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Frugal Trader Junior or Frugal Traderette?

I was just thinking of an appropriate name for our first child.  Oh, I didn't tell you?  We're expecting and I'm going to be a Dad for the first time. :)

It's strange, now that we're pregnant, all I see are kids everywhere.  Whenever I shop now, there seems to be a major market geared towards kids stuff.  Where did all this stuff come from?  Why didn't I notice it before?

As the planning has progressed I started thinking about the financial impacts of having a newborn.  I went back to the archives, and dug out the old article about Newborn Baby Expenses to see what to expect.  Besides the regular diapers/formula etc, the stroller/crib/carseat/high chair costs can really add up.  The baby product companies charge top dollar for stuff, and you know what?  Parents will pay for it!  Only the best for your baby right?

Not only will the newborn expenses add up, my wife will be taking 1 yr maternity leave also.  This will undoubtedly take a big chunk out of our income but an essential expense none the less.  Hopefully 2008 will be as financially successful as 2007 has been.

On top of all that, I'm thinking about ways to teach my child to be financially savvy.  I've heard that learning by example goes a long way, but I'm always thinking of more methods.  I will write more about this in the future.

Any suggestions on strollers, cribs, car seats, high chairs from parents would also be appreciated.  I'm just starting the baby equipment journey now and some advice on what to look out for would be great.

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Pauls December 11, 2007, 8:49 am

    FT…welcome to the real world! Congrats!

    Here’s a tip. Money doesn’t matter.

    Oh, and on the kids stuff…borrow/buy from friends and relatives the stuff that only lasts a year or so. Be very careful with the car seats. They cannot be too old. Check transport Canada’s website for information.

    :-)

  • The Financial Blogger December 11, 2007, 8:49 am

    Congratulation FT ! I’m really happy for you!
    When the baby is expected?

    Here are my advices on a newborn:

    #1 Don’t say that “we’re pregnant”. Trust me, when you wife will deliver, you will not “be pregnant” anymore as she will be the only one to suffer ;-)

    #2 Marketing for baby stuff is made by geniuses. They make products for babies but they target the parents with their ads. Don’t make up your list at the Toys’R’Us. Do it at home without any pamphlets first. You might be able to make rational decisions ;-)

    #3 You can spend a big chunk of money on the stroller, you will use it for about a year and you can always use the same one if you want more than one child. I personally prefer the “jogging stroller” with three wheels. Very convenient in winter conditions (I don’t know if you have a big winter out there in Newfoundland).

    #4 Don’t buy those 2 in 1, 3 in 1 or 4 in 1 convertible cribs. I have one and I realized that I paid the big price to have the “convertible option” but you need to paid again for the extension! In the end, we put my son in a real double size bed at the age of 18 months and it was perfectly fine.

    #5 Use you entourage. There might be a lot of people that had kids in your family or friends. They can give you a lot of stuff. You can also put together a registry for the baby shower, it is a more efficient way to get what you really need :-)

    #6 Start the RESP program as soon as you can. I didn’t yet and I regret it!

  • Traciatim December 11, 2007, 9:34 am

    I agree with FB, saying “we’re pregnant” when you a guy just doesn’t work. She should say it, you shouldn’t. It’s kind of like a white comedian making fun of other races . . . for some reason it’s just not funny.

    Don’t bother with products and toys for the baby. Stick with necessities and something that rattles and something you can smack around (like some large blocks). Wait until they can actually do something to spend money on toys.

    Yeah, A stroller with large wheels is good. I found us barely using it outside anyway so I prefer just something small and easy to carry. Our first kid we had a stroller who’s main area was a car seat and it would snap in to the car… by number two we just used the seat and an umbrella stroller. All strollers are horrid in crowds, I prefer a light back or front carrier. . . or your arms if your in shape :)

    See, I’m the opposite of FB on the crib. We had a 1,2,3 crib that went from a crib, to day bed, to toddler bed and used it for two kids and then sold it for about half of what we paid. We also moved the kids in to real beds at about 18-24 months. Don’t bother buying a crib, then a toddler bed though and then a real bed. Once the crib is done, just buy a real bed.

