Friday, August 12, 2011

Money, Money, Money

This blog was originally going to be about our experience registering, but after those long almost three hours in Buy Buy Baby, all I could see in my head was dollar signs.  Of course, everyone tells you and talks about how much babies cost, and I never doubted this, but it still does not cease to amaze me how much we are and will soon be spending.  So let’s start at the beginning of what will end up being our life long spending spree…
First, let me point out, as you all know that have been following since the beginning, the getting pregnant part wasn’t even free for us.  Granted, I know many who have had to spend much more on fertility treatments, but just getting to the point of being knocked up had already hit us pretty good in the pocket book.  But now that all that money was worth it, let the real spending begin. 
One of the first things we did after making it past that 12 week point and feeling we were safe to start planning was to look into daycares.  There are two basic options, in-home and centers.  I’m sure there are numerous quality in-home programs, but my history of working with criminals (sex offenders in particular) has really turned me against the in-home option.  So, let the hunt begin for the perfect center.  After visiting seven centers, the one that won out was the Canterbury Infant Academy (sounds fancy, right?).  It wasn’t the most expensive, but wasn’t the cheapest, either.  Going rate in my area for infants…  $1,200 per month.  Yikes!
Now what?  You can’t really expect me to cram my little angel into the back seat of my little car, can you?  Well, that is the excuse I’m using anyway.  So, time to hit the car lots.  I will be the first to admit, I have an issue with cars.  I’m pretty sure it is genetic in my family.  Some people have to have the fanciest shoes or wear designer jeans.  I will gladly wear my Target shoes with my Old Navy jeans, but I will be wearing them in one hell of a car.  In the end, I absolutely love my new Lexus RX and I know this will be the best ride and safest vehicle for JJ (yes, this is me attempting to justify this purchase).  And as I’m sure he’ll inherit my car gene, JJ will be more than willing to wear hand-me-down clothes and play with second hand toys so that he can roll up to daycare in Mom’s sweet ride.  Side note- just four days after this big purchase, the brand new car got backed in to. 

Just a small dent and it is once again as good as new, but I cannot lie, the 11 days of cruising in the rental HHR were quite painful for me!  Really, is there an uglier car out there?  I would have rather driven a mini-van!  Oh- and as Jeff discovered when he was driving, if you honk and wave at another HHR, they get very excited and ALWAYS wave back!
Next on the list – furniture for the nursery.  After cruising Nebraska Furniture Mart, Buy Buy Baby, and Babies R Us, I was floored by how much these cost!  I want the best for my baby, but I was struggling to come to terms with the fact that his furniture was more expensive than ours.  I know cribs are convertible and can be used for many years, but really?  Luckily, before we bit the bullet and paid this, I had a conversation with my sister-in-law and she informed me that their Target crib has been just great for them.  Why hadn’t I thought of this?  I also listened to a Pregtastic Podcast on baby bargains that said Target and Walmart sold Graco cribs that were quite good quality.  Sold!  Cross that item (and that expense) off the list.
After hitting five stores looking for a crib, I thought surely getting the crib bedding would be easier.  Our original plan was to find what we wanted and add it to our registry, but we wanted to pick it out so we could decide on a color to paint the nursery.  We’d seen a cute whale set we liked and thought it was at Buy Buy Baby, so that is where we headed.  We found a whale set, but it wasn’t what either of us recalled.  So- off to Babies R Us, Target, and Walmart to hunt down these whales.  Apparently, we have bad memories and we didn’t find this whale set we had in our head anywhere.  So after once again hitting four stores, we returned to Buy Buy Baby and decided on this adorable turtle set.

Only downside, it is apparently being discontinued, so there is only one left.  On the upside, most of the items to go with it are on sale.  Therefore, forget the registry.  We throw it in the cart and pull out the Visa.  Seriously, is every purchase we make going to be this complicated?
Back to where this blog was originally going to go – registering.  The first question we had to decide – Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby?  Ultimately we decided that since Buy Buy Baby accepts those awesome 20% off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond (as long as they aren’t expired), that would be our spot (we have to save that 20% to afford that new car payment!  Plus, 20% off those big ticket items –and trust me, there are plenty- really adds up!). 
I knew registering would be a daunting task, but Buy Buy Baby offers to have a consultant go around and help you and give you advice for free.  I thought this idea was genius!!  So we arrived and the store and tracked down our awesome consultant, Lisa.  She had told (warned) us to expect the process to take three hours, half of which would be spent in strollers and car seats.  So off to the stroller/ car seat section we go.  We made it out of this section in about an hour, so I am feeling like an over-achiever (and quite knowledgeable about the topic).  She was great at explaining the pros and cons and not pushing for us to spend more than necessary.  And Jeff found it quite entertaining that the car seat we chose had a foot muff included.  He and Lisa worked the word “muff” into the rest of the afternoon whenever possible!  Anyway, I am feeling so good, I even took this picture to show in this blog what a feat we have overcome by conquering this section (I planned to take pics throughout the afternoon, but got overwhelmed by baby stuff and the thought of the camera never crossed my mind again). 

Slowly, but surely, we made it through swings, bath, binkies, safety, layette, breast pumps, and all things baby.  I would note that towards the end, Jeff encouraged me to only put items on that we would need right away and skip items, such as an exersaucer, that we wouldn’t need until he was older.  Somehow, the basketball goal is still on the registry.  Anyway, we were exhausted.  My feet and my back were killing me from standing on this hard floor for so long and baby items and prices were drowning my brain.  It took under the three hour mark, but I would note we were fortunate to have some big items passed down that my niece and nephew have outgrown, so that, in combination with already having our crib and crib bedding, saved us a bit of time.  Without Lisa, I’m guessing we would not have made it through the store in one attempt.  There were future parents attempting to register without a consultant and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh at them or cry with them.  Finally, with our printed registry in hand, we held our heads high and headed for the HHR to get home and nap.  Total amount for items on registry… $3,895.38 (and yes, I went through and added this all up by hand just for this blog – after seeing the number, I kind of regret doing that). 
So there you have it.  For anyone out there contemplating starting a family, how is that for birth control?  They should show this on 16 and Pregnant and maybe it wouldn’t look so glamorous!  Ultimately, I have no doubt that our little JJ will be worth every single penny!

1 comment:

  1. How funny! The term "infant academy." It conjures up an image of baby JJ wearing a little school uniform and backpack :-)


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