Babies are expensive. And we haven’t even had one yet.
We were thrown a total of three baby showers in all. Well, I use the term “we” loosely. I didn’t attend any of them because apparently they’re more geared toward women.
In fact, I happened to walk in toward the end of the first baby shower. I saw lots of balloons, pastel colors and empty wine glasses. Definitely not a safe environment for men.
The desserts were good, though.
Piled up in the middle of shreds of torn wrapping paper decorated in soft hues were the gifts: toys, blankets, onesies, pacifiers and an array of other items for which I don’t yet know the use.
And this happened again. And then one more time. Somehow, people kept finding gifts to “shower” Baby (Beau) Richardson with. And somehow, we kept finding places to store all this stuff.
And while we are incredibly grateful for all the love being shown our way during this joyous occasion, there’s one thought that keeps going through my head: If we could just take all the money spent on these gifts and put it in a Vanguard Index Fund in Beau’s name, he wouldn’t have to work past the age of 30.
Alas, it’s too late for us. But maybe not for some of you. So I’ve put together a list of things you can use as substitutes for typical baby gifts. Just give the balance in cash and mommy (or daddy, more likely) can put that to good use!
Unless I’m missing something, this is just a fancy name for a $72 trash can. A $72 trash can that’s “powered by Arm & Hammer” and has an “easy-to-use step pedal.”
You know what else comes with baking soda and a step pedal? This combo right here:
In and out for $25. And that’s $48 added to the retirement fund!
This one blows my mind. What’s so special about a diaper bag? It has a compartment to carry diapers and supplies. And it has straps to carry the bag with.
This is just a modest example of a “diaper bag.” They get way more expensive than this:
$115! For a bag! What would I recommend? Glad you asked:
You know how much these bad boys are? One United States dollar. And I don’t even think they charge you sales tax on them! Go ahead and buy 15 of them, and add $100 to that index fund.
Pack ‘N Play
Ah, yes. Gotta have the Pack ‘N Play. Gotta make sure Baby has an overpriced cage to lay in while daddy and his friends drink bourbon and watch football. This one is pretty common:
I don’t know about you, but the first memories I have from my childhood are from 5 years old at the earliest. I was riding a bike by that age. I wasn’t in a cage playing with rattles and sucking my thumb. So why the need for the fancy “play containers?” Why not this:
I was just going to suggest a cardboard box, but those are a little difficult to “pack” without having to tape them back up every time you travel somewhere. But this dog crate is perfect! They break down quickly and lay flat for easy storage. Just take the door off, stand it upright and throw a blanket in the bottom.
I’m obviously not the first person to think of this. There’s a button in the bottom right corner asking if I want to add it to the baby registry!
ARE YOU SERIOUS? $430?!
Look what you can get for just $31:
It has a nice, deep well to keep Baby securely in the bin. It has a solid rubber tire, so you don’t ever have to worry about refilling the air like that expensive one. And it has an average customer rating of 4.5 stars. The numbers don’t lie!
And that’s $400 more to invest.
I could go on and on. I’m not going to suggest alternatives to car seats because Obama might be spying on what I’m writing. And I’m pretty sure babies figured out how to sleep 1,000 years ago without the comfort of an elaborate box (or “crib”).
But just in these quick examples, I found an easy $600+. We could substitute some sticks and pine cones (obtained for free from the back yard) for the toys. Old bath towels would work just fine to “swaddle” Baby Rich with. And I really don’t think babies even need clothes until they’re like 4 years old. Just wrap them in the blanket they sleep with if they need something warm.
So I’m thinking there’s about $2,000 that could have gone into that index fund. And at a modest return of 7% per year for 30 years, that would be worth $15,224 in 2046.
Wait. That’s a long way from $1 million. That doesn’t even account for inflation. I don’t think he can retire on that.
And it’s only worth $6,760 when he turns 18? That may pay for his books in his first semester in college.
This exercise did not go as planned. In retrospect, please keep it up with the nice gifts! We are truly thankful for everything 🙂
Besides, Jesus even said not to store our treasures up for the future. Because we may not be here to enjoy them. Or thieves may steal them. Something like that. It was something against hoarding and investing, I think. I’ll have to look up the verse.
In all seriousness, thank you to everyone for all the beautiful gifts to welcome Baby Beau into the world. Katie and I are truly grateful for your kindness. We’re only 3 weeks away! We can’t wait for everyone to meet him!