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6 Tips For a Practical Baby Registry

With Angela Wynne of BabyCheapskate.com

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the baby cheapskateYour baby might come into the world naked as a jaybird, but he won’t stay like that for long. Babies need stuff – and because people love to buy newborns gifts, babies get stuff! 

 But how do you figure out what your baby will need, and how to register smartly so the gifts he or she gets are not going to end up in the return pile? For guidance on what a new mom and baby really need, and for tips on how to create your own smart registry, we turned to blogger Angela Wynne, founder of baby gear savings site BabyCheapskate.com and author of the The Baby Cheapskate Guide to Bargains.

1.  Creating a registry can be a little overwhelming for a new mom-to-be. What are your top tips for creating a practical baby registry?

While you’re walking through the store, try to resist the temptation to scan all the super-cute baby stuff, and instead just stick to what you need — whether it’s diapers, breast pumps, etc. Don’t bother putting clothes, toys, or other cute stuff on your registry, because people are going to get that for you anyway. By putting something boring like diapers on your registry, you’ll increase your chances of getting what you need.

When you’re figuring out where to register, consider whether the people buying from the registry will be bringing or shipping the gifts, since shipping and return shipping costs can quickly ruin a good deal. Also consider whether your guests are comfortable buying online, or if they prefer brick and mortar places. Be sure to check into the return policy of the store: is it liberal? What’s the timeframe for returns? Do you need a receipt?

And the best person to bring with you when you go to register is your spouse or partner — get them involved in the decision-making processes from the get-go and they'll stay involved. Another good person to bring is a new mom. A reader shared with me the genius idea of taking a mom who had had a baby in the last couple of years. She'll have unique insight as to what items are essential to bring into your home, and what's just not worth the hype.

2. When shopping and registering for your baby, what are the top registry items? 

Things like cribs, car seats and breast pumps are higher-value items that might be a burden to purchase on your own — friends and family can go in together to share the cost. Smaller items that you’ll likely feel are a necessity include baby bedding, bottles, a baby carrier or sling, a pack ‘n play, a diaper bag, and swaddling blankets.

Some of the popular “nice-to-have” items my readers are most excited about are Aden + Anais swaddling blankets (these are expensive but can also be used as a nursing coverup or stroller blanket), soft structure carriers like the Ergo, video monitors, jogging strollers, the Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator, and nursing pillows.

3. You mention putting off purchasing certain baby items and waiting until items go on sale to buy. When/what does it make sense to stock up (on)?

Your first priority is to register for and/or purchase items you are 100% sure you'll need within a month or so after the baby is born, like diapers, a breast pump, and a car seat. Then add "needs" and things you’ll really want to have on hand for the next 2 or 3 months. After that, consider your space. If you have room to store the things you’ll want later (high chair, Exersaucer, umbrella stroller, baby food maker, convertible car seat, etc.), then add them to your registry. If not, you can always add gift cards to your registry and purchase them when you need them. If you're paying for the items yourself, waiting has the added advantage of giving you extra time to find a really hot deal, or to find the item second hand. You may even find out that you don't want these items after all, or that you can borrow a friend's for free.

4. You often speak of choosing the less expensive product, but don’t you get what you pay for? When is it OK to go cheap? When should you spend more?

Consider your lifestyle. If you drive everywhere and don’t walk, you don’t need the expensive stroller. If you don’t drive a lot, it doesn’t make sense to have the expensive car seat. Sometimes higher-end items are of higher quality, but sometimes they're just plain higher priced. Find out which is which by reading unbiased reviews and asking around, and think hard about the role the item will play in your life before you decide to buy. If it really, truly will make your life better in a way that a mid-priced or lower-priced item simply cannot, then go for it if your budget allows. Otherwise, make do without it or go for the more budget-friendly option.

5. What are the best things you've learned from your readers about registering? 

One reader offered the advice of registering for big-ticket items in a neutral color. That way you can reuse them with subsequent kids without worrying that the color is too "boyish" or too "girly." Another reader suggested having mom friends look over your registry. Not only can they clue you in on what might be missing, they may also offer to loan or give you items from your list that their kids have outgrown.

6. In your book, you talk about the fun of in-store registering. What about it was most fun for you?

I love to shop, so for me walking around the store with the little scanner thingie was tons of fun because it was like shopping without having to pay at the end! I also enjoyed it because something about seeing and touching all those items brought home the idea that I was about to become a parent in a way nothing else had up to that point.

 
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