Consumer Alert: Baby bills

(National-NBC) August 14, 2006 - Having a child can be expensive even after the hospital tab and the doctor's bills. We're talking about the actual stuff that you need to bring junior home.

So what do you really need to buy and how much will it cost you?

Mother Michelle Gale knows new moms can, "Read every book and every online advertisement and probably buy too many things."

The easiest way to break the bank is to buy top of the line designer products. Linda Murray, Babycenter editor-in-chief, advises, "You will need some clothes, but I don't think you need fancy beautiful newborn clothes. Kids grow out of them very fast. Some kids don't even fit in newborn clothes."

If babies don't care if they're wearing designer clothes, they certainly don't care what kind of wheels they ride around in. Andrew Zenoff of Dayone says you can avoid the most expensive strollers, "There's strollers that can cost upward to $800 that are very fashionable and adjustable, but you might not need that."

From bottles to burp rags to bedding, we racked up a grand total of $6,200, and that's just the basics for the first year. That includes:

  • Furniture, $1,500
  • Food $2,000
  • Personal care items $1,500
  • Miscellaneous $400

That's just the basics for the first year. Murray suggests, "You will need a car seat immediately. If you are having your baby in the hospital and you need to get home you need to put that baby in the car seat."

Of course you need to have diapers, some clothes, a place to put the baby like a bassinet or a rib. You'll also need first aid supplies, thermometer, pacifier, formula, and baby food.

The list is endless and can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to save. Murray says one way is "food. If you are going to breast feed that's great and you can save money, I think you can save. We looked at that recently. About $1,000 a year if you breast feed."

Andrew Zenoff of Dayone has another bit of advice to save money, "I think that one of the places people spend money, the most that they don't need to is toys. The entire world is a toy to a baby, so everything a baby sees is a toy. A key chain can be a toy."

Shop in bulk at your local warehouse store and look for deals online.

Mother Michelle Gale says, "When you really see the prices that you can spend on, you definitely get some sticker shock, but the reality is you can find very similar items not with the designer name for much less."

The best advice is don't jump the gun. Zenoff explains, "Another thing is that new families often buy a lot of products before the baby comes in anticipation. You can also save a lot of money by taking your time. You'll find out a lot more about what you need as you go along."

Posted 4:54pm by Chantelle Janelle