Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Welcoming Baby Without Blowing Your Budget

Anyone who has had a baby, or is preparing to welcome one into their family, knows that it can get expensive. How does one little person need so much stuff? Cribs, strollers, car seats, clothes, diapers, toys, bottles, etc. The list goes on and on, and it can quickly take a toll on your household budget.  The expenses add up very quickly if you're buying brand new items at your local store. Even if you just happened to find everything you need on the clearance rack - which is highly unlikely - you're still going to spend a bundle (on your new little bundle).

But don't get discouraged just yet. There are ways to save money while still getting the things your baby needs, and that starts with realizing that your baby does not need all brand new items. Invest in secondhand furniture, see if any of your friends who have already had babies can lend or give you their hand-me-downs, and even check out online baby equipment rental, because sometimes it's cheaper to rent than to buy. I had no idea there was a whole site full of baby goods to rent.  You can find toys, furniture, and even small appliances like miniature fridges. The best part of that is that all merchandise is thoroughly inspected for safety, then sanitized and wrapped in plastic, so it stays clean and ready to use.

GarageSaleStuff 003One of my favorite options, back when I had babies, was going to garage sales. Babies grow out of everything so quickly - sometimes they only wear a particular outfit once - and you can usually find some barely worn baby clothes for a good price. Of course, this isn't the best time of year for garage sales, but many people offer their used baby clothes, furniture, bottles, diapers, and many other baby needs online through Facebook marketplace sites and/or eBay. (things have changed a bit since I had babies 27 years ago)

Of course, when you shop Goodwill, garage sales, or even eBay, you will want to inspect the items to be sure they are in good shape. Many baby things are very gently used because, as I mentioned earlier, babies grow so fast that they sometimes only wear an outfit once. They're also changing and developing so quickly, especially during the first year, that many items, especially toys, are quickly outgrown and discarded as baby moves on to something new.
You'll also want to be aware of current safety standards when buying cribs, strollers, and car seats. I just learned recently that car seats have an expiration date, so be sure to check on that - even if you're borrowing one from a friend.  If the car seat is expired, you'll need to find a new(er) one. Your baby's safety should be of primary importance.

Babies need a lot of stuff, but with all the options out there, you can get all that stuff without completely ruining your budget. And, it can be a lot of fun tracking down those deals and collecting all the things your baby is going to need while you wait to welcome her into your family.