Q: You guys are so good with money I wondered if you’d consider sharing some of the ways you kept from bleeding money once you had Clara. I’ve heard that having a baby and buying all the baby stuff can set you back a few years’ worth of savings and I’m scared! But I’m sure you have figured out a few ways to be frugal without skipping a beat when it comes to providing everything that Clara needs. As you love to say, do tell! – Megan
A: The good news is that we actually expected that having a baby (and setting up the house for one) would be a lot pricier than it actually was. Of course every parent’s experience is different (especially when it comes to how many hand-me-downs you might get lucky enough to inherit, or how many registry items you’ll be fortunate enough to receive) but after lots of expert-mom-&-dad-interviewing we definitively concluded that we didn’t need every baby gadget on the market. Not even close. And with a little bit of strategy you can hopefully figure out what you really need, what you can skip, and what you’ll likely receive from others (so you don’t end up with too much of one thing and not enough of another).
Of course parenting is an extremely personal thing, and what works for us won’t necessarily work for everyone, but here’s the rundown of all the things that we did to save money without sacrificing an ounce of fun or comfort for Clara.
We Resisted The Baby Clothing Draw- We heard time and time again from pro moms & dads (we’re talking 3+ kids) that clothing is such an easy thing to go overboard on and that many (many) friends and relatives will buy you cute outfits of all sizes- so many that there’s little need to stock up for yourself. Of course we couldn’t resist a few adorable outlet onesies (or this cute 4th of July outfit from Old Navy) but for the most part we tried insanely hard to dodge the baby shopping spree bullet. And all that willpower was worth it. Those expert parents were 100% correct. Clara ended up with more outfits than Mariah Carey thanks to hand-me-downs from relatives and an astronomical amount of adorable clothing from generous friends and family members who wanted to welcome her to the world. Seriously, the girl’s clothing cup runneth over.
We Registered For The Biggies- We crossed our fingers that friends and family members would go in on some of the larger items on our registry together, so we resisted the urge to scan every cute onesie, sleeper, book, and stuffed animal that we saw in the hopes that we’d receive more “needs” than “wants,” which are always higher up on the priority list. Amazingly, we got our Ergo carrier, our swing, our stroller, our car seat and our Angelcare Monitor from our registry! Seriously, we could not have been more thrilled. So our tip would be to register for big things because you’ll inevitably get clothes and books and toys anyway- but it feels amazing to check the big expensive things off your list. And you’ll think of all your generous friends and family members who came together to get those necessities for you every time you use that stroller or that car seat (we do!). See which specific stroller and other items we chose for Clara by perusing this post.
We Accepted Hand Me Downs (With Caution)- There definitely aren’t any shortage of baby toys and gear to be seen at Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby, but what surprised us most was how many friends and family members came out of the woodwork to offer us Bumbos, Boppys, and bouncy seats galore! In fact, our tip would be to see what hand-me-downs might present themselves (before registering for things or buying them for yourself) since that’s a super easy way to save some major moolah. But our second tip would be to use restraint when it comes to accepting freebies from those kind friends and relatives (to avoid having a house full of every single contraption imaginable with no room for the actual baby!). While we were offered many amazing items, we thought long and hard about what would most likely work for our lifestyle and reminded ourselves that we could always request things after Clara came home if the need for them later arose. In the end, aside from hand me down clothing, we only accepted one hand-me-down sling (which Clara loves by the way), one gently used Boppy (so convenient), one nearly-new Bumbo (where Clara loves to sit and “read”) and a doorway jumper (check out how much she adores that here). And those four items alone would have set us back over $150, so we’re glad to have them!
We Bucked Conventional Baby Gear- One way to keep our small house from getting overrun with baby stuff and to keep money in our pockets was to go back to interviewing those expert moms and dads about what they learned that they could live without. Time and time again they told us that big expensive highchairs were no more effective than a smaller (and much cheaper!) booster seat with a tray. Duly noted. We also heard that investing in one do-it-all stroller was a lot more space efficient and cost effective than getting a string of strollers for each stage of baby development. These two tips alone saved us at least two to four hundred bucks (!) because they enabled us to confidently pick up a $25 booster seat and a single one-size-fits-all stroller that will last until Clara is done with it (which we were lucky enough to receive as a gift from our registry). See which specific stroller and other items we chose for Clara by perusing this post. Update: We later invested in a jogging stroller since our do-it-all-stroller couldn’t fill that function, but never bought/needed a snap n go stroller or an umbrella stroller, so it’s helpful to really consider what you’ll use before buying them all.
