MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Baby-savings class

MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) - According to the USDA, new parents will spend an average of $13,000 on their new bundle of joy in the first year.

As the creator of RichmondBargains.com, Alison Brown knows raising a baby doesn't have to break the bank, but she had to learn the hard way.

"Looking back, I realize there's just so many things I didn't know because nobody told me, there was no way for me to know," said Brown.

Now she's sharing what she's learned raising her two boys in a free baby-savings class. Her first piece of advice: the baby registry isn't always the best deal.

"What you should put on or what you could leave off and buy yourself and get a better value," said Brown.

Like a high chair. Alison's son Andy uses a $30 booster seat instead.

"I's smaller, it's more flexible."

Two of the biggest expenses are formula and diapers. In the first year alone, parents can easily spend $1,000 on diapers and $1,400 on formula. Alison's class will show parents how to bring down those numbers.

"This is pretty much what I wish someone had told me five years ago, and saved me a lot of money."

She'll discuss how to buy maternity wear, toys, and clothes for less. Alison knows the second hand market well and says there are some items you should avoid.

"Car seats, you need to buy them new... because they could have been in an accident that you don't know about, and according to manufacturers, they're not safe to use at that point."

She recommends borrowing big-ticket items from friends before you spend a lot of money.

"A lot of babies are temperamental and nobody tells you that. Some kids love the swing, some kids hate the swing. You may not want to spend that hundred dollars before you've tried it."

The baby-savings class will be held at the Midlothian library on Saturday, September 22. Registration is required.

Register for the baby-savings class - link

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