So. We are kind of doing this whole "baby thing" on a pretty minimalist budget. Anything we cant afford, we will simply do without. Fact: it builds character to grow up sleeping in a cardboard box.
We have accumulated a rather small pile of stuff so far, and all of it, outside of a few items we bought "in case of accidents" right after we got married (mostly baby-related medical stuff and a few basic clothes), has been free.
I took advantage of a free clothing swap my church hosted last month to get more neutral-ish clothes, including some awesome bunting from Baby Gap that still had tags! I'm pretty proud of that one.
Anyway, out of curiosity I started looking around for other possible free stuff for babies that didn't require I sell my soul (or email/mailing address) to the devil, and I discovered the magical gift bags that many baby-related stores hand out like fliers for a blood drive. We've gotten a whole bunch of free stuff this way, and while I think we've pretty much exhausted our freebie resources (besides a few potentially sketchy online subscription freebie coupon-y things), I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. And here I am to tell you all about it!
Keep in mind I hadn't actually intended to do this initially, so I didn't always keep everything. Plus with the bucket loads of coupons and "magazines" and junk, there's always more than I'm showing here.
One of the first places I got free stuff from was Motherhood Maternity. I know this place is kind of expensive, but they *do* have the most comfortable maternity jeans known to mankind, so if you're going to get a pair, just get one from here and you're all set. Also keep in mind I think this is only in-store. Anyway, they send you off with a packet of free goodies, coupons, samples, etc. What you see here is pretty much all I kept, so you decide if it's worth it.
(I'm doing this on my phone and it usually throws all the pictures to the end, so if you don't see it here, scroll down and see... Pic 1)
That's a 5oz "natural style" Avent bottle (similar to the Tommee Tippee style if you know it). Ah, free things.
I think I also got similar coupon-y things and a little bottle of Palmer's Shea Lotion for stretch marks for 50¢ from Zulilly.
The most awesome packages, though, come when you start registries, which is pretty fun anyway, so this is really an all-win situation.
I had heard that Buy Buy Baby had the best freebie packets, so we went there first. I doubt anyone will ever even look at my registry at that store, and we only put like 10 things on it anyway since we were mostly there for the free stuff. But if you can get past the slightly ridiculous store name, hide your face and go in, because the gift bag really is worth it.
I didn't even keep all the samples because they weren't relevant (ie little toddler fruit snacks), but there were seriously a bunch, including a few "mom-related" ones that aren't pictured here. The bottle is another 5oz natural Avent bottle, but I had to mail in for it using a voucher that came in the bag. It takes a long time to come, FYI, so forget it if you're impatient.
Target also has pretty decent gift bags. Not nearly as much stuff, but still some cool things. We actually ended up getting two of these because we went back to another Target to add a carseat/stroller thing that they didn't have at the other one, and the lady (perhaps because she was distracted) gave us another packet. But they had different stuff in them, so I'm not complaining.
Things of note in the first one: lion teething toy, Mam pacifier, diaper samples, and the blue thing is a refill for a diaper genie, which we aren't getting, but we can still use it I'm sure.
In the second one: diaper samples, and a 5oz Tommee Tippee bottle-- I have to say, most excellent. I now have 3 little bottles of super quality and didn't pay for them. Other than the bottle, this bag was pretty scant. Maybe they spent their budget on the bottles.
Anyway, last of all is Babies R Us. I was pretty disappointed by this one.
Yep, that's it. Wipes and milk storage bags. They also gave us a couple of sample parenting magazines, but who cares about those, really? Oh, and there was a mail-in offer for a free little cooler thing to carry bottles in on-the-go, but obviously I haven't gotten it yet. Hopefully it arrives before this baby graduates high school.
But the store we went to was also having a little game thing at the time (not sure if it's all stores though), where you got a little plastic tote thing with formula in it if you registered for 150 items in one go.
Of course, we took that as a challenge and pulled it off (umm...nobody look at that registry until I remove all the extra sippy cups and superfluous electronics, mmkay?). But what we didn't realize was that the formula (which we were planning to save as emergency food storage for the baby), was two 32oz cans of liquid formula, which expires a week before the baby's due date. So I guess if you're going to try for that one, don't get overexcited until you know exactly what's being offered (and we ended up giving it to my aunt, so someone still wins).
So I guess that's it. My recommendation is to register anywhere and everywhere (although I don't think Walmart does gift bags, if they do, tell me, and I have found my weekend entertainment), even if you don't plan on telling anyone about the registry, because hey, free stuff. In fact maybe you don't even have to be pregnant yet...no one has to know...