It’s no secret that having a child is expensive. The Department of Agriculture estimated that the average cost of raising a child born in 2013 was U$245,340! (See article here.) This staggering figure is for the first 18 years of the child’s life and does not include college expenses.
For the first year alone, your baby will cost anywhere from U$5,000-20,000 (see calculator here). That does not even include the money spent on co-pays and deductibles of your doctor’s appointment and delivery which can vary widely from person to person. We estimated our cost will be about U$2,500 which is our maximum out-of-pocket expense based on our insurance.
But this article is not about doom and gloom. If you made the decision to have a child, you hopefully thought about this or is facing this reality already. Even if money is not a concern, these hacks will help you save money which then can be used for those expenses after your child turns 18, because you know there will be many.
10 hacks to save money during pregnancy
1) Car seats – Babies R Us trade in event- $1 at goodwill for 25% off car seats.
We didn’t find out about this amazing deal until after our baby shower, but Babies R Us, twice a year holds a trade-in event for carseats in the Spring and Fall. You bring an old one and get 25% off a new carseat. Now to really make this a hack, get a used car seat for free from friends and family whose kids are too old to use it anymore or go to a thrift store and get one for free or nominal cost. Apparently, thrift stores are not able to sell used car seats, but they get donations all the same, so you can contact them for a freebie to exchange at Babies R Us.
Car seats have expiration dates for safety measures, so if you are thinking about just using the used one you got for free, consider the risks. The carseat could have been in a car accident or is damaged. Would you want to risk it?
2) Register early for registry
Register early and in multiple places even if you are not going to use multiple registries. Not only you are getting some flexibility on prices, but you can estimate the costs you will have if you don’t get everything during your baby shower which is very realistic. By registering in multiple places, you also have access to deals, discounts and freebies to save you money.
3) Use coupons and cash back deals
Buy Buy Baby accepts 20% discount coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond and constantly sends out coupons in the mail/e-mail.
Babies R Us offers 10% cash back on all purchases made on the registry, even those made by friends and family.
Amazon Prime is awesome for free shipping and diaper subscription discounts. After your first purchase, you can also receive a welcome box. Read their registry guidelines for more information.
The first two stores accept competitor coupons and do some form of price match.
4) Completion discounts (10%-15% off)
All of the registry places mentioned above provide a completion discount around 8 weeks before your due date for items still left in the registry. This can be handy close to due date.
5) Get a pump through your insurance company for free
Did you know that most insurance companies in the US are required to provide you a breast pump device by law? That’s right you get 1 device every 36 months (the expiration for most pumps). The process for ordering the pump can vary widely so reach out to your insurance carrier to figure out your benefits and how to order your pump. I am planning on breastfeeding for the first 6 months, but just in case I can’t or need to leave baby for a few hours with a caretaker, I have ordered the pump. The company I used was Yummy Mummy and the process was extremely easy (less than 10 mins). Within a couple days I received the e-mail my pump was in the mail. A note on timing: even if you order the pump way ahead of time, the company may not ship it to you until you are 60 days from your due date. Yummy Mummy also has a great video on their website about to get your pump. You can watch it here.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act, click here.
6) Sign up to earn incentives through health insurance
Depending on what kind of insurance you have, you might be eligible for incentives that are like extra cash for health care. You fill out questionnaires, have a a physical or join an exercise program to accumulate points and money for your Health Savings Account. For my insurance for example, I could earn U$600 a year with some simple steps. Why not right?
7) Sign up for email deals and get free stuff (Carter’s, Motherhood Maternity, Honest Company, etc)
I know. E-mail junk is a real problem these days, but you won’t believe how many discounts are offered for maternity and baby. You can get free diapers, feeding pillow, car seat cover, formula, etc… just by giving brands your e-mail address. I would recommend setting up an account just for this if you don’t want tons of e-mails or unsubscribing once you’ve taken advantage of the deals you want.
8) Utilize a Health Savings Account and stay on top of medical costs
If you don’t know about Health Savings Account, you need to talk to your insurance/employer ASAP. This accounts let you sock money from your paycheck to pay for health costs pre-tax, up to U$2,500 a year. Which means you get more of your hard earned dollars in your paycheck (less taxes overall) and more money to pay for doctor’s and medical bills. If you have access to a HSA, take full advantage of it.
9) Don’t go overboard on maternity clothes
Maternity clothes are not only less appealing than regular clothes, they are also hard to find and more expensive than regular clothes due to the lack of competition. I got most of my clothes for pregnancy from Target and H&M. They were affordable and available in a brick and mortar store near me. I also utilized an outlet mall close to my house that has a Motherhood Maternity and a Bali store (for maternity underwear).
I really stuck with a few basic pieces for the season I would need it. The reality is buying clothes during pregnancy is hard, because you don’t know how big you will get and even if you have multiple children, most likely you will not be the same size at the same season for every pregnancy, so most of the clothes you buy during this time will be a one-period use only.
Here is what I purchased:
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of sleepwear
- 1 pair of stretchy maternity jeans (for winter only)
- 2 pairs of leggings
- 2 pairs of maternity tights (to use under dresses during colder weather)
- New underwear (3 maternity bras, 2 sports bras, panties of different sizes)
- 4-5 long sleeve maternity shirts (with elastic on sides)
- 4-5 short sleeve maternity shirts
- 3-4 loose fitting or stretch dresses that can be worn in the summer or winter with tights and sweaters
- 1 light coat (optional)
- 1 pair of boots (my feet were swollen and grew by one size)
I spent a few hundred dollars on these items, but mostly got them on sale in dark colors (black and grey) so they could be mixed and matched. It’s easy to spend a lot more, but you can save a lot of money by utilizing your own closet. One thing I would not skimp on is underwear. Buy supportive and comfortable items so that you can wear it longer. Also go ahead and buy maternity bras during your pregnancy. Some of them are made to expand as your breasts grow, which can save you money in the long-run. They are not sexy at all, but comfort is key!
10) Stick to the basics for baby
This is probably the hardest thing to do to save money. It’s so appealing to see a cute item and want to buy it for baby, especially if he or she is your first child or one that you have waited a long time for. There are also a million lists out there about must-haves that are so inflated that will leave your mind spinning. For example, crib bumps are dangerous for the baby, and yet, there are a million options for crib bumps and bedding out there.
Our approach to our registry was simple, stick to the basics. We did have a couple items that were splurges, but for the most part, we registered for practical things like diapers, car seats, strollers and etc.
The main pieces like the crib and mattress, we chose to purchase early so we would have the absolute minimum ready for baby.
When it came to clothes, we waited until after the baby shower to buy anything for the baby so we could see what we received as gifts and at what size. Even though we didn’t register for clothes, we ended up with a wide selection of all different sizes. It was a good start to the baby’s wardrobe. After the baby shower, it was easier to gauge what still needed to be purchased and what sizes so we don’t end up with clothes that will never be used by our little one.
I hope these 10 Hacks to Save Money During Pregnancy have helped you. If you know of more tricks, please share in the comments below.