10 Ways New Parents Overspend on Their Newborns

My wife and I have been new parents for nearly five months now. Lucky for us, we got some good advices early on, including those from a guest post by Paidtwice: 10 “Preparing For Baby” Tips For the Frugal-Minded. However, I understand how easy it is to overspend on newborns. They are so precious to us, and we want the best of everything for them.

Here are 10 items and areas where I think it takes some care for new parents not too overspend their money.

1. Baby Clothing

We were very fortunate to get a bunch of hand me downs from our 2 years old nephew who also born in the winter. On top of that we also got a whole bunch of clothes as gifts from friends and relatives. As such, we spent very little on baby clothing.

Sleeping Baby

This is a good thing because our baby outgrown his clothes so quickly that some were only worn once or twice. It’s incredible how quickly babies grow.

Here are some tips to save money on baby clothing:

  • Buy used — just be sure to wash them first.
  • Ask for hand me downs
  • Buy as little as needed
  • Don’t overspend on expensive clothing
  • Ask for gift cards or cash instead (only do this with close friends and relatives)

2. Baby Stroller

My wife really wanted a Bugaboo, but these strollers are some of the most expensive ones I’ve seen. They look really nice, but simply too expensive at about a $1,000 each.

There are a lot of strollers out there — good and bad ones. The number one factor when deciding which stroller to buy should always be safety. In the end, we purchased the Maclaren Techno XT (which was not cheap at $279), but it offered the safety and flexibility we wanted.

Here are some baby stroller safety tips from Overstock.com.

3. Baby Crib and Bedding

When we were shopping for a baby crib, we stumbled upon the Stokke Sleepi Crib System. It looked really cool, but it was out of our price range at $900-$1,500 depending on the configuration. That’s way too much money for something that only going to get a few years of use.

After a lot of research, we settled on Baby Mod Park Lane Baby Crib from Walmart. It’s not cheap at $315, but it was highly rated on the web site, and in a parenting magazine we came across. We also bought a bedding set (~$80) and a mattress (~$80) to complete the set.

Again, there’s no need to go crazy on crib, mattress, and bedding as long as you read, understand, and follow the safety instruction.

4. Nursery Furniture and Decoration

Some parents spend a lot of money to build the “dream” nursery. I think that’s a waste of money for a room that is going to change in a few years. New paint, new furniture, and decoration do add up to thousands of dollars very quickly.

After some discussion, my wife and I ended up buying only the changing table/dresser combo (along with the crib). We kept everything that we could reuse in the baby room. I spent about $100 and painted the room myself to give it a fresh new look. The only thing we splurged on was some wall stickers from the Wee Gallery Jungle Collection.

5. Baby Toys

This is a tough one for many parents. You want to buy enough to keep them entertained and challenged, but not so much that you ended up with a toy room. My sister lives in a neighborhood where she could frequently buy inexpensive used toys from yard sales. The good thing is that she didn’t spend that much money, but the bad thing is that there are too many toys.

We are planning to keep toys to the minimum for our son. So far we bought him one bite ring for about $5. They rest are hand me down from our nephew. :-)

6. Baby Accessories

There are so many gears, accessories, and gadgets for moms and babies nowadays, that it’s a little crazy. The list is so big that it’s not even practical for me to list them here. I will make just a few comments:

  • You don’t really need a bottle cooler/warmer.
  • You don’t need a baby monitor if the house is small, or in my case the baby can scream so loud that you could hear him from anywhere inside the house.
  • A whirlpool tub is cool, but not necessary to raise a happy baby.

However, there are two accessories that we found indispensable for us: (1) the electrical breast pump and (2) the bottle steamer. We have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breastpump (awesome product that I wish we’d bought sooner) and the Avent Sterilizer.

7. Books and magazines

Some parents have the tendency to buy every baby book and magazine they could get their hands on — don’t! There are so many good parenting resources, blogs, and web sites that you can use — not to mention books and magazines at the local library.

Here are some excellent baby and parenting resources on the web:

Moreover, there are some great moms blogs and dads blogs listed at Alltop. And it goes without saying that my favorite parenting blog is Parenting Squad.

8. Diapers

Babies go through a lot of diapers. At the beginning we changed him too often — do you know that newborns pee about 20 times a day? Needless to say, we went through a lot of diapers. We settled down after a while, and now we only change him if he poops, or if the diaper looks a little bloated.

