But Shopping for Baby is Fun!

Do you need a wipes warmer in order to be the best parent you can possibly be? Will your youngster grow up sickly and deprived without a vibrating bouncy seat that teaches him the colors of the rainbow and how to count to ten in five languages?

In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we answer these pressing questions and give some commonsense ideas for reducing the amount of baby gear piling up in the nursery. As I was looking over the “Nursery Necessities” chapter of the book, I wondered if we failed to address an important point: Some people truly enjoy buying things—finding adorable little socks and spoons adds to the anticipation when you’re expecting a new baby.

So—what are some great ways to prepare for a visit from the stork without buying anything? Any ideas?


  1. I agree, sometimes the temptation is too great and we have a great local baby store in our town full of cute stuff! For me, it was just as satisfying to make things for the baby. I reused some old flannel sheets to make cloth wipes and used limbs from the yard and fabric scraps to make a bird mobile. I also made a “hooter hider”, but did spend $10 on fabric for that. In hindsight, I realize that I could have made even more things: sheets, blankets, quilts, diapers, etc…
    FYI- I just got an email from my local library to tell me that they received your book (I made a request)!

  2. I am currently expecting my first child. I am not so concerned about my temptation to buy baby items. But I am concerned about how I am going to keep the grandparents-to-be roped in, so that they don’t buy to much baby “junk” that ends up at my home.

  3. paint! while it is techinically “buying” something, it does not add to the clutter that will eventually be an issue.

    clean out the files! there won’t be nearly enough time after the baby is born, so take some time to get filing and computers and such in order–they will be neglected soon enough.

    eat! think of meals as sharing time (and nutrition) with your baby on the way.

  4. How do you take a shower without a bouncy seat?

  5. Mommy giveaways! I’m a sucker for all of those mommy blogs, and a lot of them have product reviews/giveaways. I enter them like crazy, and if you win, you get free stuff shipped to your home! As a LifeLogic evangelist, I’ve had my eye on the LifeLogic baby shampoo and lotion giveaway at Babee Love recently. I’m all about all-natural and organic products for my baby, so it’s always great to find a new product that works better or is not as expensive as the last! Anyway, here’s the link if you’re interested, though I assure you it’s not too hard to find other similar giveaways: http://babeelove.com/?p=4507

  6. Jenny, I put my baby in a pack ‘n’ play (we have no crib b/c we bedshare) which happens to be right next to the bathroom in my bedroom. I used to take a monitor in with me when the “crib” was farther away in my previous rental. But I do have a bouncy seat too b/c I’m not the greatest minimalist, and it is great in the bathroom during a shower.

    Here’s a great guiltless way to have fun shopping AND be green. Thrift shopping! I used to walk to Savers all the time with my first child in a stroller and treasure hunt. Then later you just donate some of it back when you realize how much stuff you’ve accumulated. I’ll buy anything washable (clothes and toys) at a thrift store. And most of them (like Goodwill) support a good cause like job opportunity for those with barriers to employment, so by shopping there (even if you end up donating some of it back), you are supporting employment in your community and leaving a small shopping footprint.

  7. This isn’t really a response to your post, but I wanted to say that I LOVE your book! It’s very well done. I wish it had been available before my first baby was born. While I am pleased to discover that I do a lot of the things suggested already I’m also bummed that I missed out on so many great ideas. The book has renewed my motivation to be more frugal and more green. I am definitely going to be buying your book for my expecting friends in the future.

  8. Second hand shopping or borrow/trade with friends! Yes, second hand shopping is buying for baby, but is much more economical and ecological than buying new. Garage sales, child consignment shops, and thrift stores are great sources for cute little baby things (just make sure to check for recalls if you’re buying gear/toys). Also, put the word out through friends/family that you need baby items and you’re bound to get offers. We didn’t know the gender of our third baby until he was born and immediately I put a note on Facebook that we needed boy clothes- I have not had to purchase a single item of clothing for him (and probably have enough things to get him to 3 or 4 before I will need anything else).

  9. I ended up getting quite a bit of “stuff” for my son when he was born, but more than half of it was purchased from other parents on Craigslist–and all of it was either handed down to friends when they had their babies, or sold again through Craigslist. And really, we used it all extensively–playmat, bouncy seat, swing, exersaucer, and two pack-and-plays (one was specifically to put outside while I was gardening, and one stayed upstairs in our bedroom for the baby to sleep in). So I don’t regret any of those purchases. What we did have too much of is toys, even though most of those were hand-me-downs at the beginning.

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