When a couple is expecting their first child, more often than not they believe that they need everything they see online or at the department store. From the most expensive cribs and bassinets, to designer baby clothes and shoes, and yes, even baby wipe warmers. But little do these moms and know that a lot of things that they buy during their first baby’s year actually turns out to be a huge waste of money.
Sure, you need your basics like diapers, baby formula, a good and stable crib and enough clothes to last your child for an entire year (they grow fast after all). But there are a lot of gizmos and gadgets that parents really don’t need and quite frankly, shouldn’t spend their money on. But unfortunately, there aren’t many people out there that will tell new parents that.
Let’s face it, raising a family is hard work and yes, having kids is expensive. But parents shouldn’t be breaking the bank during their child’s first year. They have their entire lives – and those pricey college years – to worry about ahead of them. With that being said, here are 20 different ways that parents can save money during their baby’s first year.
20 Newborn Diapers
Believe it or not, you are not going to need too many diapers during your child’s newborn stage. That’s because he or she isn’t going #2 in full force yet (just wait until he starts eating like there’s nothing left in the refrigerator – then you are going to need to stock up).
A lot of parents make the mistake of thinking that they need to buy a lot of newborn items but in reality, they end up spending money on many things they will never use.
You are better off spending money on a good diaper supply after their first month, and not before.
19 Diaper Genie
Let’s face it: you are never going to love your diaper genie. It’s a huge waste of your money and if you end up getting one as a gift, do yourself a favor and exchange it. It’s a hassle to refill and to put it simply, it stinks.
You don’t want any of those dirty diapers piling up in your baby’s nursery, now do you? Do yourself a favor and just toss all of those stinky diapers in the garbage bin in your garage or outside, if you have them there. The more your child will eat, the more disgusting those diaper blowouts will get. Trust us.
18 Bottle Sanitizer
In theory, it’s very important that you make sure that your baby’s bottles are clean and sanitized at all times. But do you really need a fancy sanitizer to do the job for you? Not really. If you know how to wash dishes, then there’s a good chance that you also know how to wash your baby’s bottles.
Also, there’s a good chance that some of the baby bottles that you buy might also be dishwasher friendly, too (just check the labels). You will just want to wash your baby’s bottles the same way you would want to keep the other dishes, cups, and utensils in your cupboards squeaky clean.
17 Bottle Warmer
A lot of companies really want you to believe that raising your baby during his or her first year is really complicated and hard and that’s why you need so many different gadgets in your life. Truth be told, it’s not. Another unnecessary item that you can either return (or give away) is a baby bottle warmer. In fact, you probably already have the tools you need to heat up a bottle in your kitchen.
Reader’s Digest even says, “If you’re willing to wait a few extra minutes (the bottle warmer is supposed to be faster), that same pot of boiling water can be used to warm your baby’s milk.”
16 Wipes Warmer
This shouldn’t surprise you, but just like that bottle warmer above, you don’t need a wipes warmer, either.
Your baby probably doesn’t care if the baby wipes you use are cold or warm, he just wants to be super clean before you put on another diaper.
But with that being said, it would be nice if someone could come up with a toilet paper warmer for our buns, right? I mean, we love our children so much and care about their rears, but more often than not we don’t think about our own. If you still insist on keeping your wipes warmer, keep it for yourself.
15 Diaper Organizer
Baby caddies (also called diaper organizers) look good. And yes, they are practical, useful, and help organize your baby’s diapers, especially if you are the kind who likes to separate them by sizes and stages. But do you really need it? The honest answer is no.
Unless you are truly into aesthetics and you want everything to match in your baby’s nursery (along with the décor), a diaper organizer isn't a good idea.
It can be a good place to store the baby’s lotions and baby powder if you need it, too. Otherwise, do yourself a favor (and your wallet) and save your money.
14 Nursery Décor
Speaking of things you don’t need, just do yourself a favor and take a look at a friend’s baby nursery. Do you see all the pretty accessories, decors, accents and the expensive crib blankets and matching bed sheets? Well, we will let you in on another secret. There’s a strong possibility that your baby will never, ever remember his or her nursery. Again, this is all for aesthetics and not much more.
Also, there’s a good chance that your baby will spend more time with you then his or her nursery. Skip the décor and the fancy wall lettering because your baby doesn’t need any of this. In fact, you’ll end up tossing or donating most of it by the time he or she becomes a toddler anyhow.
13 Baby Powder
Now, this one is either a necessity or it isn’t depending on who you ask and what you baby’s individual needs are. When it comes to baby powder, you either need it or you don’t. After all, there are a lot of different cute baby behinds out there and they come in all different colors, but if there is one color that you don’t want to see, it’s one that is too red.
Baby powder helps prevents baby powder rashes, although some moms insist that it’s never worked for them before. Use your best judgement or your intuition, mamas and papas.
A lot of parents like to buy regular and receiving blankets in all different sorts of colors, designs, brands, and even animated characters. But honestly, it’s another item that you can definitely save your money on. In fact, one or two receiving blankets will suffice during your child’s first few weeks. And that’s because he or she will most likely use your favorite t-shirt, sweater, or blazer to do all of their spitting up on.
The moment you put that blanket down is when all the action happens. Save your money for your weekly dry cleaning bill instead. You’ll need it.
