10 Ways to Skimp on Big Ticket Baby ItemsKatlyn Joy |28, September 2011
Raising a baby can be quite the costly affair. However, there are areas where it's wise to save and others that you cannot cut corners. Safety is the main issue with intelligent baby purchases.
1. Know what you truly need to take care of your baby. If your parents did without it, there's an excellent chance you can too. For instance special diaper holders, wipe warmers and video monitors are frills and not necessary for good parenting. To find out what's truly essential talk to parents of toddlers. They've been through it all and recently.
2. Use the baby registry wisely. Baby registries are wonderful ways to get piles of baby related-loot. However, it can be tempting to register for fun rather than necessary items. Resist the impulse and stick with the essentials. Consider registering for your big ticket items as many relatives or friends will join forces to purchase a larger item such as a crib, stroller or car seat. Make sure you know which of these items you really want by doing the research prior to registering. Read up on safety reviews, talk to other parents and do some field testing.
3. Borrow or buy used items with some exceptions. A recently used crib can be fine, just check out the recalls and make sure it meets safety standards. However, consider that if you are going to have more children, you'll likely get your dollars' worth in a new one. A used car seat is a no-no however. A used one may have been in an accident which means it shouldn't be used again. Avoid those family heirlooms which likely are safety hazards.
4. Consider buying a crib that will grow with your child. Convertible cribs often reconfigure to make a toddler bed and later a twin sized bed. These will be in use for years, perhaps your child's entire childhood making it a very wise purchase. Just make sure that the quality is there by checking reviews of the product.
5. Know your needs when it comes to strollers. If you are not a big walker, why invest in a stroller with heavy duty wheels and shocks? Likewise if you won't be strolling through parks, zoos and malls regularly you can probably keep it simple rather than a fully outfitted stroller with all the options. If it's an occasional trek to Grandma's or the random outing, a simple stroller should meet your needs.
6. Check out breastfeeding organizations or hospitals for a heavy duty breastpump. Again, borrowing isn't always the safest choice. Breastpumps should be one owner items with the exception of heavy duty ones often available for rental from hospitals or pharmacies. These usually have equipment that can be replaced for sanitation purposes. Sometimes WIC lets nursing mothers borrow these for free or for a nominal deposit.
7. Comparison shop before buying. Do an online search comparing major retailers and never pay for price for any baby gear. Discounts, sales and rebates are likely to crop up in the time period that you're still an expectant parent.
8. Consider the life expectancy of a product before splurging on it. For instance the baby swing with all the bells and whistles may seem alluring but check the weight limit. Likely your baby won't get past the four or five month stage in many models and it it's a pricey one, will you really get your money's worth out of it?
9. Delay purchases that you are unsure of. Not convinced you need a baby carrier? Wait and see or borrow a friend's a try it out a couple weeks. Is baby sleeping with you in the first few weeks? Use that time to decide what sleeping accommodations will best fit your family.
10. If you decide to opt for an upscale or pricey item, consider if you might be able to recoup some of the cost by selling it later on ebay, craigslist or at a local consignment shop. This can justify the purchase in some cases. However, don't assume what you'll be able to get for a used item. Check online to see how fast things sell and at what price level.
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