Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saving on Babies and Toddlers: Gear

Baby/toddler gear can easily eat up a lot of money. You have cribs, strollers, high chairs, car seats, swings, etc. etc. It costs a lot and sometimes it's things you only use for a few months. Here are some tips to cut back on these costs.

  • Cheaper isn't always better. Buying the cheapest one of these items is not always the best idea. The last thing you want is to buy the cheap one and find out it breaks easily or isn't very user friendly. If at all possible find a place where you can try it out, and if you can't do that check out reviews for the item.
  • Multitasking items can be better. If you can find a crib that can be a toddler bed, convertible car seats, or potty seat that can become a step stool, it can save you money down the line. Buying items that can only be used for a couple of weeks or month may be a waste of money. Instead of a bassinet, try the bassinet attachment on a pack and play. 
  • Decide what you really need.  This varies greatly from family to family. Some people think a changing table is a waste of money, but I find it to be a back saver (and still use it on my 20 month old.) Maybe a swing isn't a necessity, but it could be if it is the only place your child will sleep. Maybe you don't fancy a stroller and use a baby carrier all the time. The point is figure out what you need, and then don't be convinced you need to have something by anyone else (and trust me everyone tries to give you their opinion of what you need!)
  • Use the usual money saving tips. Coupons, rebates, consignment, sales, etc. all exist for gear. In fact I got much of my big ticket items from a consignment sale. I got a brand new crib still in the box at a consignment sale for $50 less than it costed new (and it was the exact one I wanted!). I also had tons of friends who just gave away some of their stuff to me (like a pack and play and high chair). There were few things I bought brand new, which mainly was car seats (you should not buy these used), and I used Amazon Gift Cards from Swagbucks to purchase these.
Remember it's always wise to keep it simple. You don't need the fanciest stroller or crib. You just need something that is safe. It doesn't make sense to get into debt for things they need only for a small portion of their life (after all you have 18 more years of spending to do!).
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