How exciting! You are expecting a baby! Wonderful news! How excited you must be! And then you start to make a list of all the things you are going to need, most of which are baby-specific and therefore you probably don’t already have, especially if this is your first child. You start to shop around and discover that everything is so expensive; you worry how you are going to manage to afford everything you need.
This scenario is acted out in thousands of households every day; few people can afford to just go out and buy all the paraphernalia required for a baby. So let’s look at some ways to shop and save money when expecting a baby.
When you first hit the baby stores, you will find a huge range of products, some of which you may have never even heard of before. This is the first red light, right there – are you really going to need absolutely everything that the manufacturers have decided to produce? The answer is no, even if you see some really cute, clever and beautiful things.
If you are anything like me, you will be tempted to buy every cute outfit you see, possibly in pink, blue and yellow, to make sure you are covered. The fact is, babies grow at an alarming rate and if you buy too many garments in the same size, you’ll have a hard time getting a good amount of wear out of them. Remember that you will receive lots of baby gifts and many people choose to give clothing because it is all so very cute. Newborns spend such a lot of time asleep that you really only need a couple of really cute ‘good’ outfits for when you go visiting. The rest of the time, a new baby is most comfortable in an all in one suit.
Talk to friends and relatives who have recently had a baby and find out what essentials they would recommend. Make a list of the items you know you actually need, as opposed to want. You buy the ‘needs’ first and then decide whether you can afford the ‘wants’ so that you keep within your budget. Be selective about what you actually buy and save a lot of money from the beginning. Also be selective about where you shop; those high-end baby shops are gorgeous but are generally more expensive than chain stores that sell similar merchandise.
Some baby items are needed for a very short time, so think about whether the cost of buying certain things can really justified. Consider borrowing or hiring some items that are needed at the beginning but are quickly outgrown or not needed.
Do you really need to buy everything new to set up your nursery? You will save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by looking for the basics in secondhand stores, eBay and Freecycle. Furniture can be freshened with a new coat of paint in your choice of color so that it looks brand new at a fraction of the cost.
DIY whenever you can; you will save a load of cash. Baby linen is an exorbitant price, even in the chain stores. If you are handy with a sewing machine, or know someone who is, make your own sheets for the bassinet and crib. Alternatively, a large pillowcase will fit most bassinet mattresses as a sheet for a fraction of the cost of baby linen. A single bed sheet, cut in half and hemmed along the cut edge will fit most cribs. Some people even use the full sheet, doubled over, so that it can be used again when the child moves on to a bed. Blankets can be cut-down from full-size ones and edged with satin binding at a huge cash saving over buying crib blankets at baby stores.
When you refurbish or make your own baby needs, not only do you feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at saving money, you also create special and unique items for the nursery.
Another way to save money is to ask the grandparents-to-be to contribute to the expense of setting up the nursery. They are probably going to be spending money on the baby anyway and will appreciate being able to help you out financially by putting money towards the big items that you are going to need. When you have a baby shower, you could ask for cash towards a large item instead of a series of small gifts. Most people understand that money is tight when expecting and would be happy to do this.
So, to shop and save money when you are expecting a baby, firstly think carefully about what you definitely need and purchase these items first. Consider cash-saving strategies such as borrowing, hiring, shopping at cheaper stores, buying second-hand or asking the new grandparents to buy a particular item. Be creative when you are decorating the new nursery to save money on nursery-specific goods, which will always cost more than similar items for other rooms of the house.