11 Hand Mittens
A lot of people swear that they absolutely need baby hand mittens. That’s because their newborns keep on scratching themselves in the face and for a lot of parents, it’s just way too unsightly for them to handle. And we get it. But, at the same time, are they really worth the retail price? And more importantly, are they going to work?
A blogger for Reader’s Digest says, “I needed these because my son scratched his face but they never stayed on for more than 30 seconds. The better alternative: Long sleeve shirts (like the ones your baby wears in the hospital) with sleeves that fold over your baby’s hands.”
10 Video Baby Monitor
Video baby monitors have sure come a long way in the last ten years. A lot of products now allow you to connect to an app on your iPad, laptop or smart phone device which means that you can watch your child’s each and every move. What’s more, it’s become so high-tech that the feeds are no longer as grainy or grey or black-and-white as they used to be.
But with that being said, they also come with a pretty price tag. Do you really need to watch your child like a hawk even though you are in the next room? Not really. Chances are that you will hear everything that’s going on in your child’s nursery without a monitor.
9 Baby Einstein DVDs
We get it. Every parent thinks that their child is a genius or next Steve Jobs in the making, even though they are yet to learn how to potty train or get rid of their pacific at two and a half years for that matter (but we are not here to judge). But do yourself a favor and save money on all of the Baby Einstein DVD’s.
No matter how many DVDs, toys, or Albert Einstein décor you may buy for your child, nothing will make him or her a supposed ‘genius’ during their first year of their life. What’s more, listening to nothing but classical music won’t help raise their IQ either.
8 Any Kind of DVD
With that being said, we will go as far as saying that you should skip buying any kind of animated DVD or better yet, turn off the television for at least the first two years of your child’s life. Instead, go outside. Go to the playground. Go play in a sand box. Let your child get his or her hands dirty or walk around barefoot as much as possible.
Play and roll in the grass. By keeping the television screen off, you’ll gain so much more by letting your child explore with his little hands and feet in the great outdoors.
7 Save Money On Apps
A lot of parents swear that there are educational apps out there that have taught their kids to read, write, add, subtract, and even do basic algebra before their first day of pre-school. Ok, we might be over exaggerating on that last part (along with the moms and dads who have made the same claim), but we will say this: there are very few apps out there that will actually “teach” your kid anything.
The only thing they will learn is the art of swiping left, right, up, and across on your iPad. That’s it. We’d hate to be the ones to tell you this, but it’s just passive learning.
6 Shopping Cart Cover
This one is another hotly debated item, as there are plenty of germophobic moms and dads who won’t dare put their child in a Target cart without a shopping cart cover. And we won’t pass any judgement on them because yes, those carts tend to get very dirty.
But there are plenty of parents who say that they are an unnecessary item to buy, too. Why? A lot of the times they don’t fit and babies refuse to sit in them. That, or they will end up touching the cart by the front handle in one way or another.
5 Too Many Newborn Onesies
While there’s no doubt that a lot of new parents are thankful for all of the clothes, diapers, baby items, gadgets and gizmos that their friends and family members buy them off their baby registries, it does tend to pile up. And what they don’t realize is that they get way too many newborn onesies so much so that your child never ends up wearing most of them and that’s because your baby will outgrow them before you know it.
Babies tend to grow the fastest during their first few months. You are better off investing in toddler or bigger clothes.
4 Designer Clothes
Another thing you can save your money on: designer clothes. As cute as those track suits and matching mommy-and-me outfits might look like, they are just not worth the price tag. Plus, we won’t beat around the bush with you on this one.
There’s a good chance that you are only buying the clothes so you can post those irresistibly cute photos on your social media feeds to make your friends and family members jealous with a copious amount of likes. But as far as practicality, there is none. You wouldn’t want baby spit up on a brand new Supreme tracksuit, now would you?
Have you seen the new Moana-inspired Havianas from their Disney line? Or the too-cute-for-words Toms that all the cool kids have been wearing on the playground? Or how about the latest Adidas superstar design? Yes, they all look ridiculously cute. And yes, wearing matching mommy-and-me or daddy-and-me shoes are great memories in the making.
But do yourself a favor and skip out on the shoes until your baby can walk. And when he or she does start walking, buy pediatrician-approved shoes that will help and not hinder their first steps: they are the most important ones, after all. Trust us.
2 Wee Block
A lot of people think that getting their friends a “wee blocker” for their baby boy is cute, but just like so many other things on this list, it’s another huge waste of money. If your child is going to give you a baptism, he’s going to give it to you with or without the wee blocker. Just consider it a blessing and hope that it doesn’t happen too many times.
With that being said, return the wee blocker for something that is more useful, like say a baby bib, a onesie, or even a cup of coffee for yourself. Trust us when we say that you are going to need it.
1 A Bassinet
Last but not least, go ahead and skip on that bassinet as well. There’s a very strong possibility that you will spend a few hundred dollars on it and your newborn baby will hate it. Plus, your baby can only use it for about the first three months of his or her life until they outgrow it. After that, you will most likely have to transfer your baby into their crib or co-sleep with them, depending on what your preference is. And seeing how so many babies struggle to sleep in the first place, a bassinet doesn’t seem very useful.