baby gearLet me guess -- the minute you found out you were pregnant, you immediately went online and perused dozens of baby websites in search of the perfect collection of gear for your baby-to-be. Ok, so maybe not immediately, but I'm sure you started "picking out" nursery furniture, car seats, strollers, and pack-and-plays pretty soon after that positive pregnancy test changed your life forever, right?

But as quickly as you started picking out baby gear, I'm sure you also found yourself trying to come to terms with a major case of sticker shock. All those fancy-schmancy baby items aren't cheap, which is why you may want to seriously consider accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family instead of throwing all your money away on gear your baby may or may not use.

I know, I know -- part of the fun of being pregnant is getting to pick out brand new stuff and build a baby registry and be showered with gifts from all of the people closest to you. I totally get it -- because I was hell bent on having brand new everything when I was pregnant with my son.

From a top-of-the-line stroller (which I refuse to part with to this day out of fear that getting rid of it will jinx me into getting pregnant) to a nursery outfitted with a gorgeous cherry crib, glider, changing table, and dresser -- to the exersaucer, bouncy seat, bassinet, pack-and-plays for both upstairs and downstairs -- I literally had it all.

And you know what? Other than my gem-of-a-stroller, the crib, and the bouncy seat -- I probably could've gotten by without all that other stuff. And since my husband and I decided fairly quickly after our baby was born that one child was enough for us and we wouldn't be welcoming any more little ones down the road, saving all that gear for baby number two wasn't exactly an option.

Most of it wound up collecting dust in my basement -- that is, until I gave it away to a pregnant friend who wasn't interested in shelling out tons of cash for stuff that would likely wind up collecting dust in her basement.

And even though part of me felt sort of spoiled for having everything shiny and brand new, giving it all to someone else who could put it to good use made up for any guilt I had. It made me so happy to be able to do something nice for her (even though she didn't wind up using the gorgeous cherry crib because she did the whole co-sleeping thing, gah).

Bottom line -- if your friends and family offer you a bunch of hand-me-downs, do them and also yourself a favor by accepting at least a few of the items they want to pass on. Not only will you make them feel special and appreciated, but you'll also have some much-needed extra cash lying around to spend on things you really need.

Are you buying all new baby gear, or will you accept gently used items from others?

 

Image via jessicafm/Flickr