Paycheck Chronicles

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?

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