Buy The Cheapest Baby Crib
My wife and I have learned and experienced a lot in the past four wonderful years of parenthood. My advice to future parents out there - buy the cheapest baby crib you can find. I believe when you are preparing for a baby's arrival you are defining the course for your family's personal finances for decades to come.
It all starts with the purchase of a baby's crib. And then the high chair, and rocker, and changing table, and baby toys, and baby furniture, and baby clothes, etc. This is the financial start of parenthood and is likely the first of thousands of financial decisions that you and your spouse will make while raising your children. It is also the point when soon to be parents are starry eyed at the prospect of being parents and thinking about providing everything they can in blissful excitement to their future child.
Here is my recommendation to all future parents out there. Buy the cheapest (but safe) crib for your child. By cheap for example I mean look for a inexpensive used crib on craigslist or if new is critical, buy something like the Ikea Sniglar Crib that should be <$100 including the crib mattress. There are plenty of options to keep the cost under $100 USD.
I will admit my wife and I failed to follow this tip when we first started our family. We bought a quality used crib for $200 that included the mattress and several accessories. It was a difficult decision for us to come to, but we both were swayed by a moderate degree to give our child what we could including a stylish room.
However my wife and I got a second chance with our current work assignment in China. We've temporarily moved to China only what fit in our airplane luggage and have had to purchase any baby gear we couldn't bring with us on the plane. However this time we had a few years of parenthood under our belt and knew that this furniture/gear was only temporary. We ended up with the the cheapest (but safe) baby crib we could find from Ikea. Its worked well for us and I'm glad we haven't spent a penny more.
The Need to Save Money on your Baby's Crib
Naturally this is a discussion for you and your spouse to agree to a reasonable comprise on. However this is the first of many of these types of financial discussions. This purchase will set the direction for many of the expenses for your child's formative years. Are you going to ensure the financial soundness of your family or comprise so that your family can follow the American dream sold to you via media? If you aren't already a millionaire+ then you need to take a hard look at your financial condition. Raising kids is expensive.
After all think about the usable lifespan of these baby items for your family. A crib is only good for about 2 years per baby. If you divide the cost of the crib per year if its expected use for your family (even if your planning for more than 1-2 babies), it will be likely one of the most expensive pieces of furniture in your home.
Whats the Crib Comprise Worth?
Lets say you made the decision to spend $100 on a crib vs the $400 or more many people spend on a new baby crib. Lets take that $300 cost avoidance and invest it in a 529 college savings plan and assume you earn an 8% avg return over the next 18 years. You'll end up with over $1,200 you otherwise wouldn't have to invest in your kid's college education.
This first purchase has even higher financial implications when you think about the thousands of expenses that follow it. The approach to deciding how much you spend on a baby crib will likely trickle down to many of the future purchases you make including the baby toys, the baby furniture, the baby high chair, the baby clothes, etc. After all you will have to have the matching changing tablet that goes with the new crib. From the initial expenses it goes to diapers, birthday gifts, holiday and vacation expenditures, school supplies, transportation expenses, and so on. If I had a chance to do it over again I'm convinced we would spend less, my kid's future is worth it.
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