Q: Dear Smart Cookies, my husband and I are expecting our first baby. We’re ecstatic but already worried about costs. My new mom friends purchase so much for their babies and I’m worried that we will spend money we don’t have, trying to keep up. Plus, I don’t even have a realistic idea of how much we should spend in the first year.
– Carrie R., Toronto
A: Hi Carrie, it only takes one look at a new mom cruising down the sidewalk with her Bugaboo stroller and Coach diaper bag to suddenly feel like you need the same. As if new moms don’t have enough to worry about, now they are faced with pressure to be trendy. Well, hold up yummy mommy! Smart Cookies consulted our favourite hot new moms and are happy to share some tips on keeping your baby spending in check. Total cost for baby’s “stuff” in year one should not exceed $6,500 (not including food), in fact, it can often be done for less.
For safety reasons, we don’t recommend buying used but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Ikea and Toys R Us both sell beautiful and safe cribs for $250 or less.
And forget fancy bedding sets that can run up to $300. Instead, buy solid-colour bedding ($50), then decorate the nursery with themed accessories. You’ll save 60 per cent or more.
Your best bet is to invest in a new, safe stroller. You can find a stroller for around $70. Consumer Reports suggests Safety 1st Acella Alumilite and the Evenflo Journey.
Babies don’t really need any toys before they are 3 to 4 months old. Ask the new moms you know if they are interested in doing toy swaps every few months.
Buy your children’s clothes for next year at the end of each season. If you know your child will be wearing size two next summer, at the end of this summer stock up at Baby Gap when everything is on sale. You can usually get items for up to 50 per cent off.
Often parents complain that less expensive, no-name diapers are more likely to cause diaper rash. Since babies are more prone to diaper rash the longer their diaper is on, splurge on the diapers that will be on your baby the longest — the ones at night.
Lastly, put a single friend on speed dial. When all your friends with babies try to convince you that you really do need the $800 Bugaboo Stroller, your single girlfriends will tell you like it really is.
If you have questions for the Smart Cookies, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And don’t forget to check us out every Wednesday on the W Network in our new time slot at 9 p.m. EST/PST.