We Saved Every Penny With Clara’s Name On It- We set up a 529 fund within two weeks of taking Clara home from the hospital and we’ve diligently been investing every single welcome-to-the-world check that she’s received. We’ve also decided that we’ll save a set amount of money each month for her there, which will help to pay for her education after years of tax-free interest collecting.
We Returned The Surplus- We learned that to best provide for Clara without breaking the bank we couldn’t be shy about returning extra clothes and repeat toys and books that we received for necessities like wipes and disposable diapers (before Clara was big enough to fit into her cloth dipes). We learned that diapers and wipes are two things that are rarely given as gifts but you use them the most so they’re super high on the necessity list! We also considered the season of clothes that we received before removing the tags. For example, summer dresses labeled “six months” won’t be useful to Clara since she’ll be six months old in the dead of winter- so we exchanged them for some heavier clothing that she’ll really get some use out of).
We Try Before We Buy- We weren’t sure if the small travel swing that we received from our registry would be enough since we heard that some babies just go ga-ga for bouncy seats. So we borrowed one from a friend only to learn that Clara was not interested (as in she cried immediately upon being placed in the thing). Thank goodness we tried it before we sprung for one! And for those who might not have items as readily available from friends and family members, don’t forget that sources like freecycle.org, craigslist.org and even local thrift stores are a great way to score something that’s gently used for a lot less.
We Skipped The Bassinet- Of course this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but thanks to a tiny bedroom that wouldn’t safely accommodate any type of bassinet and a nursery that’s located extremely close by (just six steps from our bed) Clara has been sleeping in her crib since day one (well, technically day four since we were in the hospital for days one through three). We even snapped this picture of her at her first “bedtime” after we took her home. They grow up so fast (sniffle).
Thanks to this crib-only phenomenon, we were able to save the cash that would have been put towards a bassinet and save the room that we would have devoted to storing it after she later transitioned to her crib. And we don’t know if it’s a coincidence but she’s a phenomenal sleeper. She slept through the night as soon as we were allowed to let her, at about 4 weeks, and currently sleeps 9+ hours straight (last night was an all time record from 9:30pm to 8:30am). We definitely believe that we just got lucky and ended up with a sleepy baby, but it also might help that she doesn’t get awakened by lights going on and off, parental tossing and turning, or Burger’s snoring since she has her own little haven across the hall.
We Milked Mother Nature- I know that not everyone chooses- or is even physically able- to breastfeed, but I really hoped I could make it happen. So months before Clara was born I spent time reading up on the subject online and even took a free class at my local hospital so I’d have the best possible chance. Thankfully it worked out! And Clara and I very much enjoy that time together (every few hours during the day- she’s a hungry girl!). Not only is it some pretty great mommy-beanette time, it’s also a fantastic way to save about $140 a month (which is roughly the average cost of formula). We also plan to make as much of our own organic baby food as we can when the time comes. Should be interesting!
We Saved Our Butts (And Covered Clara’s) With Cloth Diapers- Read all about that decision (and how much we saved) right here. Oh and we switched detergents so there’s an update on that in the post as well.
We Pared Down- We actually bought a video monitor and also received the Angelcare monitor that we registered for, but we quickly realized that we only needed the Angelcare monitor and happily returned the $200 (!) video one since we could hear her so well thanks to the audio function of the other monitor (and the sound of her breathing was more assuring to us than squinting at the video monitor and trying to see her chest rise and fall (which was pretty much impossible). Of course some other parents love video monitors more, so it’s not really about one type being better than the other, the point is that we definitely didn’t need both! And after some great advice from John’s sister (master momma of three) I got a single breast pump instead of double pump to save over $200 (especially since two of my friends with a double one confessed that they usually only use one pump at a time anyway). Little adjustments like one monitor instead of two and a slight downgrade in the pump department happily didn’t interfere with our lifestyle at all, but these two changes alone kept $400 in our pockets!
