- Personal Finance
Money Saving Tips for New Parents
Let me start off by saying congratulations on your pregnancy and/or new baby!! I know that this is an exciting time, but it can also be quite expensive. I have been down the same road three times and I have learned alot from my first to my last child.
I know as new parents we want to give our child the best the world has to offer, but for most of us this is financially impossible. There are many ways to save money when you have a new baby and I will offer some advice on a few areas.
Purchasing Nursey Furniture
There are some items you will need to purchase and some you don't. The first and most important item you need is a rear facing infant car safety seat. Some hospitals will provide you with one upon discharge, but it they don't you will need to have one to be able to bring your newborn home. Your baby will use this seat until age one, so be sure to get one that is durable and meets all the safety guidelines. You will need a crib and the accessories to go with it, crib sheet, bumper pad, etc. You might consider purchase a crib that will grow with your child. There are many brands that will go from crib, to toddler bed, to twin bed, so keep that in mind when shopping for your crib. A bassinet is something you should try and borrow, your baby will not be in one very long. You may want to purchase a pack-n-play which is a good idea, look around for one that also will convert to your babies needs. Some have the bassinet options so you will have two purchases in one. A baby swing is something to really look at, as far as, what you are paying for. You do not need to purchase the most hightech swing because chances are your baby will not even notice. My advice would be to get a wind-up swing vs. battery operated. The battery operated ones are nice and do alot of extra things but as your baby grows so will your stock in batteries. The more your babies weight increases, the less time your batteries will last. That can become very expensive. I know this for a fact because with my last child I was given a battery operated swing, and as my son grew I ended up pulling out my wind-up one that I used with my two older kids. My baby didn't even know the difference. A stroller is a handy item to have but keep in mind to not go overboard. You do not need the biggest stroller on the market, pick one to suit your needs, and the space you have to store it in. When purchasing a highchair consider the size of your kitchen and go from there. Now a days there are small ones that sit on a chair and also fold-up for smaller storage.
Here are some items you may really not need: a changing table, a walker, a baby carrier, and an over excess of infant toys. I had a changing table with my first child and all it did was collect junk. I changed all my children on a changing pad on the floor, it was more convenient, and also safer because I didn't have to worry about them falling off. A walker depends on the child, you may just want to borrow someone else's, some kids just do not like them. A baby carrier (one for your back or front), I would stay away from purchasing these unless you really see yourself using it all the time. I had one given to me and used it once for like 30 seconds. As far as infant toys go, you really do not need that many. You new baby will hardly play with them, I would purchase just enough, but don't buy every toy out there!!!
*If you have a baby shower you can ask for larger items. Also do not be ashamed to borrow from others or accept second hand items.*
Believe it or not but you do not need to purchase a ton of newborn baby cloths. Babies grow very quickly and chances are they will grow out of a majority of cloths during there first year without wearing half of them. I would suggest buying enough cloths for 7-10 days. You will have enough outfits for a week and still have extras if need be. Also do not be to proud to accept second hand clothing from others. They could save you money or supply you extras that you may need.
*If you plan on having more children be sure to save what ever you can for them.*
Daipers and Wipes
Diapers will be your most regular expense so choose a brand to fit your budget. Remember more expensive doesn't always mean better. Some tips when purchasing diapers is to buy the bigger packs, they cost a little more up front, but they contain more diapers that will last you longer. Also, take advantage of any coupons the manufacturer is offering. You may also choose to use cloth diapers and that is entirely up to you, just do your research and shop around for the best price.
As for wipes it is entirely up to you and your baby. I always bought the generic brands and they seemed to be just as good as the name brand. You just need to get the type that is good for your baby's skin. Buy the bigger refill bags and use coupons.
*Always watch for sales, by buying during a sale with a coupon will save you extra cash. If you can afford it, stock up!!*
Stay Clear of Baby Gimmicks
Now what I am about to say is strictly my opinion, and some may not agree with me. Please do not get caught up in the gimmicks that companies are trying to sell you. You know the ones, they promise to make your baby smarter, happier, etc. etc. These companies and advertisers are good at getting in your head, especially at 3:00 in the morning, when you are feeding your baby watching those stupid infomercials that run all night. Why do you see them more in the middle of the night? Because they are looking for you...a new parent, lacking sleep, with big dreams for their new baby. Please try and stay strong, if you weren't up at that hour you probably wouldn't even know the product exists. You baby will develop and learn just fine with you teaching him. A baby is born with the skills to watch others and their enviroment, and by doing this they are learning, by the simple fact of chewing on toys they are learning. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars just to prop them up in front of the TV to have some stranger teach them crap!! You can teach them just by playing with them, talking to them, going for walks, and reading them books. Our parents didn't have all this nonsense and we all turned out just fine, so really stop and think before you fall for their promises.