Sunday, March 24, 2013

Returning baby gifts for the cash: prudent or tacky?

When I originally registered for baby stuff in advance of the baby shower, I went into it with the attitude of registering only for items that we A) absolutely needed like diapers, health kit, etc. and B) couldn't or would prefer not to buy used.  My thought was that our friends and family would cover all these items that way we could focus our limited cash resources on the stuff that I don't mind getting used like cribs and clothes.  

That kind of pragmatic thinking was my first mistake.  My middle sister, who came along when I registered, kept picking up cute and fun stuff that to me looked like a waste of precious registry resources since I could find it all at yard sales.  She said that people would not want to get the boring items like diaper rash cream or nursing pads.  She said that people would want to pool together to get the big cool stuff like cribs and strollers.  I ignored her and stuck with the plan, assuming that my loved ones would also stick to my plan and get all the utilitarian crap on my registry.

At the baby shower, I found out my sister was right.  I think I got a total of 5 things off the registry and at least two of them were items I only registered for to appease my sister's desire to scan cute stuff.  The shower itself was amazing, my mom, sisters, and bff did a fantastic job and the gifts were thoughtful, fun, adorable, and just what you'd expect to see at a baby shower!  I don't want the following to sound ungrateful, because I am truly amazed at the thought and care that people put into their gifts for our little babies and love that my friends and family came together for the celebration.  However, I did leave the shower feeling a little frustrated that we still didn't have our basics covered.

I decided that some of the items that we received should be returned, particularly the ones that we could find used in near perfect condition or for a much cheaper price.  In the end, we will still end up with the item we received as a gift but we will also have some extra cash left over to get some of those boring things we need.  For instance the $200 new pack n play was returned and we can find a $60 used one that's just as good.  That leaves $140 left over for other stuff.  I've only mentioned that I did this to a few people and have had mixed responses.  For some, this breaks some rule of gift giving that I apparently didn't know about.  For others, they seem to agree with my thinking but even a few of them seem to think I'm being a little too frugal.  

In the end, I just have to keep reminding myself of this financial journey I am on and try to make the wisest financial choices I can.  I can't be concerned with other people's opinions about what is prudent or what is tacky, what is a need or a want, or what is going to be best for my family. Our goal is to not increase our debt this year while covering all our extra expenses and if I feel like we need to return expensive gifts for the cash to meet our goal, then that's what we'll do!  

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