So you’re having a baby. Congratulations! Now comes the fun part: Shopping for all the adorable baby items that your little bundle of joy will need! Getting started can be slightly overwhelming though, especially if its your first rodeo.
Thankfully there are endless lists of “Must-Have Registry Checklists” to make sure you don’t miss a single, solitary item. (That was sarcasm, by the way.) The thing is, each time I was pregnant, these “must-have” items had multiplied. There was always new gear, new upgrades, new promises from items that would help your baby be happier, sleep better, conquer the world, etc. And who doesn’t want to do everything they can to ensure their precious baby will have the best of the best?
Well, I’m here to let you in on a little secret. Your baby doesn’t need half of that shit. Your baby doesn’t care if its clothed in all the latest styles or your sister’s friend’s baby’s hand-me-downs. Your baby doesn’t need fancy infant toys to be occupied and will most likely prefer playing with kitchen utensils and pulling the cat’s fur. So let’s talk about how you can provide your baby with what she needs without going broke or making your living room look like Babies R Us vomited all over it.
How to Get Ready for Baby on a Budget
I know how irresistible all the sweet, tiny baby outfits are, hanging on the baby sized hangers. My advice is to avoid those baby clothing stores as much as possible. Of course, you will want to buy an adorable outfit or two that your baby just has to have, but really try to avoid going overboard. Babies really wear these clothes for such a short time. Most of the size 0-3 month clothes will barely get worn or puked on at all. If you do really want to buy some new outfits, consider buying larger sizes that they will get much more wear out of.
Do you have a friend or family member who is kind enough to hook you up with some hand-me-downs? If so, jump aboard that train! I’m telling you, hand-me-downs are where it’s at. We have been blessed with lots of them and its such a life saver. My friends and I have passed so many clothes back and forth. Some end up getting stained or dingy and don’t make it to the next child, but there are always new additions to replace those anyway. And it’s so nice to see another little one sporting one of your favourites instead of it collecting dust in a bin in your basement. So share the love! Hand-me-downs are also softer after so many washes and full of memories. Don’t ever be too proud for previously loved clothing!
I highly recommend thrift and consignment stores. There is nothing better than digging through the racks and stumbling upon a real treasure! Like a barely worn, adorable outfit, slashed down to a fraction of the price. My favourite part is when someone can’t resist pointing out how cute the outfit is on your little one and you can proudly reply, “I know right? It was $2.99 at Value Village! Score!”
If you have a Once Upon a Child in your area, hit that up! It’s not only great for baby clothes but tonnes of other baby gear. You can really score on some big items too like strollers, play pens, high chairs, baby gates, baby carriers, toys etc. Don’t forget the consignment part. You can set up an account and make some cash for your own baby’s stuff if it’s in good condition. This is perfect for clearing out your baby’s outgrown items and then stocking up in the next size.
I’m also a big fan of supporting your local consignment shops. Don’t overlook these little gems! Shout out to Refresh Clothing, iSpy Clothing, and Pass It On which allow you to shop from home in your pyjamas! Now that’s my kind of shopping. You can also check facebook for local buy and sell groups. And don’t forget to see if your area has a VarageSale.
Let’ s talk about baby swings. I remember how I imagined my babies dozing peacefully in the swing while I did lovely things like scrapbook their baby pictures. That was funny. Now some babies love the swing and it ends up being a life saver, but I feel like its about 50/50 odds. Ideally, you have someone who would be kind enough to let you borrow their baby swing to take it for a test drive/swing. They only use these for a few months anyways, so you could return it when you are done or buy a gently used, portable one that doesn’t take up so much space and can be stored away when you’re not using it. At least then if your baby’s not feeling it, you didn’t fork out $200+ and you can just post it back up for sale.
For most things, I recommend shopping around and seeing if you can find one gently used before shelling out the big bucks
I recommend the same thing for baby carriers. I have even seen some babywearing facebook groups where you can borrow different carriers to test them out. There are a tonne of different options and some are definitely worth the money if you end up using it regularly. The Ergo is a popular choice which I definitely got my money’s worth from, but you can often find these barely used on Craigslist or Kijiji for a good deal.
For most things, I recommend shopping around and seeing if you can find one gently used before shelling out the big bucks. You almost always can and its so super satisfying. Of course, there are some exceptions to this, including car seats. Buying used is never recommended as you can never ensure the history of the car seat or if it has been in an accident. With that said though all car seats sold in Canada have to meet the same safety standards. So buying one that’s twice the price isn’t necessarily better. Do your research and purchase one that’s within your budget and can be installed properly in your vehicle.
If you have any items laying around that you just don’t use, post them up for sale somewhere and use the cash for diapers. Speaking of diapers, don’t feel like brand names are necessarily better.
I’m not great with coupons as I never remember to use them but if you are organized enough to go that route, be sure to check out canadianfreestuff.com.
This post would be way too long if I broke down every item, but I can tell you that my three babies were not traumatized by not having a wipes warmer or a video monitor. If you’re not sure if an item is worth purchasing or not, it’s probably not. There is no harm in waiting until after your baby is born. It’s not like you need to have every single item on hand and ready to go. Your newborn only needs the very basics. If you feel like it would be helpful, you can always purchase it later.
What tips do you have for saving money on baby gear?
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.