Affording a child is one of the biggest factors many take into consideration when starting a family. Estimates for the cost of raising a child in Canada (until age 18) vary from $67,000 to $240,000, which is understandable as cost of living varies throughout the country, as does each individual family’s circumstance (check out The Measure of a Plan’s cost of raising a child calculator here to determine a realistic expectation for your family).
Regardless of the which end of the range you fall, raising a child is costly. Even with the help of the Canada Child Benefit, extra money and savings will go a long way in making it possible to afford a baby.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help you save and financially manage the new expenses that come along with parenthood.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Please read my affiliate disclosure here.
Here are 11 ways you can reduce the costs of being a new parent:
These pop up all over the place, and are a great way to learn about products, get exclusive discounts, receive money saving coupons and get lots, and lots, of free stuff! I absolutely love the baby shows and the big bag of goodies that find their way into my car afterwards. Note that you will be approached by vendors and when you sign up for their promotions or to enter contests, you will often be giving them permission to contact you, so be sure to navigate your comfort level in that regard.
Facebook Mom Groups
I’m a huge fan of the Facebook Mom Buy and Sell groups! You join just like any other Facebook group (search your city followed by the word ‘mom’ tp find one in your area) and once you’re a member, you will be privy to a local and convenient garage sale. Simply scroll through the group’s news feed and you’ll find lots of items (sometimes new, sometimes used) that are geared for moms and their kids.
Kijiji is certainly another option, but the nice thing about the Facebook groups is that there’s anonymity (items are attached to people’s Facebook pages) so there’s less likely to be scams or deceptions, and you can reconnect with the person if you need to again in the future. Check out this blog post comparing Kijiji and Facebook for buying and selling. I’ve saved and earned hundreds of dollars with the Facebook Mom group in my area.
Don’t like second hand items? That’s okay (I was the same way with my first), then watch out for store sales, which come up weekly and frequently. Also watch for end of season clearances where you can get great items (especially clothing) for a fraction of their normal price!
Use Store Reward Programs
Take advantage of reward programs and use your earnings towards your baby needs. I am always getting stuff for free from Amazon thanks to Swagbucks and GiftHulk, and more often than not, those items are free baby clothes, supplies and toys (and of course the occasional splurge for myself!)
Watch out for store reward programs too. If you’re already shopping somewhere, you might as well earn some points for future savings, which can be used on your baby items . Always keep your PC Optimum, Airmiles, Aeroplan, Scene Rewards and any other store specific reward program cards you have, handy.
Join Company Reward Programs
Also sign up for Pampers Gift to Grow and Huggies Enjoy the Ride. Both programs allow you to enter pin codes that you get from product packaging, or that are released from the company (be sure to check back to moneysavvyme for codes when they are released), which can then be redeemed for all kinds of rewards including free diapers, toys, books, and gift cards!
Become a PC Insider
Upload Your Receipts for Cashback
Between the four apps I use (Checkout51, Caddle, Receipt Hog and Coin Out) there’s always at least one rebate for a baby item of some sort. Plus, Receipt Hog and Coin Out credit you just for your receipt, no matter what you’ve bought! When combined with sales, coupons and store rewards, cashback apps make for a nice bonus!
Use Cashback Sites when Shopping Online
When shopping online, I always go through a cashback site first. My top 3 choices are Swagbucks, Ebates and Great Canadian Rebates and I choose them in that order based on payout. Just be sure to watch for double cashback events, where the site hosting it will offer a higher cashback percentage, making it the better choice. If you’re going to buy something online, why not save get something back for it?
Use Discount Gift Cards when Shopping
If you check out Ebay, Kijiji or your local Facebook Buy & Sell group, you’re bound to find gift cards being sold at lower than face value. This is a great way to get an automatic discount on your purchases! There are also sites like My GIftcards Plus (through Swagbucks), Ebates GiftCards and Cardswap, where you buy gift cards at face value, but then earn points to redeem or cash back on your gift card purchase!
Look for Samples at Doctor and Midwife Offices
When at your prenatal appointments, don’t be shy about asking if they have any samples or coupons that you can have. I’ve been with 2 different midwife clinics and both have had free samples and coupons for vitamin D drops and Iron supplements in the exam rooms for patient benefit. Why pay for something if you can get it for free?
Round Up and Invest Your Spare Change
Children are expensive. Taking time off work is expensive. So having some savings in place is a great way to alleviate some of the financial pressures when having a baby. Of course, finding extra money to put away can be a challenge for even the most thrifty at times. That’s why I love the Mylo app. You simply link your card and then each week Mylo rounds up all of the purchases you’ve made to the nearest dollar and invests the total! It’s totally automated, so you don’t even have to think about it. Plus, with super low fees, your savings can better add up! Learn more about Mylo here.
