As I have mentioned a few times already, my wife and I are expecting our first child. We recently started looking at baby items like baby furniture, strollers, car seats, Pack N’ Plays, etc. It’s amazing how little babies need so much stuff!
But the more we talked to other parents and looked through baby stores, the more we realized that we don’t need the majority of the baby items companies want you to believe you need. But the temptation to spend remains. We are excited about bringing new life into the world and I think companies play on that excitement to entice people into spending more money. Not just new parents, but their family and friends as well.
My wife and I are taking things slowly. We are still researching what we will need and won’t need, and so far, we have eliminated dozens of items from “the essential baby item list” that was probably put out by some marketing company. So far, our plan has been to go through the list line by line and decide whether or not we need the item, when we will need it if we do, and whether or not it is something we can get cheaper at a consignment store – yes for a bouncer, no for a car seat (safety reasons).
Necessity vs. practicality. My wife and I have the money to purchase the items we need to have a happy and healthy baby, but we are limited in other areas, such as space and time. Our house is not large and eventually we will need to upgrade to a larger home. The limited space in our house means we can’t go all out with a full suite of baby furniture. And the more I look into it, the more I realize that it isn’t necessary for a newborn. A place to sleep – yes. But a multi-piece furniture set complete with crib, changing table, dresser, toy chest, etc. is overkill for our needs. We want to ensure that what we buy is both necessary and practical for our situation.
Quality vs. cheap. My wife and I are more interested in buying quality items instead of just saving money. If that means spending more money to buy an item we think will last longer, then we will do it. The last thing we want to do is have to replace something after a few months.
Our car and house will need upgraded – but not yet. We live in a relatively small 2 bedroom town house that is more vertical than horizontal. We have enough space for a child, but the layout doesn’t leave much room for the baby to walk or run, which babies like to do. We also plan on having more than one child, so eventually we will need to buy a larger home. But our baby won’t reach the walking stage for well over a year from now, so we have time before we need to upgrade. The same thing goes for our cars. I drive a 4 door compact car, and my wife drives a 2 door Honda Accord. Obviously, the Accord won’t be a good fit for a newborn, so my wife and I plan on trading cars until we absolutely need something larger, or it makes sense to buy. Right now both of our cars are paid off, and not adding a car payment is much more attractive to us than having a slightly larger car.
The temptation will only get worse. My wife and I still have a few months before our baby is due, and we only recently started looking at baby items. I have a strong feeling that the temptation to spend money will only get worse as we get closer to D-Day. It’s a good thing we already started planning. A well-planned list will certainly save us money.