Babies are a wonderful joy to bring home, but the financial side of things can be more cries than happy coos. According to the detailed list at TheBump.com, preparing for your first baby’s first year can total up to $30,000. The cost of diapers, supplies and baby gear alone can total between $1425 and $3770. While that number may seem high when you start fully considering lifestyle changes you are probably making, that number for gear for a first child is not out of line.
Frugal minded people know that there is a lot of variation in that number listed above. Many items can be crossed off your list when planning for your new little bundle. Whether you are buying a baby gift or preparing for your own bundle, I suggest cutting your budget in the three areas I have listed below.
A Fancy Nursery
There are quite a few beautiful nurseries on the internet. Custom curtains, matching shams, vintage figurines and matching chevron gliders are beautiful. The reality is that paying for these items make the nursery beautiful but simply are not important at 2 am when you are trying to convince your restless baby it is time to sleep. After two years, you are suddenly moving your child into a bigger bed and many of the baby items are moved out. When you are prepping for your child, that time seems like an eternity away, but it truly does come along quickly.
Your baby needs a safe place to rest, a place to put clothes and diapers and perhaps a few small cutesy items to make it feel homey. For me, a comfortable glider was also something I prioritized for the long nights. If you want to put a few special touches on your nursery, check out this list from Red Tricycle with some great ideas of décor items that are cute and under $50.
Newborn Sized Clothing
Most babies simply do not stay in the newborn size for very long. It is so easy to be sucked into the baby clothes aisle and start throwing items into your cart. Everything is tiny, adorable and very hard to resist. Other than ensuring I had a few onesies in newborn size, and maybe a special outfit to leave the hospital in, I would wait before purchasing newborn sized clothes. Put your efforts and your cash into larger sizes that will fit your child longer. If you receive many newborn sized items as gifts, I would suggest leaving the tags on some items. Some babies come home from the hospital too large for this size, and others only stay in this size for a week or two.
I also wish I had not been so focused that my child’s clothes always fit perfectly with my first. While you do not want your baby’s clothes sliding off, I focused too much on that number on the label. When it was time to switch to a new size of clothing rather than considering what fit, I pulled everything with the wrong number on the label. The reality is hoodies, sweaters, and many other items are perfectly fine when they fit a little big with some room to grow. Sizing can be tricky with some brands running big and others running small. Over at Happy Little Homemaker, they have compiled a nice file that has the size charts for many of the major brands found in the US. While that list leaves off a several Canadian brands, there are many brands such as Old Navy, Carters and The Children’s Place that are readily available in Canada.
There are a million baby gadgets available parents, all of which are claiming to make your life easier. The problem is many of these items also end up being unnecessary. When my daughter was young, I purchased a cloth high chair that can be attached to any chair. I was thrilled, thinking when we were traveling we would always have a chair. The reality was most places we went have high chairs. The lifespan on the product was much shorter than I had considered as my daughter very quickly was moving too much to make the product useful. We had about five months where this high chair was useful.
Carefully consider the lifespan of the products you are considering. Many items can be purchased used, or even borrowed from a friend. Some of the items I would consider skipping include a wipes warmer, an expensive changing station, novelty items such as the Pee Pee Teepee and pricey designer diaper bags. I also find that once your child has arrived there is more clarity as to the types of gadgets that would make your life easier. Save a small slush fund for these items. For example, a diaper clutch kept my diapers and wipes easily accessible and can be thrown into any bag. My daughter is still working on potty training and long after I gave up my diaper bag, I still use my diaper clutch.
It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new baby. Do not let your credit card suffer the burden as you try to prepare. By cutting your budget on some of the unnecessary items, it leaves you more room for items that are important to you for your new baby.
Bargainmoosers, what baby items do you think are essential? What items would you suggest a parent skip?