We Bought Three Bottles- Yup, three. Not three of one size and three of the next size and a bunch of different nipples. Just three with newborn nipples. And sure enough we’ve only needed those three. In fact we probably could have gotten by with two. Since Clara’s on an 100% mommy’s milk diet, we just use bottles for the very rare occasions when I pump (which I only do when we’ll be traveling for hours in the car and want to avoid having to stop for a feeding). Of course those who don’t work from home may need a ton more bottles on hand, but the idea is to evaluate what you can skimp on and give it a try, even if it’s something else.
We Got Our Coupon On- This is a simple one. Never buy anything at Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby without a coupon. Buy Buy Baby takes those ubiquitous Bed Bath & Beyond coupons (they’re owned by the same company) and Babies R Us usually has coupons circulating (we even got a $5 gift card by friending them on Facebook a while back). Plus nearly every time you buy something at Babies R Us you get a 20% off coupon for the next time you need something, so keep those close and use them for large items to save a bundle.
We Remembered That The Store Would Still Be There- One of the hardest urges to ignore is this one: “I should buy this now, even though the baby’s not here yet, just so I’m prepared.” The truth is that people come out of the woodwork after the baby’s born, so if you desperately need anything you’ll have a relative or friend who’d be happy to save you a trip to the store since you’re so obviously busy at home. And the odds are that for every 20 items that you resist getting beforehand, you might end up needing two or three of them after the fact. So you can see how it’ll save you money and sanity by fighting the urge to buy twenty things and just going back for the two or three that you actually need once you’re sure that you need them. We’re so glad we didn’t cave and register for/buy things like a pacifier case or a a wipe warmer since we have happily learned to live quite well without them (although some people find those items to be amazingly valuable and could easily have lived without other things). The stuff that you end up “needing” is different for every family, so just wait it out a bit to see what those things will be for you! In our house Burger is by far the most amusing “toy” around anyway… Clara can hang out next to him for hours.
So to sum things up we just tried to take it slow, resist the urge to buy every single baby item that we saw, tried as many things as we could before we bought them, accepted hand me downs (with restraint), and registered for the big stuff that we needed instead of the cute stuff that was in the “nice to have” category. We opted to get one stroller instead of three and also snagged a booster seat instead of a big pricey (and tough to store) highchair. And we realized we couldn’t avoid diapers but we found a way to make it more affordable (and, dare we say it, fun). Of course we’re only four months into parenthood so we’re hardly experts – especially on a subject that’s so subjective and personal – but those are a few of the approaches that worked for us. Now we’d love to know how you guys save money when it comes to kiddos. Do you DIY anything? Or forgo purchasing certain items that you’ve learned you don’t need? We’d love to hear what works for you.
Psst- Want to read our Save It series (about all things non-baby) from the very beginning? See how we save cash whenever we can here, here, and here. And for even more penny pinching ideas, visit our Projects page and scroll down to the Money Saving Tips category.
Pssssssst- Don’t forget to check out our weekly BabyCenter post right here, which is all about how the heck we sort, store, and keep baby clothes under control.
typo: “had-me-downs” in the hand-me-down paragraph
Thanks Rebecca! All fixed.
Cait @ Hernando House says
Such great tips, as always! Will definitely be refering back to these when we are expecting and passing the tips along to others!
This couldn’t come at a better time!! I have been resisting the urge to go baby crazy… we are due in February and the fall/winter baby stuff has just come out and I want to buy everything BUT I’m resisting because I know I’ll get everything for gifts. In fact we got a whole slew of hand-me-downs (bouncy chair, change pad, play mat, baby bottles, etc)last night from a friend, I figure we just saved a good $200-$300 just by getting those. I LOVE hand-me-downs especially since when I’m done with them I get to give them back and not worry about storing them in our tiny house!
This is an absolutely wonderful post. I have two boys (ages 5 and 2) and wish I’d read something like this six years ago. Great advice! Nice job.
we’re lucky – this is the first grandkid for my parents and my mom has gone a little crazy with helping us. We also bargain shop like crazy! I even used points from survey taking to get our stroller on amazon :)
Just curious when you started looking for a pediatrician?
