When we found out we were expecting a baby, one of the first things I did was start looking into what sorts of things we needed and how much it was all going to cost. And I also wanted to know how we could get free baby stuff. After all, as I like to say, free is my favorite price!
Free Registry Gift Bags
The first and easiest way that I have found to get free baby stuff is through free registry gift bags. Basically, these companies want you to use their store for registries, so they will give you a bag of free sample things to entice you to sign up. Each one requires a few different things, but here’s what I found.
- Walmart – Pretty easy. Make a registry and fill out this form. Box will be shipped.
- Target – Make a registry and then go to your local Target and pick up the bag at Customer Service. Alternately, you can have it shipped for free from Target.com with a $35 purchase if something’s been purchased from the registry. And that doesn’t have to mean baby things. I think I got mine after ordering some maternity clothes because the in-store selection wasn’t good.
- Buy Buy Baby – Make a registry, go into the store, get a free gift bag.
- Amazon – You need Amazon Prime for this one, but if you make a registry, once a $10 item has been purchased from it (or buy it yourself), you can have your registry gift shipped.
- Babylist – Similar to Amazon, make a list, have a $10 item purchased, and you’re eligible for the gift. Here, you will have to pay shipping, but generally speaking, it’s worth it.
Generally speaking, these bags and boxes have samples of diapers, wipes, other items, but the key (for me at least) is the bottles. Babies can be very finicky about bottles, and experts recommend not stocking up until you know what will work for your kid. You can get a good variety of bottles through free registry bags. But even the small sample sized wipes and lotions are great to toss into your diaper bag, and hey, it’s always great to get free baby stuff.
Some of the nicer bags have swaddles, blankets, or even onesies. A lot of it just depends on what’s in stock.
How you feed your baby has become somewhat of a heated topic over the years, but here, our stance is “Fed is Best.” Whether that means breastfeeding, formula feeding, or combo feeding, you are doing the right thing by feeding your baby. But if you would like to have some formula on hand, you should absolutely sign up with the big formula companies (I did Similac and Enfamil). As your due date approaches, you will receive a sample box of formula to try. For example, from Enfamil, I received three full sized cans of powdered formula and two bottles of pre-mixed formula. While the pre-mixed expires a few months after my due date, the cans are good for something like 18 months past baby’s arrival, so even if we don’t end up using them, they are something great to donate or share with someone who does need them. A lot of parents get these boxes even if they plan to exclusively breastfeed just to have something on hand “just in case.”
Buy Nothing Groups
There are a lot of great Buy Nothing groups that have popped up on the internet, many now on Facebook. And this is a great way to get free baby stuff. Frequently people are looking to downsize all their baby things, and just want them gone from their house. Sure, they could take everything to a donation center, but let’s be honest – when you have a kid running around, the last thing you want to do is take the time to put them in the car so you can drop off a bunch of donations. Wouldn’t it be easier if someone just showed up at your house and picked them up? Absolutely. So people will indicate that they have items they want to get rid of, and you can claim them and go pick them up. (There are also sites like this where you can get items for cheap, but that’s another post.)
When you’re ready, I definitely recommend letting people know that you are expecting a child. Many times, people have all sorts of things around their house that they haven’t gotten around to cleaning out yet, and are definitely ready to declutter. Additionally, there is often a sentimental tie to your child’s old clothing or other items, so sometimes people just want them to go to someone else they know. We’ve had all sorts of offers of hand-me-down items, from small items like clothing to big things like strollers. It’s really been amazing to see the generosity and it’s saved us quite a bit of money. And of course, we plan to pay forward the generosity as well.
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Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.