It's not going to change: Babies will always need new diapers, new playthings, new tiny shirts and pants when they outgrow the old ones, and -- jeez, they're so demanding! -- new jars of pureed goo to spit out once they start solids. Over the years, Babytalk has printed various articles on how to pay for all that new stuff, and we've received thousands of tips from frugal readers. The one constant? The fiscal power of a pair of scissors. "Always clip coupons," admonishes Ami Vaughn of Clermont, Florida. Jennifer Krasusky of Tolland, Connecticut, couldn't agree more: "I save hundreds of dollars each year at the grocery store by using coupons." Modern moms go well beyond the Sunday circular, though. "I buy $20 worth of diaper coupons for $3 on eBay," says Julie Kennebeck of Williamsburg, Iowa. Elizabeth Donovan of Fairfax, Virginia, goes straight to the sources: "When my daughters were born, a friend suggested I sign up on the Gerber, Beech-Nut, Enfamil, and Similac websites. They send me coupons and samples that save me a ton of money on baby food and formula." If you don't use a particular brand, you can always trade its coupons -- "with other moms at work or daycare or mommy groups," says Jill Connolly of Watertown, Massachusetts -- for ones of brands that you do. But don't stop there. Read on for more ways to save:
Diapers and formula
"Since I don't live near a Costco or Sam's Club, I buy diapers and wipes in bulk on Amazon.com. They have great promotions, and the shipping always seems to be free."
-- Lisa Moran, New York, NY
"If you aren't satisfied with a product, let the company know. I've called up diaper companies and told them that I didn't like their new waistband or stretch tabs and have received coupons for free bags of diapers just so they didn't lose me as a customer."
-- Diane Burdick, Pensacola, FL
"I finally realized that store-brand formula is just as good as name-brand in most cases. Sure, it took me eight months before I settled on a store brand -- and saved about $12 a can -- but hey, better late than never!"
-- Chrissy Perry, Hilliard, OH
"If you actually fill out the forms they hand you in the hospital when you give birth, you can pretty much get away with free formula and free diapers for quite a few months. Every time I go to the mailbox, I get another 'Congratulations' packet from manufacturers."
-- Tara McCann Beavers, Park City, UT
"Breastfeeding saves a lot of money."
-- Catherine Schroeder, Columbus, OH
"When my son, Cooper, was a baby and on Nutramigen, we would ask the pediatrician for a can of formula each time we went for an appointment of any kind. At $20 a can, this helped us save a lot."
-- Heather Smurr, Boerne, TX
"I buy our diapers in bulk at diapers.com. They're cheaper than at wholesale clubs, and they have free shipping."
-- Elizabeth Bailey, Washingtonville, NY