The Excitement of a New Baby – A $700 Clothing Bill!

September 21, 2013 at 2:55 PM 8 comments

Gymboree

I am a sucker for children’s hats. I typically buy at least two or three for each season. That enables me to keep one in the car, one in the house and sometimes one in my diaper bag.

When my son’s favorite sun hat was stolen a few weeks ago I went shopping for end of summer hat sales and found a few for less than $5 at Gymboree. I wasn’t exactly sure what size my son would wear so I bought a couple in varying sizes and planned to return the ones that didn’t fit as soon as I returned from the beach.

I went to a Gymboree store in a very run down mall not too far from where my parent’s live. Most of the stores in the mall have closed, but the Gymboree store still appears quite profitable.

Every time I go there I end up behind someone who appears to be buying every available outfit in the store. Yesterday I stood behind a woman who was eight months pregnant with twin girls. She was buying matching outfits in every shade of pink and purple you could imagine. As the cashier rang up her purchase the woman kept asking the price of each item, but no matter what number the cashier said she answered “yes I’ll take that one too.”

In total she purchased over $700 worth of items and walked out with three large bags and an online order for all of the items that were not available in store.

The clothes ranged in size from 0 to 3 months, which means in a very short period of time those tiny babies will outgrow $700 worth of clothes! She paid for the bill using two credit cards and asked the cashier to split the total, which is probably not the sign of a healthy financial situation.

After the woman left I got into a conversation with the cashier. She mentioned that it was not unusual for a new mother or father to pay $500 or more on outfits for a newborn. In fact, she said that particular woman had been in the store with her husband a few days before.

During certain times of the year Gymboree offers Gymbucks to consumers when their spending threshold reaches $50. Spend $50 and you’ll receive $25 in Gymbucks. Spend $100 and you’ll receive $50, etc.  She said parents get hooked on the game of getting these coupons to spend on later purchases. Of course, the store wins, because they buy a ton of merchandise upfront and then return a month or so later to purchase more.

I tried to think back on the initial purchases for my son. We didn’t know his gender in advance so in that first month a lot of his clothes were green and yellow. We did need to buy some newborn clothes, because I thought for sure he would fit directly into size 0-3, but initially I only bought three or four tiny outfits.

I’m not sure how much I spent on those first few sizes, (newborn, 0-3), but it wasn’t close to $700. In fact, I bet I didn’t spend $700 for the entire first and second year!

I certainly understand the excitement of your first child, or children as the case may be, but I wanted to tell this particular customer that children grow so quickly. That my son wore size 0-3 for such a short period of time and that $700 is a ridiculous amount of money.

Of course it’s not my place to say anything. So instead I congratulated her on her pregnancy and told her she was in for the most amazing ride of her life.

Do you remember how much you spent on your children’s clothes before they were born?

Entry filed under: baby, spending money. Tags: .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Susan  |  September 21, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    We didn’t know with either child what gender they where. We didn’t buy any clothes for our first born which was a boy. We didn’t buy any for the second which was a girl. I used some of our son’s clothes for her. After the birth of both children some people brought us gifts of clothes according to the sex. Babies grow out of clothes in weeks not months and some babies are huge newborns. I wish people would just stop and think a little or ask someone they know that has a children. $700.00 is astronomical!

    Reply
  • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  September 21, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Thanks for your comment Susan! It’s funny you mentioned using your son’s clothes for your daughter. I was just packing away some of my son’s summer clothes and thought “this would work for a girl” for the majority of his items. I don’t know if we’ll be blessed with a second or what gender it would be, but I’m all for reusing the clothes we already have. Most of the items in their younger years could really work for either gender and I’m not a big fan of pink on little girls, so I think it would make it that much easier.

    Reply
  • 3. Ellen K.  |  September 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    As a mom of twin girls, I think that woman just wasted an awful lot of money. Here is why:

    1. People like to buy clothes for babies.
    2. People particularly like to buy clothes for baby girls.
    3. People go absolutely ape-sh*t when shopping for twin girls.
    4. Also, this mom doesn’t know how big her babies will be, or whether clothing will be seasonally appropriate.
    5. Babies grow very quickly, as previously noted.
    6. So, let everyone else spend THEIR money!

    By the time my daughters were born, I had had 3 baby showers plus received five enormous bags of hand-me-downs for the first year alone. I think the only clothing we bought were… maybe two pairs of shoes for Easter. No, those were hand-me-downs, too. And my daughters basically lived in Carter’s sleepers for the first 6 months of their lives, anyway. They were winter babies, and I’m a WAHM.

    And if babies are expensive, twins are very expensive. That woman is really going to wish she had that $700 back. I’m sure her partner already does. We had a high-deductible health plan, an unscheduled C-section, and a resulting $2000 anesthesia “out of pocket provider” bill that arrived on our daughters’ 1st birthdays. Also, nursing didn’t work out, so we had to buy formula, and diapers for two, and that was really expensive, even with buying store brands.

    I understand her enthusiasm, but I would have tried to talk her down from her twin-spending high. : )

    Reply
    • 4. One Frugal Girl  |  September 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      Thank you for your comment Ellen K!

      That’s an interesting comment about friends and family wanting to buy clothing for little girls. I have witnessed the same thing. If it’s a shower for a boy you tend to see more toys and practical items. A shower for a girl it’s all bows, tutus and frilly things. I’d never thought about it before, but I think you are right. Women love to buy clothes for little girls! I actually noticed that gender neutral showers are the best if you don’t want to be inundated with clothes. People don’t know what color to buy and there are only so many outfits in yellow and green so in general you wind up with a lot more practical items and a whole lot less baby clothes! It’s not the reason we declined to know the gender, but it certainly didn’t hurt :)

      As I watched her pay for items with two credit cards I also thought about medical bills. She told me her babies were only three pounds at 8 months and I couldn’t help but wonder if they would need care that her insurance wouldn’t cover. Of course, add unexpected labor and delivery costs and you bet she’ll be wishing she didn’t spend $700!

      Oh yeah – and my son wore a ton of sleepers for those first six months too!

      Reply
  • 5. mochimac @ save. spend. splurge.  |  September 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I am keeping track on how much I am spending, but it is sure as hell nowhere near $700. Although we did get a lot of hand-me-downs which helped, but .. EVEN SO!

    Reply
    • 6. One Frugal Girl  |  September 22, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      We also lucked out with a bunch of hand-me-downs. In fact, bags and bags full. That definitely helped!

      Reply
  • 7. Lauren  |  September 22, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I don’t think I’ve spent $700 for both my girls combined, and they are 2.5 years old and 7 months old. We got some gifts, and a coworker gave me bags and bags of clothes going all the way up to 2T. My girls are both peanuts, so they wear their clothes a long time too. I really hate fussy clothes on babies so they were always in onesies and sleepers when they were little. When they do get new things in Target clearance rack or the consignment store, so I never spend too much.

    Reply
    • 8. One Frugal Girl  |  September 22, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      I think hand-me-downs are totally underrated. Even if you don’t like everything you can always pair some hand-me-down items like pants or skirts with something newer and not have to buy an entire wardrobe. Sleepers are a life saver. Babies sleep so much anyway, that you want them to be warm and snug. Plus they look so adorable in those little footies. I am a HUGE fan of the clearance section of children’s stores. It’s the first place I visit when I go shopping.

      Reply

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