A year ago, I thought I had the flu. Two other women in our office were pregnant, and I was teased that I would be next in line. Sure enough, I was the third. Two weeks later, our water cooler was removed from the office, though I’m told it was just a coincidence.
While most women are overjoyed with the blessing of pregnancy, I was stunned. I have been an aunt since I was in third grade and have six nephews. I was the cool aunt they could come hang out with in the summer, go to late night movies and bowling. I had all of the fun and none of the responsibility. I never even had to change a diaper. But I knew nothing, absoultley nothing about babies. Where was I to start?
Like every mom, I wanted the best for my baby, but when I got out to stores, I was overwhelmed by sticker shock. I went back home and decided there had to be a better way to have everything my son needed and still have money to raise him. It was then I became Thrift Store Mommy.
There is a good reason we have nine months (more or less) to prepare for a child. Being as project oriented as I am, I was ready in just three (those who knew me in high school were not surprised). While you can take more time, here are the basic steps you need to have the nursery of your dreams and stay on budget.
Step 1: Create a List
I cannot stress this enough. As soon as the doctor confirmed I was pregnant, I ran out and got an organizer, a spiral one full of lists. I love lists, the sense of accomplishment you feel as you check items off one by one and the list gets smaller and smaller. It helps you to stay on track and plan your budget.
Step 2: Get Recommendations
I was fortunate that at the time of my pregnancy, I had over 30 other friends that were also pregnant and having babies. I got recommendations from new moms as well as those who were on second and third babies of the “must haves” and the “can do withouts.” I made edits to my list and used that to create my registry.
Step 3: Price Shop
I created registries on four different websites. This allowed me to see which site had the best deal on selected items. As I received or purchased an item, I removed it from the registry. I also waited for coupons to come via email for specials, reducing the cost even further.
Step 4: Don’t be Afraid to Buy Used
Does your newborn know that the crib he’s drooling over only cost you $100 instead of $600? Of course not. He isn’t concerned about brand names, and you shouldn’t be either. Focus more on safety and neccessities and use the left over funds for decoration or a special date night with your honey before the baby comes. I spent two months shopping thrift stores and used item ads on my local classifieds website. I was able to outfit my entire nursery for less than $400. For $60, we were able to buy a used car seat and two bases locally, and for another $40, I was able to purchase a stroller frame for the car seat, using a free shipping incentive and 5% off coupon I had received from an online website. (Car seats do expire, so make sure you check for an expiration date on the seat before you buy.)
Step 5: Repurpose Items Already in the Home
We had a bookcase and a nightstand already that we weren’t really using. As it turned out, both matched the crib we purchased used.
Step 6: Start that coupon clipping now!
It is never too early to start saving those coupons and stocking up on diapers and wipes. How lucky we were that our son was just over four months old before we had to go out and buy diapers or wipes. I also recommend you do coupon swapping with friends. I buy one brand of diapers and formula and one of my other friends whose baby was born 6 days before mine buys a different brand and formula. We registered on all the websites so whenever coupons arrive we don’t need, we mail them to the other person. Make sure to take note of sales on those items in your local stores. You can often use a manufacturer’s coupon and a store coupon for the same item to give you even more off your purchase.
These are just a few simple steps to get you started. It’s all about choices, what you are willing to save now gives you more money for something you want to do later, whether it be a college fund for your little bundle or a quick getaway for the weekend!
Paula, I used to watch your show on Food Network a lot when I still had the TV and cable many year ago. You weren't even that big a star back then. I always love watching you cook on Youtube after I ditched my TV and cable and read your recipes on Food Network Magazines. I hope one day you can return to Food Network and the Food Network Magazine. I stop buying the magazine since you were gone.
Orindary Jane in Love at Last on December 04, 2013 at 2:32 am
Great blog Cindy!!!! I always enjoy reading your post. This Thanksgiving centerpiece is absolutely beautiful and so easy to make.
Ann in A Perfectly Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece on December 03, 2013 at 8:10 pm
Paula, made your Zucchini Custard Casserole for Thanksgiving and it was Fantastic!!! Thank you so much! Love you & your family. Happy holidays!
Pat Walker in Love at Last on December 02, 2013 at 8:45 pm