It’s not easy being a first time parent because you get so tempted to buy just about everything on the the planet for your kids.
Even someone like myself who regularly blogs about frugality has a little trouble resisting every baby accessory out there. What I’ve ended up doing is a bit of a hybrid approach. Here’s an explanation:
Purchase New Safety Items
Although I love scouring Craigslist and eBay, I’ve chosen to buy all new safety items. This includes new cribs for my twins, new mattresses, new car seats, and new monitoring equipment. It’s just a personal preference (like every parenting decision). I don’t feel comfortable buying items like this second hand unless I intimately know the source and how long they’ve been in use. Come to think of it, gently used mattresses would have probably been okay, but there’s no way to guarantee that the previous parents used waterproof pads, etc. You get the drift…
Purchase Used Clothing
Despite not wanting to buy used safety items, I have purchased gently used clothes and cloth diapers like they’re going out of style. It’s become a sort of game to see how many clothes I can find on eBay for very low prices. So far, I’ve managed to purchase most of my children’s 0-3 month outfits for under $1 each. It’s perfect because it they soil them or get them dirty in any way, they are practically disposable.
I’ve had to save money on this area because of how expensive the other items have been. I don’t mind putting my children in used clothing, so long as it appears new and is free from stains or odors. To me, there is no reason to spend a lot of money on tiny clothes, since they grow out of them so fast!
Books Not Toys
I haven’t bought the kids a lot of toys. After all, they aren’t even born yet! It’s my hope that both kids love to read as much as their parents and that they somehow see their mom and dad reading all the time and decide that it’s something cool to do. Obviously, kids enjoy having toys, but I’m really going to try to stay away from cell phones and iPads. I know, I know – I have no idea what it’s like to be a parent yet. Putting on a two hour movie has probably saved the sanity of many a parent. I’m not saying they’ll never play with electronics. After all, I want them to be tech savvy. I’m just saying that we hope it won’t be a dominant part of their upbringing. We’d rather invest our money into other things.
Again, I know parenting is very personal. It seems like everyone has an opinion on it, despite the fact that all of us have different kids. Still, so far splurging a little and saving a little has been a good hybrid approach for us, and we hope that we continue to find balance along the journey as well.