If you are pregnant, this quick guide will explain how to save money during pregnancy.
Who doesn’t want to save money during pregnancy?
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! 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.
Our costs maxed out two years of maximum out-of-pocket expense (U$5,000) for the pregnancy/delivery year and the following year with pediatric and gynecology/physical therapy appointments.
But this article is not about doom and gloom. It’s to provide you 10 tips to save money during pregnancy to make those costs a little smaller.
10 hacks to save money during pregnancy
1) Car seats – trade in events 20% off new car seats
One of the most expensive items you will buy during pregnancy is a car seat and stroller. To save money keep an eye out for trade in events.
Big retailers like Target and Walmart offer a car seat trade-in event, in which you can get a discount on a new car seat purchase by bringing in an old car seat.
If you are a new parent, you won’t have an old car seat, but ask friends/family if they have one or buy one at thrift/donation stores or garage sales cheap and trade it in. Most donation stores can’t re-sell the car seats by law, so they give it to you for free!
Alert: 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. Also insurance companies can deny your claim if you are in an accident if your car seat is expired. Why 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 during pregnancy. Most stores offer you a completion discount before your due date to purchase the items you didn’t get in your baby registry.
3) Use coupons and cash back deals to save money during pregnancy
Major retailers constantly sends out coupons in the mail/e-mail. So make sure to sign up for their email list.
I highly recommend having your baby registry through Amazon specially if you have family and friends living across the country. It also allows people to send you an Amazon gift certificate so that you can purchase things after the baby is born.
Some stores accept competitor coupons and do some form of price match. So make sure to ask about it when registering.
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 depending on your insurance carrier, so reach out to them to figure out your benefits and how to order your pump.
I breastfed for 12 months, but it was handy to have a pump when I couldn’t.
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 earned U$600 a year with some simple steps.
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.
8) Utilize a health savings account (HSA) and stay on top of medical costs
If you don’t know about Health Savings Accounts, 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.
To save money during pregnancy, I bought most of my clothes for 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 during pregnancy. It’s so appealing to see a cute item and want to buy it for baby, especially if this 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 and comforters 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 didn’t end up with way too many clothes of a particular size and not enough of others.
Babies grow so fast that what you really need are onesies. My son lived in them for the first year of his life. A onesie and diapers. That is it.
Items that I regret buying are fancy outfits and shoes. Most went unused.
Also don’t go crazy on swaddles. Some babies simply dislike being wrapped (like my son), so buy one or two and see how it goes.
If budget is tight, there are second hand stores and for big items mom to mom sales are also a great option.
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.
Post written on March 2017 and last updated June 2020.
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