Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wants VS. Needs

Sometimes it is really hard to tell wants and needs apart. For example, I WANT homemade pizza for dinner, which means I should make some dough, But I NEED to take a nap....or is it the other way round, I WANT to take a nap, but I NEED to make dinner. See how hard it is. It is amazing that I even get up in the morning. Well no it is not amazing, but I do get up, and through the day I manage to get some things done, sadly I don't always do the things I NEED to do each day, but that is another story. Today's story is about the new baby and the $500 we have set aside to prepare for the new baby.

If the creation and use of Excel spreadsheets was a game- the likes of "World of Warcraft" or "Diablo II" Ken would be a Wizard- or what ever really high level you can achieve in those games. Our family has a spreadsheet for everything. The Family Budget- complete with what checking or savings account budgeted items will be paid for out of. The Personal Finance spreadsheet- which tracks EVERY CENT that we spend and categorizes it! The Lehi Expenses spreadsheet- that tracks how much we spend each month on things like Power, Gas, Telephone, it comes in very handy when we review our budget. Today I took a look at a new spreadsheet titled "Bonus Wants & Needs 2010" and the very first category was "New Baby".

Ken is a very good listener and I was pleased to see that 7 out of the 9 things I have been thinking that we NEED for the new baby were already on his list. I guess he has heard me talk about these items enough that he felt confident in writing them down. I added my last two needs and then I added some other things that he hasn't found yet, after all, in the game of Excel, I have achieved the level of Princess. Ken had a column of needs and a column for Price, I split the Price column in two and made one Used and the other New, then I added a Paid column. Then I started to enter the information that I have been collecting over the past month or two.

So this is what it basically looks like

Baby needs ($500 cap) Price Paid
Used New
Toddler Bed $60
Gate for Loft
Swing/Bouncy Chair $60 $107
Mattress ---- $40
Sheets (4) ---- $25
Mattress Cover ---- $10
Super Yard Gate $60
Double Stroller $130
Baby Sling

I did a quick SUM and discovered that even with two items not having a price listed I was already over $400. It is becoming very clear that if each one of these things is really a NEED then some of them will need to be second hand items. There are some things I don't want to buy used- i.e. my baby deserves a new mattress and sheets, I can give that to my baby. But other things are very much worth trying to find "Gently" used. Like the Swing, I WANT the Fisher Price Smart Stages 3 in 1 Swing, it is a Swing, a Bouncy Chair and a Toddler Rocker, so both kids can get some use from it. I might even go look at one tomorrow that I found on, I say might because the seller hasn't gotten back to me to say when they are available to show the swing, I am hoping to talk them down to $50, but $60 is a pretty good price.

Anyway, back to Wants VS. Needs. I feel like I NEED most of these things.
1-Little J will need a bed, because he will have to relinquish the crib to the new baby. In order to get everything to fit into the baby room (the only other bedroom on the same floor as the master) we will need to get a small Toddler bed which means we need....
2. A new crib size mattress.
3.We will also need a mattress pad/cover and new sheets to go with the new mattress- especially if we have a baby that likes pink, because half of our current sheets are blue.
Those are all definite NEEDS. But wait, there's more.
4.We need a gate for the loft, because that way, I can let J play up there on his own without wondering if he is going to jump out and see if he can land on his feet 10 feet down. I have delightful daydreams about J playing up there for an hour or two at a time, I am pretty sure they are semi-delusional daydreams, but even a half hour a day would help me out. And then there is....
5. The baby sling. You know those things that let you wear your baby. I have a feeling that J will be a very loving and helpful brother, thus this baby may be in constant danger and will need protection, I think that a very easy way to protect my second born would be to wear it. I know and trust many women who "Wear" their babies and I have been watching them. I don't really like the look of 10 yards of fabric draped around a mother or father, I like the simple sling, one loop over one shoulder and around the torso, with the baby right there in front. (Sadly, I saw on the news today that apparently some children have suffocated while in these types of devices, being a really good news source, I can't remember which local morning news program it was, while reporting the story they showed a picture of just about every type of baby carrying/wearing device they could find. So if in the next 5 months it comes out that baby slings are bad, then maybe this won't be on the list anymore) I do have a "Snugli"baby carrier that I used with J and I am sure we will continue to use with our next baby, but I really wasn't able to do much with a baby right there in front of me with it arms and legs dangling out.

