10 Things New Parents Don't Need

Kiplinger

You'll be better off stashing your cash in a college savings fund for your new baby than spending it on these items.

I'm expecting my third child, and as I sat in the doctor's office this morning, I thumbed through pregnancy and parenting magazines. I got a good laugh (as an experienced mom and personal finance writer) at the nursery necessities, diaper bag must-haves and ultimate registry guide I found on the pages of those magazines.

A $20 diaper purse to hold diapers within a diaper bag. A $48 sleep sack for baby. A $99 changing pad. A $450 toy storage unit for the baby's room. A $1,500 crib. There was even a six-page spread in one of the magazines with tips on organizing every room in the house (including closet and mudroom) to prepare for baby's arrival and what you need to buy to do so.

More from
Kiplinger :

25 Ways to Waste Your Money

What New Parents Really Need

QUIZ: Parents – Test Your Financial Reflexes

As crazy as the prices (and some of the products) may seem, it can be so tempting for first-time parents to purchase all the cute baby things they see in magazines or stores. But the last thing new moms and dads should do is rack up debt buying stuff their baby really doesn't need. Instead, parents should focus on buying things they really need, such as life insurance, and funding a college-savings plan for their child.

So what items are a waste of money? It is a matter of opinion (and, trust me, people have strong opinions about this -- as I discovered the last time I wrote about this topic). But here's a list I came up with based on my experience and the advice of many other parents I know.

1. A designer nursery

By this, I mean a room full of high-priced furnishings and nursery décor. Your baby will not care whether his monogram is on everything, if the crib came from Target or Pottery Barn, or if the lamp, curtains and area rug coordinate. And visitors won't even notice the nursery theme when they see the main attraction of the room: your adorable baby.

2. Bedding

As cute as they may be, bedding sets can cost $200 and up. Plus, bumpers and matching quilts are suffocation hazards. And crib skirts just collect dust. All the baby's crib really needs is a tight-fitting sheet -- and I'd stick with inexpensive ones so you don't lament the stains left on expensive sheets by leaky diapers. If you're worried that babies arms and legs might get caught between the wooden slats of the crib, opt for a safe but inexpensive mesh bumper (about $30).

3. A changing table

These one-purpose items run $150 and up. It makes more financial sense to use an existing dresser (or purchase one) and put a contoured changing pad (which you can get at Target for $17.99 -- rather than the $99 one I saw in a magazine) on top. Retailers have caught on to this idea because they're marketing dresser and changing table combos. But you pay a premium just to get a wooden box that comes attached to the dresser.

4. Bassinet

Rather than spend $100 or more on a bassinet that you'll be able to use only for a few months, use that money instead to buy a portable crib, also known as a pack 'n play or play yard. The baby can sleep in it at home, at grandma's or when you travel. Plus, if you have one of these, you don't need to buy a play mat (which can only be used for a few months) or an Exersaucer. Toss a few toys into the pack 'n play, and the baby will be entertained and confined while you make dinner.

5. Expensive newborn clothing

One big reason not to buy pricey clothes: Your baby will outgrow them quickly. For the first few months, stick with inexpensive onesies and sleepers.

6. Video monitor

You're going to be tired. Do you really want to lie awake all night and watch your baby on a monitor? Instead of spending $100 to $300 on a video monitor, get a basic (sound-only) monitor for $30 or less.

7. A high chair

You certainly don't need one the first six months of baby's life. Once the baby is sitting and eating solid foods, a $30 booster seat with a tray is a much more convenient and affordable option than a $100 to $200 high chair. The booster chair can attach to your kitchen table chair or be transported anywhere you go with baby. Plus, it's easier to clean than a high chair.

8. A wipe warmer

When I was discussing this list of items parents don't need with my husband and mentioned a wipe warmer, he said, "A what? I never knew there was such a thing." Clearly, we didn't pay $26 for a contraption to warm baby wipes, and my two girls survived just fine. Some people swear by them because they say warm wipes prevent their baby from crying during diaper changes. But neither one of my kids cried when I wiped them with room-temperature wipes (maybe I just have tough kids).

9. A lot of anything

If you purchased the number of duplicate items the registry guides said you needed, you'd end up with enough swaddling blankets, bottles and pacifiers for 20 babies. Start with just a few of each item because you may find that you won't use some things at all. For example, neither of my girls liked to be swaddled. Only one used a pacifier -- but she never even touched a bottle.

