(WSPA) – It is no secret that a bundle of joy costs a bundle each year.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates parents pay between $15,000-$17,000 annually per child.  

That is why 7NEWS Here to Help looked into how to slash that baby budget and still get exactly what you need.

When it comes to saving on your first baby, or 5th, there’s no better advice than from moms who have been there and done that.  

Jessi Williams, in Belton, said she has learned a lot and cautions others not to fall into the new mom trap.  

“That was my big issue with my first boy, was OK, if we need this I’m going to go to the store and buy it,” Williams said.  

Nevertheless, well before her 8-week-old daughter came along, Williams got the swing of it.

Secondhand Facebook groups

“I thought, well why don’t I get on Facebook instead and look there,” according to Williams. “Nine times out of ten it’s parents, OK, I’ve got this I need to get rid of it whether it be free, $5, $10, it’s still a lot cheaper than going to the store.”

She recommends getting in on one of the many parent Facebook groups where you can buy and sell secondhand kids’ stuff close to your house.

  • KidSift is a very popular private group with different sub-groups depending on where you live
  • To find other private selling groups, search for parent groups in your area and ask other local moms
  • Facebook Marketplace is an open group that often has a lot of kid products, but may offer less security, so be sure to meet up in a public place

Baby registry savings

Greenville mother-of-three Taylor Holliday said don’t forget the savings from baby registries like Amazon and Target.  

You’ll not only get 15% off remaining items for months after your birth, even new ones you may add, but you’re also likely to get a ton of free samples.

Know your insurance

Whatever you do, Holliday adds, research your health insurance so you don’t wrack up unnecessary medical expenses.  

“I didn’t realize until after my first son that lactation support was covered fully.  And so, I was actually paying out of pocket,” Holliday said.

You can also save money on breast pumps.

That’s because nowadays most insurance companies will give you one for free per child.

Make a baby budget

Kristina Hernandez, with Kidding Around Greenville, said the best way to stick to a baby budget, is to make one in the first place.

A great first step is to use one of the many online baby calculators available online. 

Here are a few:

“And so, you budget it out and you get a grand total,” Hernandez explained. “So, if that number’s too high, go back in your list and then try to edit those numbers down and say OK, I think I can cut this out, right? And then you can feel like a rockstar because now you’re doing a great job budgeting for your baby.”

Check for recalls

Hernandez insists there is really only one baby item you may not want to buy used: Car seats. She said that is so that they aren’t expired or recalled.

While older cribs and high-chairs, swings and rockers can also present safety issues, it is wise with any baby product to check to see if it has been recalled before buying used or new. 

Many stores that sell secondhand children’s goods like Once Upon A Child, Kid to Kid and the bi-annual Switcharoos have staff that check to make sure the products they sell are not expired or under recall.

Buy brands new at a discount

If brand-new baby supplies are what you’re after, at Diddy’s Warehouse in Inman, you can have your crib and afford diapers, too.

They sell overstock products from major retailers for at least 40% off.

“For instance, these booster seats, these retail for over $30, as you can see we are selling them for $5,” Scott Bishop, with Diddy’s, said.

What about daycare?

Now, when it comes to daycares, the best way to save is to shop around the minute you get pregnant since wait lists are long.  

Also, families should check with South Carolina’s First Five program, to see if they qualify for 40 different services that help parents, including financial support for childcare.

How about free stuff?

Finally, don’t overlook free exchanges online.  

The day we met up with Williams, she was paying it forward using the private Facebook group Buy Nothing Upstate where you donate or receive items, neighbor to neighbor.

It’s one way she tracked down opened diaper bags that were no longer needed by other parents but were perfect for her kids, all totally free.  

“My kids are worth everything, but I don’t have to spend every cent we have on them to give them everything,” Williams said.