Get Company Samples, Freebies, Promos, and Rewards
Again, why pay for something when you can get it free? Many companies give out coupons and samples to expecting and new parents to gain new customers! Here’s a list of companies that will give free baby samples and coupons to Canadians:
When you sign up for their baby registry you will receive a gift bag with samples and coupons (if you register online you will need to go into your nearest store to get the gift bag). Register here or in store.
Signing up with the Mom Resource makes you eligible to receive tons of coupons, samples and offers – just be wary that they do sell your information and you can expect to be contacted by various companies offering their services. Join Here
Enfamil Enfagrow will send you a free sample of a toddler nutritional drink and then periodically send out coupons. Join Here
When you sign up for the Enfamil Family Beginings Club, you will receive up to $125 in coupons, samples and special offers. Join Here
You will receive electronic and mail newsletters, samples and coupons. Join Here
Nestle sends out a great starter pack with a backpack diaper bag, change pad, bottle, formula samples and coupons. Join Here
Going to their Resource page, you will find lots of free potty training resources to help the whole process go smoother (including charts, videos, tips, advice, and certificates). Get them Here
Sign up to receive samples, coupons and peroidic cheques (work like coupons). Join Here
You can join the Sobeys Baby Be Healthy program online or or in store. When you join online, you get a newsletter and recommended links. When you sign up in store, you will receive free prenatal vitamins for the duration of your pregnancy, along with a plethora of information and access to a pharmacist. Learn about the Sobeys Baby Be Healthy program here.
If you have a London Drugs nearby, be sure to sign up for their Baby Welcome Pack! When you sign up, you will receive a box of goodies that could include diapers, wipes, bum cream, and baby washes. You can also choose from a variety of newsletters with special information and exclusive offers! Sign up for the London Drugs Baby Welcome Pack here.
With pregnancy comes new clothes! Thyme Maternity is one of the most popular maternity clothing companies in Canada and currently offer bonuses for those who sign up for their Bump Benefits membership. When you join you get a welcome gift worth over $150 that includes items such as Pampers Newborn Diapers, Advent bottles, and Toys R Us, RW&Co and Thyme Maternity coupons, among other specials and coupons. Then, with each dollar that you spend, you earn points that can be redeemed for more perks later on! Learn more about this great program and sign up here.
Each pregnancy, I have been absolutely addicted to pregnancy calendars and baby development calendars. When you join the MAM Club, one of the benefits is great pregnancy and baby development calendars sent to your email each month. On top of that, members also get special offers, contests and opportunities to try new MAM products before the hit the shelves. Join the MAM Club here.
Sign up for the No Baby Unhugged program and Huggies will send you a free pack of newborn size diapers! You can later redeem your Huggies points for more diapers (among other great rewards!) Get your free pack of Huggies Newborn Diapers here!
Head over to the Honest Company’s site and you will get a chance to try out their diapers and wipes for free (just pay $5.95 in shipping and handling)! In their free trial offer, you get 5 diapers and 10 wipes. This is a trial offer that will turn into a subscription service if you do not cancel. So if you don’t want to continue with the Honest Company, be sure to cancel before you get charged! Sign up for the trial here.
This program is geared to families and focuses its samples and contests based on your family’s demographics and interests. Totally free to join, Family One connects you with brands that carry products that fit your family. Through samples and contests, you can get lots of great products and freebies that you will actually use! Join Family One here.
When you join Moms Meet as a Mom Ambassador, you get the chance to learn about and try many great products. This program is for moms who are active in their local group of moms, who can host other moms (and their kids) to sample various products. The Mom Ambassadors then share the group’s feedback with Moms Meet who passes it back to the sample company. Mom Ambassadors not only get to sample great products, but they also get thank you gifts and points that can be redeemed for awesome rewards for hosting the groups. Learn more about Moms Meet and apply to be a Mom Ambassador here.
The European idea of the baby box made it’s way to Canada and with it, came informative resources and useful products for new parents. The purpose of this program is to better prepare parents and as such, there are a few steps to take before claiming your box. The first thing you need to do is take an online course that includes a series of short videos from experts in prenatal, infant and childcare. You then need to demonstrate your knowledge from the courses in a short quiz. You can re watch videos to help you out and attempt the quizzes as many times as you’d like. After you complete the quiz, you will receive a reward that is relevant to your child’s life stage. It may be a baby box for newborns, or safety and care products, or even coupons! You can pick up your reward for free, or have it shipped, though shipping charges may apply. Start the process to get your Baby Box here!
*Even if you breastfeed and don’t use your formula samples, you can still put them to good use by donating them to your local woman’s shelter or food bank*