Having a baby is expensive. In fact, the USDA's Cost of Raising a Child Calculator estimates it costs nearly $11,000 to provide for a baby during the first year. With such a high price tag, anything you can get free, helps. It takes some effort to find quality, free items for your baby, but it can be done and the money you save will make it all worth it.
When it comes to babies, diapers are one of the biggest expenses. While you may not get a large box of diapers free, a lot of diaper brands offer programs and other ways to help reduce the cost of diapers and help you save money.
The Pampers Gifts to Grow program allows you to earn points to use in the Rewards Catalog. Points are found in every Pampers diapers and wipes boxes you find.
Through the Huggies Enjoy the Ride program, you can earn points toward free baby products. While you may not get free diapers, you can redeem points you earn from buying diapers and wipes for other free baby items, such as toys and books.
If you choose to cloth diaper, you may be able to get a few free samples from different cloth diaper companies. Most companies do not advertise free samples, but you may receive them just by using their contact us form to ask additional questions or request a sample. You may also find free cloth diapers from the following sources:
- Diaper Junction has a free 30-day, no-risk trial period for cloth diapers and offers Stash Cash to help you earn free diapers with your purchases.
- Diaper manufacturers and online cloth diaper retailers offer regular giveaways on their Facebook pages.
- Organizations such as Giving Diapers, Giving Hope also offer free or low-cost cloth diapers to encourage parents to cloth diaper and let you try out different brands or styles.
Most formula companies are willing to give free samples to get your business. You can often request a free sample directly from their website or receive free samples through your local hospital or doctor's office. A few free formula offers to consider include:
When you join the Enfamil Family Beginnings Program you get free formula samples, coupons and a free tote bag and bottle cooler.
Joining Similac Strong Moms gets you a free can of Similac formula, breast milk bottles, a baby organizer and coupons and vouchers for other freebies, such as baby announcements.
If you are a low-income family, you may qualify for WIC, a federal program designed to help purchase formula, dairy products, fruits and vegetables for your children until they turn five.
There are also a few random freebies you can get, just for having a baby.
- Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus offers a free circus ticket so you can take your baby to see his first circus.
- Sending your baby's birth announcement to the White House will get you an official letter from the President.
- Companies such as Gymboree and Kindermusik allow you to sign up for a free class.
- Starting a baby registry at a baby store will often get you a bag of goodies. Create a registry at Babies 'R Us or buybuy Baby to get your bag.
Check with your doctor's office and local hospital to see what freebies they offer for new moms and moms-to-be. For example, Gerber has a program at some hospitals that allows you to get a free backpack filled with formula, free development and feeding guides and valuable coupons. Many companies provide hospitals and OBGYN's with free goodies to get the word out about their products, so don't be afraid to ask. Sometimes you may have to fill out a short survey or enter a sweepstakes to get the loot.
The items your baby uses in the hospital are often yours to take as well. You will usually get a free blanket, a pacifier, a hat, a nasal aspirator and some diapers and wipes. If you have touched it, the hospital typically cannot reuse it, so that half-open pack of diapers is yours for the taking.
You may not like junk mail, but as a new mom, it can become your new friend. Join mailing lists for baby magazines, parenting newsletters and kid-focused coupon websites. By joining these mailing lists, you will often get free samples of diaper cream, formula and other items in the mail.
Online Swaps and Classifieds
Check out Facebook and Yahoo! Groups to find local swap groups. While these groups feature moms selling baby items, many of them are also giving away items. You can stock up on unwanted baby clothes, toys and unused diapers. Many moms will also offer coupons they cannot use or share deals they have gotten at local stores. Just remember to share the wealth by offering things to other moms as your baby outgrows them.
Craigslist's baby+kids and free stuff sections and the website Freecycle occasionally offer free baby stuff. You may find furniture for your baby's room, toys that could be as good as new with just a little TLC and baby clothes someone just wants to get rid of.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask
Don't be shy when it comes to getting free things for your baby. Most companies do not advertise free products because they do not want to be overwhelmed with requests, but they also want your business. Send an e-mail, write a letter or fill out a website contact form and you may end up with free samples, coupons and valuable pieces of information. Companies know that moms share information and giving you a free sample may encourage you to share their products with your friends.