We probably started looking for a pediatrician in my last trimester. We heard one doc’s name over and over again from friends & family so we met with him and loved him. Easy!
As a momma of 3 little ones, I’d say you’re right on. We didn’t have the space/cash for a changing table with #1, and didn’t feel the need to get one later with the other two. Babies can be changed anywhere. If you’re short on space in baby’s room just get a tall chest of drawers.
And each baby is absolutely different – one kid loved the bouncy, another hated it, but loved her bumbo. And yet another didn’t care for either. We’ve decided that we don’t care how ugly or enormous something is, if it is the one thing that keeps baby happy – and momma sane and showered daily – then it is worth it for the short period of time they need it.
Awesome tips! I’m not a mother, yet, and frankly not even in the market for children, but I still feel like these are useful and something that every eventual parents should know!
Good question & great post! We’re hoping to start a family soon, so the advice is very appreciated!
OMG!! adorable pics…..love the one of Clara & Burger!! :)
So what type of stroller did you end up going with?
We got a Joovy Kooper. There’s a link to a post with more info in this post. Hope it helps!
Thanks so much for this post. We are in the process of talking about babies and the financial stuff really freaks me out! This has helped some of those fears!!!
Thank you so much for this post! We are expecting in April and, as always, you have created a wonderful “go to” post. Thanks for all your hard work!
Emily @ The Happy Home says
oy! i wish i could anonymously forward this post to a few moms-to-be i know. they’ve spent SOOOO much money on things that seem totally and completely useless. i get wanting and needing to be prepped for baby, but seriously– wait ’til she’s around for a few weeks before buying EVERYTHING at babies r us!
Thanks for all the advice! I am expecting my first in January and suddenly it’s coming so quick. I look forward to reading everyone’s opinions as the comments come in.
Great post! It’s so hard to resist it when you’re pregnant and nesting, but you really don’t need that much stuff. I knew I wanted to co-sleep, so we never bought a crib. I figured that if I changed my mind, Ikea isn’t far away! I haven’t changed my mind and we’re going to transition directly to a twin when he’s around 2 or so. By skipping the crib & toddler bed, I figure we’re saving big.
I have a question about your stroller. I looked at the product description and it says from 6 months to 50 pounds. Do you have an insert for Clara since she’s younger? Also, I have a ton of friends with those car-seat friendly strollers that they can take into restaurants and stores with them. Do you just carry her when you’re eating/shopping? Okay, make that two questions :-)
We added an infant Snuzzler insert to our stroller, which Clara has been using since ten days old. Since the stroller fully reclines she’s super comfy. When we don’t want to use our stroller we wear her in a carrier (like our Ergo) or we carry her right in her car seat (like if we’re sitting outside to eat at Panera). Lots of options!
I have to admit it, I went baby crazy. BUT I only bought things on sale, with a coupon, or on clearance (my Momma taught me well). Just the other day we decided my son would enjoy a doorway jumper (after seeing Clara’s video!). We went back and forth between the jumper and an exersaucer. $40 or $90 is what it came done to. So, we tell my in-laws about it the next day and they told us they bought our son an exersaucer last Christmas and have been waiting to give it to us! We have a lot of baby equipment, but a lot are borrowed or were gifts. We haven’t spent like crazy because of my crazed sale/coupon ways, so I don’t feel too bad. The only thing that stings is buying diapers. I wish I had looked more into cloth…maybe next baby.
Anyway, love the baby posts! Great advice!
Erin C. says
I LOVE this post! My husband and I just found out we’re expecting :) Too early to tell anyone (except your thousands of readers ;) ) but not to early to start thinking about this kinda stuff. Thanks so much!
Great advice, as usual. But I get major baby envy whenever you post about Clara. Sigh… My time will come. :)
Good job on this post Youngsters! We are parents of 3 (now ages 5, 7, and 9) and honestly, the most money we’ve spent is when they all got appetites and can now out eat me at any meal! ;)
Tiffini S. says
My son has existed in hand me downs and gifted clothing since he was born. I’ve purchased less than 6 outfits in the 2.5 years he’s graced us with his presence. Maybe some socks and one pair of shoes, too.
