BC’s Cheapskate Challenges explore how to buy the very best baby items you can on a very limited budget. Here are the results of last week’s “Baby on the Go” Cheapskate Challenge.
About the Challenge:
Baby Cheapskate’s 2nd Cheapskate Challenge focused on items babies need when they’re on the go. I Issued the following challenge to readers and asked them to consider the quality of items as well as price:
You’re about to have a baby. You have occasional access to a car, but sometimes you take public transportation and have to walk a few blocks to a bus stop. You need the following (new) items:
- A versatile stroller that will work for a newborn, but you’d like to be able to use it for at least two years. You don’t plan on buying another stroller until then.
- An infant car seat.
- An infant Carrier so that you can wear the baby on occasion.
- A diaper bag (must include changing pad).
Let’s say you only have $330 (including shipping) to buy these items online today. What do you buy?
I received over 150 responses from readers, and I’ve compiled some of them below. You’ll find many more reader responses to the challenge, including reasons for the items chosen, in the comments here.
Reader Picks: (Mix and match to fit your lifestyle and budget:)
Note: I decided to list non-sale prices below to give this post some longevity. You should be able to find most of these items at significantly lower sale or closeout prices. In fact, some of the items were more than 50% off at the time of this writing. For that reason, I recommended looking at all of the options on the lists before you rule any out.
To save up to 50%, consider gently used items (except the car seat). Check your local consignment shop, consignment sales, Craigslist and other sources.
Travel Systems: Buying your infant car seat and stroller together as a travel system can save you money. Reader faves:
- Evenflo Aura Select Travel System: $170 (Evenflo Embrace SI car seat). This was a very popular choice.
- Graco Spree Travel System: $170 (SnugRide 22 car seat)
- Safety 1st Aerolite Travel System: $190 (Air Protect On Board 35 car seat)
- Graco Alano Flip It Travel System: $210 (SnugRide 22 car seat)
- Baby Trend Expedition ELX Travel System: $220 (Flex Loc car seat)
- Graco Mosaic Travel System: $260 (SnugRide 22 car seat)
- Graco Quattro Tour Travel System: $270 (SnugRide 22 car seat)
- Chicco Keyfit 22 / Chicco Cortina system: $299. KeyFit 30 car seat available for around $30 more. This was a very popular choice.
Note: If possible, upgrade to an infant car seat with a higher weight limit. If you look hard enough, you can find most of the Graco systems with the Snugride 35 instead of the 22. Expect the cost to be a bit higher.
Other stroller picks (Buy car seat separately. Make sure it’s compatible with your stroller)
- Kolcraft Contours Lite: $100
- Britax Blink: $150
- Baby Jogger City Micro: $160
- First Years Indigo: $160
- Joovy Kooper: $190 Compatible with Graco car seats)
- Maxi Cosi Perle: $200
Baby Carriers: $30 to $105
- Infantino Wrap & Tie: $30
- Moby Wrap Original: $40
- Original Maya Wrap: $60
- Hotslings: $60
- Baby K’Tan: $60
- Baby Bjorn Original: $80
- Babyhawk Mei Tai: $80
- Ergo Carrier: $105. Many parents felt the Ergo was worth spending 1/3 of the allowed amount.
Even cheaper: Make your own Moby wrap using one of the tutorials online (just Google “Moby Wrap Tutorial”). No sewing necessary.
Diaper Bags: $20 to $55
- California Innovations Mumz ‘n’ Dadz Sport Hobo Diaper Bag: $14.99
- Gerber Stripe: $20
- Baby Boom Messenger: $20
- Pink and Brown Fashion Diaper Tote: $23
- Gerber 4 in 1: $23
- Trend Lab Ultimate: $30
- Lands End Do it All: $39.50
- WhodaThought Mrs. Smiths: $40
- Skip Hop Duo Deluxe: $54
- Diaper Dude: $55
Even cheaper: Skip the diaper bag in favor of a bag you already own. Time to bring that college backpack out of retirement!
My picks for the best budget buys, based on price, availability, product features, and reader reviews:
- Travel System: Evenflo Aura Select Travel System or Safety 1st Aerolite Travel System. Why? Higher infant car seat weight limits. I like the looks of the Safety 1st travel system the best.
- Carrier: Infantino Wrap & Tie or Moby Wrap Original. Why? The Infantino gets great reviews, as does the Moby.
- Diaper Bag: Trend Lab Ultimate. Why? One of the more stylish (IMO) diaper bags on the list. Comes in lots of colors.
At current prices, I could pick up all of the above from Amazon for as little as $195.06 , shipped. Sweet!
So what do you think about my picks and about the other items on the list? Leave a comment!