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How to Save Money on Baby and Toddler Expenses


Having a child is one of life’s great adventures. Each one brings love and adoration into your household, but they can also take a big chunk out of your pocketbook. Many parents plan for the big purchases, such as college or a car, but don’t realize how much the little things can add up.

Here are some common “small” expenses that add up quickly – along with tips on how to save.

1. ‘I Want’ Syndrome – Shopping with a toddler is always a risky proposition. Have you ever visited the grocery store just to pick up a few things, with a toddler in tow? It becomes an adventure! Toddlers tend to want everything that they see, and you can spend more than $10 dollars per trip just placating your child by purchasing toys. Avoid this by leaving the child at home (with a spouse or friend) until the child gets a little older.

2. Baby Care Items – Babies and toddlers have sensitive skin and many personal care items like shampoo, conditioner, and lotions that are meant for adults can end up irritating their skin. Plus, any parent who has ever tried to wash their child’s hair without using ‘tearless’ shampoo learns a lesson they won’t forget once their child gives them an earful. Save on these necessary items by staying away from brand names. Many store brands offer the same product at half the cost.

3. Secondhand Shopping –  Those $40 Nike shoes meant for toddlers might seem adorable, but this is a premium price to pay for a shoe. Little feet grow fast. Babies more than double in size during their first year of life. Toddlers also go through growth spurts, and a pair of shoes that fits one week is too small the next week. Garage sales and thrift stores are all good options for secondhand clothing, but by far eBay is the best bet. Local shops just can’t match the size and selection available on eBay. It’s also a great place to get hard to find Christmas and birthday presents.

4. Safety Equipment – Parents plan in advance for the big safety purchases like a car seat, but the truth is that babies and toddlers can get into a lot of trouble outside the car. Once a child starts crawling, it’s time to baby-proof a house. Light socket covers, cabinet locks, and door handle protectors are all necessary purchases, but they can also get expensive, particularly if you have a large house. Purchase these items used from eBay to save some cash.

5. Toys – Who knew there were so many types of toy trains or toy dolls? Children love their toys, and parents love giving their little one a special treat, but some of the prices on toys are outrageous. Try staying away from name-brand toys. For example, a Thomas the Train toy set can cost more than $100 while non-name brand trains run at half that cost.

6. Local Parent Magazines – One of the best ways to save money is to subscribe to a local parenting magazine. You can get coupons for local stores and upcoming events delivered right to your door or inbox. This simple trick pays back big time when you take the entire family to the local amusement park or zoo.

This article is by Kennedi at Face & Fitness, a blog about budget-friendly beauty and style for women.

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. One thing my wife and I did with each of our 4 kids to help keep costs lower was to mix the powdered formula instead of the already mixed one. It saved us about 10% or more over the premixed version of the same formula.
    When our twins were younger, I used to make a gallon of formula every day for my wife to use because we went through it so quickly. And since it was formula I was able to spend some time with them while my wife could get some much needed rest.
    Seems like yesterday, but that was 12 years ago. 🙂

    • Oh, and something I found in our area was freecycle. Which was set up around the desire for parents who bought or already had some baby items that they no longer needed, but other people could make use of. We would donate some things, and get other items that we didn’t have at the time for nothing more than just a quick drive to pick the item(s) up or drop them off.

  2. I don’t have kids yet but the one thing I worry about is my girlfriend and me having the “I want” syndrome where we want everything for our kids. We’ve already talked about not going overboard with spending on kids, but until we have one, we don’t know what will happen. Hopefully if one of us crosses the line, the other one will be there to reel them back in.

  3. No kids for me yet, but I definitely know there will be expenses, big and small. It will be tough to get my wife convinced that second hand stores are the way to go. Ebay might be a good option instead.

  4. My wife and I literally saw a pair of $40 toddler shoes the other day. I accidently blurted out “You gotta be kidding me!” only to receive a “you must be broke” look from the employees.

    I can vouch for what Chris said about Freecycle it is an awesome site/community.

  5. The two biggest expenses for babies are the things you have to keep buying new, like diapers and formula. You can save money on formula by breastfeeding. Not everyone is able to do this, or wants to do this, but from a money-saving perspective, this is HUGE!

    To save on diapers, you can use cloth. The new cloth diapers are NOTHING like those you grew up wearing. Today’s cloth diapers are heavy on snaps and velcro, with no pins to poke you with. You can even buy diapers that are one-size, meaning they snap down into tiny newborn size and you can resize as your baby gets older.

    They seem expensive at the front end, but you buy one time.

    Mother’s Groups and Multiples Clubs have resales, usually twice a year. This is a wonderful way to find nice things (there is usually some sort of quality control to limit stains and broken items) at inexpensive prices. Google Twins Clubs plus your area to find one near you.

  6. @Chris — Did you say “twins”? Wow. Kudos to you. That’s twice the work, and twice the cost, all at the same time! I bet you have a bunch of frugality tips!

    @Marvin — Haha, I bet I’d blurt out the same thing!

    @Jon — I’m glad you’re aware of the “I Want” Syndrome. It’ll keep you from caving into a toddler’s demands, which is both pricey and sets a bad example for the kid.

    @Greg — Ebay is fantastic! So is Amazon, which offers free diaper delivery.

    • Yep, twins it was. And just to make it more fun, my wife’s twin gave birth a week after she did (only one kiddos there though). LOL
      I can tell you that after having twins, it is SOOOO much easier to just have one baby to take care of, and having twins also makes it considerably easier to balance one’s body out because I usually carried them with one on each shoulder while they slept.

  7. One of the best things about children is that they aren’t snobs about anything! Well, except for some food groups, perhaps. But there are some great ways of cutting corners here.

  8. As a parent of 4, ya learn to say no to every “I want” real quick. And I have learned how fast kids grow our of things!

  9. I think it’s important to bring small children along so that they learn that they don’t just get stuff whenever you go out. “No” is a very, very healthy thing for people to learn at a very young age!

  10. Do no take the them when you shop, even when you go buy your groceries. And yeah, I don’t have a problem with second-hand items as long as I know where they came from or if I can see they are still in good condition.

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