I've written about how we plan to approach baby purchases: buying used where we can and accepting gifts or registering for most of the other items. So let's see if I can actually stick to my word, shall we? Once we found out we are having a girl, I was energized to get start the nursery planning, even though we're still trying to sell our house. But deciding what to buy was a little overwhelming. Here's what we did...
1. Choose a color palette or theme and create an inspiration board. We decided to choose a simple color palette rather than a true theme like Winnie the Pooh or ladybugs or whatever. I'll admit I have a hard time sticking to a color palette (because I just want to buy everything I like even if it doesn't come in the right color). But for a girl nursery I love gray, white, pink and orange. And for a boy I love gray, chartreuse, sage and icey blue.
I used Pinterest to organize all my ideas. Before we knew we are having a girl I created a board for nurseries I love (either sex). Now I've also started another board just for her nursery with the items we've actually purchased or those we are planning to get or make for her room. This helps me visualize the room and make sure we have everything we need and a good balance of color.
just a few of my favorites; original sources can be found on my Pinterest board
2. Set a budget. I hoped to spend $1,000 or less on the nursery. Honestly, there wasn't much thought put behind this amount...I just thought it sounded like a good number. I know $1,000 is a lot of money, but there were a number of things we needed, and completely decorating a room with $1,000 is not that easy. Because of the great timing of our pregnancy(thanks, God!), we were really blessed to receive some early Christmas money to put toward our nursery. We hardly had to "find" any money in our budget to get all the stuff we've gotten so far. We are so grateful for that. We also over-budgeted for our Thanksgiving trip to D.C. so we put some of that money toward her room.
3. Make a list and shop! I made a master list of things we needed and wanted:
- Crib and mattress ($70, purchased secondhand from my sister)
- Dresser ($322 at IKEA; we registered for a changing table pad)
- 12 unique knobs for the dresser (purchased in D.C., $90) SPLURGE!
- Toy storage/bench seating ($64 at IKEA; we may eventually purchase some pillows or a pad for this)
- Rocking chair and footstool ($193 at IKEA)
- Mobile (ours is two parts) (I wasn't originally planning to get one, but I fell in love with those lights at IKEA for $54)
- Wall art (we're making some and buying some: estimated $300) SPLURGE!
So if you add it all up, you'll notice I'm predicting we'll go $93 over our budget of $1,000. The only thing we have left to purchase is one final wall decoration that I've got my eye on from Etsy. Eric thought I was crazy to spend so much on a couple of her wall art/decorations, and you may, too. That's why I decided to take the hit for this and used/am using my personal money and money I got as Christmas gifts to buy two things I really want for her room that Eric thinks are too expensive. I justified it because it didn't affect our bottom line or our master financial plan for having a baby; it just limits the amount of money I have to spend on clothes for myself. And I love decorating and investing in our house almost as much as expanding my wardrobe.
You may want or need different things for your nursery. And some of these items you may be able to register for (we have registered for fitted bed sheets, a bed skirt and a breathable bumper for her crib, but we'll need to buy these items ourselves if we don't get them before she comes).
We did a big haul at IKEA at 22 weeks, purchased some secondhand items from my sister and now we're just adding finishing touches with decoration. I am hoping we don't have to buy too much other stuff, but chances are something may come up that I haven't thought of yet or items that aren't purchased for us at our pre-baby shower later this month.
Tips to Save Money
Think long-term. This is the biggest thing I think we did right. In a few years, our baby will no longer be a baby. We are not into cutesy baby things anyway, but we planned the decor so perhaps our daughter will still like some of the things we bought (wall art) when she transitions to a big girl room.
- Also, we hope to have more children, and we want our future children (no matter their sex) to be able to use the same crib, sheets, dresser, car seat, stroller, etc.
- We got a basic white dresser at IKEA but are replacing the knobs with mismatched ones to add a fun touch of personality. They can easily be changed out later, or the dresser could be painted if desired.
- The mobile we bought is not actually meant to be used as one. Later it can be used throughout our house as decoration, or above a dining table.
Try to not go overboard. Yes, this is harder than it sounds. I will admit I really had my heart set on a few things that just weren't in the budget (the things I am buying with my own money rather than our family money). Maybe you can afford to buy everything brand new, but we wanted and needed to do it on somewhat of a budget.
- We explored secondhand options (dressers on Craigslist, my parents' old rocking chair, etc.) before buying new.
- We chose to buy from IKEA rather than Pottery Barn Kids. Luckily that is more our taste anyway.
- If you want to splurge on something, I say splurge on things that will last longer than a 0-3 month onesie. The wall art and knobs we've splurged on are things she or I can use for a long time. And by purchasing a secondhand crib and mattress for $70, we could afford to do this.
Be creative and resourceful. What can you go without? What can you make? What can you use that you already have?
- We needed a dresser and also a changing table, so we bought a dresser that is the right height for a changing table and we will simply put a changing pad on top of it. The key is that it looks normal without the changing pad there, so it can be used in a kid's room later.
- I like the crib we got secondhand, but I probably would have chosen something just a little bit different if we were buying new. But I can't beat a $70 crib that is already the color I want from a source I trust! (Thanks, sis!)
- I have two old wire baskets from the pool I used to work at that will be used to hold books, stuffed animals and toys in her room.
- The toy storage/shelving unit unit will be placed horizontally so it can double as a bench.
- To save money and add a personal touch, we painted a canvas for her room.
How do you think we did? Anything I'm forgetting to buy?
Stay tuned for the big nursery reveal!