Are Second-Time Moms Smarter—Or Just Cheap?
A new study out of the UK shows that moms spend way less on their second baby than their first... but is it true?
Does having baby number two on the way mean double the expenses? Not necessarily. According to a recent survey, second-time moms in the UK say that they prefer saving to splurging when it comes to baby #2.
Where are these not-so new moms cutting corners? Survey results showed that 20 percent of mothers spent about $300 less when shopping in preparation for their second child as compared to their first. At least 20 percent indicated a frugal willingness to accept hand-me-down clothes and gear, when only brand new would do before, and approximately 30 percent of second-time mothers said they would be more likely to buy less expensive supermarket-brand wipes and diapers this time around.
Of course, simple math can tell you that raising two kids costs more than one. But driving this budget-minded behavior isn’t just the family bank account. Surveyed moms said it’s just a matter of having a more realistic idea of what a baby actually needs. Nearly four out of five moms admitted buying unnecessary baby items for their first child, with one-third saying designer clothes were the most useless purchases, the Daily Mail reports. Another 20 percent of moms said that newborn shoes, either purchased or given as a gift, was the baby item most likely to have gathered dust. Speaking of gifts? Over half said they asked for specific gifts for their second child, rather than leaving it up to chance—and possibly receiving more shoes.
It’s also worth noting that it’s not just money that moms are saving, it’s time as well. Almost half said they skipped sterilizing pacifiers and food utensils, 15 percent gave up ironing their baby’s clothes and blankets, and another 50 percent gave up the habit of weighing their babies daily. Second-timers are also much less likely to spend their free time reading pregnancy and baby care books—a whopping 80 percent said they now rely on instinct and experience to parent. When it comes to new first-time mothers, it’s just the opposite: 60 percent said they turn to others for advice.
So, are American moms the same the same as their British counterparts?
“Oh, this is me to a T!” reports mom of two Melissa Faraday, of Columbia, South Carolina. “In fact, I need to visit the consignment shop to pick up my check for the mountain of baby clothes and other stuff I got rid of when I was cleaning the nursery before our second was born.”
What items is Faraday doing without this time around? “I sold the bassinette and won’t replace it because a baby uses it for like a day before they are too big. I won’t buy any expensive clothes because they’re just going to end up stained. Hand-me-downs are more than fine, as long as they are gently used. I do like a particular brand of diapers, so those will stay, but I’ve used store-brand wipes since my first, so no change there, and yes, buying generic does cut costs.”
With her second child due in July, Rachel Lord, a mom from the Philadelphia area, agrees that she’s spending less in getting ready for this baby. She chalks it up to nothing more than been-there-done-that experience.
“With my first, I bought an elaborate crib bedding set, tons of newborn-size clothes, and this very high-end video monitoring system. Let’s see… all the bedding, except the sheets, stayed in the closet because it’s not safe, my baby was in newborn sizes for about two weeks, and to make it easier on all of us, I moved his crib into our room, so no video monitoring was necessary. I am going to guess all that comes up to just about $300.”
Does she feel like she is somehow cheating her soon-to-be second child by not splurging?
Not in the least.
As Lord sums up, “It’s not because I don’t care as much that I refuse to buy things again. It’s because I know better!”
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