Two months into being a parent, and we’re starting to hit our stride. We are finally getting used to Baby FNP’s schedule, and are rocking diaper changes. But I think where we are really succeeding is in accidental frugal parenting.
No, seriously. Accidental.
When we found out that we were pregnant (finally!), we really didn’t discuss how much money we would be spending as a parent. I mean, we would occasionally talk about setting up college funds, the overwhelming cost of diapers, how we were going to handle medical bills, etc. But really, we bypassed the whole, “how much money are we going to spend on our kid?” convo.
And then our kid came a full two months early, and we were faced with the conundrum of having so many things to buy and not a lot of time, money, or energy to buy it.
That’s when our frugal parenting skills kicked in. So for those mom and dad’s-to-be who absolutely want to save money but don’t want to be cheap parents, here’s what we’ve learned and done so far.
5 Frugal Parenting Tips for Those Who Don’t Want to Work Hard
- Cloth Diaper Cheaply
One of the main things we agreed we wanted to do was to cloth diaper. We had read all the talk about how it was better for the environment, cheaper on the wallet, and better for our kid’s health. Awesome. But buying a stash is pricey with the upfront costs. Many parents spend roughly $500 on enough diapers to get them through two days without laundry.
So we randomly started following cloth diaper Facebook groups where we bought used. I probably bought about 15 used diapers for about $80-100. One of the moms gave me an entire bag of inserts (which range about $2 each) for free for buying her whole stash. Huzzah!
To sweeten the deal, a friend of mine gave us another 10 used diapers for free. Best gift ever.
Then, we bought another 10 of them brand new using coupons for 20% off…
- Know Your Baby Store
Guess what? Babies R Us price matches AND accepts competitor’s coupons. Even non-baby store coupons are accepted. Just read the fine print. Those 20% off diapers were well fought for because I faced a checkout attendant who thought the diapers I bought were an exception to the coupling rule.
But I had done my research, read the tiny ant print, and came in well aware that my coupons were good to go. Those 10 diapers we bought were suddenly down from $20/each to $7/each + tax.
- Don’t Buy a Damn Thing (Seriously)
Everyone told me this, and I didn’t believe it. Let me reiterate what your mom warned you: you will get enough gifts. People will shower you, even if you don’t have a party.
This rule is especially true about clothing, diapers, and wipes. Our girl has a wardrobe for the next 6 months.
- Raid the Hospital
Most hospitals, I’m told, just toss the stuff in your room (or if you are in the NICU, your baby’s bed). That means diapers, wipes, little shirts, blankets, hats, bottles, etc… all gone.
So take it. No, seriously. Ask for another bag, and TAKE IT. You’re paying for all that supplies anyways. Just help yourself to whatever they say is fair game. We are still going through the wipes we claimed in the nursery.
- Ask for Samples
Formula moms: I feel ya. That sh!t is EXPENSIVE. I’m talking $80-120 a month in my area. But we are still going through samples because of the awesome doctors and our trip to the hospital.
We just ask for them. It takes a bit of bravery, but we usually talk about how expensive formula is and the doctor comes back with a plastic bag full of samples from name brand formulas. They get so many, I think they are grateful that we are taking them off their hands.
- Those Resale Shops are Really Awesome
You don’t need anything new except things that go in their mouth (and even then, I know moms who would debate this). Therefore, put your pride on the shelf and just hit the resale shops. Your baby and your mom won’t know the difference unless you really are horrible about thrift store shopping.
I was told about this mega sale hosted by some of the richest moms in the city. I was reluctant because I am not one to buy used clothing for myself. But I was still intrigued at the promise of 1/2 off ticket price on the last day. So I went. And I came back with a garbage bag full of clothes, some nursing items, and a couple maternity clothing pieces for me for a grand total of $30. SCORE ONE FOR LAZY MOM!
You don’t have to be obsessively couponing or sacrificing dinners out for the next 18 years. When you’re about to give birth, just follow these simple rules: accept people’s graciousness, take all the samples you can, and don’t be afraid to shop around some sales. Baby and your wallet will appreciate your frugal parenting (even if you don’t do a damn thing).