So those things really feel like needs to me, but what about the swing, or the double stroller or the Super Yard gate.
1. The Gate, basically a large freestanding pen, will go around my treadmill. Then I can exercise while children are near. Right now if I want to use the treadmill I have to wait until nap time or for Ken to get home, because J is all about trying new things and new dangerous things are his favorite. I could wake up early or continue to wait until nap time etc. So do we really need this. (It could also go around the Christmas Tree.)
2. The Swing. I am not sure it is a need because we didn't have one with J. I wished we had one sometimes but we were able to get by without one. So it really feels like a want.
3. The Double Stroller. I found one I like, we even took it for a test drive. It is called the Baby Trend Sit N Stand "Havenwood" which retails for $129. As of yet I have not been able to find a used one for sale. But do I need a double stroller? I could wear the baby and J could sit in our current stroller, or I could put J's monkey harness on him, strap him to the front of our current stroller and let him pull the baby. I could also go for a cheaper stroller, but I really like this one. And that is why it must be categorized as a want.

In the end Ken has told me several times that this is money I can spend however I want. WANT or NEED it doesn't really matter. But I want to be wise. I don't want to waste money on something when the money really could have been put to better use.

So if you made it this far you deserve to give your opinion. Is there something that you had, or wished you could have had, that helped you out with your second child, (or first, or third, etc...) What do you think of my 3 wants? Or my 5 needs? If you could spend my money for me how would you do it? I really want to know.


Jodi said...

I have just a bit to share about the sling. Have you looked on the internet for instructions on how to make them? I did a couple of years ago and found that there are many different types, not just those with tons of fabric hanging around. That would be a much cheaper way of getting one and they were all very easy to make. Also, you may want to consider whether your baby will enjoy it or not. Our youngest hated the sling (after we spent $30 on one) but loved being wrapped in a wrap so he could see and have his legs and arms hanging out (which only cost me about $4 to make and was much more versatile and useful). I also felt, as my baby was in the sling, that he wasn't in a very good position. But, I have observed other babies in the very same sling fine and very happy. Maybe you could borrow one from somebody (like me) once you have had your baby before you decide what to do about that. Our sling is basically unused (we only put him in it once) and you are welcome to look at it. I'm willing to sell it if you decide you would like to have one like it. Let me know if you're interested.

Angie said...

you can see some of my opinion on FB.

Some babies love swings. Some HATE them. We got one for baby #2 and then inherited a slightly used one from some friends who were done when the swing died shortly before baby #5 was born. Both swings had their moments. I found that they actually worked particularly well for feeding babies in the early months of "solid" food when they are really too small for most high chairs. I could never get the snugli I inherited to work. But I have used the same simple Maya wrap sling for all five babies and would never leave the house without it when they were small (and in a pinch it can be used as a leash for the toddler too)
Baby gate sounds like a must, but the big yard thing for around the treadmill will be scaled, knocked over and made useless because he will be able to see you. From personal experience, until you can convince J that Sesame Street (or some other program) is far cooler than mom on the treadmill, you're going to have to exercise when he's otherwise engaged (sleeping, or with Dad).

Having the whole family infested with scabies (even Carrie had to take the medicine--ask her) because of a used mattress DH's brother had us sleep on, I am 100% in favor of new mattresses for baby, and everyone else. Used mattresses can just harbor too much that is creepy and crawly.

That's all of my opinions. Happy decisions!

Kristen said...

I definitely agree on the mattress. We've never done a toddler bed because they grow out of them. But if you HAVE to for space, then you have to for space. =o) We jump right to twin size.

