How to Save Money on Baby: Finding Discounted and Free Baby Products

by Susie Cortright
Founder, Momscape.com
Susies-Coupons.com

Raising a baby can be expensive, but, with a little online savvy and some help from your friends, you can save bundles and even find some free baby stuff. Here's how to save money on baby and find the best baby freebies on the web.

The first thing you'll want to do is check for Baby Coupons, freebies, and discounts on Momscape's Coupons blog:
Baby Gear Coupons. Here, you'll find discounts on diapers, magazines, and all the latest freebie offers targeted to new moms.

Baby Freebies Online 
Just as having a baby can be an expensive proposition for you, it can be a profitable one for retailers and manufacturers. Many companies will give away things to expectant and new moms in the hopes of earning your business for a long time to come. 

Here's how to get free products, samples and coupons from the most trusted baby brands. 

First, a word of caution about signing up for baby freebies, newsletters, and sweepstakes. Make sure you read the fine print, as well as a site's privacy policy before you enter your name and email address for additional mailings. Each time you are signing up for something, you are probably being put on a mailing list. You may want to have a secondary email address that you use only on registration pages and, if the page asks you if you would like additional mailings from partners, opt out. Also, consider a good anti-spam service, such as SpamArrest, if you don't already have one in place. 

It's a good idea, too, to check the URL of the freebie's registration page before you fill it out, to make sure you are on the website of the manufacturer or publisher. Third party sites, especially sites devoted to providing freebies, may be in the business of collecting and selling your personal information. 

Savings on Diapers and Formula 
These are two items you'll probably spend the most money on before toddlerhood. Breastfeeding is, of course, the cheapest way around buying infant formula, but it's just not an option for everyone. Here are the best ways we have found to save. 

Print Your Own Grocery Coupons
Here, you download a small utility for your printer and then, before you head to the store, just print off the coupons you need. It's awesome and saves lots of time (and, of course, money.) 
http://www.coupons.com/alink.asp?go=13903xh2010&bid=1122220001


Manufacturer Mailing Lists 
Register for free samples and coupons at the website of your favorite companies. Here are the direct links to registration pages:

Diapers
Here are diaper coupons from our coupons blog.
And here are the direct links to manufacturers, so you can sign up for coupons and samples. 
Huggies.com
Luvs.com
Pampers.com

Formula
Also, visit the websites for your baby's formula and get free samples and coupons.
StrongMoms - from the makers of Similac.com
Enfamil Family Beginnings

Join Zulily
Once you sign up (free), you'll get e-mails letting you know about daily sale events for moms, babies, and kids. Get your invitation to join Zulily.

Get your free subscription to American Baby Magazine
American Baby is an informative magazine offered free to new moms. Get your free subscription to American Baby Magazine here. (To qualify, your child's birth date must be +1 or - 1 year from current date.)

Coupon Codes for Baby Gear: 
I keep track of current coupon codes and discounts at our very favorite baby retailers and list them on my website. The complete list of coupon codes is here:
http://www.momscape.com/coupon-codes
and the list of baby related retailers is here: 
From http://www.momscape.com/discounts/baby-items.htm

Of special note are the following: 
Babies R Us Coupons
Baby Store at Buy.com Good savings on joggers and strollers. (Buy.com Coupons are here). 
Baby Universe Coupons
Children's Place Coupons
Old Navy Coupons.Old Navy has a Baby Boutique as well as a great Maternity Department.
One Step Ahead Coupons
Overstock.com Baby Center. (Overstock coupons are here)
Target Coupons
You can also subscribe to daily updates of new coupon codes here: http://www.momscape.com/subscribe.htm

Get a weekly update of all new coupon codes here: http://www.susies-coupons.com/subscribe.htm

And/or subscribe to Momscape's Weekly Update with coupon codes as well as articles and ideas for celebrating life with your children: http://www.momscape.com/subscribe.htm


Free Baby Magazines and Information

Discount Magazine Subscriptions for New Moms
Magazines.com offers lots of very inexpensive magazine subscriptions. Plus the site has frequent coupon codes and daily deals that we keep updated here: 
http://www.momscape.com/discounts/magazines.htm

My favorite baby magazines are WonderTime and Parents. As your kids grow, you'll definitely want a subscription to Family Fun, too. 

