What to Buy

Spend Wisely and At the Right Time


  • Make a list of what you really need before you go shopping
  • Be thankful for hand-me-downs
  • Delay purchasing what you won’t use until you need it
  • Buy for the season
  • Baby showers and registries help a lot


Some parents arrive in my office with enough baby items to last them through an overseas vacation. No doubt, it’s fun to shop for your almost-here baby! But baby supplies can drain your pocketbook long before that first diaper is changed. Thinking carefully about what you truly need and how to get it can save you money, allow others a way to participate in your happiness, and keep your home from turning into a warehouse of unused or inappropriate items.

  • Isn’t That Cute? Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, you will inevitably have to buy things for your newborn. If you’re not the person who inherits the family crib, high chair, or changing table, you’ll probably throw down your credit card to any smooth-talking sales person in that cute baby store. But all that stuff gets expensive very fast. You don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, do you? Hopefully not; everyone knows that’s a sure way to fill your cart with too much food. The same strategy applies when you’re ready to stock baby’s room and wardrobe: having a list and sticking to it keeps your credit card bills lighter. A little buying discipline may even make you feel less guilty when those shoes you have been eyeing for yourself sneak into your bag.
  • Hand-Me-Down Heaven. Unless you’re the first in your family or group to have a baby, you probably have folks waiting in the wings to clear out their closets by filling yours with lightly used baby clothes. Your little one will probably go through multiple clothing changes in a day and instantly outgrow those small outfits. Remember, babies double their weight by four months and triple by twelve months. Enjoy the newborn hand-me-downs while you can because that well will soon go dry. Once baby is a toddler, clothing gets worn out and stained much faster so you won’t get nearly as many used outfits and that’s when you’ll really have to lay out money for clothes and supplies. The same with baby furniture: changing tables and cradles are often still in good condition when they’re no longer needed. As long as they meet current safety guidelines, accepting these lightly used items makes your budget happy.
  • That Thing’s In The Way, Again. A week before your due date or a month after baby is born isn’t the time you’ll need a high chair, a baby jumper, a little red wagon, or a dollhouse. But these things can really make your home feel like you live in a subway car at rush hour. They’re all cute, but save your purchasing pleasure for when your baby is old enough to use it.
  • I Love It, But… When shopping for your expectant baby on that warm summer day, remember what season your baby is expected to arrive. That cute tropical dress won’t get much use in January arctic cold. Shop wise and remember many lightly used newborn clothing are likely to be offered from friends and family. Think ahead to the upcoming season’s clothing in larger sizes so your baby will be comfortable whatever the weather offers.
  • Thank-you, It’s Just Right. Baby showers can fill the gap in your needs and save your budget in an often-hilarious, game-filled way. Plus, there’s cake after the games! And though your Aunt across the country is excited about your baby, she probably won’t make it to your shower. Help her out by enrolling in store registries so everyone has a chance to give you exactly what you want or need.

Making a list, not getting too far ahead of yourself and allowing others to participate in the fun of accessorizing your baby makes for a great way to engage those around you and prevents you from spending more than you can afford.

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