Also, we bought the first few packs from CVS, which is not the cheapest thing to do. Now, we save a bit of money by buying bulk from Diapers.com through Ebates (1% discount).

9. Health Care

It’s easy to feel anxious, nervous, and unsure about health issues during pregnancy and afterward with your baby. Even with all the information we read, we ended up running to the doctor a few times because of the vulnerable feeling. We could have done a lot worse, but we prevented a few unnecessary doctor visits by educating ourselves about various signs and symptoms. However, I encourage parents to err of the side of safety — better safe than sorry, right?

In any case, there is one health care product that I thought is a complete waste of money for most parents and that is cord bank. Cord bank is a basically a process where a company specialized in preservation of human cells save your baby’s Umbilical cord blood stem cells with the idea that these cells could be used to battle certain diseases, such as leukemia, sickle cell disease, and metabolic disorders.

10. Baby Life Insurance

Last but not least, another product that plays on the fear of parents — baby life insurance. I wrote about the value of baby insurance a while back. To keep the story short, it’s a waste of money that could be better used for something else. We didn’t buy it for our son, and we are not intending to.

Here are some additional money saving tips for new parents

  • Sign up for coupons and free baby products — there are a lot of coupons and freebies, you just have to search for them
  • Exchange any unwanted gifts
  • Ask friends and family for hand-me-downs
  • Reuse certain products. For example, unused adult face cloth could be used as baby burp cloth
  • Buy used
  • Buy bulk
  • Take advantage of rebates and sales

About the Author

By , on Apr 23, 2008
Pinyo
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo have enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (32 Comments)

  1. Nor says:

    We are so blessed to have a lot of hand me downs so we don’t get to spend much on the baby’s clothing and other things like crib and stroller.

  2. Jason says:

    Take your wife’s credit card away as soon as you find out she is preggy. Will save you a lot of money. Or just get a Chinese wife like I did who doesn’t even want to spend $ on diapers. lol She agreed to diapers from Costco. She has not returned any baby gifts that we have received because they were free. We won’t be buying a walker either. She said there are over 1 billion Chinese and they learned how to walk without a walker. lol

  3. Aiden says:

    Our daughter was with us even longer. The nice thing about the ergo is that it will be useful well past the Bjorn, the Bjorn is not the most comfortable thing as your baby gets bigger.

  4. First-time moms and dads can pamper their baby a little bit more than necessary, but that’s understandable in a way. They’ll get to learn their lesson in time :) You may also want to check out http://www.allbabynames.com/ – another great parenting resource that lists a wide database of popular and unique baby names with their meanings and origins, making it easier for expectant moms and dads to choose the best name for their baby.

  5. Jen says:

    I’m just reading this now, but my advice would be to delay buying as much as possible until after your child is born. That way you only get what you really need. When we brought my son home, we had 3 outfits, a stack of cloth diapers bought new, a stack of receiving blankets, an expensive breast pump bought new, a new carseat (gift), a bassinet that was passed down to us (we used the receiving blankets as sheets), a couple of baby carriers that were passed down to us, and $5 rocking chair from a garage sale, a dresser/changing table given to us by a co-worker whose kids have started college, and box of infant toys from my MIL’s basement.

    Everything else including a glider, a crib, bouncey seat, bottles, monitor, stroller … we got when we were sure we needed it and had a good idea of the features we wanted. You might end up spending a little more per item, but I bet you’ll spend a whole lot less total because you won’t have a big pile of stuff that isn’t quite right for your family.

  6. Sabrina says:

    Babies just need a few onsies a few kimono gowns. Keep it simple for diaper changes. Breastfeed if possible and cloth diaper at home if you can. I would go for less and buy higher quality. There is so much cheap crap out there. Save your money for a nice vaction. Last but not least mamma and daddy’s arms are the best. I use a moses basket and carry it to the room I am in at the time. I also use a basket with diapering supplies. Lets face face it baby gets changed in lots of different places.

  7. Pinyo says:

    @pbhj — “.. then we realised we could hear him screaming pretty well without it.”

    Same here :-)

    “Most parents want new stuff. We didn’t and couldn’t afford it anyway.”

    That’s true for most parents. The difference is you recognize that you can’t afford it and act accordingly. Some parents spend the money anyway, and that’s bad considering there are plenty of hand-me-downs if they ask around.

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