As a new parent your impulse may be to provide whatever your baby needs – no matter the cost. (Having just embarked on parenting, I can speak from personal experience!)
But, of course, your child doesn’t need everything. In fact, a newborn can survive happily on simple basics – food, warmth, diaper changes, and hugs, primarily. Does your baby really need organic crib sheets? Or a $100 cashmere receiving blanket? Of course not.
ARTICLE: 6 ways to save money on baby stuff
That said, I have discovered some thing worth the splure – for our family, at least.
Check out these 5 splurge-worthy baby items you may want to consider
My son always cried when we changed his diaper for the first couple of weeks. We realized it might have had something to do with the cold temperature of the wipes hitting his skin. Upon the recommendation of another parent we purchased a wipe warmer. Cost? About $27 from Babies R Us. I was hesitant to buy it, feeling like I was falling prey to the marketers of the billion-dollar baby gadgetry empire. But all I can say is that our baby no longer wails when his diaper gets changed. I accidentally have called this the “butt warmer.” Well, it sort of is, isn’t it?
Professional Car Seat Installation
While attending our infant care classes before our son was born, we learned that most car seats are installed improperly. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 3 out of 4 car seats are installed incorrectly. We didn’t trust our installation skills, so we paid about $75 to hire a top-recommended expert to install our car seat. You can search for an inspection service or expert installer in your area at SafeCar.gov.
Editor’s note: In most places in the country, you can go to a local fire station for a free install. The fire fighters typically have been trained in proper car seat installation.
Baby’s Own Airplane Seat
Airlines don’t generally require travelers to purchase individual seats for their children under the age of 2. The rules typically say you can keep your baby on your lap. But for our family’s first trans-continental flight happening later this fall with the baby in tow, we wanted to be extra safe and extra comfortable.
My husband researched it and found that in rare instances when there was, say, a bad landing or lots of turbulence, having a baby strapped in his or her car seat on the plane was very helpful. In one or two cases, it was actually life saving.
So, for peace of mind, we decided to pay an extra $500 for our baby’s round trip seat in coach from NYC to San Francisco. Plus, this means we all get our own row on the plane and don’t have to worry about bothering an innocent passenger next to us. (For passengers who will be sitting in front or behind us, we apologize in advance!)
Subscription to Consumer Reports
I apologize to my parents for thinking they were such nerds in the ’80s for referencing Consumer Reports before any major purchase. I am that parent now…and proud to say that I have a subscription to the product ratings magazine. We referenced it before buying our new car and the baby’s car seat, to name just a couple of big ticket items we’ve bought in the last few months. Annual membership is $30, but you can try it for the first 30 days for free.
You will take countless photos of your baby. I think I’ve taken over 1,000 since he was born 3 months ago, mostly with my iPhone. And each day, my iPhone begs me to delete some of the pictures because my storage is nearly full. Who has the heart to delete any photos of their baby – even the out of focus ones?
I decided to download DropBox, the cloud storage service, onto my phone, which automatically backs up photos and videos. The basic service is free, but because I knew I’d probably exceed the basic capacity, I upgraded to DropBox Pro for an extra $99 a year. This gives me one terabyte (1 TB) of space. Translation: 1,000 gigabytes, or more than enough. Never feel bad about deleting a photo from your phone again.
About the author: Farnoosh Torabi is a financial expert and author of the new book, When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. Sign up for her newsletter and receive your free gift!