How to Buy Baby Gear on a Budget
Ah, baby gear. Does the list ever end? Strollers and diaper bags and rocking chairs and car seats. If you're not careful, it's easy to blow your entire budget on only one item. That's why it's important to go into buying mode with a strategy. Here are a few fail-safe ways to save a little cash when shopping for all those necessities.
Register well. A baby shower is a great way to stock up on essential baby gear, and your closest friends and family will be more than happy to help you out in that area. Instead of registering for tons of adorable rompers, register for the big-ticket items that you really need. That way people can chip in for gifts and get you something they know you'll truly appreciate.
Try borrowing first. Before you plop down money for an activity seat, see if it's possible to borrow one from a friend to make sure your baby even likes it. If your baby won't stop screaming while she's in it, you can probably put your money to better use elsewhere.
Buy in phases. You won't need all these items for your baby at once. Most newborns sleep in cradles or bassinets, so it may be possible to hold off on buying a crib until you spot a great deal. And you won't need that high chair for a couple of months, either. Remember, though, that you will need a car seat immediately, and be sure to have it properly installed well in advance of your due date.
Get it secondhand. You'll need to do some research on certain items to make sure they're built to the current safety guidelines (like cribs and car seats, for example), but other items such as rocking chairs, changing tables, and bouncy seats are all fine to pick up used. Check out sites like Swap Baby Goods, Swap Mamas, and Freecycle for deals on the items you're looking for, as well as local community boards.
Go social. Use your Facebook page and Twitter accounts to scout for deals on baby gear from your favorite brands. Like the Facebook pages of various companies for access to savings opportunities, and follow the companies on Twitter for coupon codes or information on any upcoming sales.
Avoid gimmicks. It's tempting to snatch up every awesome baby item you see, read about, or hear about from your friends, but using a little common sense when it comes to making purchases can go a long way. For example, you'll probably be just fine without items like diaper wipe warmers, baby-specific food processors, and jogging strollers (unless, of course, you plan to train for the marathon with Baby). You'd also be surprised at the markup of certain items simply because they're labeled as "for baby." A set of drawers from a furniture warehouse will hold your baby's clothes as neatly as the one from that baby- furniture store--but it will probably cost you a lot less.
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