Oh, Baby! Smart Savings for New Parents

One thing all parents know for sure: kids are expensive! According to a 2017 USDA report, the cost of raising a child to age 18---not including college tuition-- averages well over $230,000.

If you are a new parent, you'll be spending big bucks on diapers (six to ten a day!), formula and baby food and a whole host of big-ticket items like car seats, cribs, and strollers. Your little bundle of joy can cost you a bundle, but there are many smart and easy ways to save.

Find Freebies with Online Rewards Programs

Huggies and Pampers offer diaper rewards programs. You can earn points for diaper and wipes purchases and by completing surveys; redeem points for free diapers and other items, gift cards and sweepstakes entries.

If you will be using formula, join an online baby formula club such Similac StrongMoms or Enfamil Family Beginnings. You'll receive free samples, coupons, and free gifts as well as access to helpful guides and nutritional information.

Join Amazon Family for 20% off diaper subscriptions and discounts on other items. Membership is free to Amazon Prime members, and with Prime, you'll get free shipping and other perks like unlimited photo storage.

Choose "Like New" Clothing, Toys and Accessories

Most baby clothes are outgrown well before they wear out. Online consignment shops especially for children like Kidizen and My Kid's Threads offer great buys on children's and maternity clothes, accessories, toys, books, and even nursery decor. Check out community yard sales and craigslist for used baby furniture and strollers. Just be sure check online for any applicable recalls.

Upgrade Your Car Seat with a Trade-in

Baby will grow out of that car seat in no time. When it's time for an upgrade, trade in your used car seat at Target's Annual Car Seat Trade-In event. In exchange, you will receive a 20% coupon off your next purchase of a new car seat, booster seat, car seat base, travel system or stroller. You'll not only save, but you'll also help keep those old car seats out of the landfills; the recycled parts are used to create new things like grocery carts, plastic buckets and construction materials.

Get Discounts with a Baby Registry

Sign up for a Target Baby Registry and receive a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons and free gifts. You'll also get a 15% off coupon good for six months after your due date.

The Amazon Baby Registry offers a free welcome box worth up to $35, and an additional 15% off eligible items. A nice plus: Amazon enables group gifting, making it easy for your friends and family to contribute toward those big-ticket items.

Every Little Bit Helps: Make Your Own Baby Food

It's easy to serve baby pureed versions of your home cooking using a blender, food processor or immersion blender. Freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray.

Buy Only What You Need

New parents are often faced with an overwhelming array of baby products, not all of which are practical or necessary. Do your research and talk with other new parents to pare down your shopping list to the essentials.

You'll find deals at warehouse stores like Costco or Sam's Club; buy in bulk, but don't get carried away. Keep in mind that babies grow at an amazing rate. That great deal on newborn diapers or tiny onesies isn't saving you much if they are outgrown before they are used.

Keep it Simple

Avoid the temptation of high-priced, designer furnishings and nursery décor. For example, instead of a baby changing table, top a dresser with an inexpensive changing pad.