Everyone wants their nursery to be perfect, but getting ready for a new arrival can cost a lot of money. Whether you have a specific budget to stick to, or just want to stretch your dollar further, there are lots of easy ways to economize without depriving your baby of a thing.
Remember, babies need lots of stuff, but not everything has to be purchased right away. A lot of purchases can be put off until six months or even a year after your baby is born. And of course, some purchases can be skipped altogether.
One thing to remember when you’re shopping is that the ticket price is only part of the equation. Sometimes spending more in the beginning gives you a much better value in the long run.
Maybe the product is made better and will stand up to use without having to be replaced. Or maybe it’s a multi-stage product that grows with your child. Either way, sometimes a little splurge can really pay off in the long run.
Another thing to think about? Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money, but make sure you’re taking the right hand-me-downs. Safety standards are always evolving, so used gear and furniture — such as car seats, cribs, and high chairs — may not be worth the savings, especially if they’re antiques! When in doubt, buy new.
Ready? If you want more details about shopping smart, check out our giggle guide to baby gear! But for now, let’s get started by talking about some specific purchases and how you can make the most of your baby budget!
Save on the Big Purchases
Some purchases are inevitable. But with the right information, you can shop smart and get the best value for your money.
Car Seat. Everyone needs a car seat; most hospitals won’t let your baby leave the hospital without one. And before you know it, it’ll be time to buy a second car seat — usually in around six to nine months when your child graduates to a larger seat. But you could save yourself a purchase by buying a convertible car seat that serves as both an infant and toddler seat. This type of seat doesn’t have the portability of a true infant seat, but it’s a great option when every dollar counts! We love the Maxi Cosi Pria, the only convertible that reclines to four different positions!
Crib. Planning on having more than one child? Your best bet is an economical standard crib that will get passed down from one child to the next. But for single-child families, a good multi-stage crib that grows into a toddler bed is a great way to make sure your purchase sees years of use. They might cost more up front, but they’re a great value for your money! Our affordable Harper Crib converts to a toddler bed for a great all-around value!
Changing Table. Sure, they’re handy, but they’re optional. You can always change diapers on the bed (as long as you always keep one hand on your baby). If you really want a dedicated changing space, consider a dresser like the one from our new Alex Collection that will get years of use beyond diapering.
Diaper Bag. Who says you have to have an official diaper bag? As long as you don’t mind an occasional leak or heavy use, with the addition of some diaper bag accessories such as a changing pad, an insulated bottle holder and pouches you can turn your favorite bag into one your baby’s on-the-go items can call home as well! A bag that both you and your partner can share is ideal as is one that you can continue to use well past your diaper-changing days are over.
No need to buy the whole store: As promised, here are some suggestions on things that can wait or be skipped altogether.
Bedding. It’s tempting to go buy a cute bedding set complete with a quilt and pillow sham. But remember: Babies should only sleep with a fitted sheet and a breathable blanket in their crib, so skip the extra purchases; they won’t be anything more than decoration! (For more on crib safety, click here.)
Stroller. This is one purchase you can put off for a while. For the first few months, it’s easy to get out and about with nothing more than a baby carrier. And, as an added bonus, if you can make it through the first six months, you don’t have to invest in a stroller that has a bassinet stage.
Breastfeeding items. Until your breastfeeding routine is well-established, a breast pump and other accessories are something you can take a play-it-by-ear approach with. For some moms, breastfeeding just isn’t a match while others need time to figure out their returning to work plans. Just go light on purchases until you get through the first few weeks. Only then will you know the combination of products that will suit you best.
Clothes. It’s tempting to stock up on cute outfits, but remember: babies outgrow most of their infant clothes within a few months anyway. For the first months, go for simple, comfortable basics like bodysuits, hats, mitts and booties. Check out our line of giggle Better Basics layette for affordable basics that are also organic!
Toiletries. For those first few months, a little warm water and a cloth is all you need, so you don’t have to rush out and buy baby wash, either. We love Mustela 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash because it’s all you need for the first six months!
High chair. When choosing a high chair, remember that they only get used for about a year. So, instead of a fully loaded model with all the bells and whistles, you could save money with a simple, streamlined model that’s less expensive. Or, for long-term value, invest in chair that grows with your child, like the Tot Sprout Chair. In most other countries, parents usually use a bouncer or lounger seat for the first nine months before transitioning to a high chair.
Activity Toys. Your best friend may swear by her baby’s swing/bouncer/playmat but her baby is not your baby and all babies are different. Some love swinging, while others crave bouncing. Others could care less. If you’re on a budget, a wait-and-see approach can be best. Once your baby arrives, test-drive your friends’ activity toys and see which style your child takes a liking to –- if at all!
You can save a lot by skipping purchases that aren’t necessary, but here are a couple of non-essentials that are worth every penny!
Bath Seat. You’ve got to love a purchase that costs so little money but provides so much peace of mind. A simple infant bath seat holds your slippery little one in the proper position for sink baths — a real bonus for nervous new parents. And, at only $12, they’re a bargain! For longevity, though, consider a full-fledged tub such as the Naked tub from Boon that expands to grow with your child from newborn to toddlerhood.
Food Mill. At just $17, a handheld food mill (as opposed to a more full-featured electric kind) lets you puree your own baby food in just minutes. Not only will it save you money, but your child gets fresher, healthier food.
Receiving Blankets. What do receiving blankets do? The more important question is, what don’t they do? Use them for swaddling, holding, warming, sleeping, changing and playing — and you can never have too many! Made from 100% certified organic cotton, our giggle BetterBasics receiving blanket features striped knit cotton with contrasting orange trim.