Having a baby is a wonderful and life changing experience. It can also be extremely costly, especially for families on budget and families with more than one baby. From clothing to baby’s room furnishings to all the necessary accessories new parents and their babies must have, there are quite a lot of costs involved.
Many parents also worry about finding brands and merchandise that they actually like. Most parents assume they have to choose between getting what they like for their baby and getting what they can afford. The good news is that there are ways to have both what you, as a parent, like and what your budget will allow. It may take a little planning, but with these tips it can be much easier than you think to have what you need as well as what you like.
#1: Get familiar with your closest outlet shopping center mall.
You may have never shopped at the outlet mall closest to your house, or maybe you were a frequent shopper but never for a baby before. Now it’s time to take a look at the directory for that mall with a whole new outlook. Check for the obvious names in designer baby names, such as Baby Gap and Carters. Next you can also look for items for the home through outlet stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th where you can find designer items for the baby at closeout prices. Also check for details from stores such as Disney Outlet so you never pay full price.
#2: Keep a realistic list of “must-haves.”
It can be tricky for parents to know exactly what they need, especially the first time around. If need be, ask people you know who already have started their family to find out what merchandise out there is a must-have and which ones are just “wants.” It is important to make sure you take care of what you must have, such as a crib and car seat, and then work on getting items from your “want” list. When you buy those must-haves at a discount designer price, you will be able to stretch your baby budget dollars that much further.
#3: Look for items that “grow” with the baby.
When you are checking out the outlet shopping centers for furniture for your baby, look for items that could survive more than a year or two of your baby’s childhood. For instance, there are furniture stores at outlet malls that sell beds that convert to fit the baby for many years of his or her life, from crib to the teen years. Also look for things such as a dresser that maybe isn’t decorated only to fit a baby. Bigger items such as a dresser can work for a baby all the way until he or she leaves for college. Keep the cartoon décor for smaller, and smaller priced, items that are not as costly to replace down the road such as throw pillows or wall posters.
#4: Think past the baby’s first year.
When you start shopping or even making your list of baby gift requests, don’t think about just those first few months. Too many parents and those giving them gifts focus on those first few months. Then suddenly the supply of diapers and fashionable designer baby clothes runs out. Ask for gifts and look for deals at the outlet malls that are intended also for your baby past even the first year. This will help ease the budget down the road instead of just immediately after your baby is born.
#5: Take a pro shopping with you.
Aside from the careful list you planned out, it is a good idea to drag along an expert with you during your outlet mall shopping trip. It can be easy to stray from the list or get caught up in whatever cute display you see. Let someone who is already a parent help keep you focused and on track. You can always go back later and pick up an item or two you simply cannot stop thinking about. However it is better to do that than to have to waste a trip to take back a bunch of returns because you are over budget.
#6: Make sure trips now include outlet shopping.
Whether you are going out of town for a business trip or the family plans a getaway, look for outlet malls. Almost every area has one now, and every trip allows enough time for a stop by the outlets for some baby shopping. You could find some of your best designer baby deals away from home without even making that the focal point of your trip. If your time is very limited, you should go ahead and look up the directory prior to getting there so you know which stores you should make sure you hit first.
#7: Buy several of what you love or know you will need.
One of the great things about outlet shopping is finding great deals for designer baby items. If you find something like the perfect play outfit for your baby, go ahead and buy more than one. Some parents even choose the same pattern or color but you can always mix it up by stocking up on every color they have. Also if they have the same outfit but in a bigger size for your baby as he or she grows older, go ahead and pick up some future outfits too.
#8: Consider reselling your items.
If you are not planning on another baby or know you are a fashionista who wants the next baby to have all new designer baby items, go ahead and resell your items. Everything from baby clothes to furniture and accessories does really well at baby consignment and resale shops. At least make it a point to have a big garage sale to help raise funds for more designer baby items down the road.
#9: Become a sale hunter.
You may not be ready to tackle couponing enough to take it on as a competitive sport, but you should still know some of the basics. If you live near an outlet mall, make sure you are on their e-newsletter mailing list or that you get coupons mailed to you. Also if you are planning to visit an outlet mall away from your usual shopping grounds, check to see when their next big sales event is taking place. If there will be a mall-wide sale a week after you were planning to visit, it may make sense to change the date of your plans. The resulting savings can be well worth it.
#10: Do not let go of your items.
Of course make sure you hold on to those items in the event you decide to have another little addition to your family. Designer baby items do not go out of style nearly as quickly as adult fashions. So you should be able to repurpose some of those classic clothing items, furniture or accessories to help ease the cost of baby number two.
Doing anything on a budget just takes a little extra planning. Once you get to know how to shop on a budget and still find designer baby items, it will become second nature.