I have seen double strollers at yard sales fairly often - that's where I got ours. And with most, the baby won't be ready to use it for awhile so that gives you time to hunt around - a lot of sales in the spring and early summer. I bet you'll use it a lot in your neighborhood.

Having an older child might affect your swing-buying decision. Older siblings like to push the swing, which ruins the mechanism. The baby can still sit in it but it won't swing anymore. I'd highly recommend buying a basic model in case it becomes disposable, as ours have. My sisters even bought a really nice one for me, and the kids still managed to mess it up (of course each of them are innocent). So what I actually loved is buying several cheaper sit-in things for different areas of the house. Swing in the kitchen, vibrator in the living room, bouncer by the shower, etc.

I agree that around the treadmill might not work so great. I've had to adjust my schedule with each child. You could have baby in a bouncer and instruct toddler to stay on the couch. I do exercise videos while they play around me, or treadmill when they're in bed. But if you want to, of course go for it. Also our stairs are too wide for a safety gate so we have two plastic storage bins side by side at the bottom of the stairs, with toys in them, so baby can't crawl up the stairs. Obviously that doesnt work as well at the top. I guess you could build a fort of bins around the treadmill though. Don't stack them or they can fall on the kids of course.

I think you did very well at looking at needs vs. wants. Good luck and have fun with it! I hope I didn't share TOO many opinions - they are just opinions.

Rachel said...

Wow, I'm so impressed with all the great advice you've received already! Such considerate friends you have.

The one thing I hemmed and hawed over until it pretty much was too late was the double stroller. But the difference for me was that my older child was almost 3 when #2 came, so he just got booted from the stroller and was forced to walk. You could try wearing baby and put J in the stroller. I'm betting you would use a double stroller a lot more than I would, given where you live, though I sometimes wish I had one so I could take both kids on a walk.

One thing you could try with J is rather than getting a toddler bed (which he will quickly grow out of), just put a twin size mattress on the floor. That also helps with the falling out of bed problem. I know this doesn't solve the need for a mattress, but at least then you don't have the immediate extra expense of a bed frame. Actually, I think my 4 1/2 yr old nephew still has his mattress on the floor (his is also for lack of space).

Good luck, my dear! I need you to come organize my life next... or send Ken because he sounds like an organizational genius! :)

Sarah said...

This is what friends and baby showers are for.

Kim said...

Kate, I'm impressed with your throroughness and I love your writing stle and humor.

Being finished with my child bearing, I find it fascinating to look back at all of the "gadgets" we acquire for our 7-pound-babies. Gee, I wonder what they ever did 75 years ago? I love modern-day conveniences, don't get me wrong, but somehow I think most of them fall into the wants category. Little babies and toddlers NEED love, safety, play, discovery, etc.
All that said, I loved having a swing. It calmed my babies. I used my double stroller ALLLLL the time (my kids were 17 months apart). And even with one child walking the double part is great for carrying all the bags, etc. that you gather while you're out. Plus, with the double, it makes a wonderful bed for the toddler if you can carry the baby if during a napping time. The stroller is a must, I say.

We were tight on space for a while too. I kept my baby in a bassinette or Graco Pak-n-Play (porta-crib thing)while the the toddler slept on the crib mattress either on the floor or propped up on #10 food storage cans.

As far as the sling thing, I tried one for one day with my newborn and it made my shoulder ache and the baby looked uncomfortably unsupported. I took it back. I would say, test drive some with a 10 pound sack of potatoes if you can. In Africa the baby is wrapped to the mother's front or back all day for the first three years. They sleep together too and find it appalling that we Americans seclude our babies to another room at night. (Interesting how culture effects our parenting.)

You are a wonderful and attentive and loving mother. How fulfilling that you will get to share your awesomeness with another child! I can't wait to hear what you decide about needs V. wants. (P.S. we have AMAZING garage sales and second-hand stores here. Want to take a look when you come visit?)