Having a baby is such an exciting time – so many firsts for the baby, but also for us as parents.

Standing in a baby store staring at all the products out there that you just “need” for that baby is a big first for a lot of people, and a wake up call. Do we really need all those items? And how is it possible to not spend like crazy during those first few years?

It’s an expensive time for sure, but there are many little simple tricks to really try to cut costs.

One thing to do is while you’re pregnant or just had the baby, sign up for mom programs out there – free prenatal vitamins, any company you’ll be using with the baby such as diapers and formula etc. will send you samples, coupons, even a lot of them will send you little kits with all kinds of free goodies. I did this at night when my daughter was just born; it was sort of relaxing and nice to get surprises in the mail.

Another thing we often don’t realize as first time parents – not everything needs to be new! Get a new car seat, a new crib mattress – but for most things used works just fine and the baby will outgrow them so quickly anyway. Check out garage sales, online sites, selling groups on Facebook in your area or ask friends and family in case anyone is clearing out their kids closets. A great resource is finding someone with a kid a year or two older than yours – we have a few kids in our “downline” as I call it – I’ll save everything and just pass it down as we go. I buy a lot of bigger items now such as winter gear in neutral colours so it can be passed down to either. And if you’re debating on something you’re not sure about, ask friends, ask on Facebook, read reviews online. Get some real opinions and find out if it would work for your needs.

Babies grow so quickly, but it’s still pretty easy to stock up and shop out of season for the following year. It gets harder when they’re older and have their own style – but when my daughter was younger I always had bins of clothes for the following year or two. I found a garage sale once with the cutest kids clothes for 25 cents apiece. I left with a garbage bag full for $10 and had outfits, outerwear even Halloween costumes for 2 years. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be that lady with the garbage bag of kids’ clothes walking down the street. 🙂 Stores will also often clear items out for a tiny fraction of what they cost in season, leave the tags on as many stores will take them as a return if they don’t fit, or you can sell them as new with tags also. We made it through many years with everything fitting, and I rarely had to shop – just one or two huge sales a year when they had extra promotions and mega clearance and we were set for clothes. It doesn’t take much effort to organize, and it’s nice to always have extras.

Same goes with diapers, find a huge sale or clearance and stock up. I still find I’ll do that for friends now, when the companies change the packaging the diaper packs often go for $5 – combine that with a coupon and you’re spreading the savings over many months! And remember to tape the receipts onto your diapers when you’re stocking up – if you get to that next size and still have full packs you’ll be able to return them that way.

And remember not to focus too much on what you buy – the kid will never remember, and after carefully selecting the most amazing gifts for that child the biggest hit might just be the new pair of pajamas anyway!

Nadine Chappellaz has been blogging at www.savemoneyinwinnipeg.com for 5 years and is still loving sharing deals and money saving tips. She’s a mom to one little girl, who loves to keep up the money saving ways. The family motto is if it’s not on sale, don’t ask for it! 🙂