It’s hard to believe our littlest one is already nine months. The baby time (well, time in general) seems to go faster with each one. Even though we have been through all the exciting milestones with our three older children, it’s just as magical and fun when #4 reaches them.
The latest fun milestone is that she can now wave”hi” toward someone instead of waving backward toward herself. It’s pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.
While my excitement with cute baby milestones hasn’t changed even with experience, my parenting savvy has changed for the better. Budgeting for baby has gotten easier with each child. Of course the cost goes down with subsequent children, but that’s due, in part, to experienced parents knowing the truth behind these myths.
Here are 5 myths that often fool new parents into spending more than they should and what you can do to avoid them.
Myth #1– You need a wipes warmer (and other newfangled accessories)
Walking up and down the aisles of baby products, you will be astounded by a universe of have-to-have gadgets that you had no idea existed. The advertising on the packages is compelling. You can really envision how a baby wipe warmer will make your infant’s life wonderful, and it seems an obvious choice to buy it right now, or at least register for it. And how about that food processor exclusively for baby food?
Truth: Just because a baby accessory purports to serve a purpose doesn’t mean you need it. You can quickly drain your wallet and clutter your house by buying load of ridiculously unnecessary baby products.
And of course the wipes warmer isn’t going to mention it’s also a “wipes drier-outer,” leaving you with less effective wipes all the time, and a baby trained to flip out when you have to use un-warmed wipes whenever you’re out and about.
Myth #2– Name brand diapers are worth the difference in price
You’re definitely going to need diapers — there’s no denying that. As a first time mom, cloth diapers were not even on my radar as a possibility. The hospital trains you to need name brand diapers, so many parents don’t even consider anything else.
Truth: Generic diapers do the job just fine and can cost half as much! We’ve tested all sorts of diapers, from store brands like Target or the even less expensive DG brand from Dollar General, to national brands like Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs. In the end do you know what we did? We threw them all away– Ha! 🙂
As long as the diapers serve their purpose, we prefer to throw as little money away as possible. Of course, you’ll want to avoid diapers that simply don’t work for your baby (not all generic diapers are created equal), but for diapers at low prices we have had a good experience with DG. With their digital coupons we can usually knock the price down even more!
Myth #3– You should buy everything you’ll need before baby arrives
You’ve got nine months to plan for this baby’s arrival, so it’s understandable that you want to start preparing. Your nesting instinct might put you into stockpiling mode. You think that you need to have everything that you might possibly need before you even bring your baby home.
Truth: Besides a few essentials that you are sure to need (diapers, wipes, car seat, some onesies and sleepers, a few receiving blankets, etc), go easy on the prepping. Wait to stock up on pacifiers until you know what kind your baby likes or if your baby will even take them.
Socking away money instead of stuff is always a safe bet. When you find out you’re expecting (or better yet, long before) start saving money. Then wait to spend it until you find that you actually need something you don’t have yet. You’ll be surprised how many things you think are needs really aren’t. If you’re having a baby shower, you’ll probably get lots of goodies to get you started.
Myth #4– You need to buy all your baby equipment new
With baby showers and gift registries, new parents are conditioned to look at and long for brand-spankin’ new baby things. Strollers, cribs, high chairs, and swings are on new parents’ lists.
Truth: You can buy most baby equipment used for a fraction of the price. Look for used baby equipment at thrift stores, consignment sales, yard sales, and online. Consider borrowing equipment from a friend or family member.
Many baby items are used for a short time before they are outgrown or no longer needed. Think bassinets, Bumbos, and bouncers. These are the items you definitely don’t need to buy new. Since no one uses them long, the used version really is as good as new.
Myth #5– Generic care products aren’t good enough for my baby
Of course you want a baby shampoo that isn’t going to sting if (well, when) it gets into your baby’s eyes. You want products that do the job they were intended for. New parents are willing to take a serious hit to the wallet when choosing the name brand because they believe their child deserves the best, which must be the name brand.
Truth: The truth is, you’ll find essentially the same ingredients in the generic brand as the national brand. And for a fraction of the price! We love our babies to the moon and back and we use this stuff. It works perfectly. There is no reason to overpay for the national brands when the generic will do!
It doesn’t stop here!
Oh there are more! Do you know what they all have in common? Emotion is at the heart of all of these budget-busting baby myths. Any time you are tempted to spend extra as an indicator of your love for your baby, you had better make sure you aren’t being fooled into overspending. The baby products industry has experts who spend all their time figuring out how to turn your love for your baby into the feeling that you have just got to have their particular overpriced products.
And it’s not just the baby industry preying on the emotions of new parents. Whenever we are worried about what others think, we have fallen into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses. What your neighbor, or your sister-in-law, or the other new mom at work has for her baby may not be what’s right or necessary for your own baby or your family budget.
What your baby needs most is your love and attention, which is something you can’t buy at any price.
How about you?
- What budget-breaking myths did you believe as a new parent?
- What’s your best money-saving baby advice for first-time parents?
This post brought to you by Dollar General. The content and opinions are my own.
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