One of the biggest challenges with having a baby is knowing what to buy for your baby’s nursery. Most lists and planners out there are provided by baby retailers just trying to sell you stuff all the time. They don’t narrow down what you really need.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying everything (trust me: I have been there, done that and got multiple t-shirts). But in reality, you don’t need to buy a lot for your baby.
When I was pregnant with my eldest, I remember saying to my husband “I must buy EVERYTHING NOW – while I have the money. Once I’m on SMP I won’t be able to afford it”. It took me a while to realise this wasn’t the best approach. It would have much better if I had saved the money in a separate account so I had the money when I needed it. But hey ho – this is one of the many reasons why I write this blog – so you don’t make the same VERY EXPENSIVE mistakes I did.
In this post you’ll learn:
- Why you should wait to see what shape your baby is
- Why should wait to see what size they are when the seasons change
- Why you don’t need to buy ALL THE THINGS
- Why you should wait to see what gifts you receive
- Why you shouldn’t fall for the Baby Event marketing
What to Buy for my Baby’s Nursery, and Why Does it Matter?
It’s easy to straight away think that your baby needs ALL the things. When I researched this blog post I wasn’t surprised to find out that on average new parents are spending somewhere between £1,000 – £2,000 to kit out their babies. Based on what I see on social media, I would say this is a conservative estimate.
Matching nursery furniture, celebrity endorsed prams, car seats, clothes, nappies and everything else you can imagine, soon adds up.
But did you know that by spending huge sums of money getting the nursery set up, you could be making the amount of money you need to save for Maternity Leave even higher? For every £151 you spend on nursery kit, that’s another week of Maternity Pay that you will need to cover.
I must admit that during both of my pregnancies I was a ‘prepper’. I didn’t spend a lot on the big items such as nursery furniture BUT I bought LOTS of small things like clothes and toiletries. If I had my time again, there is no way I would have shopped in the way I did. The reasons for this are long, but here are my main reasons not to buy lots for your baby.
1. You Won’t Know What Shape Your Baby Is
It was a Friday afternoon part way through my first pregnancy, I was doing my usual ‘getting organised shop’ and buying yet more clothes for ‘The Bump’. Shorts, t-shirts, socks, pants and everything else you could imagine. It was cheap, oh so cheap. I couldn’t afford to leave it there :-D.
Fast forward to the following Summer, when my little boy was finally here. I couldn’t wait to bust out his new wardrobe. It turns out, that the shop I had bought all of his clothes from, didn’t exactly make clothes to fit babies with large heads. That meant all of those ‘bargains’ I had bought – were of no use to us.
Tip One: Don’t shop too far ahead! If I had my time again, I wouldn’t have bought anything other than the next size ahead.
2. You Don’t Know What Size They Will Be for the Season
You don’t have to be an expert in maths to try and figure out how old your baby (and therefore what size they should be) in each season.
Trouble is, babies don’t tend to follow the rules. When a baby is small, a couple of pounds in weight can mean the difference between something fitting and something causing them extreme discomfort.
Try to buy basics such as leggings and vests. Once the weather changes it’s easy to add some seasonal bits and pieces.
Tip Two: It’s easier to buy more things when you need them. It’s harder to take things back you bought months ago.
3. You Don’t Need to Buy Everything for the Nusery for Day One
The list of what to buy for your baby’s nursery is endless. But you don’t actually need most of it. As long as they are warm, fed, clean and can sleep and travel safely, nothing else matters.
The check lists from the retailers will try to convince you that you need everything for day one – I can tell you that you don’t! All you need is an approved car seat, somewhere safe to sleep, nappies, a few clothes and food. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if things match or co-ordinate – the baby won’t know!
I’ve written some other posts on this topic. My favourite one is this one: What do I need to buy for my baby?
Tip Three: Prioritise your money. Buy the most important things first and see what you have left for the extra items. You don’t need to buy ALL THE THINGS for the nursery on Day One.
4. You Might Get Gifts
It’s no secret, people LOVE to buy things for babies. Even people you won’t expect to get things from will appear with things. I know that it’s rude to expect gifts – BUT people will want to buy things, even if it’s just your work colleagues.
Try to make a list of things that you would like but might not be a high priority so you can have some ideas ready. When my twins were born I was desperate for some cute clothes for the girls, so I asked my friend at work to get them when she asked.
The other thing is you might get people offering to lend or hand stuff down to you. Most nursery items are perfectly okay second hand. Accepting second-hand things is not a sign that you aren’t ‘up to the job’ or ‘can’t provide for your baby’. It means you are being sensible! Remember that money is going to be scarce for the next year or so meaning literally EVERY pound you save will help.
Tip Four: Ask for things for gifts that might not be on your priority list. Understand that it’s ok to accept gifts and handed down items.
5. Baby Shops Have Offers ALL The Time
One thing I have learned since I have become a Mum is that retailers will constantly trick you with their offers. ‘Buy Now, you need it now! Trust me – you don’t need it now. There will be other ‘Baby Events’ and you can get it then. This is especially true when looking for equipment to buy for the nursery. Believe it or not, these Baby Events are quite regular.
My motto now is to buy things when I need them. I found that the mountains of ‘offer stuff’ I was buying wasn’t being used. While it felt like I was saving money at the time – by the time we came to need what ever it was it either didn’t fit, it was the wrong season or we just didn’t need it. Since I have stopped this, I’ve actually SAVED MONEY and reduced the amount of items sat in my spare room.
Tip Five: Buy What You Need, When You Need It
In this post, I have talked about my top tips for what to (not) buy for the nursery. Retailers are out there to trick us into thinking we have to buy everything NOW. However, after many years of being a parent, I now know that taking a few minutes to make a plan, thinking about what I can really afford to spend and only buying what I need is far more effective than just filling my shopping basket (and house) with mountains of stuff we won’t actually use.
If you are trying to save money for Maternity Leave BUT not really sure where to start, this FREE tip sheet will help you get your savings plan underway. Download it for free HERE.