From tiny clothes to tiny spoons, having a baby is filled with a lot of cute, tiny things, but unfortunately, a tiny budget isn’t one of them.
If you’re preparing for a baby, you know the list of things you need is long and overwhelming, but we’ve compiled some steps you can take to make sure you’re meeting all of your baby’s needs without breaking the bank.
While you won’t have all the answers about your parenting style before your baby arrives, there are some questions you should consider that will help you plan your purchases.
Once you have an idea of what you’re willing to buy used or borrow, and what you’re not willing to go without, it’s time to start brainstorming a list of everything you’d like to have for your baby. When you’re making your wish list, plan ahead and consider the entire first year of the baby’s life.
If you’re not sure what you might need during the first year, take some time to do research. There are plenty of online resources that will help you compile a list of the necessities. Friends and family members can be great resources, too. Reach out to people in your life who have recently had a new addition to their family and see what products they loved, hated, used daily, and never took out of the box.
Once you have your wish list complete, the real work begins. You’ll need to determine your needs vs. wants. This sounds simple, but it can be tough – especially for first-time parents. Marketing campaigns are designed to make you feel like you need every product, and as a parent-to-be, it can be hard to determine what products are the “best” or “safest.”
Highlight the items on your wish list that you must have. These should be the things that keep your baby safe, and meet the basic needs of your baby, yourself, and other caretakers. This isn’t to say that you won’t get any of the things you “want,” but it’s a good place to start after creating an overwhelming list of future purchases.
Your highlighted items will serve as a starting point in narrowing down what things you purchase on your own or put on your baby registry. Before planning to buy something new, ask for baby gear you can borrow from family or friends at no cost, or offer to purchase it for a reasonable price.
Next, scope out local consignment shops or yard sales. If you’re comfortable with buying items used, there are countless child consignment stores, pop-up sales, and yard sales to shop at. Before registering for something brand new, look for the item used, making sure it’s in good condition and safe, for a much lower cost.
Once you have an idea of what you can borrow or get secondhand, it’s time to create a registry.
Once you’ve determined what you’ll need to purchase, the fun part begins – you get to create your registry!
As you’re creating your registry, try to keep in mind the needs and wants you’ve identified, as well as your style and willingness or ability to pay for convenience.
It can be easy to get caught up in scanning unplanned items onto your registry at the store or adding them to your list online. Let yourself have fun as you check out everything you could buy for baby. Then, before you make your registry public, take a day or two to clear your mind and declutter your list. Going back through your registry once it’s completed will allow you to remove items you don’t really need or realistically won’t use.
As you’re making your list of items to borrow, buy, or register for, there are a few things that are important to consider.
If you buy a used car seat, you won’t know if it’s ever been in an accident or if it’s been stored improperly since it’s last use. Safety standards for cribs and mattresses may change regularly, too, and you’ll want to make sure you’re using items that aren’t damaged.
For first-time parents, there are some common mistakes to avoid. Being aware of these before you start shopping can result in big savings:
As you prepare for this new chapter in your life, it’s important to think ahead and save for unplanned expenses, too. Check out our savings shares that allow you to save year-round for the costs that come along with the joy of a little one. And once your baby arrives, get them started on the right track with a Youth Savings Share that offers a special interest rate for those under 18.
Check out more tips for managing your money on our WalletWorks page.