Baby showers can be one of the best parties to attend. But trying to figure out what to give, without busting your budget, can be daunting. Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning in your brain and keep your checking account full.
Look but don’t touch…..the registry
Ahh the infamous baby registry. It can be so inviting to guests to just look down an online list, pick a gift and call it a day. But, by really paying attention to what is chosen, you can see what products are important to the mom-to-be and what kind of shower this may turn out to be.
For example, if most of her picks have to do with breast feeding, you know that is something truly important to her and you can gift accordingly. In the same aspect, if you see 200 dollar dressers and 600 dollar cribs listed, you can assume that this party just might be a bit more upscale and too rich for your blood.
The best part is that once you figure these hints out, you do NOT have to buy gifts right from the registry. You’ll be able to keep the new mama’s wish list in mind and randomly find deals in places where you actually shop, like your favorite department stores or even the grocery store. Speaking of the grocery store…
The baby deals are all around…even at the grocery store
This is one of those places that most shoppers tend to look over when it comes to things other than groceries. Next time you are picking up a bag of groceries from the store, take a walk down the baby aisle. More often than not, you will find a great sale not only on diapers and baby food, but baby lotions, pacifiers, sippy cups and more. These are all items that can easily be turned into a cute baby basket. Also, take a look down the laundry detergent aisle. Sales on Dreft and “Free and Clear” detergents pop up quite a bit. A most grateful mom-to-be will squeal if you can give her the gift of a laundry detergent stockpile. Baby clothes, bibs, burp clothes and such get washed frequently, so detergent can be used up in a flash. Also, you can pair the detergent with some packs of onesies and call it a gift!
Stick to the basics
When guests go shopping for baby gifts and get caught up in all the cute little outfits and fun little toys, they forget that those things are mostly temporary. Getting someone a newborn outfit for their baby means that gift will only get used maybe once or twice before the baby grows out of it. You’ll have to think on a bigger scale when it comes to baby gifts, so pay attention to the basics. Onesies, sippy cups, burp clothes, crib sheets and baby socks are just a few things that you can focus on. But don’t just grab a few in size 0 to 3 months and call it a day; make sure to be a responsible gift giver and think ahead. When a friend of mine was having twins, I went out and got her items that would last up to one year with her girls. I got her onesies, but made sure to get multiple packets in each size up to 18 months. I got her sippy cups, but made sure they were the small size ones to start off with and then the 8oz ones for when the girls were older. I did the same with socks and diapers. Her girls are now 7 and she still talks about that gift. It set her up for success and gave her a mini stockpile of baby items that she knew she would need eventually.
Fill those gift baskets with more than diapers
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to go “full baby” at a shower. The parents or older siblings can be the recipients of your gifts. So often, other members of the family can be neglected when a new baby arrives. Create a “date night” basket filled with a video store gift card, large popcorn tub and a box of microwave popcorn. Or, for the older siblings, create a gift filled with cool toys or crafts for them to play with while visiting Mom at the hospital.
Offer your services…whatever they may be
Do you love to babysit? Are you a good cook? Do you have a knack for cleaning and organizing? Then offer up those services as a gift. Most Moms won’t ever think to ask for help, so offering it up to them before it even comes to mind is a great way to give of yourself. New Moms tend to not have much time to cook a quality meal, so you can offer up your services there. Either make a plan to come by the first few weeks after the baby is born to cook a meal for her in-house, or cook some of your “never fail, always taste great” meals and drop them off to her a few days after the baby is delivered. Do you love to clean? About a week or two after the arrival of baby, I guarantee you she will need help in that area. Either help keeping up with the cleaning she’s been trying to do, or help to get her motivated to start. About a month or so down the line, she may even be ready to call a babysitter. Make sure to offer that service to her at the shower so she knows that you would love to be on the short list of people she’ll trust to take care of her baby.
Inspiration goes a long way
Please don’t forget the Mamas! This is one of those times that they need support and lots of encouragement. If you can’t give them advice from experience, find a greatly reviewed book or even a wonderful card to add to those gifts. Truthfully, a hand-written note expressing how proud you are of your friend or family member will make her feel like a million bucks. Your love is one of the most, and least, expensive things you can give a new Mom.
-Keep a look out for online deals at places like amazon.com and buy.com. These sites do offer deals on baby items, and at a great price! If you do swagbucks, you can lower your amount you pay even further by using your bucks to get amazon gift cards. If you don’t know about swagbucks, check this out and sign up here. Also, if you order online, don’t forget to check with sites like Ebates, Cashbaq and Shop At Home to see if you can get cash back on those purchases.
-Watch your drug stores. This is yet another place where you can find hidden baby item deals.
-Gift cards are more than welcome. Unlike giving these around the holidays, giving a gift card to a new Mom is like giving her license to shop for whatever will make her life easier at that time. Since babies can be particular when it comes to the type of bottles, diapers, and pacifiers they like, giving a gift card gives Mom the chance to try out other items and see which ones fit her baby. If you have a mypoints account, you can use your points to order gift cards from target, walmart and even drug stores like walgreens and CVS.