When my wife and I were expecting our first daughter, we spent hours poring over product reviews, polling friends and family, and researching the very best baby gear that would keep our little bundle safe, healthy, and happy.
The good news? There are literally millions of quality baby products to choose from.
The bad news? It can cost the equivalent of your child’s future college education to furnish a new nursery. Ultimately (and fortunately), we came to the conclusion that many of the less expensive products actually performed as well or even better than the more costly versions.
Here are three ways to save money on gear for your new baby, without sacrificing safety.
1. Bigger Strollers Are Not Better
One of our first baby purchases was a large, expensive stroller and car seat combo. At the time, we would have spent anything to ensure that our child had the best of everything. After our daughter was born however, we immediately regretted the purchase. The stroller was heavy and cumbersome to transport, and our newborn seamed lost within it’s cavernous bassinet. When we tried to take it with us on shopping trips it was so wide that we had trouble getting through the aisles of some stores. Since we didn’t want to take it with us when we drove places we ended up just lugging our child around in the car seat.
Within weeks, we had to go out and purchase a new stroller that was designed simply to carry a detachable infant car seat. We paid only $40 for it, a fraction of what we paid for the first stroller. For that price, we found a baby seat carrier that was durable, weighed little, and easily folded flat. Later we bought another small, inexpensive baby stroller from the same company and it served us faithfully for years. We have traveled all over the world with it and it is still in good enough condition for our next child to use. The large, expensive stroller eventually found a home in our attic.
2. You Don’t Need an SUV to Carry a Baby
Free from the burden of transporting an oversized stroller, we have been able to get by with a small four door hatchback. Some expecting parents will trade in their economy car for a large SUV or a minivan. While this might be necessary to carry around a large family, babies are very compact and will fit nicely into the back seat of almost any car. The issue is not one of safety as many small cars carry exceptional crash test ratings. When our family expands, we may consider one of the new generation, compact three-row minivans. Until then, we will be a one-car family and enjoy the gas fuel savings and ease of parking that comes with a normal car.
3. Baby Furniture Doesn’t Have To Make You Broke
As parents know, baby furniture can be one of the biggest baby expenses, but it doesn’t have to be. You need to keep in mind that unlike your kitchen table or your living room couch, your baby furniture will only serve a temporary need. It is not necessary to buy heirloom quality pieces designed to last a lifetime. There are many ways to save money on baby furniture and cribs.
Like all other baby purchases, you must fight the instinct to feel that how much you spend will be a reflection of your love for your child. Your baby will never notice if the changing table doesn’t match the crib or if you merely put a changing pad on top of a leftover nightstand. And take advantage of the surplus of nursery furniture for sale on the Internet and in consignment shops. If you must have heirloom quality pieces, you can usually find them for half the price second-hand.
Remember, it’s all about your mindset. Now that I have been a parent for over three years, I could write all day about the merits of various inexpensive products over their costlier counterparts. Manufacturers and marketers of baby products know that that they can tug on your new parent heartstrings and will always offer an over-the-top alternative with a price tag to match. Indeed, there is a whole range of baby products that you don’t even need. In our consumer culture, we sometimes get duped into believing that the more money we spend, the more we love our children. But you can still be a good and loving parent – and have money to spare.
How do you save money when it comes to your kids? Share your tips and tricks here.
(photo credit: Shutterstock)