Free Baby CD ROM 
from TheBabyCD.com
http://www.thebabycd.com/ph/request-free-sample-cdrom.html

Contests
Most of the companies mentioned above have frequent sweepstakes and giveaways posted on their site. For all of Momscape's current contests and giveaways, click here: 
http://www.momscape.com/contests

A few noteable ones for new and expectant parents: 

Babies Online Baby Photo Contest 
Enter your baby pictures into Babies Online's Photo Contest and you could win hundreds of dollars in cash and prizes. Free Entry. 

Enter the Cute Kid Contest
Members will receive more than $70 of free products on contest entry. All first time contest entrants receive a free canvas portrait ($59 value) and a full year Subscription to Parenting Magazine. The CuteKid offers great value and a chance to win thousands of dollars and a yearly contest winner for a $25,000 College tuition Fund. See TheCuteKid.com contest terms for full details. 


Community Resources 
Check to see if your area offers a Parents as Teachers program: 
http://www.parentsasteachers.org/site/pp.asp?c=ekIRLcMZJxE&b=1595095
This is a great way to get one-on-one information from someone who has already faced many of the same issues themselves. Each month a trained parent comes into your home to do activities with you and your child. You can ask any questions you like. Our Parents-as-Teachers guide became a significant person in the life of my child and was a tremendous resource for me when my kids were babies. 


Discount Baby Furniture and Gear 
When it comes to baby furniture and baby gear, you can save a lot simply by  knowing where to look. 

Let Your Friends Know What You Need. The best way to get free baby stuff is to ask your friends and family for anything they might be hanging onto that they don't need anymore. Even your friends whose kids are a bit older may still have some items in their attic. 

Have a Baby Shower. Baby showers are a great way to get exactly what you need for the new baby. Even better, your guests can tell you how to save money on baby by taking advantage of freebies and discounts available from local shops and community resources, such as the Warm Welcome Program, Mother's Day Out events, Mothers of Preschoolers Groups, etc. 

Join Moms Groups. Join parenting groups both in your local area and online. These are fantastic resources for free information and a daily or weekly dose of sanity. Plus, once you get to know other moms in your area, you can swap secondhand baby clothes. 

Join a Freecycling Network. Freecycling allows you to give away things you don't need while taking things you do. Do a Google search to find a Freecycle Network in your area, or visit http://www.freecycle.org  and browse the groups or enter your town into the search box. Once you find a local freecycling group, you can usually post your own needs and you find a lot of good things, completely free. 

Shop for used items. Local consignment stores, thrift stores, and garage sales are a great place to find gently used baby furniture or gear. Check the newspaper for this weekend's garage sales or monitor an online garage sale announcement service. Go to http://groups.yahoo.com and enter your city and "Garage Sale."

Visit auction sites such as ebay.
or search for what you need right here:

A note about buying baby items secondhand: If you buy used toys or baby gear, make sure they still have safety labels attached. Also, it's a good idea to always buy a new car seat for your child. You don't want to take a risk by getting a secondhand car seat that may have been in an accident.



Simplify 
The most important thing for our family when our babies were small was to consider carefully what it was we really needed. When you are excited about having your first child, it's tempting to feel like you need one of everything, but you may find that some gear is not necessary at all, and some gear actually just gets in the way. 

The simple approach is sometimes the best, so take a little time with each buying decision. If there's a piece of furniture or a baby item that you feel you really need, see if you can get it gently used. It's better on the pocketbook and the environment. 

It's also tempting to invest in things the baby will need when he or she has grown older. You can save money by waiting until your baby actually needs a bigger, better stroller, for example, to see both what you can afford and what kind of features are truly the most important to you. It helps me to look at it this way: When you save money by not buying things you don't really need, you'll have more money to put aside for your child's future.

With babies, as with life, the simple approach is often the best. The simpler your life is, the more time you have to enjoy your child.

You might also enjoy:
The Best Baby Strollers
Tips for choosing the best stroller for you and your family, at the best price.
More Baby Care Articles at Momscape.com