Splurge vs. Steal… Where To Save During Your Baby’s First Year

Our son’s first birthday is just around the corner. And as I look back on this last year (and our garage full of baby paraphernalia) I can easily see the places where we splurged when we didn’t really need to or when we went the cheap route and regretted it. So I thought I’d compile a list of the things that were worth it, and which ones weren’t for you moms-to-be out there. I know everyone’s experiences are different, but this is what we learned to splurge and steal on during our son’s first year…

baby on play mat


– A Great Travel System: Stroller/Carseat
It is so very worth it to invest in the things that keep your baby safe and secure. We went ahead and got the carseat with the special fabric to keep our son cool in the hot Florida summer and it was so worth it!

– A Portable Crib/Play Yard
These are so great because they are so versatile they can be used through toddlerhood. I say invest on this because there are some play yards that have a bassinet and a changing table attachment and splurging on that came in so very handy. We put it in our room for the first few months and that is where our son slept and was changed. (Here is an example of a great option with all the extras from Disney Baby.)

– Baby Swing
Now this one could be controversial because babies are picky and some just don’t love the swings but our son LOVED it. It was the only way he would sleep for a long time. We used it until he was so big that it wouldn’t swing him anymore! Well worth the investment!

– A Great Diaper Bag
I searched long and hard for a diaper bag that I loved. I finally found one that was perfect and I love carrying it around still. (In fact, when I was pregnant I even used it as my carry on while traveling because it’s that perfect.) A great quality diaper bag with all the pockets and gizmos that you personally want will become invaluable when you’re trying to stay organized later on. Trust me.


– A Set of Blankets Baby Loves
We live in Florida, where it is HOT most of the year. So all those flannel baby blankets just wouldn’t work in our day-to-day life. We splurged on some super thin, super soft muslin blankets and our son adores them. They are cozy without being too hot and big enough to use for all kinds of occasions.


– Everyday Clothes
Babies go through clothes so quickly that you will likely have things you’ll never get the chance for your baby to wear. And they get dirty so quickly you’ll be doing outfit changes on the regular. Once our son grew out of all the cute stuff we got at our baby shower, I started collecting hand-me-downs and shopping our local baby consignment store for basics like bodysuits, PJ’s, t-shirts, and pants. I’ll splurge every now and then on something dressy or super cute but most of his day-to-day stuff is second hand. It has saved us so much money!

– Fancy Toys
Our son didn’t have hardly any toys for months. We didn’t buy them and we didn’t really register for them. What’s an infant going to do with them anyway? And when he was old enough to play, he always favored the simple things like wooden blocks and board books to the fancy baby toys we gave him. So feel free to skip all those super expensive toys. You can find them second-hand on the cheap if you really want them.

– Fancy Sheets
I wanted our nursery to look perfect so I found, and fell in love with, a particular set of designer sheets. We only bought 1 set, thank heavens because our son ended up liking the soft and inexpensive set of jersey sheets we bought (as backup sheets) much better. So if you need the fancy ones to put on when your entertaining company go for it, but stock up on the less expensive stuff that can just be worn and washed without worry.

– Use Cloth Diaper Inserts for EVERYTHING
You know those super inexpensive cloth diaper inserts at the baby stores? You can use those for absolutely EVERYTHING with your infant. They are like magic, sent straight to moms from heaven. They are crazy soft and super absorbent so they work extremely well to clean up spills, spit up, and drool. We have one in our baby bag at all times.

– One of Each
When you’re pregnant they tell you all these things you need, but you don’t end up using most that stuff. For example, our son never liked the Bumbo seat or those vibrating baby lounger chairs. So those went un-used in our garage. If you can, pick those things up used or second hand. You’ll save so much money, especially if your kiddo decides they don’t even like it.

What are your splurges and steals? Share what you loved and what didn’t quite work out for you in your baby’s first year in the comments below!

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