    Take any free clothes you can. Toys I wouldn’t bother much at first.

    For the RESP, apply for a SIN number on day 2-3 and get it going right away. PLEASE, Please, please! If you set one up don’t use a ‘pooled RESP’ provider like CST, Heritage, or the multitude of others. Just use something like TD E-Funds or whatever low cost solution you can self direct. Trust me, kid one was with CST and now I’m stuck, kid two was with TD. They are 6 and 3 and the 3 year old’s RESP value is catching up quickly.

    As for names, I kind of wanted Aurora or Damien. Those are too personal things to really take recommendations. You’ll pick a few you like and if you’re not sure, you will be as soon as you see them for the first time.

    I would recommend the book ‘Raising Financially Fit Kids’ by Joline Godfrey. It’s a no nonsense guide. You’ll probably have to wait until their about 5 to really start. Though before that you can explain things like using your bank card takes money out of your account, the value of items vs their cost, and the difference between wants and needs.

    P.S. Don’t worry if the first year you don’t really bond with the kids as much as Mom. When they get up and get moving things will be much easier to relate and find things to do with them.

  • Patrick December 11, 2007, 9:34 am

    Congratulations. I don’t have any baby advice as my wife and I haven’t had children yet, but I am of the same opinion that I want to teach my children good money habits while growing up. Check out Five Cent Nickel’s other site – Raining 4 Boys. He has a lot of great tips in there, including how he and his wife give their children their allowance. As I mentioned, I don’t have children, but his site is great!

  • FourPillars December 11, 2007, 9:45 am

    Congrats – that newborn will test your patience like nothing else, but after a month or two it gets better and is really fun.

    Couldn’t agree more about the “we’re pregnant” thing – very dumb! “We’re expecting” (which you used) is much better.

    Baby stuff – get hand me downs & buy used wherever possible. And try not to “get everything before the baby is born” – they really don’t need much to start off.

    Mike

  • FrugalTrader December 11, 2007, 10:01 am

    I think you guys may be right with the “we’re pregnant” thing. I never thought twice about writing that as the expression is used so often here, yes, from guys.

    Thanks for the advice guys, much appreciated.

  • Ryan December 11, 2007, 10:04 am

    Congratulations! My wife and I are also expecting and have an 18 month old already. The biggest trap I think parents fall into is having to buy the best of the best and getting everything and anything they can get their hands on for their new child. My wife and I have barely bought anything for our daughter. We were lucky enough to recieve a stroller with the car seat, a swing, a playpen and a ton of clothes and such at baby showers. And we borrowed a crib. We didn’t go out and buy every toy we could get our hands on, and we didn’t go out and buy clothes just because they were cute.

    Most of my daughters clothes were either given to us at showers, borthdays or christmas, or tehy came from Value Village or Frenchies. We bought an outfit or two for special occasions, like we bought one outfit for her to come home from the hospital in for example.

    Now, my cousin has a duaghter the same age as mine, and her house looks like a day care with the amount of toys. She has so many clothes, most of them will not even have the tags off them before she out grows it. Whats the point?

    Another friend of mine has a newborn. His wife spent $500 on a diaper bag! We spent $40 at Walmart and it came with a bunch of powders, cremes, body washes, etc.

    As far as toys, only buy a few things that make some noise that your child will enjoy. at the end of the day most children would be happy with some pots and pans or some paper to tear apart!

  • Canadian Capitalist December 11, 2007, 10:46 am

    Congratulations. And I’ll second one of the great suggestions that many have made: make full use of your friends / family who have older kids. Trust me, they’ll be glad to give away stuff that will be of much use to you.