I’ve found that people are MORE than happy to give away clothes, toys, etc., when they hear you are having a child. Plus, being an almost only grandchild on Dad’s side means they’ve purchased him plenty of clothes, too.
And now that he is older, I have been giving away things that no longer fit him like crazy! I also know I have given away things that he never even wore. Think how annoying it would be had I spent good money on those things.
The other thing we do is keep his toy reserves to a bare minimum and have enacted a ‘one thing in, one thing out’ rule for toys. ALL relatives are aware of this, too. They know that if they buy him something, he will lose something else they’ve purchased him. So their choice is to buy something and keep it at their own house, or realize that he is fine with the stuff they’ve already given.
This also works to keep expectations down. At the store with a friend last month, he pointed to a toy and said “Momma, I want that!” and I said “I’m sure you do, bubby, but we can’t buy it, ok?” He said “Ok, Mom.” My friend was amazed. She said her own daughter, a few months older, would have thrown a fit. I just said ‘He doesn’t have a lot to begin with, so he appreciates getting stuff more and realizes that he doesn’t get everything he wants.’
Greed is so 1990’s.
Great post! Thanks so much for sharing your tips N tricks for saving.
You are so lucky Clara sleeps for huge stretches. My 4 month old used to sleep pretty well at night, but has decided lately she’d rather eat every 2-3 hours. Argh! Might be time to move her into her own room. Thanks for the info on the high chair/booster seat. Did you attach it to the counter or do you just sit it on the floor?
It’s actually just one of those Fisher Price booster seats that firmly attaches to any dining room or kitchen chair. In essence, it becomes a high chair but can be stored in a lot less space (and you don’t need to make more room at the table since you can use an existing chair). Hope it helps!
Thanks for the great post! Another good reason why it’s good to register for the big things (even if you don’t think anyone will splurge on it as a gift) is that you are often given a coupon for X% off anything not purchased on your registery so if it’s something you really need you can buy it for yourself at a discount.
Consignment sales are a great way to get the bigger clothes (once all those gifts stop coming in) as well as gear and toys at a really reasonable price.
By following advice like yours, you can definitely get through the infant/baby stage without spending all your loot. It’s when you get to daycare, summer camp, etc. that it actually gets expensive and necessary. Unfortunately, noone else wants to pay for that stuff as much as they want to buy clothes, toys and books.
Thank you guys so much for sharing all of these personal details with us. I just love all of your posts about saving money and living simply, especially when it’s easy to let baby clutter and gear seriously take over your life (and house). Keep up the great work :)
Curious if the $12.99 faux sheepskin that is new for Ikea can be found on-line? The cheapest I found was $24.99. Perhaps it’s not listed on-line yet? Would love to add a couple to my wish list for the holidays and providing a link to Mom is key :)
Hmm, maybe they’re not online yet. They were definitely $12.99. Hope it helps!
We don’t have babies yet, but I’m marking this one for future reference! Thanks for the great ideas!
Hello, this is not the right post for this comment, but I cannot find the “Ask Us Anything” post that you had up on your FB page where readers can ask you anything they are curious about. I love that you both try to buy organic products and are very environmentally conscious. But you also bought a lot of inexpensive furniture from Target or IKEA, which I have read is made from pressed wood that is illegally harvested and damaging to forests. Have you considered this aspect when choosing to buy this furniture? Also, do you consider the lesser quality that may limit your long-term use of these product? I love good deals and and always trying to save my $$ when buying furniture, but how do you compare quality to price? Have you read the book “CHEAP: The High Cost of Discount Culture”? If you have, I would love to hear your thoughts on its notion that bargain culture has a hidden cost in reduced quality.
That thread is still there on Facebook (it just got buried as people posted newer things) but to quickly answer your q, we’re all about balance. We repurpose items instead of throwing them away, we buy from thrift stores and craigslist, we do buy from Ikea and Target but both of those stores (among others) have reacted to Cheap and implemented a ton of greener practices (from using sustainable wood to flat packing things so they use less emissions shipping them, etc). And all of the items that we have purchased at those stores are still going strong- not one thing has fallen apart or let us down. Of course we prefer solid wood items from thrift stores since they’re made well and will last forever (plus we’re giving something a second life by rescuing it from there) but it really is about balance to us. We do our best to buy the best products we can afford and so far we haven’t been left with anything that’s a total lemon (which of course would be a waste of money instead of a bargain). Hope it helps!
