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Let's Talk Budget, Baby

Where to splurge, where to save

Nesting is fun.  It can also be expensive. The line between "need" and "want" can get a little fuzzy when preparing for your new arrival, so we’ve broken it down to help you understand where to spend, and where to save as you prepare to welcome baby.

First up, the fun part: splurges, or, as we like to call them, investments. Health and safety (things like cord blood banking and the right car seat) are our priorities and therefore should be the number one line item on the baby budget. Here's a rundown of the items worthy of a few extra bucks:

Cord Blood Banking: Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing your baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells for potential medical use.  Like what, you ask? Cord blood is already used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases, including certain cancers and some genetic diseases.2 Clinical research trials are also showing progress in helping children with cerebral palsy and autism.104,111 Storing your baby’s cord blood with a family bank, like ViaCord, means you can have immediate access to your child’s cord blood stem cells, should the need arise for your child, or possibly for other members of your family.

Organic Crib Mattress: Sad fact: traditional mattresses can be pretty toxic.  Invest in a company committed to producing organic, non-toxic products.

Organic Baby Care:  Skin is our biggest organ and absorbs everything we put on it. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive, but organic soaps, lotions, and diaper creams are more than worth it.

Car Seat:  Car seats at all price points are safe, but investing in a goes-the-extra mile seat can translate into an easier (and therefore safer) install, non-toxic fabrics, and advanced side impact protection.  Worth it, worth it, more worth it.

Plot twist: we also think things to make parents’ lives easier are important splurges, too:

Stroller:  Invest in an everyday stroller to meet your needs.   Don't be lured by looks alone — live on country roads with no sidewalks? You’ll probably want a jogger.  Third floor walkup? Something more compact.  With the right wheels to suit your lifestyle, you’ll be able to conquer the world.

Diaper Bag:  Your diaper bag will be your loyal companion on the wild ride that is motherhood.  Be sure it’s made of materials that can keep up.  Even better? One that dad doesn't mind carrying, has enough space if you have another baby, and could be used as a work or gym bag after the diaper days.

Baby Carrier:  You’ll get years of use out of the right carrier, and it will pay for itself in sanity.  Insider tip: Purchase from a store with expert staff to help you choose a carrier, or borrow from friends and family to find a brand and model that works for you.

Splurges are fun and entirely necessary, but fear not: there are plenty of areas where you can tie up those purse strings, too.  Here are our tips on smart ways to save:

Bassinet:  A bassinet can be expensive, and babies outgrow them in the blink of an (exhausted) eye.  Invest in a play yard with a bassinet attachment, and you’ll get a few years’ use out of it.

Crib:  With so many beautiful, safe cribs at a low price point, there’s no need to splurge on an expensive crib.  And skip the expensive crib bedding set; a stash of organic crib sheets will do.

Clothing: Stick with cotton basics that your wallet won’t cry over when your baby outgrows it after two wears or a poop explosion robs it of its best years.

Gimmicks:  As you peruse the aisles of any big box store, endless gimmicky products will catch your eye. While some may help, it’s best to wait to see what insurmountable mom challenges present themselves before attaching that pacifier pod to your diaper bag.

Changing Table:  Skip it. Invest in a medium sized dresser that your baby will use throughout her childhood, and attach a changing pad to the top.

Nothing feels better in the mind of a soon-to-be-mom than a nursery (or, let’s face it, an entire home) ready to meet every possible need of her future baby from birth to age three.  But this might be the only situation in life where preparation isn't necessarily the key to success.  Your cousin’s baby might have loved the swing and your coworker’s niece’s baby might have pledged her allegiance to a certain bottle, but there is no way of knowing if either of those scenarios are going to ring true for you. Start small, add what you need when you need it.  Happy spending!