Kate’s Random Rants: Baby Stuff

As you can probably tell, moving does not agree with me.  I used to have a lovely “work in the morning” schedule that allowed me to think and breath and do good work.  Now, I am hopping online at 10 pm and trying to put all the days smart thoughts into a post.  It’s not really going well.

This evening, cruising Facebook in lieu of working, I stumbled across some photos that really got me thinking about baby stuff, and the ridiculous amount of money that our society puts into decorating for a child.  I am the first to admit that the idea of a snazzy nursery is appealing, but when the money hit the wallpaper, I was never into doing fancy things for my babies.

I hesitate to call myself an expert in this department, because the truth is that I just don’t care about decorating for  a baby and therefore I can not be an expert.  However, I did have four babies in four and a half years, so I learned a few things along the way.  I was determined that I was not going to spend a fortune on baby gear.  I figured that a college fund was a better use for my money.  I did insist on a few things:  brand new car seats, as safe as possible, and new strollers because those things get really grotty.  Beyond that, I was searching for used gear:  cribs, exersaucers, swings, bouncy seats.  If you could buy it used, I did.

I also was pretty unconcerned about the decor of the baby’s room.  I always laughed when people asked me about my nursery’s theme.  Um, does “guest bedroom” count as a theme?  How about, crib in the corner of Mom and Dad’s room?  Is that a theme?  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a baby Scrooge who insists that everything be bland.  I just don’t understand picking fabrics and doing a whole room, at huge expense, for someone who is too small to care.

Then we get to the furniture.  Why is it so expensive, and why do so many soon-to-be parents think that they need the fancy four-way crib/bed, and the transformer changing table, and the monogrammed baskets for diapers.  Again, I would have LOVED monogrammed baskets for diapers.  They’re cute!  However, they are not cute enough for the price, in my opinion.  I would have LOVED to have bedskirts with ruffles in three different designer fabrics that matched the curtains and the diaper hanger, and the monogrammed baskets, but really, what a lot of money for such a frivolous purchase.  Do these items really add value to your life, or to the life of the baby?

We outfitted my first daughter’s nursery for about $100, not including the new stroller and car seat (safety and cleanliness are priorities for me).  We then spent an extra $40 to pick up a second crib when daughter #2 arrived.  I did buy one or two new things along the way, usually because I couldn’t find a hand-me-down at that time that I needed it.  However, I bet that we spent less than $1000 on baby gear total, over all four kids, three houses and two continents.  Most of that was on strollers, that we seem to wear out awfully fast, and car seats because those kids kept growing.

More importantly, we didn’t spend money that we didn’t have to outfit a nursery, and we made sure that baby purchases were made with money that came after things like savings.  We were fortunate enough to have paid off our last non-mortgage debt before we had our children, and

I am curious:  did you spend a lot on your child’s nursery?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • mama2aidan

    I bought a Pottery Barn set “Chamois Lambie” on Ebay when I found out I was pregnant. Once she got too old to have a baby room anymore, I boxed it up & resold it on Ebay for more that I bought it for…it was a highly sought-after line that PB no longer sold. I sold her crib, carseat & a ton of toys at a resale shop in Columbus, GA & the glider I used in her room on Craigslist. My parents bought her toddler bed & when she outgrew that, we sold it on Craigslist. Anytime she outgrows something, I either sell it on Craigslist or if it’s clothes, I take them to a resale shop. We do pretty well selling the stuff she no longer needs.

  • Dawn

    Craigslist and baby showers/family gifts were my best friends. We hardly bought anything new, even car seats and strollers (don’t get me wrong, I checked the dates). Also, instead of buying a new crib for baby number 2, I put my daughter in a toddler bed as soon as she could walk (bought for 15 bucks on CL) and used the same crib for my son, which also coincided with a move so new house, new bed for her, and no resentment of the new baby. Now we have moved again and in our new place I am putting both kiddos in the same room in toddler beds and saving another bedroom and the same crib for baby number three (in about a year or so).

  • Minxie

    I bought regular cloth nappy when my kids were still a baby. I agree with you that it doesn’t add value. The important thing is we can give the necessary things that our baby needs. Those extreme fancy designs are only appreciated by older people but not babies.

  • Mary

    The Commissaries are one of the few good benefit that Military people have left
    that is just for us. We paid the price and earned this benefit why can’t Congress and the Senate close their Credit Unions, and Commissaries and leave ours alone. They have already taken more than enough from us. There are still families who are not able to shop off base lack of income and transportation. thank you U S Navy Vet