Babies are expensive, there's no getting around that. But smart shopping can lower the cost of your little one. Learn how discount shopping sites, buying used and hacking rewards programs can stretch your baby budget.

Babies are so little yet take up so much time, space, and money. Diapers, formula, clothes, daycare, gear, and more — the costs never end.

The cheapest way to provide for baby is to get free hand-me-downs from family and friends, but not everyone knows people who willingly share their outgrown items, and some people just prefer to buy new items.

Luckily, there are options to obtain baby paraphernalia for less and lower the costs of having a baby.

Related: The real cost of having a baby

Find a site to help you save on routine purchases

As a member of Amazon Mom, you get access to members-only deals, 20 percent off of diaper subscriptions, 15 percent off of items on your baby registry, and free two-day shipping. These perks come with a yearly $99 price tag but, considering that you also get music and video streaming, it might be worth it for you (especially if it allows you to also cut cable or a music subscription service). You can get a free 30-day trial and stock up on diapers while you’re deciding whether or not the program is right for you.

Alternatively, Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program offers discounts on many of the items that you use regularly. You get a 5 percent discount on your subscriptions, but if you have at least five subscriptions in a month you’ll get a 15 percent discount (though not on diapers, that perk is just for Amazon Mom members).  The downside to this program is that the items only ship once a month. is another option that provides wholesale club savings and free shipping with no membership fee. With Boxed, you can get diapers and other baby essentials delivered to your door on your schedule. Prices are competitive — and sometimes even better — than on Amazon and in Walmart or wholesale stores. Read more in our full review of Boxed here.

Cruise Craigslist and follow Facebook groups

Craigslist can be synonymous with “garbage” but other times it can lead to lots of hidden gems — it all depends on the people who are selling the item. My sister has gotten some steals on both new and gently-used baby gear. She bought a travel system (car seat, three bases, stroller) for $150. It served its purpose, and after her daughter outgrew the seat, she sold it on Craigslist for $115.

She’s also gotten a number of items from her “wants” list from Craigslist and Facebook sellers: a multi-functional infant swing that retails for over $150 for just $50 and a $2,000 wooden backyard play set for $250.

Buy gently-used clothes

With the rate babies and toddlers grow, it hardly makes sense to fork over $20 for a tiny pair of leggings that contain less than $2 worth of materials. There are many options for finding good quality, used items:

Consignment stores

For maximum resale value, store owners will only take in the nicest clothes so you’re sure to get some great items at these places even if they’re more than what you’d pay at a yard sale. Once your child outgrows the clothes, take them back and get store credit for more clothes.

Thrift stores and garage sales

These can be hit or miss, but if you have more time than money, it’s worth it to add “shopping” to your weekly to-do list. Thrift stores are always adding new inventory, so from week to week you’ll never know what you’ll find. Tip: Check the stores in more upscale parts of town for the best bargains.


I’ve bought and sold kids’ clothing in lots of a dozen or more items and always had good success. Often you can find boxes of clothes that work out to just a couple of dollars per outfit. When buying these large lots of clothing, you’ll probably find a stained item or one with a hole. I don’t sweat it; if most of the items are in good condition, I don’t bother trying to get a refund or giving the seller a bad rating. Chances are, she’s an overworked, sleep-deprived mom and honestly didn’t notice. I’ve fixed minor issues and transformed other items into cleaning rags.

Use reward programs to get free gift cards

There are several programs that you can use to earn free gift cards while you’re just surfing the web. MyPoints is a simple way to get a few gift cards each year. I’ve found their surveys take too much time, but I always click the links in their promo emails and get five points several times a week. Over the course of a year I usually get $30–50 in Amazon gift cards.

Swagbucks is a search engine that randomly rewards you for searching through their site, but there are other ways to earn points such as watching videos, signing up for promo offers, and doing short surveys. Once you accumulate enough Swagbucks you can cash them out for gift cards and other rewards (their $5 Amazon gift card offers the best bucks-to-real-dollar value).


Paying full price for baby items can be really expensive — and unnecessary. If you divert your energy from shopping at baby stores to shopping online — on Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist — you can save a bundle on the basic items you need. Don’t forget thrift stores and consignment stores too: They can have barely-used items for a fraction of retail prices.

Of course, adding more children to the mix helps the numbers considerably. Housing costs remain virtually the same whether you have one or five. Toys and clothes can be handed down, and you’ll probably qualify for sibling discounts if you have more than one or two children enrolled in the same daycare or private school. But if you’re taking the one-and-done route or are unsure about future kids, your pocketbook will thank you for saving money on these baby-related costs. And if you’re super diligent, you can stash away some of the savings for their college fund.

About the author

Total Articles: 5
Charlotte Edwards is a teacher-turned-freelance writer living near Beijing, China with her husband and two young children. Her work has appeared on Capital One's We the Savers blog, The Penny Hoarder, Incomes Abroad and International Living.