Just last week I started assembling a few items, and it is beginning to feel even more real! If you follow me on Facebook, then you are informed to my baby stroller ordeal. I am hear to announce that I assembled the Baby Jogger as well as the Mamaroo! The Mamaroo was terribly more simple. Honestly, I like the picture assembly directions, but why no verbiage? Has our literacy rate plummeted that much? I digress....
In unpacking/washing/assembling all of my goodies, I was reminded of all the $$ that I have saved, and figured I should share some of my tips with all of you.
- "Baby Bargains." This is a MUST have book! I am so glad that my girlfriend urged me to buy this book because I was so overwhelmed with all the options in babyland. Sure, Pinterest has a wealth of baby essential posts from all various bloggers, but this book lays out the information in a simple manner. Denise & Alan Fields review nearly every imaginable baby product known to man, and give each a grade (A-F). They even have quick access tables, registry cheat sheets (Good, Better, & Best), and a stellar website. I would refer back to this book BEFORE making a purchase. It was my plan to buy only items with an A rating, and I did!
- Start Buying Early. I started buying items in December, before we even announced our pregnancy to the world! December is a month full of hot deals and discounts because of Christmas. Now, if you don't want to start buying until you enter your 2nd trimester, that makes total sense to me! However, I would not recommend waiting until you enter your 3rd trimester to start buying the essentials or waiting until you have a baby shower! To pull this off, I re-adjusted Team Kemp's budget to include a "Little Miss Kemp" line item. (Yes, I am pretty particular about Team Kemp Budget! Coach affectionately refers to me as 'Frugal Franny,' but I always remind him that his checking account, savings account, and lack of credit card debt love me for it! My
frugalbudget conscious ways go out the window once we enter some of my favorite, designer stores though! I have been known to rationalize a number of purchases in our two years of marriage, lol! )
- Buy Manufacturer Discontinued Items. See that Mamaroo?!? Well, it is the "older" version and not the new, 2015 version! The 4moms Mamaroo 2015 Classic sells for $239.99; while I got the older version for $175.00 (originally $219.00). On face value, I saved $44.00; and $64.99 if comparing the new verse the price that I paid for the older version. Prior to purchasing the older version, I did my research to determine if my savings would be worth it. You know this baby product world is like I-phones! Until there is some major, unique change, why buy the most recent version? Now, Coach would disagree with me on that analogy with an I-phone, touche.
- Mint Arrow. Guys! I cannot sing the praises for this fabulous blog and writer! Ok, I probably should have simply said "blogs," but there is no denying that Corrine really catapulted my savings this year, and not only on baby products! You remember those grey Hunter boots that I wore in this A-Game Attire/Game Day Review post? Well, I got those on sale because of one of her posts. And from the items above, only the Baby K'Tan and BOB Revolution SE are items that I found not through her website. It is important to note, that she has advertised for about two or three discounts on the BOB Revolution SE. In my case, a mommy acquaintance shot me over an email, about a deal in which I saved $220.00!
- Share Resources/Deals with Other Mommies.I just mentioned how I saved $220.00 on our BOB Revolution SE. One of the CrossFit SEO mommies sent me the link about the stroller at the beginning of January, and I bought it later that day. Now, before purchasing I had already decided that I wanted a BOB because of friend and the Baby Bargain reviews. Because I had already established a "LMK Budget," the purchase was made instantly! And I still to this day forward emails to other expecting mommies about specific deals that I find. In return, they send me deals. Most recently, my cousin forwarded some deals about glass bottles through Diapers.com. I have now added this website to my go-to list for baby purchases.
- Make Purchases Online. From time to time, I do miss being able to run to any one of my favorite stores, but now I truly find online shopping to be my best tool in bargain shopping. Now, do not get me wrong, it has always been my friend, but it is on a whole new level these days! Some of my favorite online baby essential websites include: Amazon, AlbeeBaby, and Diapers.com. (There will have to be another post for baby clothing/attire.) I have truly been able to get some major discounts, coupons, and even gift certificates through each of these websites! Just the other day, I received a $50.00 gift card to AlbeeBaby after making a purchase! I am over here making money by spending it; love! Amazon is my go-to for all my home purchases, and it has been easy to include baby essentials with Amazon Prime and Subscribe & Save. And Diapers.com always has great deals/promotions. You too can check-out through your Amazon account on diapers.com. The key to catching all these deals is to also sign up for their emails, but be careful! Be careful because it is very easy to rationalize needing that 20th receiving blanket because it is currently 20% off! No, you certainly do not need that many receiving blankets. Finally, I find online shopping beneficial because I am not inundated by all the cute items in the aisles that mysteriously make their way into my cart. When shopping online, I can place many items in "my cart," and then assess the items in the comfort of my own home. No worries of sale associates lurking around trying to coax you into purchasing an item, or pressure from onlookers that you are truly mulling over 5 different baby bottles.
