size may not change but their chest width does. If this is the case, you can use bra extenders, which are simply extra clasps that make your bra reach longer at the back. A pack of these costs less than one (or a set of) maternity bras.
#11 Stash On-The-Go Snacks
If the pregnancy munchies have you running to buy snacks whenever you leave the house, save yourself a few bucks by packing some instead. Keep a small variety of healthy snacks that will satisfy whatever craving you’re having: Something salty, something sweet, something crunchy, etc. Put these in your purse or glovebox for whenever the hunger strikes.
#12 Prep Freezer Meals
Another tip to save money on food is to prepare freezer meals if you’re someone that constantly finds herself spending money on takeout. If you’re working full-time while trying to check off every item on your baby to-do list, eating out may seem like the only reasonable option for your schedule. An alternative is to spend a day a week making freezer meals. These can be reheated or simply thrown in the crockpot each morning. Not only is buying ingredients cheaper, it’s also healthier! Here’s 31 Crockpot Freezer Meals to Get You Started.
#13 Stock Up on Freebies
While you can’t get all your pregnancy supplies in freebies, it’s a good place to start. Even if it’s only a few diapers or mini-sized products, they’re free, so you might as well sign up for them! Read our Guide to Pregnancy Freebies in the U.S. + Canada.
#14 There’s No Rush to Upgrade Your Living Situation
When many couples get pregnant, there’s a rush to finally get a 2-bedroom apartment or new home that can accommodate starting a family. However, if you’re on a budget and the timing isn’t right, take some solace in the fact that you don’t need to upgrade just yet. While it’s fun to decorate a nursery just for your baby, the reality is that he won’t be sleeping in his own room for a while—at least he shouldn’t be. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a baby should sleep in a crib in her parent’s bedroom for at least the first 6 months to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you can, it’s best for him to sleep with you for a full year. That should buy you some extra time to save some money and find a better living situation.
#15 Do The Math
Many stores offer discounts for exchanging old baby items or for buying diapers in bulk (such as Amazon). While you may be tempted to use any coupon that lands in your inbox, do the math on it first. For example, you may be saving 20% on that car seat, but the same brand could still be cheaper to buy somewhere else. In that case, you’re actually wasting money, not saving it. Additionally, even if it is a good deal, be mindful of the other items you purchase when you visit the store. Sometimes companies offer really good deals because they know there’s a good chance you’ll see and buy other items while you’re there, perhaps some overpriced. If you find a good deal, make sure to stick to the item and purchase other supplies where they’re cheapest.
#16 Cash in On Nesting
During your later stages of pregnancy, you may experience what’s known as “nesting.” This is the desire to organize and get the home ready for the baby. While you’re going through your house, you’ll probably discover items you forgot you had or want to get rid of. Consider selling these on online classified sites for a few extra baby bucks.
Save Money by Using Your HSA in Our Pregnancy + Baby Store!