People always say that having a baby is expensive. One of the reasons for this is that babies require so much gear. Moms that are welcoming their second or third child can typically just dig items out of the attic and keep their expenses to a minimum, but new moms will have to buy everything from scratch, running up quite a tab.
There are many ways you can save on this gear with a little planning and a little patience. Here are six smart ways to save:
Be Realistic about Your Needs
As a new mom, you may be overwhelmed by all the options that are available. Do you get the swing and the bouncy seat? What about the vibrating swing or the cradle swing? You may convince yourself that you need all of it in order to be a good parent.
Take a step back and reevaluate to be more realistic about your needs. You don’t need to have every swing or chair that’s available. It’s better to start out with a few items to see what works for you before committing to more.
If you aren’t sure what might be useful, ask friends who have had babies already if you can borrow their gear to try it out. If you like it, then you can buy your own.
Set Up Sales Alerts
Of course, you’ll need to shop sales to save money on gear. But finding those sales isn’t always easy. You probably don’t have the time or energy to visit retailers and websites every day to find a sale on something you need.
Instead, you can set up alerts to be notified right away when a sale begins. Retailers like Baby Cubby have email lists that you can sign up for that will let you know when new items are in stock and when specials are available. You can also set up Google Alerts for terms like “stroller sale” or “crib discount.” You can get an email the minute the search result is found.
Comparison Shop to Price Match
Comparison shopping doesn’t just help you find the lowest price; it also gives you the opportunity to price match. You may find a low price, but you may prefer to purchase from a different retailer for better customer service or more convenient returns. You may be able to go to the retailer that you trust and show them the lower price and get it matched.
Many companies advertise their price-matching policy right on their websites. However, if you don’t see this information, don’t assume that the company doesn’t follow the practice. Just email to ask; you may be surprised by a “yes.”
Register for Gear
If someone else buys the gear for you, the savings are 100 percent.
Your family or friends are very likely to throw you a baby shower at some time during your pregnancy. Even if you don’t get a shower, many will want to buy you a gift for the baby and they will ask if you are registered anywhere.
Make sure you register for items with a wide range of prices. Even if you think that the items are too expensive — such as cribs or strollers — you may be surprised at the generosity your friends and family show. Some will want to join together to buy you a group gift, so they’ll be looking for these big-ticket items.
Get Combination Items
Some baby gear combines two or three items in one. For example, many play pens now include a bassinet and changing area. You essentially get three pieces of gear in one item.
Other examples include baby seats that connect to swings, cribs that convert to toddler beds, and play mats that double as toy baskets. By consolidating your gear into as few items as possible, you can save hundreds of dollars (not to mention space!).
Buy Used Items
Many parents sell or give away their baby gear when their children grow out of it. They make a few bucks, and you save big.
The primary concern when buying used baby gear is safety. Certain items should never be bought second-hand, such as car seats and recalled gear. Car seats that have been in an accident are no longer safe, and you can’t always tell from looking at a seat if it’s been involved in an accident. Therefore, you should always purchase new.
Other gear you should research before you buy it used. Make sure that no recalls have been issued, and make note of everything that is supposed to be included with it.
Besides saving money, one of the advantages of buying used is that you can get more insights into the safety and utility of the product from parents who have used it.
Do your research, shop around, be patient, and you’ll get the savings you need. You’ll have all the right gear for your new baby without having to spend a fortune.