I seriously just wrote that headline and gagged a little. I make even myself a little nauseated.
But I feel a need to impart the things I have learned so far. For some reason, there's no real good primer out there (that I've been able to find, anyway). Maybe everyone assumes we know what we're doing, that we instinctively know how to prepare for the arrival of a baby. But the fact for me, at least, is that I don't know, and I'm tired and suffering a myriad of physical discomforts, and I think this is how new parents end up overpaying for stuff. They're just tired and they don't care anymore.
And as everyone always says, children are expensive. But until you're prepping for one's arrival, you may not realize it can add up to thousands and thousands of dollars. If you let it.
So! Here are my tips. Regular readers may skip this or add their own tips or send it to their pregnant friends. Your choice!
1. Start with the latest issue of Baby Bargains. Maybe you think you don't need or want to find bargains, and that's fine -- the real value in this book is the reviews of the products and the sheer amount of information you would NEVER know if this book didn't tell you. You can go with the cheapest, the middle-priced, or the most expensive. They'll tell you how each performs and you can decide if it's worth another $500. Compile a list of all the things you want on a spreadsheet so when the time comes to register for baby crap you're not wandering Babies 'R' Us aimlessly for hours. Talk about a nightmare.
2. Fudge on the due date on all your registries. My advice is to move the due date up an entire month. The reason for this is that all retailers wait until 4-6 weeks before your due date to send you the completion coupon. Which is SO DUMB. I assume they do this in an attempt to thwart your efforts to successfully fulfill your registry at a discounted price. So fudge the date. Because you aren't going to want to go shopping for all that crap at 36 weeks pregnant. Not to mention, who knows? Maybe you'll end up like me and the doctor will be like: Surprise! You need to deliver three weeks early. (My own current experience with completion coupons -- I am 7 weeks from my original due date and have received only the coupon from Buy Buy Baby. I recently changed the due date on the Target registry but have yet to receive a coupon. Amazon waits until 30 days before your date, which is ridiculous.)
3. Target has lots of junk you will want/need, but word to the wise: They're notoriously unreliable when it comes to updating the registry. I received multiples of the same gifts from my Target registry. So once that happens of course you'll have to return it to the store for credit, and then use that credit toward completing your registry. Which is totally fine, but it's certainly one more thing to add to your to-do list.
4. Register for as much as you can on Amazon. It's got nearly everything you'll want, and it's extremely convenient for most people who want to buy you stuff. Now, I made the mistake of not registering for that much stuff on Amazon, but I corrected my mistake later by adding everything I didn't get from my other registries to the Amazon registry. Most (although not all) stuff on Amazon is cheaper than you can find it in the stores, and their completion discount is the same as the other stores -- 10%. UNLESS you sign up for Amazon Mom, which is FREE if you're a prime member. Then you get 15% off registry items (up to $5,000 in purchases). So you're paying less, and you don't even have to go to the store to pick all this crap up and bring it back. Bam. (BTW benefits of Amazon Mom are 20% off diapers and wipes and other household items, plus the regular prime benefits like 2-day delivery.)
5. You might be able to get your breast pump for free. Your insurance company won't advertise this, of course, but they very well may cover it. I had no idea this was a possibility until a friend told me about it, so I called my insurance company and they said they will cover one electric pump 100%. So I can buy any pump I want and they will reimburse me. Your insurance may not be this awesome -- my friend's only covered certain pumps from certain manufacturers. But it's worth looking into -- the pump I plan to buy is more than $250.
6. Diapers.com is probably going to be your cheapest source for diapers and wipes, even if you have Amazon Mom. I just checked and even with my discount at Amazon, the Diapers.com diapers were a couple bucks cheaper. PLUS they ship for free on orders over $35, and they'll get there THE NEXT DAY. I've already tested this out, and was duly impressed. They also sell a myriad of other baby items at deeply discounted prices.
7. This last tip is just a little advice that's certainly not something you need to follow, but that I think is wise and can save you lots of cash. Cheap out on the crib and nursery furniture. Just go to Ikea and get the $100 crib (yes, it's still a good crib -- they're all required to meet the same safety standards) and a dresser and whatnot. I don't think you need a changing table, but if you just want one, go for it. It's easy to just strap a changing pad to a dresser and call it a day. If you want to blow your wad on furniture, save it for the rocker or glider. Even then, wait for discount coupons in the mail and then go get it -- I will eternally be proud of myself for saving more than $300 on a kickass glider this way. Also, if you're going to order a chair, keep in mind that the manufacturer is going to take up to 8 weeks to get it to you (mine took 4). Order that shiz early.
All right, that's all I've got for now. What did I miss? I'm sure there are things I've not yet encountered.