10. Diaper Genie

I saved the most contentious item for last. There seems to be an equal number of people who say this is the biggest waste of money and who say it's the best invention ever. This $40 diaper pail requires special bags that are a lot more pricey than run-of-the-mill garbage bags that can be used in other systems, such as the Diaper Champ. A set of three refill bags costs $19.99 (but each can hold 180 diapers). According to the refill description, it has a "seven layer film with odor barrier technology that locks in odor for the ultimate protection." Come on folks -- diapers aren't that toxic. As one dad I know said, "Just buy a trashcan with a lid and be done with it."

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Bill Gates supposedly has long way to go to catch the real richest man in the world

      Coming in at around $86 billion, Bill Gates has ridden his Microsoft fortune straight to the top of the Forbes list of the world’s richest men. Then again, the business magazine doesn’t take into account ...

      MarketWatch q
    • Trump's Russia scandal takes an unexpected turn

      On Friday afternoon, FBI Director James Comey delivered a classified, hour-long briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Russia scandal, and soon after, the Senate Intelligence Committee sent “formal requests to more than a dozen organizations, agencies and individuals, asking them to preserve all materials related to the committee’s investigation” into the controversy. Pursuit of shady oligarch a test of DoJ integrity under Trump We don’t know much about how the briefing went – committee members were tight-lipped following Comey’s presentation – though Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted late Friday that he’s “now very confident” that the committee will conduct “thorough bipartisan

      MSNBC q
    • ‘Dr. Death’: Texas Neurosurgeon Gets Life in Prison for Botched Surgery

      A Texas neurosurgeon accused of intentionally botching multiple spinal surgeries, resulting in the death of two people and the paralysis of two others, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday, PEOPLE confirms. Christopher Duntsch, 46, was convicted last week of first-degree felony injury in one of those instances: a botched 2012 surgery involving 74-year-old Mary Efurd who lost a third of her blood and the use of her leg, according to the Dallas Morning News. One patient testified that he woke up paralyzed from the neck down after an operation performed by Duntsch.

      People
    • Once Renowned Surgeon Sentenced to Life Behind Bars for Intentionally Maiming Patients

      Christopher Duntsch once billed himself as the best neurosurgeon in all of Dallas.

      Inside Edition
    • Milo Yiannopoulos apologizes for remarks, quits Breitbart

      NEW YORK (AP) — Polarizing right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos was by turns apologetic for comments he made about sexual relationships between boys and men and adamant he had been the subject of "a cynical media witch hunt" on Tuesday as he spoke after resigning as an editor at Breitbart News.

      Associated Press
    • Malia Obama in Ultimate Rich Kids' Ski Trip Pic (PHOTO)

      Malia Obama is on an Aspen vacay that will absolutely make you HATE your life when you see who she's posing with in what has to be the richie richiest photo of all time. Here's the answer key for who's who in this shot, taken last weekend at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro in Aspen: 1. Malia 2. Elizabeth Tisch, daughter of NY Giants co-owner Steve Tisch 3. Audrey Kotick, daughter of Activision/Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick (think Call of Duty money) 4. Fashion designer Monique Lhuillier 5. Jamie Tisch, ex-wife of Steve 6. Tom Bugbee, Monique Lhuillier's husband 7. Holden Tisch, daughter of Steve 8. Zachary Tisch, son of Steve 9. Tassilo von Furstenberg, grandson of Diane von Furstenberg When President

      TMZ q
    • Patriots president: There 'wasn't one person who said' to hire Bill Belichick in 2000

      The hiring of Bill Belichick seems pretty obvious in hindsight. He’s won so many Super Bowl rings he has to rename his boat every other year . But in 2000 it wasn’t entirely obvious to many people. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft recalled on Tuesday night’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (will air at 10 p.m. ET on HBO) that there “wasn’t one person” who thought the Pats should hire Belichick. But his dad, Robert Kraft, who also took aim at critics during the segment , was dead set on doing it.  “There wasn’t one person who said to do it. I learned a long, long, long time ago, when my dad says his gut says something is the right decision -- he’s always right,” Jonathan Kraft said. “He’s never

      CBS Sports q
    • Interracial couple fined for not removing graffiti slur

      An interracial Connecticut couple whose home was vandalized by a racial slur has been fined for failing to cover it up.

