When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, we were excited beyond words that our desire to grow our family was finally becoming real! After that elation, I immediately went into research mode to prepare all that we could for our new son. I was beyond words yet again soon after, this time from sticker shock at the cost of raising a tiny human being (that decimal point really in the right spot?!).
I then got out my thrifty binoculars on and came up with this list of best savings hacks to get cheap baby stuff at Babies R Us and avoid getting caught up in all the cute things (okay, you are permitted to have a few). Save hundreds when you buy baby gear with these simple savings techniques that many parents don't know or overlook.
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These first two are common tips that most people know about, but mentioning them just in case you don't know.
Sign up for the Babies R Us rewards program
With their loyalty program, you can earn points from your purchases to earn store cash coupons. At the time of this post, you get $5 in store cash for every $125 you spend. It's free to join.
Create a baby registry
The registry is something totally separate from the rewards program, so make sure you sign up for both.
Here are some of the perks you'll get just by signing up for a registry:
- Endless earnings: 10% of everything purchased from your registry (by you or others) in the form of a gift card after your baby is born
- Registry completion discount: About 6 weeks prior to your due date, get a 15% coupon in the mail to purchase whatever is remaining on your registry
- Up to 1-year return policy: This 1-year policy is from the date of your child's birth.
You can technically create your registry in store, but it's faster to set up online and then head in store to get the scanner to beep all the things you want. While there, don't forget to ask for your free welcome kit, which includes some free diapers and a bunch of coupons.
1. Sign up for mailing list to get coupons all the time
2. Trade in old baby gear for 25% savings
Bring used gear, like an old car seat, high chair, pack n play, etc during their annual trade-in events (sign up for their mailing list to get announcements) and get a 25% or more discount coupon on new purchases. You don't need to trade like for like, so if you have a car seat but need a new high chair, you can make the trade in and reap the savings benefit.
First-time parent without any used gear? A great tip from a Babies R Us employee: Check Craigslist or curbside bulky item pick-up to get these for free for trade-in.
3. Attend registry events
Free cookies, fun baby shower games and prizes? Count me in! All attendees get a free goodie bag with diapers and coupons, and can win neat prizes from the games. Even if you're not the best at games, they do have a few consolation gifts so you won't go home empty-handed.
Hint (take it or leave it): head to the store a little early and take note of prices of popular items for their price is right game. We happened to get there before the event started so browsed around the store, which helped us win at that game unintentionally.
4. Attend registry events...more than once
This is how we scored 2 packs of diapers, 2 packs of wipes, a bath towel, and other loot in addition to our first-time winnings. At the end of our first registry event, the staff invited us to come back again for their next one, and so we took them up on their offer. Turns out, we were the only participants who showed up that day so we got to take home EVERYTHING.
Feel weird to attend the event again? At first, so were we, but in the end we decided that free diapers were worth going back. The staff were happy to see us again (and remembered us!).
5. Shop elsewhere to find cheap baby stuff
6. Hold off on your purchases until close to your due date
7. Thrifty hack to make the most from your registry and rewards benefits
Now this workaround is one that not a lot of people know about. As I mentioned above, the baby registry is separate from the rewards program. There's a policy where if you use the baby registry completion discount coupon, you won't earn rewards points on your purchase. So how did I work around this? I gave my sister final shopping list and had her use my coupon but with her rewards number. It worked (thanks, sis!)!
8. Check your registry benefits
9. Buy whatever you think you'll need that first year
10. Lost a receipt for something you want to return? No problem!
11. Manufacturer coupon cash out in store credit
12. Save up purchase in increments of $25
13. Take advantage of gift card promotion on diapers
14. Shop at Toys R Us
15. Attend more in-store events
16. Sign up for the Babies R Us credit card
17. Buy gift cards online
I don't mean from Babies R Us. I'm talking about Raise.com, a discounted gift card marketplace. I've seen about 10% off Babies R Us gift cards from this site.
18. Pit stop before BabiesRUs.com
It can be convenient to shop online, getting free shipping after you spend a certain threshold or so you can pick up your order in store and not have to wait in line. Another reason to consider shopping online is Rakuten (formerly Ebates), which gives you cash back on your purchase. You can even use this shopping hack to cash in on greater savings.
- Buy gift card from Raise.com (note you can buy a egift card or physical card; if the latter, take into account transit time before you head to the store)
- Wait for registry discount coupon
- Wait for mail coupons (free gift on $25 purchase, 15% one item)
- Bring friend/relative (who has a Babies r Us rewards number)
- Have friend/relative give their rewards number at checkout
- Apply coupon for free gift
- Apply 15% coupon on most expensive item
- Apply registry discount coupon
- Take friend/relative out for lunch
You can take it a step further by signing up for the credit card and applying the 10% first-time purchase too, IF you are comfortable doing that. Just sticking to the above will get you significant savings.
Not totally convinced?
Wondering if doing "all" this work is worth it?
Well let's walk through a very realistic yet totally conservative scenario.
Dollar amount of baby stuff to buy:
- $150 minimum car seat stroller system
- $50 minimum pack n play/crib
- $50 minimum diaper accessories
- $50 minimum breastfeeding/formula supplies
=$300 (and this doesn't take into account any other stuff you probably want to buy)
An example of the savings you could get just from the above:
- $25 saved from a $200 gift card from Raise.com at 10% off (equal to $20 discount) and $5 sign on bonus
- $37.50 saved with 25% off big-ticket item with trade-in event (applied to the largest purchase of the car seat stroller system)
- $30 saved with registry completion discount code
- $10 earned in rewards points from family/friend using their rewards account
- $7.50 saved with 15% off single item purchase, applied to pack n play/crib (from mailing list coupon)
- $7.50 value of free item with $25 purchase (from mailing list coupon)
This comes out to about A THIRD of your total purchase, which to me, is totally worth the patience and stacking of coupons.
And if that is not convincing enough, let's think about what you can do with that extra $100+:
- Save for your kid's college fund (or daycare fund, considering how astronomical prices are for it nowadays)
- Treat yourself to a massage (because carrying a baby ain't easy and you totally deserve it!)
Now that I'm sure I've convinced you, do yourself and your little one the favor by utilizing these little-known savings hacks to get cheap baby gear from Babies R Us.