GREAT POST!! Just a question about your Joovey Kooper… does it recline well. The website says it has a two position recline? Just wondering if it goes down for when they fall asleep. Thanks!
Yup, it reclines really well. Clara sleeps in it all the time!
Kids get more expensive the older they get. Most expensive when they are driving and busy with school sports etc. I would have to say that the most expensive years are senior yr in high school and then getting them ready for college. And we are not even talking about the actual cost of college:)
How to save on all that? Hmmm well make sure if your car ins. company offers a discount for drivers ed and good grades then maximize those discounts. They can be substantial.
We always bought quality over quantity in our household. Spent a little more on big stuff like bikes etc but it seemed worth it as they always held up to be passed down to the next kid or could be sold.. Also did this with shoes when the kids are school age, the cheap shoes never last. Ski and snow board equipment, alot of ski shops do trade ins, bring in usable gear and you would get credit to apply to either new used or new. Did shop thrift stores for girls clothes,boys clothes, hard to find good used pants and T’s. Boys tend to be harder on clothes.
THe rest really comes to personal parenting style really. What is enough for one parent is not enough or too much for someone else.
Ana Brightful says
I will say that we (read: I) probably got caught up in the hooplah of nesting and wanting everything for our little bundle. Some mistakes were made for sure. But what we have done right are:
1. Using cloth dipes and wipes.
2. Using gDiapers with disposable inserts for overnight travel. We’ve gotten away with 2 gPants at a time.
3. Accepting some hand-me-downs.
4. Utilizing Craigslist to sell some of the things that we really didn’t need but couldn’t return.
5. Buying clothes a year in advance at rock-bottom prices.
Totally off-topic, but I’m wondering what’s the best Domino-equivalent magazine that you’ve found – I loved Domino and have been struggling to find a replacement.
The online magazine Lonny is basically Domino with a new name.
Hope it helps!
The BabyBargains Book is great to weed out through the nice to haves, need to haves, and value for your dollar. Would highly recommend. Just do some research as there are a ton of blogs/forums devoted to babies and many detail what is useful and not. However, as you mentioned babies aren’t one size fits all so a good deal of items should be purchased after the baby arrives – bottles/diapers/swing or bouncy seat/etc.
Word of caution though – door jumpers aren’t recommended b/c of the potential for injury. So just be careful if you decide to use them – which really could be said for anything baby related :)
Erin @ Domestic Adventure says
Love these tips! I just went online and pared down our baby registry just a bit. Great idea to keep potential gift givers focused on the truly necessary items!
I’ve been referencing your baby posts as we’re beginning to research items for our first, due in April. In some of your posts, you and other readers have said you’ve heard/read not so great (or in some cases, wonderful!) things about certain baby items – the BabyBjorn for example. Just wondering where you did your research on these, especially since you’ve had great success with the items you ended up purchasing. We’ve also been asking for feedback from friends & family on items they’ve loved/hated, but was just wondering if there was another go-to source for that kind of information? Thanks!!
There are books called Baby Bargains that come out each year which help. I also was on a BabyCenter message board with lots of other prego women so it was a great resource.and family members sent me links to articles while I was pregnant (and I googled things if I had specific questions). Hope it helps!
Great tips! I wish my sister could have read this before she had her baby. She and her husband literally bought one of EVERY SINGLE THING that Babies R Us and Target has for babies. I am not even remotely kidding. It was quite ridiculous and I am quite sure that they haven’t even used 1/10th of the crap that they bought.
This post was great – our baby’s due early November (gasp!) and we were trying to figure out what to do about the items not purchased from our registry. Thankfully we received a lot of big-ticket items too so all that’s left are small things but they certainly add up! This post helped me realize that we can definitely live without a few things so THANK YOU!
Just curious – are you using cloth, flushable or regular wipes??
Right now we’re using Seventh Generation disposable wipes, but we hope to transition to cloth wipes soon!
