UPDATED! Originally published 20 Feb 2015
Pregnancy comes with plenty of extra expenses, some subtle and some glaring. Of course some expenses like insurance co-pays can’t be helped, but there are still ways that you can save money during those nine months of anticipation!
Without even talking about baby, there are definitely some increased costs during pregnancy. Today, let’s focus on some ways that you can SAVE money on pregnancy! Please chime in with your tips in the comments!
Saving Money on Pregnancy Tests
If you’re paying more than $1 for pregnancy test, you’re paying too much. Did you know that you can buy pregnancy tests at the dollar store? True story! If they aren’t in the personal care section, they are often up near the register.
The science behind pregnancy test is very basic. The $1 version is just as accurate as the $20 version from the drug store.
In fact, I have always bought no-frills HCG pregnancy tests online. They aren’t anything fancy, but they do the job! I’m not one who posts photos of pregnancy tests (or anything else I pee on), so I don’t care that they look simple and cheap.
They usually come in bulk (pack of 10 or more), but they cost around $.30 each. Although they have an expiration date, we have found that they are accurate for years past the date. For such a low price, you don’t have to feel guilty taking more than one test! Share them with your friends!
If you’re trying to conceive, you can also get cheap ovulation tests in bulk online.
Save Money on Maternity Clothes
Call me weird, but I always get excited when it’s time to break out my maternity clothes, not only because it means I’m starting to show, but it means I get a wardrobe change! A wardrobe change is pretty exciting for someone who rarely buys new clothes (by the end of pregnancy I’m definitely ready for another wardobe change!). The best part about my maternity clothes is that I spent very little on them. In fact, most of them were free!
Getting Maternity Clothes FREE
Most maternity clothes are only worn for 4 or 5 months for each baby. They spend the rest of their lives in a box or bin in the garage or attic. Many women save them for next time or “just in case,” but are totally willing to lend or give them to friends. When I lived near my sisters, we shared our maternity clothes with each other.
While my husband was in law school, a tall friend was excited to lend me her maternity clothes since it can be hard to find pants and shirts that are long enough when you’re tall. Another friend from church who had just had a baby (her last) gave me bags of maternity clothes when she heard I was expecting.
Spread the word! Whether that means letting the ladies at church or your moms’ group know that you’re looking for maternity clothes, posting a wanted ad in the free section of Craigslist, or telling your Facebook friends that you’d be happy to take any maternity clothes off their hands, letting people know you are open to offers is the key to getting them!
Getting Maternity Clothes CHEAP
Before you head out to an over-priced maternity boutique, take a look at garage sales, thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, and Craigslist. You can find lots of gently-used maternity clothes. I try to look for timeless (not trendy) pieces, so that I can use them again in the future without feeling like I walked out of someone’s scrapbook. Though, if the price is right, something trendy can spice things up a bit.
Also, keep an eye on the clearance rack at Target. Most of the maternity clothes that I bought new came from Target and were often about the same price you’d pay at a thrift store or consignment store!
Online kids and women’s consignment-type shops have maternity clothes too. You can get a $10 credit when you sign up with ThredUp. ThredUp has a high standard for the clothes they accept, so you can be confident you’ll find quality, gently-used, top notch variety there. They also give you additional credit for sharing with friends and family, so if you decide you love it, you can pass the news on to others and maybe get some Thredup clothes for free!
Save Money on Cravings
For some, it’s the classic pickles or ice cream. Others crave eggplant or steak or ice chips. When I’m pregnant, cold cereal hits the spot at any time of day. Chocolate is also a safe bet any time of the year.
You know what you’ll want. Whatever your cravings are for, be sure to keep them on hand. Stocking up on the foods that you constantly crave will prevent expensive midnight runs to the store. Your husband will thank you.
Save Money on Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are recommended before, during, and after pregnancy, so if you’re planning on having more than one child, you can plan on years of prenatal vitamins. The cost of vitamins can really add up.
When it comes to prenatal vitamins, there are all sorts of fancy brands that promise to increase your baby’s IQ or ensure 20/20 vision. They’ll try to win you over with free samples and educational literature. There’s plenty of guilt-ing out there along the lines of, “If you really love your baby, you’ll give her the best, most expensive vitamins.” And you might spend $30 on 100 capsules. That’s over $200 for two years of vitamins!
I’m not sold on them. I’ve always gone with the generic brand at Target or Walmart, currently $4 for 100 capsules ($28 for two years.) And my kids are all beautiful and borderline genius! I kid, kind of; they are cute and smart. All my OBs and midwives have said that generic vitamins are just fine. Combined with a healthy diet, you should be set. If you’re curious, these are the very affordable prenatal vitamins I’m currently taking.
Some pharmacies will even give you free prenatal vitamins. During law school, I remember hearing the ads for free prenatal vitamins in the checkout at Meijer. When I got pregnant, I had my doctor write me a prescription for prenatal vitamins (basically just to prove that I was really pregnant) and I got all my vitamins for free at the Meijer pharmacy.
Save Money on Insurance
Know your insurance plan. How much are the co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs for you and the baby? Read the fine print. Know what care providers and hospitals are in-network. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (i.e. “How much will this test cost?” “Is this covered by my insurance?”) both of your insurance company and of your care provider.
Prices for the same procedure vary from hospital to hospital, so feel free to shop around like you would for any other major purchase. If you’re paying out of pocket, you can always try to negotiate rates.
See if your insurance plan has a special “Future Moms” or “Healthy Moms” program. Our current insurance plan has an educational program that helps expectant moms have healthier and longer term pregnancies. The bonus is that if you enroll in and complete the program they will pay for hospital inpatient costs. I’m in the process of signing up (there are some hoops to jump through), but it will be well-worth the money saved when it comes to the hospital bill. I’ll keep you updated!
Save Money by Not Shopping… Yet!
To distract you from spending money and keep you busy, go over to Amazon and start your baby registry there! In addition to having fun creating your wish list you also get a free box of baby goodies (valued at $35) and near the end of your pregnancy you get a “completion discount” which means you get 15% (or 10% if you aren’t an Amazon Prime member) on things on your registry. That alone makes it well worth it, even if you’re just stocking up on essentials. 🙂
I literally just took a break from this post to go create a new registry for our baby due in November. I don’t expect anyone to buy gifts from it (it is my sixth baby, after all), but it will be nice to have that 15% discount on some things I would have bought on Amazon anyway.
How About you?
- How do you you save money on pregnancy?
- What unexpected or surprising pregnancy related expenses have you had?
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