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How to Save $5,000 in Baby’s First Year

Baby’s here and money’s flying out of your account faster than you can say, “I need sleep!” All those diapers, wipes, burp cloths and bibs add up. Here’s how you can save $5,000 and give your checking account a little “wiggle room” during baby’s first year. (Hint: Consider using it to open baby’s college savings account!)

Breastfeed: And keep in mind it’s not all or nothing -- breastfeeding in place of using formula just a couple of times a day would save over $550 in baby’s first year.

Powder up: When you do offer formula, use the powder version vs. the ready-to-feed cans. It’s a bit more time-consuming to mix, but it’s super easy to travel with, and at a 50 percent savings (according to Marybeth Hamilton of BabyGoodBuys.com), that could total a savings of $1,500 in baby’s first year! Use the generic powder to save even more.

Coupons, coupons, coupons: We know you don’t have the time or energy to comb through the Sunday papers, but there’s a slew of rewards programs and coupons directly at your disposal online. Most major baby brands like Pampers and Gerber will reward you just for signing up for their emails or rewards programs by offering you deals galore. Trade the coupons you may not need with other moms on our Swap Spot board. According to CostHelper.com and HowMuchIsIt.org, if you saved just 10 percent on diapers and baby food, that would add up to nearly $200 in savings.

Let your mom friends help you out: Moms love to pay it forward, and they’re usually thrilled to give you, their dear friend, the clothes that their baby wore for all of two minutes, not to mention their barely used ExerSaucers. Altogether, 20 hand-me-down outfits and an ExerSaucer add up to a savings of $525.

Borrow books: Your baby will love to be read to every night, but books can be expensive at upwards of $10 each! One trip a month with your tot to the local library will be a feast for his imagination while keeping your wallet fuller. Check out four books a month instead of buying them and save $480 in a year.

Freeze your leftovers: Think about all the times you were super sick of what you cooked so you tossed the leftovers. Freeze them instead and save yourself a hefty takeout meal bill. Do this four times a month and save yourself $120 (based on a $30 meal out).

The little things add up: Some handy tips from The Complete Book of Baby Bargains: If you’re breastfeeding, instead of disposable breast pads, buy two packs of reusable cloth ones. Estimated savings: $120. Pour breast milk into small zip-top bags instead of buying breast milk bags (snip the end to pour once it’s thawed). Estimated savings: $130. Skip the baby shoes until baby can walk and just use soft socks or slippers for now. Estimated savings: $150.

Make your own baby food: When baby starts to eat solids, toss cooked veggies into the blender with a bit of liquid and save the meals in ice trays -- the money you’ll save makes it worth the extra effort. Estimated savings: $240.

Opt for cloth vs. disposable diapers: Using cloth diapers is not only eco-trendy, it’s easier on the budget. You’ll need to do the laundry yourself (a drag, we know) to really get the most out of the savings. Estimated yearly savings: $300.

Research local mommy and me classes: If you sign up through your city recreation programs vs. private company classes, it could save up to $300.

Get your mom (or aunt or MIL…) to babysit: Family can quickly turn into your most valuable child care resource. Getting out on the town with your partner is priceless. For one date night a month, that could save you $450.

More From The Bump:

Creative Ways to Save with Baby

51 Ways to Save Up for Baby

Baby Budget Checklist

-- Shannon Guyton

See More: Baby Gear , Breastfeeding , Eco-friendly , Mommy Life , Solid Foods