CafeMom ReesesPieces (Clarisse) is one of my favorite go-to people for money saving advice. She has an incredible track record for busting debt and for spending only $200 a month on groceries, diapers and other necessities for her family of five. That still baffles my mind.
Babies are so expensive, costing on average $11,000 in the first year of life, but Clarisse spends nearly nothing on her one-year old daughter by clipping coupons and buying clothes on clearance.
Here she is sharing her best super-saving secrets:
What is the absolute best way to save money on baby?
Learning how to use coupons. I always buy diapers when I can use a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon together. That means I can get double the savings and get amazing deals on diapers (or wipes, baby wash, lotion, baby food, etc). A big box of diapers for $12.98 is a great deal any way you slice it.
And don't get hung up on premium brands -- sometimes great deals are to be had on brands we've never used or tried before.
What's the biggest waste of money when it comes to baby expenses?
The non-essential garbage that all new parents think we have to have. I thought it, so I can say it. :o) Some of the things I personally see as wastes are: the diaper genie, wipes warmer, the pretty little comforter that comes with the baby bedding set (it just goes on the wall as decoration), tummy time mats, Bumbo seats (babies have learned how to sit up on their own for thousands of years), those big clunky strollers, the huge diaper bags (I've always managed with a smaller one), baby slippers -- they aren't even walking yet but there are slippers for them!
Oh, and the worst waste of money are baby bathrobes. Why on earth did I ever think that I would put my child in a bathrobe? It's take off clothes, get in tub, towel off, get dressed. My babies have never just laid around in a bathrobe.
I'm not saying not to get any of the frills and fancy things, but just think twice about what you'd want to buy for your kids.
What are your favorite stores (structures) for shopping for baby things?
I love getting ideas from Babies R Us, but the prices are way over what I'm willing to spend. Three hundred dollars for a crib bedding set that the kid is going to use for a year and a half is just not something I'm willing to pay. I do however enjoy its clearance clothing and car seat selection. We have gotten all four car seats there. We also enjoy Target because they have some of the cutest baby stuff on the planet. Walmart will occasionally have some cute clothes, and for things like bottles, sippy cups, and wipes the prices can't be beat.
My all time favorite place to get baby things are yard sales. I know that may seem a little "ewww," but think about it. How long does a baby wear any given article of clothing? How long does a baby play with any given toy? Most items are in amazing condition, have been well taken care of, and are gently used. You are not only getting a great deal on the things you can use, you are also helping those having the yard sale make money, and you're being "green" by re-using things. It's a win-win situation for all.
With your own one year old, what do you spend the most on?
I don't spend a lot on my daughter at all. I think that clothing would be a big cost if I didn't plan a year ahead and buy clothes on clearance. Before I even had her, I was stocking up on summer clothes at the end of the season last year. Children grow, so I have no problem buying clothing for the following year once it is on sale. I did the same thing in December (right after Christmas) and again in August of this year. I have enough clothing for our daughter for the next two summers and two winters. Total cost is right around $100. If I had paid full price for those same articles of clothing, I would have spent nearly $450.
Thanks again, Clarisse!
What is your biggest baby expense? If you could alleviate one line item from the baby budget, what would it be?