May 31, 2012

Baby Gear Final Tally

I’ve made a big point in my blog about wanting the best for our baby, but at the best price possible. While I’m sure we’ll never be “done” with baby purchases, I used our registry completion code to finish getting everything that’s a top priority.

What We Have

For Sleeping: no

For Nursing:

For Sucking / Teething:
1 1

For Health and Grooming:
2 2

For Traveling with Baby:

For Diapering:

Toys And Activities:


1. The teething toys we bought look identical to these, but they’re the bright starts brand. Our requirement for water/gel filled teethes is they need to be freezer safe. I don’t want to have to remember which ones can freeze when I’m sleep deprived and dealing with a cranky baby! I don’t believe the ones I linked to are freezer safe.
2. We purchased the blue & white hair brush and nail clippers in store, not the orange and white that I linked to.
3. We purchased two baby gates in white, not black.

We were also very fortunate to get baby blankets, board books and a nursing cover from friends and family. Thank you again for your generosity!

What We Still Need Or Are Still Considering

Three Wheeled Stroller – Like I said, we’re probably going to wait until the 2013 models come out to look for a deal on the 2012 models. We won’t need it until then anyway. I’ve been watching the sale fliers that come my way, if I see a good deal I may get one early.

Car Seat for Domingo’s Car – We’re going to get this for Domingo’s car once my maternity leave ends. We won’t need it until then. Our plan is to get a convertible car seat, rather than a second infant base. At the end of my maternity leave, we’ll have some experience with the infant seat to know whether that’s a good idea or not.

Mattress & Crib Sheets – I’ve been holding off on these until the crib is assembled, so I can be sure I’m getting the right size. I also want to feel the mattress firmness in person. The AAP suggests a firm mattress, and some mattresses that are labeled as “firm” don’t feel very firm to me. I’m also very picky about textures in sheets. I have a coupon for 20% off Babies R Us and it looks like I can apply it to mattresses, so there’s no harm in waiting.

Baby Bath Tub – Since I’m still undecided about this one, we’re passing in favor of sponge baths for now. I really like the folding, space saver tubs, but they’re a little steep for me price wise.

An infant carrier – I’m leaning towards a Moby Wrap, but the criticism of them is they can be warm. We’re heading into one of the warmest summers on record for our area (California) and expecting a June/July baby.

The Verdict

As you can see, we didn’t get a ton of baby gear. We decided if there was any question about whether we would use something, we would hold off on purchasing it. I’d rather get nicer things that we know we need, then baby gear that sits in a box for a year before being donated! Some items may seem like a really good idea, but be impractical in practice. (I mentioned in a couple of previous posts that some popular baby gear wouldn’t be practical for us given where we live and our current life style here and here.)

I’m pretty happy with what we got, and the prices we paid. I was able to find many sales for between 20-30% off, and I did score few things for over 40% off! Those big sales added up, which was great because some items are very hard to find on sale! Overall, I saved over 19%!

Sure, I could have done better. There were a couple of times I’d purchase something at the lowest price I’ve ever seen it, only to see it dip slightly lower a few months later. I estimated I overspent by about $50. But it would have required premonition to spend perfectly. And we are working against a clock. I didn’t want to hold off on a great deal on the possibility there’d be an awesome deal that never comes and find myself needing to paying retail.

The big question now, though, is did we get the right gear? Only time will tell.

Best advice I have:

* Start as early as possible. Our first purchase was on black Friday. (Well, actually we did buy a few onesies as soon as we found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t help myself!) Starting early meant we could spread out our purchases and wait for good deals, like on the breast pump. Some stores have annual or semi annual sales on certain categories of products. Babies R’ Us had a two day sale on activity gyms at one point, and I snagged the Lamaze Space Symphony Motion Gym for only $44 + $6 for shipping! (I could have saved myself that shipping charge if I was willing to drive 2 hours round trip to the nearest store that had the gyms in stock, but even I’m not that crazy.) If you give yourself enough time and can wait, you can snag a great deal. In fact, our average savings on items that retail for over $100? 21%!

* Once you know what you want, keep track of prices so you know when a deal is actually a deal. I got the skip hop pronto changing pad from Amazon Warehouse for $17.66. It was technically marked as opened box/damaged box, but still had the tags attached. A month later I noticed Amazon Warehouse selling another used one for $22.32, a 26% increase! And it’s not like it could have been in better condition.

* Shop around. I found the best prices for items under $10 was usually Target. Even Target’s regular price typically beat everyone else’s price with a registry completion discount. Amazon had really good every day prices on big ticket items, but you can usually beat them with a 20% off coupon at Buy Buy Baby. (Of course, you only get so many Buy Buy Baby coupons in a year!)

What tactics weren’t as useful for getting great deals:

* The google alerts seemed like such a good idea, but they never triggered. It may be my fault. Maybe I didn’t include the right words to trigger on. Still, I was disappointed.

* I didn’t end up doing as much second hand shopping as I initially expected. Even the onesies (which half came from the clearance rack!) ended up all being brand new. I think I prefer outlet/clearance shopping to consignment/second hand, anyway. I did shop the Amazon Warehouse, since they had a great return policy, but I didn’t buy much from them. Their items were so gently used that most of their prices are typically only discounted 10-15%, but they occasional have some really great deals. Be sure to check the item condition before making a purchase!

* Don’t wait too long on items that are trending. Once something becomes popular, expect the price to go up and stay up. There were a couple toys I was considering, like the Ocean Wonders Soothe or Sophie the Giraffe, but the price kept creeping up. Once I know I missed a good deal, I get frustrated and no longer want to purchase the product. I plan to keep my price watch active, in case the price dips again. There’s always this year’s Black Friday!

* Registration completion discounts kindda suck. Not only was the discount low in comparison (only 10% compared to those 20-30% deals), but if you return anything you lose the entire discount! Actually, this isn’t uncommon with this type of coupon that applies to your entire cart, but it’s still annoying. You need to be absolutely sure you are only purchasing what you want. This means if you’re ordering crib sheets you need to be sure they will fit your mattress, and if you’re ordering a mattress you need to be sure it will fit your crib. I still love lists, and the registry was worth it to keep me organized! In the future, though, I won’t rely on the completion discount as much.

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