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Melissa Walker

12 Ways to Save on Baby Costs (According to Experienced Moms)

Real moms dish their best cost-cutting advice on everything from food to babysitting.

When you brought home baby, you probably also brought home quite a few new expenses. Some of them are expected—diapers; formula—while others are more surprising: batteries for toys and gear; baby socks that seem to constantly disappear (where do they go?!). Long story short: You may have saved up a nest egg while you were expecting, but you’ll still want to find ways to take a bit of the pressure off your pocket in day-to-day life. After all, saving wherever you can means freeing up money to put toward your family’s future goals. That’s why we asked moms across the country to share their smart tips for cutting costs without having to skimp.

Say Yes to Secondhand Stuff

“I had twins, so my biggest savings came from shopping consignment sales (particularly ones run by our local ‘parents of multiples’ organization). The best part about the consignment sales was also being able to sell things there when we were done with them. My goal at every sale was to sell more than I bought, which I was usually able to accomplish, so I actually made a little money in the process!” —Gail N., Gaithersburg, MD

“‘Buy Nothing Project’ Facebook groups and local parent groups are great places for free or very cheap used gear, toys and clothes.” Editor’s note: Check the CPSC* for recalls on baby gear before using. —Stephanie K., Seattle, WA

Repurposing Makes Perfect

“You do not need to buy burp cloths. Any washcloth, dish towel, hand towel, old T-shirt you already own IS a burp cloth! I don’t know why we think we need packs of specially designated rags for this.” —Virginia S., Cold Spring, NY

“Let baby items do double duty. We repurposed our car seat as a rocker and our baby was safe and snug and lulled to sleep many an afternoon (and then we could just get in a car, strap her in and go).” —Anna F., Washington DC

“We refinished my grandparents’ antique dresser and set a foam pad on top instead of buying a changing table. It works!” Editor's Note: Ensure the dresser and foam pad are secured for safety. —Desiree M., Greenwich, CT

Source: Ally Bank Online Savings (Ally Bank, Member FDIC)

Make Food Prep a Priority

“Baby food is pricey, so I made my own. It’s very easy to steam, squash and puree anything. Then freeze it in ice cube trays and you’re all set with portions.” —Gayle F., Brooklyn, NY

“I bought a multicooker and it’s made cooking easier! I did baby-led weaning—so the baby eats what we eat instead of ‘baby food.’ For convenience, I do have some pouches around just in case we’re on the go—there are reusable ones you can buy online.” —Ashley J., Albuquerque, NM

Be Savvy About Babysitting

“Create a babysitting co-op with your friends. That means taking turns hanging at each other’s houses after the kids are sleeping to cut down on astronomical babysitting costs!” —Lindsay E., Brooklyn, NY

“The babysitting service at my gym gives me time to work on my small business. They have Wi-Fi, so I just use the time for product design and internet sales before or after I work out.” —Desiree M., Greenwich, CT

Sources: Amazon; Target

Discounts Do Good

“BuyBuy Baby always gives out 20 percent coupons, so I also signed up for text alerts and used one almost every other month for big-ticket purchases.” —Tori Z., Laguna Niguel, CA

“Bulk order baby supplies—diapers, baby wipes, diaper cream, baby soap, diaper booster pads, formula—you name it. If I could order it in bulk and have it shipped (for free), I did.” —Elena H., Goshen, NY

“I refused to buy shoes for a tiny human who wasn't walking. They are crazy overpriced. Skip the footwear for newborns!” —Christi, St. Louis, MO

*The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is not a sponsor of this article, and does not endorse or otherwise support the opinions or conclusions set forth herein.

Disclaimer: Consider consulting a financial professional before making any major money decisions.

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The Bump and Ally present We’re in This, Together—a sponsored content series featuring smart money-saving tips and advice to help achieve your future goals, including saving for your family. Learn how Ally’s digital financial services can help you do it right.

PHOTO: Vector Source: iStock