Babies may have tiny noses, bitty hands and little feet, but those sweet bundles of joy can certainly pack a big punch when it comes to impacting a budget.
It literally knocked the wind out of me the first time I viewed a store’s pre-made baby registry checklist. Who knew that it recommended to have on-hand six fitted crib sheets and four changing table pad covers, two diaper bags, an infant swing, bouncer and jumper, and 10 bottle nipples of each flow speed – slow, medium and fast? I felt like I dominated my wedding registry by picking those bed linens, kitchen appliances and the cookware set I’d had my heart set on, but navigating a baby registry was a whole new experience in itself.
The first thing I did was research best baby items and online reviews since I literally knew nothing about baby products and brands. I also explored a variety of registry checklists posted by real women, mostly by other bloggers and through Pinterest. I did my best to pick out the items that would fit with our lifestyle and budget to create our own checklist. It’s no surprise that store registry checklists are going to suggest that babies need a travel system, traditional stroller and lightweight stroller all to survive. They are simply a business so it’s hard to blame them for trying to make money!
Here are a few tips I discovered while registering for our little one:
Don’t Complete the Checklist!
A baby registry checklist should act as a guide – not an exact plan. There is no reason to register for everything listed if you don’t think you’ll need or use the item enough to justify the cost. You may love both the bouncer and swing and know that you’ll use both, or you may instead decide to pick just one and save that second prime spot on your registry for a different big ticket item. Also, just because the checklist says you need four crib sheets doesn’t mean you actually do. Although it may be nice to have that many extras on hand, it also might just create more laundry and work for you over time!
Begin with the Necessities
The first items we registered for were the ones we knew would have to be purchased whether we received them as gifts or not. As unglamorous as it may be, Dreft laundry detergent and stain remover, baby nail clippers, a thermometer, bottles that hook to my breast pump, swaddles, and white onesies in a variety of sizes were at the top of the list. Each item may not be very costly on its own, but these must-haves can certainly add up in cost when combined together. It may have been more fun to register for colorful toys or cute clothes, but those are all items we can live without in the beginning and still look forward to purchasing in the future.
Save those Gift Cards (If Possible!)
The majority of our registry was completed by amazing family, friends and co-workers, and we purchased a lot of the large buys on our own, including all of the nursery furniture. Because of the generosity of our loved ones, we still have quite a few gift cards without much left to purchase. I am a shopper at heart and could happily walk into a store and spend every dime left on those cards, but instead we’ve decided to save the money we have left for future use. We know he’ll need more items as he grows and transitions out of the infant stage and it will be nice to already have a little money set aside exactly for that reason.