Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Preparing for Baby Part the Last

This past Saturday was my baby shower.  At 37 weeks along, it was a little late, but felt like a good time.  I was happy to have it right before baby makes an appearance, rather than having everything sit around and collect dust for a couple months.  

Everyone was extraordinarily generous with us.  And it was so fun to have our family and friends gathered around us.

The next day, Sander and I went shopping.  We still needed a bureau for the baby's room and there was some additional items we needed just in case baby made his or her appearance a little early - diapers, wipes, waterproof crib protectors, a caddy to put all the changing supplies, baby wash, that sort of thing.  We spent a total of about $773.00 on a bureau (including delivery) and all the gear.   We spent more than we had planned to on baby gear and furniture overall, but we're happy with the purchases, and the bureau we bought should take our child all the way through their first apartment if all goes well.

That pretty much sums up our purchases for the baby.  We still have a few items we plan to get, but all of them can wait.  Baby MoneyPenny can arrive any time now - although it's likely to be a scheduled arrival, as the baby is breech, not indicating any plans to turn, and with that and a few other complications, currently planned to arrive via the surgical suite the last week of this month.  

I've taken advantage of being home over the last week and a half to stock up on groceries and do some freezer cooking.  My goal is to prepare us 2-3 weeks worth of meals so that we're not living on take out when the baby first comes home.

We're about to hit our maternity leave savings for the first time.  While planned, it's always painful to see savings go down instead of up.

Overall, we're prepared for our new lives as parents.  The nursery is looking wonderful, with just a few last finishing touches needed.  We're planning a few more outings to movies and to see friends before the baby comes.  We're ready.

What have I learned through this preparation process?  A few things.  I am glad we're becoming parents at a point where spending $142.00 at Babies R' Us this past Sunday on diapers, wipes, bottles and various and assorted other accoutrements doesn't 'hurt'.   Same goes for the baby furniture.  We could have gone to craigslist or some friends, but decided we would like to order what we liked instead.  The crib becomes a toddler bed, so will see years of use, and the bureau, as I mentioned, should last a lot longer than that.  As for the glider, that will stay in our home long after our child is too big to be rocked to sleep.  

On the flip side, for the short-time baby gear, such as a swing, etc - we're happily taking every hand-me-down offered.  We've bought minimal clothing, as we were inundated with beautiful stuff this past weekend, and more seems to arrive every few days.  And with 4 nephews and 4 nieces, I expect we'll have some clothing to pick from without having to invest in a lot.  Also, I'm a fan of used baby clothes, and fully intend to hit yard sales and second hand stores as soon as Baby MoneyPenny - and Baby MoneyPenny's gender - make an appearance.

A perk of not knowing the baby's sex is that it has restrained us on the shopping front, and forced us to stay gender-neutral in nursery decor, which will serve us well if we eventually decide to provide a sibling.  In that sense, it was a frugal decision.  But we didn't make it for that reason - there are so few true surprises in life, and this one is exciting.

So how did we do?  Well, we went over the original baby budget, but we probably under-planned for it.  We came within $400.00 of our very aggressive savings target for maternity leave.  And we managed to refrain from a lot of extraneous purchases.  Even the nursery was more sweat equity than cost, totaling less than $200.00 for paint, supplies, the chair rail, and wood for shelving in the closet.  And every room we 'finish' adds to our home's value, so it is an investment in and of itself.

What advice can I give to potential new parents?  Pad your budget.   Take hand-me-downs when offered.  And when you are ready, you'll know.



Lucy said...

Good luck to you. I hope these last few weeks go well.

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