    Teaching your kid to be financially savvy already? Man, you really are on top of things :)

  • Chief Family Officer December 11, 2007, 11:15 am

    Congratulations! Let me say from experience that the first two and a half years will be more wonderful and more awful than you can possibly imagine! Maybe that goes for the rest of the years, but I wouldn’t know yet :D

    Regarding baby gear, there are only a handful of things that I felt were worth spending extra money on. A good breast pump, if your wife is going to breastfeed, would definitely fall in that category. Another thing would be the stroller. And finally, I would say the crib – you don’t need to spend a ton, but we have one crib that cost a little more than $500 and another that was less than $300 and I loathe the cheaper one. It is so loud when the rail is moved that I am always shocked my baby doesn’t wake up every time. And it’s difficult to get the rail down even with two hands, whereas with the more expensive crib, I could do it one-handed without a problem every time.

    I don’t know if this book would be as helpful to a Canadian as it was to me, but the Baby Bargains book was extremely helpful to me since I found Babies R Us extremely overwhelming. It helped to narrow down the choices and not overspend. Hope that helps and again, congratulations!

  • guinness416 December 11, 2007, 11:51 am

    Hey congrats! No advice for you here, I’m just boggled that so many bloggers I read are expecting at the same time. Definitely something in the water.

  • Plan Your Escape December 11, 2007, 11:58 am

    Congratulations FT! Very exciting news.

    I’ve got plans to write some more on the topic of babies since we’ve got one on the way. We’re expecting ours in the next few weeks. We should compare notes! Two tips I’ve learned so far: 1) Don’t buy everything at once. 2) Don’t turn up your nose at used items.

    As far as the “we’re pregnant” phrase goes, I avoid it too. I say “my wife is pregnant” and if I’m with friends I sometimes add “and we’re confident I’m the father!” I also use “we’re expecting a baby in x months.” Or something like that. I had never considered it until I had to start saying it.

    Congratulations again and good luck!

    Peter

  • Blaine Moore December 11, 2007, 12:06 pm

    Congratulations!

    Freecycle will become your best friend, both for getting items the first few years and for getting rid of them after the first few years.

    I recommend getting one of those bumbo chairs or whatever they are called. They support the baby so that they can sit up and look around at a few months old, which every baby I’ve seen that used one has loved.

  • Telly December 11, 2007, 12:56 pm

    Very weird. I had a strange thought this morning that you would have a baby announcement post today. I had a similar thought with friends of ours a few years back as well. I must be psychic!

    Anyway, HUGE congrats to you and the misses! :)

  • The Financial Blogger December 11, 2007, 1:04 pm

    Hey Telly, any other psychic thoughts on the market maybe? that could be useful ;-)

  • Mike December 11, 2007, 1:05 pm

    Congrats FT. My wife and I will be following in your footsteps in the next year or so. Hopefully you can uncover all sorts of good tips!

  • Cross the River December 11, 2007, 1:11 pm

    Congratulations!

    Everyone will give you their opinion, which I think is a good thing but it might get annoying. Be patient.

    But since you asked for comments, here are a few (I got a 4 month old).

    First and most importantly, treat your wife like a queen because she’ll need it. And don’t take anything she tells you personally. Only down side might be this kind of treatment will be expected all the time afterwards. But shouldn’t spouses always treat each other that way?

    Coming down to the specifics of your question, I’ll only suggest you get a real good stroller/jogger (chariot type) as they are great in winter. Talking walks will be essential even when it’s very cold. (We all are familiar with our winters). Another model which we have is the BOB from Mountain Equipment Coop. As I said, not cheap but well worth it.

    If you can establish a network of family and friends with young kids, you might be able to share things. I don’t thing we bought any of those things you mentioned apart from the stroller/jogger and a crib (from a garage sell).

    Will all the financial bloggers expecting babies soon (T’is the season?), maybe we could all create a baby stuff sharing network lol.

    Anyways, good luck and enjoy the process. And as much as you read and research the topic, you’ll find that when the little bundle of joy arrives, nothing could have prepared you for it.

    CR

    PS: Name idea, Penny

  • WhereDoesAllMyMoneyGo.com December 11, 2007, 1:15 pm

    Hi FT – congratulations on the news! That’s wonderful!

  • Canadian Dream December 11, 2007, 1:17 pm

    Wow there must be something in the PF blog water cooler! Another baby on the way.

    Congrats! My advise to you is this: forget about the money and just love the kid and enjoy them for who they are and not what you want them to be. If you can do that you will be way richer than an million dollar net worth.