      WPVI – Philadelphia
    • Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa dressed up as Batgirl and Batman for their son’s birthday party, are #familygoals

      Some kids are born into lucky situations: Will Ferrell’s three sons (do they ever stop laughing?), Walt Disney’s kids (who had a secret…

      Hello Giggles
    • A Look Inside Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago: The New ‘Winter White House’

      Mar-a-Lago sits along a coveted stretch of coastline in Palm Beach, Fla. It was built between 1924 and 1927 by cereal heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. Donald Trump purchased the property, which he would later dub the “Winter White House,” in 1985 for $5 million and used it solely as a private residence until turning it into a private members-only club in 1995. The Mar-a-Lago Club also boasts an oceanfront swimming pool, a beauty salon, a spa, five red clay tennis courts, a croquet court, and seaside cabanas.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • Iowa farmer gives Senator Grassley some perspective on Obamacare

      “We’re gonna create one great big death panel in this country” At a town hall in Iowa Falls, Iowa this morning, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) faced a packed room of constituents demanding answers on questions ranging from immigration to Obamacare. In one of a few standout moments, an older man confronted Grassley over his support of repealing Obamacare instead of working to fix the existing law. “I’m on Obamacare. If it wasn’t for Obamacare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance,” Chris Petersen, an Iowa pig farmer, told his Senator. “Don’t repeal Obamacare, improve it!” he said. The crowd broke out in cheers. It was a full-circle moment for Grassley and healthcare. In 2009, while Grassley was negotiating

      ThinkProgress q
    • The Latest: Suspect in slaying may have been high on drugs

      LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of two California police officers as they responded to a traffic accident (all times local):

      Associated Press
    • Space buffs drool as NASA announces a major 'discovery beyond our solar system'

      NASA will host a news conference on Wednesday to discuss recent discoveries of planets beyond our solar system. The even will begin at 1 p.m. ET. The public are invited to ask questions via Twitter with the hashtag #askNASA.

      Digital Trends
    • Blac Chyna Reveals She’s Lost 40 Lbs. Since Giving Birth to Daughter Dream

      Blac Chyna has dropped 40 lbs. in four months! In a new Snapchat video posted on Tuesday, the newly single mother of two stepped on the scale to document her post-baby weight loss since giving birth to daughter Dream Kardashian in November. “From 192 to 152.4 –  Goal 130 –  Summer 2017,” Chyna, 28, captioned her short clip.

      People
    • One NBA executive reportedly believes Paul George is going to be traded to the Boston Celtics

      It is crazy-rumor season in the NBA as we approach Thursday's trade deadline, and with two big...

      Business Insider
    • Hoda Kotb Shares the Inspiration Behind Daughter Haley Joy’s Name: ‘She’s Got a Beautiful Way About Her’

      Hoda Kotb surprised Today audiences on Tuesday when she announced she had welcomed a daughter — Haley Joy — through adoption. Calling back into the show’s fourth hour, which she normally co-hosts, Kotb explained the inspiration behind her daughter’s name — all while feeding Haley Joy! “Haley is because of Halley’s Comet,” Kotb told a tearful Kathie Lee Gifford and Jenna Bush Hager, referencing the famous short-period comet — which is visible to the naked eye from Earth every 75 years.

      People
    • Billionaire Elon Musk credits his success to these 8 books

      The SpaceX and Tesla founder is a voracious reader.

      CNBC
    • Photos of Former Couples Walking Oscars Red Carpets Past That Will Make Your Heart Hurt (9 photos)

      All of these A-listers have happily moved on ... yet we can't help reminiscing about their past Oscars red carpet moments (and crying a little bit)

      People
    • Fake news become reality? Swedish suburb descends into riots after Trump's false claims

      Days after US President Donald Trump falsely suggested Sweden had become a victim of a major terrorist incident for accepting refugees, an immigrant-dominated enclave of the city has erupted into riots. The clashes are believed to have started on Monday (20 February) after police arrested a man for drug offences in Rinkeby in the northern suburbs of capital Stockholm. Rocks were hurled at police vans, cars were torched and shops were looted.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Everything You Need to Copy Meghan Markle’s Chic Style (8 photos)

      Suits star and Prince Harry's girlfriend Markle may not yet be a bonafide style icon, but with outfits like these, she's well on her way

      People