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10 Ways New Parents Overspend on Their Newborns

10 Ways New Parents Overspend on Their Newborns

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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

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Glen Craig
Member

We borrowed a friends MacLaren stroller when we went to Disney when our little guy was about six months old. It’s kinda heavy but it held up great to all the running around. You’re right about the breast pump. My wife’s was expensive when she got it when her daughter was born but it’s lasted years! She even lent it to a friend before our son was born and it still runs perfectly. It’s a good example of paying for quality. If you even remotely think of having more than one child then a good pump will easily pay for… Read more »

Ron
Guest

THAT much for a stroller? Sheesh! Most of what we used when our kids were born was either a gift, a hand-me-down, or something we picked up at a yard sale. Looking at the prices of baby items today makes me glad we’re finished with having kids, but makes me dread becoming a grandparent in a decade or so! One thing I did a little differently was buy a whole life policy when my kids were 2 months old. It was only $8 each per month and provides $25,000 in coverage. The kicker is that I can convert them to… Read more »

Aaron Stroud
Guest
Aaron Stroud

It’s important for new parents to realize that many of their purchases for their new baby are really purchases for themselves. The nice crib, fancy clothes, brand name diapers, toys, etc.

Babies don’t care about these things. Heck, young kids usually don’t care either. For the longest time, my 18-month old daughter loved playing with common house items instead of her own toys. She’s made the transition to playing with dolls now that she has a sister she’s fascinated with. But for the most part, common household items trumped the fancy toys people gave her.

Mrs. Micah
Guest

The breast pumps at the hospital seem really useful. I’d probably look into one so that my husband could have a turn feeding the baby too. I also like the baby Bjorn frontpack. I worked on an organic farm/large garden with a woman who didn’t have much fancy baby stuff but the baby Bjorn was perfect. The baby was out in the field with us (wearing a hat, of course) and she’d either face out and watch/interact/coo or she’d face in and sleep. The transition was so smooth.

Vered
Guest

This is SO, SO true!

I am very guilty of spending WAY too much with my firstborn. With my second, I was way smarter, and not just b/c I had her older sisters’ stuff. I just realized that they don’t NEED so much. Certainly not the designer stuff and the useless gadgets.

AndyS
Guest

Great post and so true. It is only after you had a kid (mine is 3 yrs old) that you realize how expensive it is. The spending doesn’t stop as they grow-up! That’s why I think smaller families are the norm now. It is too expensive to have more than a couple of kids in this day and age. Still the love you get from a little one is worth it.

I was going to write a similar topic at my blog, but since this one is so comprehensive, I’ll just post a link to it!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Pinyo totally agree with you about the baby life insurance it is a complete waste of money and ethically I don’t know how insurance companies can really offer it, especially as Western Countries have some of the lowest rates of infant mortality (baby deaths) in the world.

minnemom
Guest
minnemom

One book that I do think is worth buying is Baby Bargains by Alan and Denise Fields. It echoes a lot of the sentiments you’ve written, while giving comprehensive reviews about when you’re paying for quality and when it’s best to leave the money unspent.

Dorian Wales
Guest
Dorian Wales

As always, wily businessmen take advantage of the inexperience and pressure young parents feel. I guess we need to remind ourselves people raised children in the dark ages as well…

bunny
Guest
bunny

These are great tips! Having a child really is expensive! And all the baby products nowadays aren’t cheap! 🙂 Thanks for the tips

Eric
Guest
Eric

I always found “baby insurance” creepy, let alone unnecessary. It is odd that Gerber is in on this curious method of leveraging money from new parents. Most of the things on your list are also the mark of over zealous new parents. By the time the second rug rat enters the world, those items are recycled – much to the dismay of the second child.

Nirav
Guest
Nirav

Don’t forget $1000 designer diaper bags!

Phil Taylor
Member

This was a great post. Mrs. PT printed it out and we’re saving it for when we have kids. Thanks.

Jerry
Guest

I agree with Eric. Baby life insurance is absolutely a waste of money that leads nervous parents to make poor financial decisions. It’s nerve-wracking enough to have a new baby, but a shame that companies will prey on the fears that inherently exist in many (if not most) people. Not that we should be surprised, I guess…
Jerry

Ryan Williams
Guest
Ryan Williams

Good tips all-around, I couldn’t agree more on clothes and toys. I’d add the ERGO https://ergobaby.com/ to the list of important accessories. You can almost do away with a stroller and be much more mobile (even go hiking) with it.

With the second, we didn’t have to buy much fortunately, but we did go with with a video-monitor this time around. I can’t recommend it enough, saved lots of sleep and worrying and it wasn’t much more than some higher-end audio-only monitors.

Aaron Stroud
Guest
Aaron Stroud

Ryan, which video-monitor did you buy? It sounds like you were pretty happy with it.

Ryan Williams
Guest
Ryan Williams

@Aaron I think this one – Summer Infant Baby’s Quiet Sounds Color Handheld Video Monitor We got it at Babies ‘r us, and ours is a different color, but same idea. It has night vision and color during the day, with a little handheld monitor. @Pinyo Co-sleeping is great, we did it through first 7 months or so, before he became too active and kicked my wife all night 😉 then it was time for the crib. Our daughter was with us even longer. The nice thing about the ergo is that it will be useful well past the Bjorn,… Read more »

Aaron Stroud
Guest
Aaron Stroud

Ryan, thanks for the video monitor recommendation.

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I have to admit that I love my Maclaren strollers (that’s right, I have two, a Global buggy – older version of the Techno, I think, for the newborn stage and then a Triumph, which is light weight and which we’re still using with our first, who is 4.5 tomorrow). They were worth every penny! Regarding the cord blood banking, I absolutely agree that it is silly to pay for it. However, it is possible to donate cord blood to public banks at some hospitals (I had my second at a birth center and they were not certified by the… Read more »

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

Sorry my comment was so crazy long. I’d like to blame it on sleep deprivation, but that’s probably just an excuse for not being able to shut up.

pbhj
Guest

haha, video monitor. We had a hand-me-down radio monitor for a couple of weeks .. then we realised we could hear him screaming pretty well without it. Stroller – ours was £25 (about 50USD) and came with a bag of toys; third-hand had a carry-cot that doubled as a car seat. Sling (best thing ever, length of fabric with a couple of plastic rings, some stitching), can’t remember where ours was from, not more than about £30-40 meant we only actually used the buggy as a buggy about 5 or 6 times. I think, other than nappies (eco disposables, Moltex,… Read more »

10 Ways New Parents Overspend on Their Newborns

by Pinyo time to read: 5 min
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