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Kids are expensive. Just raising one from birth to 17 years of age costs an average of more than $230,000 — and that’s not including college!
Where you live and how you live probably changes that amount. But the expenses of child-rearing are real and can have a huge impact on families. Couples are putting off having children later than ever, as the average age of first-time mothers is now over 26 years old. In 1970, women were having their first children at around age 21.
But if the cost of parenting is making you anxious, take heart. If you know where to look, you can score free products and savings on everything from diapers and formula to baby books.
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The cost of disposable diapers can definitely add up over time, so makers are trying to lure you to their products for the long haul with sample kits — free, except for shipping.
Seventh Generation offers a free trial kit of a few different diapers, sizes 1 and 2, plus a trial pack of baby wipes. Just pay $5.95 in shipping and handling, plus sales tax, if it applies in your state. You can order up to three kits at once! Grove Collaborative offers a larger freebie, with a full pack of diapers and wipes, and all you need to do is pay shipping. But you’ll be auto-enrolled in their subscription service, so look out for hurdles.
The Honest Co. has a similar offer including seven diapers and 10 wipes for just the cost of shipping and handling.
If you are in a financial bind, the National Diaper Bank Network will send you diapers completely free through a qualifying member agency near you. They can also put you in touch with community resources to help you and your family if you can’t afford basic needs.
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If you’re formula-feeding, there are plenty of companies that want you to try their brands. Similac offers free formula, milk storage bags, prenatal samples and savings worth up to $400 — benefits and discounts that the company says are customized to your needs and your preferences. Sign up for their StrongMoms Rewards program for more offer details.
Enfamil’s Family Beginnings program offers up to $325 in free gifts of formula samples, bottle accessories and much more.
Nature One will send you a 12.7-ounce can of their formula free. You have to pay shipping, but it’s still a good deal for the product.
If your hospital participates, you could receive a free Gerber Baby Nutrition Kit. Just print out this coupon and put it in your hospital go-bag to show a nurse after you give birth.
Free baby books
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It’s never too early to start reading to your child, so why not start with children’s books? If you live in a participating area, you can register your child to receive one free book a month from birth to 5 years old from singer Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. There’s no extra cost for shipping and handling, but you do have to live in an eligible area to receive this deal.
Babsy B Books slashes $40 off the cost of your order when you use the code GET5FREEBOOKS at checkout. That’s five books for just the cost of shipping ($13.99 if you choose the economy option).
For Kindle users, Amazon offers a ton of free children’s e-books. The top 100 are listed here.
Other free goodies
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If you’re like many people embarking on parenthood, you’re going to want all the bells and whistles for your little one. Good news: At some stores, parents-to-be get freebies just for creating a baby gift registry.
Target will give you an entire welcome kit worth up to $50 in samples, coupons and other goodies when you set up your baby registry. Walmart will send you a “welcome box” once you sign up. Amazon has a wide variety of offers for new parents who set up a baby registry there. Amazon Prime members get up to 15 percent off any registry items that weren’t purchased for them (non-Prime members get 10 percent off). You can also add items to your registry that aren’t on Amazon through their universal registry. Buy Buy Baby will send you a “goody bag” full of samples and coupons to pick up in-store when you register. Babies R Us also offers a 10 percent discount on purchases from your registry, even when you buy them yourself.
Don’t forget to use your favorite cash-back sites. I’ve been using Ebates for years and love it. If you’re not using a cash-back site, you’re literally throwing money away when you shop online.
What’s your favorite way to save on baby necessities? Share in the comments or on Facebook.
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