Tips for nabbing some great baby bargains
When my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a baby, we definitely considered finances, but we didn't want that to be the thing that kept us from expanding our little family. Of course, we weren't irresponsible--we checked with friends that have kids, used online cost estimators and researched the price of diapers. Though we knew it would be tight, we were pretty certain we could manage. Now that our little guy is here, I spend my fair share of time combing through clearance racks and sales circulars, and I have yet to pay full price for a single item. Here are a few easy ways to save on supplies, clothes and gear for your infant.
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Be sure to comparison shop. This is especially important for diapers and wipes -- items that are notoriously expensive. You can go online to find prices at most major retailers before you set foot in the store. In fact, most of the time the per diaper/wipe price will also be listed and this is the number you are looking for. Compare the unit price from online retailers that offer subscription services to those of chain stores in your area to find out where you'll get the best bargain. But don't forget to account for sales and coupons. Many online shops will claim to have the cheapest prices but if you compound sales with coupons from your local stores you may actually save a lot more. Just take some time to do the math.
Shop out-of-season. Every time I go to a baby store (or a store with a baby department), I take a quick peek through the sale racks. But I don't just shop for things he can fit right away, I look for anything that might fit him next season or even next year. For instance, right now I make sure to check for anything I like that will fit a one year old next spring or summer. In general I try not to spend more than $2-5 per item. It takes patience and digging, but it will be worth it when I don't have to buy a full-price summer wardrobe for my son come next June. And don't forget to sign up for email alerts and/or circulars for your favorite clothing stores, so you'll know when the best time to look is.
Don't be afraid of second-hand. Some may say this is a no-no, but I bought my son's crib used from someone advertising on Craigslist. I knew what I wanted had been discontinued and when I found the listing for $50 I went for it. My husband sanded and repainted it before putting it together, and it looks brand-new. I'm also a big fan of borrowing -- items such as swings, bouncy seats and exersaucers are used for such a short period of time, that I'd rather not spend the money on them if I don't have to. Let people in your community know what you're looking for and you might be surprised how many offers you get. And don't forget about garage sales! As fall approaches they'll be popping up all over the place. Be on the lookout for great bargains on clothes, shoes and furniture. Just be sure to carefully inspect everything before purchasing and ask lots of question before buying any second-hand items.]
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