Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Frugal Mommy: clubs, freebies and coupons

     Before Abby was born I was already signing up for freebies and clubs and coupons...for myself. It wasn't until I learned a few things from a great mommy friend that I realized I could get a lot of help offsetting baby-specific expenses! There are just as many (if not more) companies looking to sell you on a product for baby as there are for you.
     Even if you intend to breastfeed, I recommend signing up for the formula samples and coupons. No one can tell the future- and though it's natural and the best for baby, it isn't always easy, and might not be the way you end up feeding. There is no shame in that! If you don't end up using the formula, give it away online or trade the coupons for useful grocery coupons at a local swap.
    Abby and I had a tough time with nursing for her first month. There were tears and there was lots of ointment. If I hadn't gotten box after box of samples we wouldn't have been able to cope those early days. Money was really tight, and formula is expensive! (And trying different kinds because someone has a sensitive tummy? Yikes!) Formula isn't the only thing these companies help with though; they send starter cereal, diaper bags, bottles, diaper samples, nursing pads and so much more! Often these clubs have affiliated companies too so you get coupons for a variety of baby's needs. If you're expecting, wait till your third trimester to apply to some of these clubs ( not Similac though- they send mommy drinks too!) because formula does expire and if you don't plan to use it for a while, it'll be a waste! Many of the clubs only let you register once... But Abby's grandma and great grandma registered for us too. So did her Daddy. (; Sneaky stuff.

Websites to check out:
Similac Club
- samples, "welcome baby" gifts, coupons and member perks
- samples, feeding guides, coupons and perks
Nestlé Goodstart
- samples, "welcome baby" gifts, coupons and feeding guides
Pampers Diaper Club
- coupons, sale alerts, member perks and diaper club points
Heinz Baby Club
- samples, coupons and perks
-for pregnancy guides, tips and monthly updates as well as member discounts 
- there is also an app which helps you throughout pregnancy!
-member discounts? Interac and credit card payment options? Subscriptions to diapers? Everything you could need without showering or leaving the house? Yes please!
     The other big costs are going to be baby gear. If you can't borrow, inherit or get used items I suggest making a registry for those who would like to spoil baby. That way you can make sure you get gifts that fit your lifestyle (aka no behemoth toys in a small urban apartment) or prevent duplicates without gift receipts. If you have the time, do some research on big items like car seats, high chairs, strollers and cribs. Don't worry about aesthetics, look at user reviews and safety standard ratings! Particularly with car seats! 
       If you're going to spend some money, I'd recommend investing in a great stroller, carrier and car seat. We live in the city, and having the flexibility to use the stroller (store and sidewalk safe) or the carrier has given us a lot of freedom with Abby. If a restaurant or cafe is too small for our stroller, we use the carrier. If the distance is longer or she's looking ready for a nap we use the stroller. 

Make a registry:

Babies R Us- get a free bag of goodies when you register in store!

Sears- guess your delivery date correctly and win everything on your registry!

The messy part:

     Whether you decide to do disposable or go the cloth diapering route- host a diaper party to celebrate your bundle of joy with your friends! It's way more fun than a traditional shower can be, and daddy can join in too! Rules are: hosts provide the drinks, and guests bring the diapers! We had a blast at ours. It's less intimidating for a twenty-something guy to buy diapers than pick out a frilly onesie :)We didn't buy diapers for Abby until she was three months old after all was said and done. Wipes, and diaper cakes also filled our stores for quite some time. When diapers cost $20 every week or so, we really saved tons! Be sure to let friends know that different sizes are welcome. Our pals were smart, we got a range of newborn to size three from the party.

   If you do end up being tempted into spending lots of money, just remember how quickly these kiddos grow, and how much they're going to be pooping and spitting up on these things. Save that money for their future- when they'll remember the vacation or thank you for college. 


I'm glad we didn't buy Abigail a bassinet...those first three months she loved sleeping with us the most.

Abby at two weeks old

                           Before                                                                   After

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