Great post. As the guy and head of the finances in my marriage, as we’ve been thinking about our future family, the money and over abundance of toys and gadgets has always been a big concern. Reading this helped confirm that we could make it all work in our small city house and don’t need everything out there. I’m passing this post along to my wife to help calm the money and toy jitters too! Thanks for the “it can be done” confidence booster.
I had my twins almost 9 years ago. We registered for every single thing-including dressers, cribs & a changing table. We were very fortunate to receive everything at the shower. Of course we also invited everyone we had ever met! Just kidding. Kind of. We also received enough wipes to last until they were 6 months old-so that was really nice. This is a really great post everyone who’s expecting should read!
Elisa @ What the Vita says
Even though I am not planning on getting a baby for another two years, I enjoyed reading this and have tucked away your tips in a corner in my mind! I have decided that when I do finally have a baby shower, I will request that ALL gifts be second-hand – whether from the gift-givers themselves or bought in a thrift store. Cheaper, eco, and fun!
What helped me a ton was church consignment sales. They aren’t all over the country (I’d never heard of it until I moved to the south), but they are fantastic for deals on gently used items. And when you are done with something, you sell it at one of their sales and make some of the money back that you spent!
this is a great post! i’m not a parent yet….but you’ve just given me the baby itch! Thanks! :)
Melanie Beth says
Great advice! Unfortunately we learned some of this the hard way… AFTER the fact. I will say, it’s surprising how many people really do come out of the woodwork to lend/give you things!
Oh and I love the look on Burger’s face in that last picture… reminds me of my Boston Violet! She likes to play with my son Matthew, but she does the ears back, buggy eyes thing when made to sit too close to him for a picture or something (I think she’s just waiting for him to reach out and yank on something!)
Another great resource? Kids consignment shops. I get 90% of Lizzy’s clothes from consignment shops, and a lot of other big ticket items that I’m not sure whether Lizzy will actually like. For example, we purchased both a swing ($10) and then later a jumperoo ($20) from consignment shops. That way, we could try them out without shelling out the big bucks, and if she didn’t like them, we could just re-consign them.
I don’t know about all states, but here in Oregon, all children’s items at consignment shops are required to be tested for exposure to drugs like meth, so I also feel confident that what I’m buying is safe for Lizzy.
erin m. says
Thanks so much for the encouragement! We’re expecting our first bambino in 3 weeks (give or take) and my inner pragmatist has been engaged in quite the battle with the crazy nester. Since we decided to be surprised by the gender, our friends and family have been incredibly generous with the big ticket items but we have almost no clothes! It’s so easy to get sucked into a panicky place, so thanks for the reminder to listen to our instinct that says all we need at first is diapers, a place for the baby to sleep, a car seat, and a few clothes.
We always joke that our son is our bargain baby because we bought so few new items for him. We inherited a car seat/stroller from our sister-in-law, purchased a changing table and crib from a coworker, borrowed a bassinet from a different coworker (who also loaned me maternity clothes), scored bedding on clearance from target.com, and got tons of hand-me-down clothes from an old friend.
We also love Craigs List for gently used baby items. We recently purchased a jumperoo for $35 that is still selling at Target for $85. And he loves it! We’ve also found a lot of great things at garage sales.
Another money saving tip, that I’ve done with all four of my kiddos; is to buy at the end of the year clearance sales for next year. I’ve been very lucky that when the clothes are 3-6, or 6-9 months, or 3T my kids are in that age range. So if you have a December baby and in February things are on clearance, it’s a great time to buy a snow suit (got a great Nike full snow suit for my son when he was 2 mos old for $3 and change for a 12mos size) or sweatpants/sweatshirts for next year sizes, and at up to 70% depending on your area and the store, it’s a fantastic way to save. Even now, I got some great shorts for my 5 year old that are a size 6 for next spring/summer for $1.24 after the JCPenny’s sales. Can’t beat that price for brand new!
Kari S. says
Fantastic post! I just love the big smile photo of your lil beanette! Another way I save with my two boys is that I saved my eldest son’s clothing when I found out I was having another boy. Plus it helps to check out the local consignment stores or shop at a “Just Between Friends” sale if there is one in your area.