Do you ever feel guilty spending money on baby products? I know I sometimes felt guilty buying brand new baby gear and baby clothes. Evelyn of Mommy Stroller shares a few things for you to consider when purchasing baby items.
Should You Feel Guilty Spending Money on Baby Products?
Every parent knows that raising a child requires not only an immense amount of patience, but also setting aside a good chunk of money. According to this USDA report, on average, middle-income families spend roughly $12,940 on child-related expenses in their baby’s first year of life. The essentials such as diapers, formula and baby food typically accounts for about $2,600 per year. Then of course there’s new furniture, equipment, childcare and other big ticket items that cost a fortune. In short, raising a child is nowhere near cheap.
Now let’s take a look at what are some of the baby products that are quite an investment. Since my favorite baby products are strollers (they make getting out of the house much more convenient!), I’ll start with that. From my extensive research on strollers, they can cost anywhere between $50 and $1,000 in general. Of course, the price of strollers, like many other baby products on the market, depends on various different factors including the type of product – for example jogging strollers tend to cost more than regular umbrella strollers – brand, and features included. Then there’s the car seat, which typically run anywhere between $50 and $300, changing tables, crib mattresses and clothes.
Because of how expensive baby products are in general, it can often be a shocking and overwhelming experience for parents, especially first time parents. Personally, I still remember the time when I was spending WAY too much time trying to pick out a good quality stroller for my first child. I wanted to make sure I purchased the right stroller and at the same time kept to the budget I came up with.
The Reason Behind Excessive Spending on Baby Products
The fact is that many parents, myself included, often find ourselves caught in a dilemma between wanting the best for our children and sticking to our allocated budget. Every parent wants the best for their children; and in the case of baby products, this means buying the best product they can find, which usually costs more.
Besides that, another reason why parents are willing to spend so much money on baby products is because they get the peace of mind with the belief that a more expensive product directly translates into a safer product. While this belief generally holds true (at least in the realm of strollers), it can be a double-edged sword. Firstly, it unconsciously forces parents to feel guilty whenever they’re not getting the best baby products for their children. And secondly, even when parents do end up getting the best baby product, they might feel guilty for not sticking to their budget.
A perfect personal example of this is when I was picking out the best double jogging stroller for my family. If you’re not familiar with double jogging strollers, they are pretty pricey, with most having a price tag of between $250 and $700. I wanted to go for a good, sturdy, easy to push stroller, so I ended up purchasing something that is priced “above average,” which ended up being above my initial budget of $500. I knew that the purchase was worth it, but I somehow the guilt still kicked in and I didn’t feel too good about the purchase for quite a while.
Should You be Spending More Money to Get the “Best” Product?
There really isn’t a clear cut answer, because for me, the answer’s sometimes yes, and at other times, the answer’s no. So how do I exactly figure out when it’s okay to spend a little extra to get a higher quality product?
I ask myself these two questions:
- How long will I be using this product?
- Do the benefits of the higher priced product outweigh the extra money I have to foot out?
Going back to my above example, when I was shopping for a double jogging stroller, I knew at the time that the stroller would be used for at least 3-5 years and since we were planning on a third child at that time, it made sense to spend a little extra money to get a higher quality, longer lasting stroller.
On the other, for baby products like which have “shorter lifespans,” such as clothes, I generally don’t feel that it is necessary to purchase something that has a relatively expensive price tag. In fact, I highly recommend making use of passed down clothes – I make use of my nephew’s clothes who is just a year older than my oldest child. It just makes much more sense economically given that kids outgrow their clothes so fast that even when they are passed down to my sons, they still feel brand new.
Have I Felt Guilty Spending Money on Baby Products?
Definitely yes! I don’t want to get into too much details, but aside from the double jogging example I provided, I probably felt most guilty when we decided to get a higher end baby crib a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, the crib has been serving us excellently in the past few years, but I just wished I went for something a little cheaper. Nevertheless, I’ve gotten better over the years in making sure that the products I spend on are products that I’ll be using for a long time.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that many parents I know have experienced the feeling of guilt, not because of spending too much money on a baby product, but rather, purchasing the wrong product! Of course, most stores (even online retailers) have a 30-day return policy, but the products I’m referring to are those that can be used for a long time. A classic example I’m most familiar with is when the time comes for first-time parents to purchase their very first strollers. As first-time parents, most opt to go for a single stroller. However, a year or two later, when their second child arrives, there is a need for a stroller that can accommodate two kids and as such, the first single stroller does not serve its purpose anymore.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this guest post, it is that making sure you don’t overspend on baby products requires some planning and thinking. So, the next time you’re out purchasing a baby product, ask yourself how long will the product be used for and if you can justify the high price, even if it will only be used for a short period of time.
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Who's the Writer?
Evelyn is the main person behind Mommy Stroller, which focuses on helping parents figure out which stroller they should get. Evelyn and her husband, Paul, decided to blog about strollers after the overwhelming feeling they experienced when trying to pick out their first stroller. Both of them enjoy spending time with family and friend, live music, and going on jogs with their kids (in a stroller). You can also connect with the Mommy Stroller crew on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.