- Review Return Policies. It is essential that you read the return policy on all items that you make as each retailer sets different guidelines, and with Amazon it can be different for each item. I am hear to say that I "pulled the trigger" on items before really thinking them through. For example, Corrine at Mint Arrow shared about a $200.00 savings on the Baby Jogger City Versa stroller. I knew that I wanted the Baby Jogger City Select, but got a little anxious, because I was waiting for a deal and figured maybe it was best to just go with the City Versa. Well, a few days later, Coach and I visited the Buy Buy Baby store. I got to talking with the sales associates and learned that to dis-assemble the City Versa, you must take out the seat! Ok, that seemed like a lot for me, especially since I wanted the Baby Jogger to be our "travel system." A day or two later, the stroller arrived, and before it even collected dust inside our house, we returned it. Now, I am completely to blame because I acted hastily when making my original purchase. But, I was able to return the item. This did not occur in a more recent experience in which I purchased two breastfeeding books - "Breastfeeding Made Simple" and "Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple." These two books were recommended by our Lamaze instructor. Again, I acted hastily, and purchased both through my Amazon I-Phone app. On April 25th I realized that it was silly that I had both books and figured I could return the "Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple" book. Well, I had missed the return date by ONE day!!! Granted, the book was only $20.00, but I was still a little peeved with myself. Luckily, I contacted one of my girlfriends who is expecting, and will be sending her the book! So my lesson here is to always be cognizant of your return policies, especially if you buy items well in advance.
- Think About the Future. If you have been following the blog for some time, or even caught that I said "Little Miss Kemp" and not "The Kemp Twins," you may be wondering why I have the Baby Jogger City Select Double Stroller in my picture! When discussing the pros and cons of the various Baby Jogger strollers with the associate at Buy Buy Baby, she shared that 2nd time parents return to the store to purchase a double stroller. She shared that typically these parents have children between the ages of 2-3 year-olds. Though some 2-3 year-old toddlers are over their strollers, she stated that many second time parents return to purchase a double stroller which can cost from $500.00 and up! So, they really have spent far more money because they just bought a single stroller 2-3 years prior. Team Kemp is hoping to expand the brood to include one more little, God willing, so it was easy for Coach and I to decide to purchase the City Select because it can easily be converted into a double stroller. Then, I sat on our decision and waited for a deal! And then it came! I was able to purchase the Baby Jogger City Select with a FREE second chair through AlbeeBaby. This find was thanks to Mint Arrow! (I must confess that I have followed no ones recommendations of buying gender neutral newborn and early stage infant wear.)
- Bring Back-Up/Reinforcement & Consider Your Budget. Let's be honest, newborn and baby essentials are so stinking cute. Companies and stores make you believe that you NEED all these items, and 100s of each, but the truth is that that is untrue. However, I am still a sucker when browsing about at stores, and have found myself purchasing items that I did not need! Just the other day, I went to Carter's to return some items, and ended up spending an additional $50.00 with my return! When I returned home, I assessed my purchases and will, again, be making some returns but Coach will be joining me to ensure I do not buy items that are unnecessary (i..e, Newborn to 3 month attire). Also, when I first started perusing baby items, I wanted all the chic, expensive items like the $1,000.00 stroller. I did not develop an overall budget, but do think that would have been advantageous. With that being said, buying an overly luxurious stroller would have eaten my "LMK" baby budget for the month, so that curtailed those purchases. As mentioned above, I also referred to the Baby Bargains book before making most large-ticket purchases which helped me in making sound decisions based on quality. In the end I realized that the dollar amount really did not matter as much as the quality.
- Free Shipping. When buying items online, always use websites which have free shipping. I absolutely refuse to buy from stores that do not provide free shipping, and applaud those that provide free returns, as well. I will certainly go out of my way to buy a miscellaneous $2.99 item verse paying the $4.99 (+) shipping cost. This is also my motto with bank withdrawals. If your institution's ATM is not in the vicinity, at least go to CVS, Walgreen's, etc. and get a pack of gum in efforts of getting that cash you want in your pocket (cough, cough Coach!).
I will need a few months to develop some strategies for buying/saving money when it comes to clothing. I have a tendency to buy clothes/shoes for myself without a clear vision of how I will wear it. Of course, I think about my closet, but I do take a more liberal, "look at the savings" approach when buying clothes for myself and Coach. I believe this is ok, only because we both have a pre-existing wardrobe that we are building upon. Babies grow out of items at warped speed, and I do not think this same approach is going to be the most cost effective!
Question(s) of the Day: What tips/strategies do you use for saving with newborn and baby essentials?
What recommendations do you have for saving money on baby clothing/attire?