How can you make a baby registry and get friends and family members to buy what you want? Many expecting parents pour through websites and baby stores searching for perfect, must-have items for their registries.
Mothers and fathers-to-be create long lists hoping that everyone will buy items they want, but many parents don’t receive the things they selected. I’ve watched many expecting parents receive a room full of gifts, most of which were not on the registry.
While every gift should undoubtedly be appreciated, you can do a couple of things to facilitate the gift-giving process and ensure you receive more of the items you want and need.
First, register at two stores. One should be an online site, preferably Amazon. The other can be a major retailer like Target or a baby store. There are several reasons to choose two. First, online sites like Amazon typically charge much less than big-name baby stores.
Before a baby shower attendee goes shopping, either online or in-store, she will probably have a target price range in mind. The price will vary depending on how close the person is to the parents-to-be, how long they have known each other, and how much they can afford. This isn’t always the case, but most people pick a specific number before they start shopping. The typical price points are $25, $50, $75, and $100.
Let’s start with an example; you want to register for a play yard/playpen/pack-n-play. At the baby store, the item costs $115, which is just out of reach of the person who is willing to buy you a $100 gift. At Amazon, the item costs $95 and includes shipping, which might make it the perfect present.
Think carefully about the price points of items on your registry. Think through the list of people you would like to invite to your shower and how much each might spend. Your favorite aunt might be willing to pay somewhere between $100 and $150, but the coworker you’ve known for two years might not want to spend more than $25. Make sure you include several items on your registry within each range.
When I registered over two years ago, I found the most significant price differences on big-ticket items like strollers, car seats, high chairs, bouncy seats, and pack-and-plays. Brick and mortar stores were consistently higher, and the price difference ranged from a few dollars more to nearly $40 for a few items. A few dollars here and there don’t sound like a lot, but it could be the difference between matching someone’s price point and going over.
Another reason to register at Amazon; most people who buy big-ticket items won’t need to see or touch them in person. They’ll be happy you registered online, so they do not have to lift and drag it these large, cumbersome items through a store and into their car. You save them a whole lot of hassle by providing the means to have it shipped directly to their door. A lot of brick-and-mortar stores have websites, but not all of them offer free shipping. Many of Amazon’s larger baby items ship for free.
So if Amazon prices are lower, why register at brick-and-mortar stores at all? There are two main reasons. First, the baby shower attendee may want to go shopping. She may want to touch the soft baby blankets and look at the sweet, pint-sized baby clothes. Second, the world is made up of procrastinators. You would be amazed by the number of people that receive an invitation a month before an event and buy the gift only a day or two before attending.
If you register solely online, you discourage the people who want to see and touch things in person from buying what’s on your list. You will also ensure that the procrastinators who put off shopping until the last minute will go rogue. They will quickly realize that the gifts they order will not arrive in time and will randomly buy something else for you.
Okay. Now you know you should register at two places, compare prices for all big-ticket items and consider price points when registering. What else?
Try to put aside your urge to pick the cutest things. Prices for the same item in a different pattern or color can vary dramatically. Take the rock ‘n play sleeper as an example.
The SnugaMonkey version costs $75.99
The Rain Forest version costs $44.99.
The person who will spend $75 for an item can easily buy the more expensive version, but by choosing the less expensive item, you create a new option for someone willing to spend less than $50. One version might be slightly cuter than the other, but the truth is your baby is going to lay in the middle of this gadget, so you won’t be able to see that snuggly monkey design anyway. Another piece of advice, if you know you are having a boy or girl, still consider gender-neutral colors. When I registered, I noticed a lot of items were cheaper in green and yellow.
Also, keep in mind the age range for specific items and the amount of time your child may spend using it. You may think you need the cutest, most expensive baby apparatus, but realize your child will only use it for a few months. I’m not suggesting that you always register for the least expensive item, but rather that you weigh the decision to choose pricier items. If you cannot live without the snugamonkey and it’s not in someone’s price range, you will be forced to buy it yourself. Would you rather have a slightly less cute design or pay $75 out of pocket for something you find irresistible? I’d opt for choosing something less adorable if someone else was willing to pay for it. Maybe you wouldn’t. That’s fine; just think about your price points and what matters most when selecting.
This doesn’t mean you should always register for the cheapest item. If you plan to jog with your baby or take long walks with them, you will want a comfortable stroller. I registered and received a less expensive stroller at my baby shower and grew to hate it. In my case, it turned out that the stroller handle was not high enough to fit my 6-foot stature. I kept that stroller for a year but hated it. I ultimately purchased a new one, but I wish a close family member spent good money on one I disliked so much.
Think carefully when you select items and be aware of prices. Unless you have wealthy friends and family members, don’t register for a $50 sleep sack. No one wants to spend $50 on that. Register for quality but less expensive brands, and you might receive three or four. Your child is bound to spit up or pee on them, and you’ll want to have a couple on hand for late-night changes. Remember that items like this can be purchased at Marshalls, Ross, and similar stores at a fraction of the price. Last week I spotted ten or twelve hanging from the clearance rack for four dollars. I suggest walking through non-baby stores to see what’s available and how much things cost.
Another critical piece of advice. Do not register for clothing, washcloths, bibs, burp cloths, hooded towels, or baby blankets. I can pretty much guarantee that you will receive these anyway. Women love to buy soft, cutesy things like these, and the expecting parents will inevitably receive a bunch of them. If you have friends or family members that knit, you may also receive handmade booties, blankets, hats, and even mittens. I have never been to a shower where a mother-to-be didn’t receive at least a couple of these items.
Also, keep in mind that some baby-sized gear is cute but not necessary. Full-sized towels work better than the hooded baby versions, and extra soft washcloths will work perfectly fine for a baby. In other words, you can find workarounds for these types of items, so it is not critical that you receive them. They may not have baby motifs on them, but they will last long beyond the baby years.
Lastly, make sure people know where you are registered. If your friend or family member is hosting the shower, ask them to include the details on the invitation. If people don’t know where you registered, you are bound to get a whole lot of stuff you don’t need or want.
Do you have any other advice for creating a baby registry? If so, please leave a comment below.