    Tim

  • Canadian Money Reviewer December 11, 2007, 1:48 pm

    congrats FT! Something I’ve learned with my 11 weeks old baby: having a baby makes you mentally much tougher and disciplined (much more organizing and thinking about the little one all the time ; waking up to help during the night and keeping a smile ; seeing the baby cry when getting his first vaccines ; etc. :-) I also have less time to over trade which is a great thing :-)

    practical financial tip: save on diaper pails refills by buying this wonderful invention: Baby Trend Diaper Champ: no special bags to buy ; odorless without filters (pretty cool piston like mechanism that always keeps the inside air locked in).

  • My Dollar Plan December 11, 2007, 3:14 pm

    I second the Baby Bargains book! Congratulations!

  • moneygardener December 11, 2007, 9:48 pm

    Congrats!

    My wife and I are expecting our first this January.

    My advice on purchases = one word TARGET®

  • bakeapples December 12, 2007, 12:24 am

    Congrats!

    Best advice – let Kijiji be your friend!

    When it comes to baby items, there are often items that will only be used for a few months and others only a year or two. Used items are often used for such a short period that they are as good as new.

    We are at the point now with two toddlers that we usually just recycle thru Kijiji (sell items we no longer need and then use the proceeds to buy what we need used). It keeps costs minimal and if you end up not liking something you can always swap it on Kijiji without losing anything (or even making a profit to put into another item).

  • Jonathan December 12, 2007, 1:00 am

    Hey FT! Congrats. That’s awesome you’re going to have a baby! Get ready for no disposable income and even less sleep. Just kidding! Children are wonderful. Soak in every minute of it.

  • Nabloid December 12, 2007, 10:37 pm

    Congrats.

    I can just picture you reading the WSJ to him in his crib. HAHA. I’d think it was funny if you wrote a childs book (with lots of big pictures) to teach how easy it is to invest money. Might be a neat area for the 6 to 10 year old crowd in schoold. It’s not hard if you truly boil it down to the the simplest form – and it could be educational, LOL.

  • Smithers December 13, 2007, 12:12 am

    Congrats. Had a baby 5 months back, best thing ever! You wont be worried about money so much when you have a child, its a joy of its own.

    That being said theres many ways to economise on what you really need and what you dont…

  • Babe in the Woods December 13, 2007, 2:52 am

    Oh my goodness.. I’m just catching up on things today. Congratulations to you both! They say men don’t really appreciate babies until you’ve had one of your own. It’s an amazing thing…

    suggestions:
    It’s true, hand-me-downs are softer and healthier
    you will tons of parents only too willing to pass on toys, swings, baby baths etc that have taken over their houses.

    A baby swing is a wonderful thing. The first time I put my first born in one was the first moment I had a chance to relax.

    Nursing is a wonderful bonding thing for mom, wards off postpartum blues, and saves a bundle.. so it’s really worth trying.

    And the best advice I was ever given was “it gets easier.”

    They are so worth it.. and just think for the first few years a clean cardboard box is the most exciting toy, and the dollar store is a huge adventure. My little one calls it the “dinosaur store”. It’s a love like no other… take it easy. And don’t forget to be there with lots of foot rubs and lower back rubs. And if she wants a ten dollar tub of ice cream in the third trimester it is no time to frugal!!!

    All the best, Blessings for you all.

  • Ed Rempel May 30, 2010, 10:39 pm

    Congrats, FT!

    I have 2 suggestions. The name FT Junior needs work. The best source of baby names I’ve seen is in Freakonomics. It explains where names come from, how they evolve, and what names are likely to be the most popular in 2015. Check out the link: http://www.babynamesgarden.com/freakonomicspredictions.aspx

    Also, I agree with Ryan. The biggest mistake parents make is to spoil their kids and waste money by wanting the best of everything for their kids. The frugal will inherit the earth. Make sure your kid learns money skills and to be frugal.

    Perhaps Frugal Aiden (FA) or Frugal Emma (FE) ? :)

    Ed

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