How to Save Money on Baby Gear
Baby gear can be expensive, and as a first-time parent it’s hard to know what you actually need and what you can skip. You want to give your baby the world, and as a result many of us end up buying stuff we don’t need, and spending more than we wanted to.
Baby gear doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. With some research and a little patience, you can find the latest must-have baby items for a fraction of the price. Read on for my top tips on how to save money on baby gear.
1. Figure Out What You Actually Need
The best way to save money on baby gear is to buy only what you need. But as a first-time parent, how do you figure out what that is?
First, read this post, which is an extremely comprehensive guide to what you need and what you can skip for baby’s first six months.
Then, talk to friends and family who have had a baby recently. What did they use and love? Is there anything they would skip if they were starting over?
Finally, do some research on the big-ticket items – things like the car seat, stroller, and baby monitor. I loved Baby Bargains (Canadian link) and Lucie’s List for their reviews and recommendations of specific products. Find out what items should cost – this will give you a good baseline for comparison when shopping for deals.
Remember, you don’t need to have everything on hand when you bring baby home (in fact, I specifically recommend against buying full-size stroller until you have a better idea what your stroller needs will be). Buy the gear that you think you’ll need, but if it turns out that your baby prefers to be bounced instead of rocked, for example, you can always buy a bouncer at a later date.
Related: Must-Have Baby Products: 0-6 Months
2. Create a Registry
Even if you don’t intend to have a baby shower, I’d recommend building a registry. Why? Not only will it help you keep track of what you need to buy, you’ll also be eligible for a completion discount.
At Amazon (Canadian link), you’re eligible for a completion discount of 10% (15% for Amazon Prime members!). Similar completion discounts are available from Target (US) and Babies “R” Us (Canada). These are usually single use discounts, but can be a great way to stock up on the smaller items you need for a reduced price.
3. Borrow or Buy Used
If I could include only one money-saving tip, this would be it. Certain baby items have such a short lifespan. Not only that, they’re expensive, and there’s no predicting what your baby might like. For that reason, consider buying the following items used, or borrowing them if you can:
- swing or mamaRoo
- baby carrier
- play mat
- exersaucer or jumperoo
- Jolly Jumper
(You don’t need all of these items! Decide what you need first, then consider which items you can borrow or find used.)
One important caveat: before you buy any used item, check to make sure that item hasn’t been recalled. Baby gear is recalled all the time. Sometimes a replacement part is available from the manufacturer to remedy the reason for the recall, but unless you are absolutely certain that an item has been fixed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions do not buy a recalled product.
I recommend against buying the following products used:
- Car seat. There is no way to know for sure if a car seat was involved in a car accident, or has been cared for incorrectly, both of which can compromise the safety of the seat.
- Breast pump. If the breast pump is an open system pump, it’s impossible to sterilize all internal parts. This means that there is a risk of cross-contamination when using a pre-owned pump. Further, breast pumps have a limited lifespan, so the motor in a used pump may not work as effectively as a new breast pump (read more about used breast pumps here). To save money on a breast pump, check with your insurance provider before purchasing – they may cover some or all of the cost.
- Diaper pail. This is not a health or safety issue, but they pick up smells over time, so I’d suggest starting fresh (no pun intended!) with a new one.
4. Check Off-Price Retailers Like Marshalls/Winners/TJ Maxx
Once you have a good idea what items you want, and what the retail price of each item is, check your local off-price retailer. I was able to score a great deal on our swing and our bouncer just by checking the baby section every few weeks.
5. Shop Sales
Similarly, you can find some great sales on baby gear. While the completion discount is great, it often doesn’t compare to the sales you can find if you watch the fliers and the price on Amazon. Last year I got car seats for an amazing price on Amazon Prime Day. Flipp makes comparison shopping easy – you can search for a specific item, so you don’t have to flip through all of the fliers each week.
Do your research early in your pregnancy, so you have time to shop the sales and look for used items. Once that nesting urge kicks in, you will want to have everything purchased and ready for baby (or at least I did!), so leave yourself plenty of time. Good luck, and congratulations!