Friday, June 6, 2008

Dad tip #48: Consider the BJs Rewards membership

Without question, you're going to need to buy a lot of crap for your baby. You'll be hemorrhaging money for clothes, formula, diapers, wipes, bibs, and all kinds of tangentially related stuff you'd never think of (like an aesthetically pleasing alarm clock with nature sounds for the nursery).

One thing that you might want to consider is a membership to something like BJ's (or Sam's Club or Price Club or Costco). You know, one of those big bulk warehouse-y kinds of places that require memberships.

You may want to consider upgrading from the standard $45 BJ's membership to the $80 Rewards membership. Why? Because you get 2% "payback" on purchases in the form of BJ's gift certificates. So, if you intend on spending AT LEAST $1,750 in a year, you'll at least break even with what you would've paid for a standard membership. There are some other benefits, but let's focus on the 2% payback.

$1750 does sound like an awful lot to spend in the course of a 12-month period, but let's think about what it's like to have a baby ...
Babies go through diapers like crazy. Let's say you'll end up using (AT LEAST) one-BJ's sized box of Pampers a month. For easy math, let's say each box costs $30. That right there is $360.

While you're changing diapers, you'll need wipes. Let's estimate one giant box for every two months. At $20 a box, that'll come in at an extra $120 for the year.

And let's say you're doing one canister of powdered Similac formula a month, too. Let's call that $20 per can for a yearly total of $240.

Oh, your baby needs clothes. I already mentioned that Carters clothes are available at BJ's. Let's be conservative and say you buy 10 outfits a year at $5 a pop. You're in for another $50.

What's that? You need batteries for the mobile, the swing, and the playcenter? Let's add in a lowball estimate for the year of $30 on batteries.

Coffee. You need Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Giant bags that you'll tear through in just a few weeks. You're in for ten $15 bags ($150 for the year).
So, if my math isn't off, you're already at $950 for the year on JUST baby necessities. (Yes, coffee is a necessity when you have a baby.) We haven't even talked about car tires, flat screen televisions, Black Forest Gummy Bears, non-baby groceries, tissues, garbage bags, Xbox 360 games, photo printer paper, etc. etc. etc. If you can spend about $65/month in random stuff like this -- stuff that you'd already be buying somewhere else -- you're already at the $1750 total you'd need to justify upgrading to the Rewards membership. After that, it's all gravy.

And before you shady folks get your hopes up, you don't get to earn or spend any rewards dollars on cigarettes or booze.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dad tip #35: There's something to be said for brand loyalty in diapers

We've heard that parents of boys prefer Huggies while parents of girls prefer Pampers. For whatever reason, the design of the diapers supposedly favors pee and poo containment by gender and anatomy.

However, we've been using Pampers almost exclusively since day one. The hospital diapers were Pampers and we received a whole bunch of Pampers at the baby shower. We also received a couple of packs of Huggies that served us just fine, but we just preferred the Pampers. (By default, that also indicates that we prefer Sesame Street characters to Winnie the Pooh.)

We've also received some leftover Luvs diapers from a coworker after his child outgrew them. He did the smart thing and didn't fall into the "baby vanity sizing" trap. For the record, I think Luvs displayed Blue's Clues characters and again, Sesame Street reigns supreme.

Recently, in an effort to be more cost-minded, we tried a box of BJ's brand diapers. I think the brand is actually Berkley & Jensen; and in case you're wondering, the graphics on the diapers are generic yellow ducks. They're actually kind of cute.

Well, what we've found is that the BJ's diapers have some sort of strange funneling effect that drives large quantities of pee and poo up the front. In particularly large poo-splosions, the sack is even more covered in poo than "usual". And my wife has also been the victim of two instances where urine has shot up the front of our sons outfit when he's multi-tasking by eating and peeing at the same time in his high chair.

In a quick Googling of BJ's diapers, I found that the reviews are generally quite positive. I stumbled across a very thorough review complete with diagrams at the Paternity Chronicles. The review was very positive but the stay-at-home dad/blogger amended the article with incidents of leakage that were hypothetically caused by user error.

So back to brand loyalty ... long story short, we're probably going to go back to exclusively using Pampers because we've had a much better ratio of hazmat containment vs. accidental leakage.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dad tip #17: Why buy Carter's baby clothes at Macy's when you can get them at BJ's?

Carter's makes some some pretty decent baby clothes. But on the whole, I'd rather pay $5 for a pair of PJs instead of $15 -- particularly when the clothes use about as much fabric as a glorified handkerchief and are likely to be outgrown within a few weeks.

I figured I'd make this post a quick hit and warn people away from purchasing Carter's baby clothes from department stores like Sears and Macy's and instead consider places like BJ's and Carter's Outlet. You can literally buy three times as much clothes for the same price.

As a side note, Carter's Web site is just about the worst one I can remember seeing from a publicly traded company. Maybe that's why their stock price is worth about half of what it was a year ago.

Labels: , , ,