I’ve probably mentioned this before but, if shopping were an Olympic sport, I would be a Platinum medalist. That’s just how good I am, or bad, depending on your point of view. Having a child introduced me to a whole new world of places where I could spend my hard-earned money and, being that my money is in fact hard-earned, I am ALWAYS looking for a bargain. My parental shopping strategy focuses on frugality, without sacrificing quality, and features a two-pronged approach: Prenatal and Post-Partum.
- Pick the right baby registry: Registering for your baby can be daunting – there are so many resources out there to choose from it can lead to analysis-paralysis, starting with selecting a place to register. Buy Buy Baby has a fantastic selection of products and a great return policy, but Babies “R” Us has more promotions and discounts. Then of course there is Amazon, which has all of the above, but it’s important to be able to go into a store and see everything before you add it to your registry. For example, I registered for a very nice swing that was ENORMOUS when I saw it in-store and promptly switched it up for a portable Comfort and Harmony baby swing. Giggle has a really beautiful, curated selection of products but it’s a little more expensive. Although sometimes you can swing a 20% discount at Giggle on brands that are often excluded from promotions at other stores, like Orbit Baby. And last, but definitely not least, check out weeSpring to see how your peers rate products before adding them to your registry. Every registry you create should offer a registry completion coupon for you to purchase leftover registry items at a discount once the baby arrives (usually 10%-15% off). My friend recommended setting the baby’s due date on the registry a month earlier than actual so you can use the registry completion coupon before the baby is born. Sneaky! But I like it.
- Delay baby clothes purchases: It is SO tempting to buy lots of baby clothes before the baby arrives, but if you can somehow be patient, it will be worth it. People will buy you TONS of 0-3 month outfits and some 3-6 month outfits, but it’s pretty rare that you get 6-9 and 9-12 month clothes when your baby first arrives. By the time your baby is six months old, no one is buying you gifts any more so you may as well save your baby clothes shopping until that point in time. Plus, with the amount of time you spend changing a newborn’s diaper, it’s just much easier to keep them in a side-snap shirt and diaper all day long. Babies love going commando.
- Find the best place to buy baby staples: It could be Costco, it could be Wal-Mart, just pick a place and stick with it to get the best deals (retailers reward you for loyalty). All my friends swear by Diapers.com but I actually found that Amazon Mom works better for me, which is super weird because Amazon owns Diapers.com. Diapers.com always has a 20% promotion going for on first time customers, but after that you are on your own. The site offers free two-day shipping on all purchases over $35 as well as 5% back on certain purchases. Amazon Mom is really just Amazon Prime with a splash of mom. You get the first three months free and after that it’s $79 a year. As with Amazon Prime, you get two-day shipping on almost all products but Subscribe & Save is where you will make up the $79 and then some. You get 20% off diapers and wipes every time you order, and the math on just the diapers is below. Of course, you can just do Subscribe & Save for free without paying for the two-day Amazon Mom shipping benefit but I love the convenience and I shop so often, it’s worth it to me.
- Join a parent group: If you google “[city I live in] mom group” you will most likely find a user group, either on Yahoo, Facebook or some other website. Join this user group, it will be a tremendous resource for you. You can use it to ask general parenting advice, get babysitter referrals AND find baby gear on the cheap (or even better, free!). People are always looking to get rid of their used or leftover baby gear – whether it’s an infant insert for an Ergo baby carrier or size 2 diapers their child grew out of way too fast.