Finding Free Baby Stuff
Most parents have no idea when they first get the good news that they're pregnant, how much this little bundle of joy will cost them. For the first year alone, some estimates have put the cost of all the baby food, diapers, gear and clothing at a whopping $9,000 to $11,000 US Dollars (USD). By the age of 18, some parents have spent anywhere from $150,000 USD to $200,000 USD on each child. Don't start looking for a second job yet, there are ways you can trim the fat and find good deals and even free baby stuff.
Free baby stuff is out there, you just have to be willing to find it. Obviously, hand me downs are a great source of free baby stuff — if you don't mind "gently" used clothes, furniture or baby gear. Once you find out that you're pregnant, start spreading the word with friends and family, and let them know that you're trying to save money. While you don't have to overtly ask for handouts, if you feel comfortable, ask if they'd be willing to part with some of their old stuff — it's probably just collecting dust in their garage anyway. Family can be a great source to find free baby stuff — discuss setting up an exchange with family members who may have children older and younger than your children. As their child grows out of clothing, toys and gear, ask if they'd be willing to pass it down to you. Return the favor if they have children who could benefit from any older children you have.
Get yourself on mailing lists with the major diaper, formula and baby food manufacturers. While you may not always get free baby stuff — and you'll definitely get more junk mail — you will definitely get lots of coupons, most likely for several years. Most diaper companies will send samples over the course of several months to years, anticipating the changing stages and sizes of your child. It may only be a one or two diaper sample, but it you receive them from several different companies, they may add up! Baby formula companies will also mail samples and coupons for free formula, in the hopes that you'll make their product your favorite formula.
Check with your doctor's office or hospital for free baby stuff. Many have samples of diapers, diaper creams, medicine, and even diaper bags. Don't leave the hospital until you have collected all the free baby stuff they're willing to give out — you're going to need it! Some hospitals also have free wipes, onsies, blankets and thermometers.
When you register for your baby shower (the mother of all free baby stuff!), the store may have a registration gift of free baby stuff, including coupons, a bib, diapers, diaper cream and wipes. Carefully register what you'll need, in a wide range of price points. Keep in mind the basics, and don't register a lot of stuff that you won't need or use.
All the fun freebies may not add up to a whole lot, but every little bit helps, especially when you're footing the bill of a new baby. Free baby stuff is always nice, just remember to be gracious for what you receive — and return the favor if you have the opportunity to help someone else!