To save money, ring the baby registry

Consumer Reports News: March 31, 2009 04:28 PM

Especially if you’re a first-time parent, you’ll probably receive many baby items as gifts from well-meaning friends and family. Consider it a blessing for your budget.

The right baby registry can help you save big on your baby’s first year, take the guesswork out of giving, and help you avoid duplicate gifts. The key is to create a targeted product line-up so you get just what you need, with a few splurges in there, too.

Our registry ground rules can help you fine-tune your wish list.

1. Safety first. Check for recalled models at www.cpsc.gov and www.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov before registering for baby items. And see what not to buy for babies for more tips.

2. Get real. Don’t be afraid to request practical items. Diapers (dispoable or cloth), diaper wipes, and diaper rash ointment are fair game, as are breast pads, pacifiers, a nursing bra or two (after you’ve been fitted by a certified bra fitter for the correct size), breast milk storage bags, baby bottle liners, and baby formula. Practical items may not seem gifty, but they’re handy—especially when you run out of baby wipes and discover another package amidst your baby shower bounty, which prevents you from having to dash to the 24-hour pharmacy.
 
3. Think high-end, too. Go ahead and ask for bigger-ticket gear like a stroller, glider, crib, changing table, infant car seat, play yard, and designer diaper bag. With expensive items, friends and family may chip in as a group.

4. Be choosy. Do just as much homework as if you were paying the tab yourself. For example, test-drive strollers in the store to get an idea of how they handle before putting a particular brand and model of stroller on your baby registry. If you’re registering online, visit a baby products retail outlet first to get familiar with the products you’re considering. You’ll know so much more after doing the legwork. Selecting baby products is a process, so expect to make several trips to fine-tune your wish list. You’ll save time later, when you don’t have to return items you chose blindly.

5. Cast a wide net. Register at more than one store so gift givers have lots of options. If you’re registering online, check out Web sites like www.amazon.com, which has retail relationships with third-party merchants such as Target and Baby Age, so you have a wider selection of products to choose from. Or check out the www.myregistry.com, an online registry that allows you to create a central e-registry from more than one store. Plus, with an online registry, you can e-mail your list to friends and family. That’s convenient.

6. Go ahead and splurge a little. Feel free to wander outside the baby gear aisle. “New moms are requesting items on their baby registry that aren’t typical, like an iPod,” says Mark Randall, vice president of the baby division for Amazon.com. Similarly, if you don’t have a digital camera, now may be the time to ask for one.


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