To the Expectant Mother: Free Baby Products
There’s no question that your little baby-to-be will be worth every penny (and then some), but having kids does come with a hefty price tag. It is estimated that middle-income parents of infants born today will spend at least $242,000 each to raise those babies to age 18 — and that’s before you factor in college tuition.
What’s more, you’ll probably start feeling the pinch even before the stork arrives: Pregnancy tests are about $10 a pop, prenatal vitamins can cost $10 – $25 for a month’s supply, and maternity clothes can add up to hundreds, depending on where you shop. Once your little bundle arrives, the fiscal fun really begins. Here’s a quick primer on what you can expect to obtain for your baby.
The Crazy Cost of Must-Have Supplies
There are a few tangible objects that every new baby needs, and they add up quickly! Make sure you have everything all lined up for when your next bundle of joy is born.
- Nursery furniture. For a basic setup — crib, mattress, changing table, and glider chair — you’ll pay at least $150 for each item, and that’s if you’re an eagle-eyed bargain shopper. If you’re dying for a chic, super-deluxe look, set aside $3,000 — just for the crib!
- Car seat. An absolute must (can’t leave the hospital without one!), infant car seats are something you’ll need to purchase new to ensure safety. Figure on spending $90 – $350 on one.
- Stroller. When your baby’s a little older, an inexpensive umbrella-style stroller ($20 – $100) will do. But infants need more support. Durable, all-around stroller systems start at $100 and go up to as much as $1,000! (Yikes!)
- Diapers. During your baby’s first year, you can expect to change 2,500 dirty diapers at a cost of at least $600 for disposables. Cloth diapers from a diaper service are comparable; if you buy and wash your own, you’ll save big (although your water and electric bill will go up, and you’ll need to stock up on detergent). I cloth diapered my kids, it saved a bunch of money.
- Formula/food. Naturally, breastfeeding has big health as well as cost-saving benefits, though you’ll still need to invest in nursing bras (about $20 – $50 each or more) and maybe a pump (from $20 for a simple manual model to $250 or more for an electric double one). (none of my kids took a bottle LOL!!) For a year’s worth of formula, count on spending $1,500 – $2,000 or more, depending on the brand. Bottles run about $5 apiece, and your baby might go through a few different models before finding one he or she likes!
- Clothing and other accessories. All those teeny-tiny, utterly adorable outfits add up. And then there are other baby gear essentials like bouncy seats, swings and diaper pails to consider. The good news: friends and family will most likely fill your nursery and your little one’s closet with gifts. To encourage that trend (and ease your baby budget burden), take advantage of gift registries. Then fill in the gaps with garage sale and consignment store buys. Since babies grow so fast, it’s easy to find good quality, barely used items!
Childcare is a biggie, especially if both you and your partner will be working full-time. Generally you’ll spend an average of almost $7,000 a year on care for your baby (the cost drops as the baby gets older). Since costs vary widely by location and by type (i.e., daycare versus nanny), you may be looking at a more substantial bill, especially if you live in an urban area.
Finding Relief – Free Products
Before you start panicking after adding up all the good above, know that it’s possible to get some free baby stuff with trusted brands such as The Honest Company’s baby bundle. Having a baby doesn’t always have to cost a fortune. Sure, there are some things you have to have before you bring your little one home from the hospital — diapers, blankets, car seat — but you don’t need to buy every gadget imaginable before your bundle of joy is born. Stick to the essentials and look for savings on the things you need.
Free baby stuff can be a lifesaver if you are on your first baby or even on your tenth! If your budget is tight or you just like to try new products, research free baby stuff that is waiting for you to request. You’ll find free baby stuff like diapers, formula, magazines, gear, clothes, and much more than you would expect when you commit to searching. Even if you’re not the one having a baby? It wouldn’t hurt to pass products on to any friends or relatives who could use some free baby stuff. You can also request the free baby stuff and take it to your local women’s shelter.