How to maximize baby expenses
We’ve partnered with American Express to bring you personal finance news, advice and more. Check out Credit Intel, Amex’s financial education center, for more personal finance content.
The offers and benefits mentioned below are subject to change at anytime, and may no longer be available.
Although they bring a ton of love and happiness to the world, babies come with many added expenses to your existing household. From pediatrician co-pays to formula to those extra cute kids clothing that you can’t resist buying, your credit card bill is probably looking slightly scary. And of course let’s not forget about your hospital bill from your delivery. While there are ways to cut out some of those new expenses, you are still going to want to maximize every penny spent for the necessities. Let’s discuss some way to maximize the expenses you’ll encounter as you raise your new bundle of joy.
Use an online shopping portal
Before you make any baby purchase online, remember one thing: go through an online shopping portal first. This will allow you to earn points, miles or cash back on almost every single purchase you make. You just need to make sure to sign in and click through to your desired retailer first from the portal, instead of going straight to the retailers own website. This takes just an extra minute at most and will allow you to maximize your purchase immensely.
To compare the payouts between many of the portals, you can use evrewards or cashbackmonitor. Portal payouts change quite often and there are times when some offer increased bonuses for meeting certain spend thresholds. I personally like to opt for the cash back options with either Rakuten or TopCashBack as I find they typically have the highest payouts. I also like getting cash back in my pocket to help offset the cost of my purchase right away. But if you prefer to earn points or miles, I am a fan of using the Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping site since there are limited ways to earn miles in this program. Another great option is to use the Southwest Rapid Rewards Shopping site since points earned count towards the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.
Save your receipts
There are many apps out there that will pay you a small fraction of your purchase price for simply snapping a picture of your receipt at a participating store. Ibotta, Dosh and Fetch Rewards are some of the more popular apps and are extremely easy to use. Once you set up an account, search for any items you might be purchasing and if you find a match, you’ll easy receive cash back into your account. While some of these payouts might be less than a dollar, money can quickly add up and every penny counts. Some even offer a bonus simply for signing up for an account and making your first transaction.
Ibotta, for example, partners with many stores that sell baby items, such as Walmart, Target, Buy Buy Baby, Costco and Sam’s Club, You’ll also find many chain drug stores and grocery stores on the list. This is a quick and easy way to get some rewards on baby purchases you were going to make anyways.
Register for Amex Offers
Amex Offers is sometimes the absolute best way to receive immediate money-saving gratification on an upcoming purchase. All you have to do is activate the offer from your AmericanExpress.com account or through the American Express app and your statement credit will appear within a few weeks. Just make sure to do this prior to making your purchase. The best part about Amex Offers is that you can combine this with any coupons you find as well as online shopping portal payouts. Some Membership Reward earning cards will often offer bonus points instead of cash back.
This works on all American Express credit cards, including co-branded cards. Offers are targeted and require you to navigate through all of your cards in your account to see eligible offers per card. New offers pop up quite often, so it is always a good idea to check your Amex Offers on all of your American Express cards to see if there are any additional savings for your upcoming purchases.
Use the best credit card for your purchase
With any purchase you make in life, it is important to choose the best credit card for you. Many credit cards offer category bonuses where you’ll receive increased points at many everyday purchases, such as grocery stores, drug stores, Amazon and even big-boxed stores.
This means for every trip to the grocery store to purchase baby food, you’ll want to use a card that will give you the biggest return. For example, the American Express® Gold Card earns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1x points earned). The Points Guy valuation of American Express Membership Reward points 2.0 cents per point. This can be thought of as an 8% return on your entire purchase.
Meet your minimum spend requirement
Depending on your health insurance, delivering a baby can be a shocking bill to swallow. Between the hospital stay, epidural, pre- and post-natal care as well as many other miscellaneous fees, you could be looking at a bill well into the thousands, even after your insurance kicks in.
Let’s assume you walk away with a $3,000 bill (of course each individual situation will vary greatly). While no want wants to see a high bill after bringing home your new bundle of joy, it could be a good opportunity to meet minimum spend on a credit card.
If you prepare in advance, this could be the perfect reason to pick up the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. Just paying this one bill could easily meet the minimum spend required and earn you the current 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points. (Note: You must meet the minimum spend required within the first three months of card membership).
This same thought process should be put into place for daycare costs. If you are lucky enough to send your child to a daycare that takes credit card, you are in luck. Make sure to put everything possible on your card, especially when there is no fee. For daycares or other providers that do not take credit card, you might want to look into a bill-pay service such as Plastiq. Just make sure the points, miles and other benefits you are earning is greater than the fee you are paying.
With children costing an average of $12,000 per year, your best bet is to find ways to maximize every single purchase made. Whether that is earning points and miles with your favorite loyalty program or earning cash back with statement credits and apps, your savings can absolutely add up. Just putting in a little bit of effort can actually go a long way and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the many ways to boost your baby purchases.
Want more content on personal finance? Visit Credit Intel, American Express’ financial education center.