Budget Baby

Not long after finding out we were pregnant, it became my personal mission to not fall into the trap of many first-time parents who go totally overboard with spending on baby things. The baby market is a booming one, with everyone claiming their product is something you “must have” but for me the essentials were having as little clutter and stress as possible in welcoming our new addition.

Our office/dumping room (where all of the random odds and ends of our household were landing) was to become our nursery. All of the office things are being re-located to the basement as I type. It’s been a slow process, but with our end-of-September deadline looming, things are coming along nicely now and everyone is working so hard at getting organized. Organization makes me happy, so it feels really, really good to be taking care of this. The nursery is nearly complete with a few random bits to make their way downstairs, a crib mattress to purchase, and some art to be framed and hung on the walls.  For nursery décor, I wanted something simple and eclectic with a few splashes of colour. I wasn’t interested in anything too “matchy”, and I wanted a place for everything, with a forest theme as the basis for our decorating choices.

We were lucky to have a beautiful crib and a change table donated by two of the families at the school. These pieces suit the space really nicely, and were in beautiful condition. We’ve re-purposed a small grey cupboard with doors for baby linens and bibs, and I made it a bit less somber with some adorable decals that my parents got for us. Instead of a dresser, we hung some fabric organizers in the closet and stocked them with baby clothes. The futon will stay in baby’s room for guests (until Noah moves in there when he’s older) or for sick baby nights when one of the parents needs to be near by. I’m going to recover the dark grey with something more cheerful, like red, and I’m working on a very whimsical flannel rag quilt to add some colour there. I promise to post some images once the nursery is complete.

Some friends who had things to pass along have given us baby slings and wooden toys in mint condition. We’re trying to create a more “Waldorf” space for all of the children, but staying away from plastic and commercial toys. Early in my pregnancy, I made a monthly date with my mom out of raiding Value Village for clothes and shoes and accessories for baby. I scored four pairs of mint Robee shoes for $3 a pop (retail is $40) and a brand new Baby Gap newborn snowsuit for $10. Then I put the call out on Facebook to anyone who might have some baby boy clothes that they would like to get rid of. This resulted in so many bins of clothing that we’ve had to store half of it with my in-laws.  I meticulously washed and sorted everything by size, keeping only the newborn to six-month items at home for now.

Daddy compromised on his stroller choice, and selected a much more reasonably priced Britax B-Agile model that handles like a dream. My parents generously purchased this for us. Mama S’ family surprised us with the Mamma Roo chair which doubles as a swing. We’d registered for a less expensive version of both chair and swing, but this elegant splurge was very welcome, and it’s so compact and sleek it looks very handsome in our living space. Daddy’s family bought us the Skip Hop crib set I indulged in on our registry. I knew if this wasn’t a gift item, then we’d find a cheaper alternative, and I’d already made four crib sheets, but I really loved the Treetop Friends pattern. (See my Pinterest board for crib sheet instructions – so easy!)  We ended up getting TWO sets because of my very generous cousin, so now one of these will help us buy our very extensively researched Britax Chaperone car seat.

We’ve still got one shower to look forward to this weekend with all of our wonderful friends. Once that fun has been had, we’ll fill out the rest of our needs by shopping online and shipping to our UPS inbox in Niagara Falls NY. The trip across the border is worth the incredible savings to be had by shopping online.

How did you cut corners and save on costs when your little ones arrived?

2 thoughts on “Budget Baby

  1. We blew the bank on a trendy stroller for our first and within a year we had a second baby and needed a double stroller. The $600 BMW-of-strollers now collects dust in the garage, replaced with a hand-me-down that is twice as useful. You’ve got the right attitude. The 9 months of anticipation make it tempting to hoard baby-kitsch, but in the end, you’ll be passing it all along, likely for free, sooner than you think. Like you, we found an enormous amount of things got donated to us. People have sentimental attachments to their baby stuff and often prefer to give it to a friend rather than sell it. If I can offer some advice, take some of the money you save and invest in the best camera you can afford, if that interests you. That said, here is some of the baby stuff we did get good use out of:

    a baby bjorn carrier (the front-facing kind, not the backpack which was far less useful),
    a chariot-style bicycle trailer (though we live in the country, not sure if this would be safe riding in the city),
    a bumbo chair (surprisingly handy when preparing food, watching tele, etc),
    good quality wooden baby gates for the top and bottom of stairs
    foam interlocking play mats are cheap, handy to define the play area, easy on the knees when crawling, and soften falls when learning to walk.

    Anyway, you’ll do great, and remember, all your decisions are the right ones!

  2. When you were born I had a small rocking bassinet right beside my bed for the first couple of months and then I had a second hand crib given to me so I painted it white (with safe paint) and i used the dresser that my dad had made for me over 50 years ago (which I still have) and painted that as well. We got by just fine. Used the same bassinet, crib and dresser for Kyle when he was born. Now I am using that dresser for my quilting material. You are on the right track as far as watching your dollars on silly things that you can get from friends or second hand.

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