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Baby Bargains, 7th Edition: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much more! (Baby Bargains) Paperback – April 25, 2007
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1. Do NOT use this book as your 'answer to all.' You will be disappointed. It simply assists you in at least narrowing down what product(s) you should purchase. I needed that because I was bombarded with brands etc. from pushy sales people as well as the wealth of confusion that exists online. You have to use some common sense and you really need to talk to other parents. If you think that this book is going to take you by the hand and lead you to 95% or higher of what you should and should not do, like some magic purchasing fairy, you have another thing coming. Use your own noodle but simply use this as a reference. If you see the book that way instead, you will be less disappointed.
2. There are a variety of price ranges to choose from for various products so rather you can afford higher products but are trying to be smart with your money, want to get the top of the line of everything for your baby or are on a thin budget that must be followed to the cent, you can find items in this book that would help. Again, I highly recommend that you do your OWN research in addition to this, it will save you some time and money. To me, this book is kind of like a coupon flyer for a grocery store. Some coupons you will use and many you will not but you will be happy for at least that one coupon that had a 'Buy one get one free.' which made it all worth it.
3. Please know in advance that the married couple that wrote this book, Denise and Alan Fields, have no children. To me, this is an interesting tidbit/fact. The reason being, if I am going to purchase flowers, let's say, then I would prefer to get a flower shop recommendation from someone that has purchased as well as received flowers from the flower shop that I am interested in or AT LEAST, saw someone else get the product first hand. I find that a bit disconcerting. This is not to say that all experts must have walked the walk and talked the talk, but it sure as heck helps! Would you truly want a breast pump recommendation from a woman that never breast fed? Probably not.
4. This book is very cheap second hand as well as a previous edition. If a baby product is recalled or no longer in production, you will find that out anyway so this book will not be a waste of money if you go the second hand route and the edition right before it. I am glad that I did that instead of buying the 'latest model' because it left me less frustrated than some of the other reviewers who felt they could have spent their twenty odd bucks on something else.
So in summary, I think this book is a useful resource to be used amongst OTHER research tools such as your OWN research and recommendations from real life, breathing parents. Also, walk yourself into some of these stores and see for yourself. Be prepared to say 'NO' to some of the pushy sales folks, stand your ground and take your time. Remember, baby products are BIG business, and there is a sucker born everyday-only they are not an infant. They are full grown, confused adults with wallets and some stores can not wait to get ahold of you, especially if you go in there totally oblivious. I believe for first time parents, ordering everything online is a no-no. If it is cheaper online, then at least go to the store and see it and then go back to your trusty computer and complete the purchase. We need to see and touch what we are buying, especially when it comes to cribs and major purchases. No one book is going to save or protect you from buying a poorly made product or overly priced one. If there was truly a book on parenting that was 99% accurate then it would be sold out every single day. This is trial and error, folks and not everyone is going to love the same products. If this book truly showed you where all the bargains were, the same would apply. You have to use it for what it was intended for: TO HELP, not the gospel.
Happy shopping and bargain hunting!!!
The book also helped me wade through all the "must-have's" from the store registry guides. There's a great "reality layette" list for clothing, and a great "reality registry" list as well.
I ended up finding several items to buy on Craig's List, so this book also helped me evaluate the products when there wouldn't be a store to return them to if I ended up dissatisfied.
Finally, it says "Baby Bargains," but the reviews include high-end products. In fact, the authors frequently recommend more expensive items. I found this useful, as my goal was to find the right product for the right price, and not just the cheapest items.
One warning: I got this item as a gift and don't know why I got the 7th edition--it looks like there's a more recent edition out there, and because of the rapidly changing nature of baby products, I'd go for the most recent one you can buy.
I am buying this book for any friend who gets pregnant from now on--it makes up for its cost in what you'll save, but more importantly, it is enormously reassuring when you're standing in Babies R' Us looking at 40 strollers or whatever.
But it's not just car seats. It's everything you'd ever want to know about; from bottles and pacifiers, to maternity clothes, to nursery decorations and cribs, to strollers and car seats, it's 600 pages of sheer, informational goodness.
For most product categories, they sum up their reviews in the format: "Good", "Better", "Best". If you're on a limited budget, products listed in "good" are perfectly adequate and safe but may not have all the bells and whistles. "Best" is what to get if money is less of a problem. That doesn't mean they always list the product with the most features or highest price in "Best". They really keep in mind that the object is to get the most bang for your buck.
After having read this book, I now feel so confident and knowledgeable as I enter a giant baby-product warehouse. Even my wife, who isn't anywhere near as ridiculous as I am about thorough product research, loves this book. As cheap as this book is, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to buy it.