How do you finance your carseat purchases? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is meant as a genuine question. Please don't send flames my way as I'm coming in peace. I've been reading posts ad naseum regarding carseats and there's one thing I'm not understanding. How can you guys afford these seats? I read posts like...we have 3 Marathons in this car and 2 Nautilus' and a Boulevard in the other car. I totally respect the fact that you're trying to keep your children as safe as possible. But, I read post after post about these high-end carseats and to be quite honest no family I know of IRL can afford this. So from a practical standpoint how were/did most of you come up with the funds to pay for these?

i.e....."soxthecatrules you could sell the Peg Perego highchair (bought at deep discount, could sell for nice profit) sitting in your dining room to help fund the DS' carseat purchase".
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#2 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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We bought ours on Craigslist. Check out resale shops in your area or online - just make sure the one you get doesn't have any recalls on it and it is not more than a couple of years old. Maybe put up a notice at your place of worship/grocery store/local community center that you are interested in some affordable, gently used baby gear. Its out there if you know where to look!!

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#3 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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well, we bought ours slowly, over time.

We started with an infant seat that was handed down from my brother's family. We purchased an extra base.

When that seat was outgrown, we had a roundabout in one car and nothing in the other (i was home on maternity leave then). that roundabout was a gift at the baby shower from my parents.

then, when I was starting back to work/school, we purchased our next seat--a boulevard.

When the roundabout was outgrown, we used either part of my tax return or a mileage reimbursement check from work (can't remember) to purchase the Regent.

We need a new seat now to replace the Boulevard, but I am hoping to hold off until I get my tax return.

But, that being said, there are seats out there that are more affordable, and good, safe options. But, by spending a bit more money up front, you should be able to get away with fewer seats in the long run, thus either coming out even in the end or, hopefully, saving a little money.

By going with our Regent, we should only need to purchase a low back booster when our son has outgrown the regent, rather than having purchased a cheaper seat and potentially needing two or three more to get him to age 8.
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#4 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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Do you get a tax refund? Just an idea since it's that time of year. We've
found a way to fit car seats into the budget when they were needed, including 2 Britax seats years ago. With four kids, we have bought over 12 car seats (I bought new infant car seats each time) and either saved up, or knew ahead of time they were going to be needed and came up with a plan. I'd sell other stuff (including diapers) if necessary. Like, I know I am going to need a new car seat when our Marathon expires the end of this year, so I will plan for it or buy it early when we have extra funds.

ETA: oh, and you don't need high-end, expensive car seats. There are decent priced, just as safe versions available.

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#5 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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I paid cash (i.e. debit card) for both of my Boulevard's...purchased from Amazon.
I am real and live in a real life, so I am not understanding the tone of your post.

ETA: If we do not simply have the extra cash for a large purchase, I plan ahead and put money aside out of the monthly budget until it is funded

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#6 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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Our Graco infant seat was a generous shower gift. We now have a Roundabout ($150) and a Boulevard ($225). The Roundabout was cheaper, but in the long run, the less-frugal purchase. DD has outgrown it, in terms of height, at all of 26 months.

Car seats haven't been an especially problematic part of our post-child budget. I could buy 5 Roundabouts per month for what I pay in child care. And it's not like the seats were a surprise expense. We budgeted for them. We'll reuse them all for at least 1 other child.
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#7 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:35 PM
 
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I've only purchased one carseat at a time, and always made these purchases in cash/debit card (or, if it was one of those months when I was relying on child support that wasn't paid, it went on a credit card, but I didn't spend any more than I should have gotten in CS that month.)

When pregnant, I saved up money for various baby items (plus I got a few gifts.) When toddlers/older kids outgrew carseats, I saved up the money for a new seat, starting when the child started to outgrow the old one. I've never had one of those super-expensive carseat brands; when DS was outgrowing his infant seat, I went out of my way to locate the least expensive convertible seat with a 5 pt harness (at that point, the overhead shields were still popular) and ended up purchasing one in a skanky big-box store that I didn't normally shop in.

When he outgrew that convertible seat (nearly age 5), I purchased the Graco Turbo Booster, which I plan to keep him in until he fits into the vehicle seatbelts. I did spend extra to NOT put him into a backless booster (which frugal friends had suggested to me) but, at the same time, I didn't think it was worth an extra $200 to keep a 5yo in a harness. Had he outgrown the convertible at age 3, I might have financed a Britax (ie: put it on a credit card and taken 6 months to pay it off.)

I was flabberghasted when I traveled with a friend, and she put her 2yo in a HBB and her 4yo in a backless booster. Yeah, both kids fit the height and weight requirements of the seats, but I'd thought they'd BOTH have been harnessed at those ages!

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#8 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the issue (at least w/us) comes with planning ahead....I've learned more about carseats in the last month than the rest of my life combined. A year and a half ago we thought our ComfortSport was a good carseat. Now we're in a situation where we need to buy a seat for DS and really don't have the time to set back the money little by little. And, to be quite honest, I've never been "around" people who care so much about carseats. In our neck of the woods people just go to WallyWorld or wherever and pick the most reasonable seat off the shelf w/o much thought to extended RF or how long the seat will last. Most around here don't seem to care all that much as long as their children are strapped into a seat. I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule as I don't want to put all parents in the same category.

Planning seems to be the key.
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#9 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:39 PM
 
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tax refund here

mom of 3 , homeschooling the oldest with google and the internet
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#10 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 07:41 PM
 
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We only have 1 family car and then a commuter car that dh drives to work so we don't have a carseat in the second car. We have a Blvd, which was a gift from the grandparents, but we would have easily bought it if we had needed to and we're not exactly rich. We'll be buying another seat in about 6 months. It's cheap compared to what we pay for homebirth! I'm a SAHM so we have no need to have carseats in 2 different cars.
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#11 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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I planned ahead and got them on sale. I got my True Fit for $100 and my Marathon for $200 over the course of a year. It's a big, important thing to me, to have carseats that I can install easily and are easy to use correctly, every time (I have an Uptown that I found my husband wasn't using correctly, it was worth it to me to upgrade to a seat I knew he would use correctly) I would save or use a credit card to get a carseat I LOVED and would last until booster age.

And carseats are pretty much the only thing I would never buy used. I would rather a $50 Scenera than a carseat who's history I did not know firsthand.

I also think Michelle has a good point, I'd pay out of pocket for a homebirth even if it meant selling things or saving for years. Carseats are of equal importance to me.

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#12 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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We only have one child (another on the way) and no need for seats in multiple cars - so even though we are low-income, it was important enough to me to find a way to get a good seat (and by that I don't mean a super-expensive one, we got a TrueFit). I watched for a sale and got the one I wanted, using some money we got for Christmas.

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#13 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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I watch for sales and coupons when I can. For dd's marathon I had a 20% off coupon for BRU that we used. For the new baby I just watched sales and did lots of froogle searches for the seat I wanted and managed to find it on sale with a 20% off coupon to go with it. That..was a very nice find From a totally obscure site that I'd never heard of in my life (sells medical supplies, so not the kind of place most would go looking for baby items) but froogle is *awesome*

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#14 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 10:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post
I watch for sales and coupons when I can. For dd's marathon I had a 20% off coupon for BRU that we used. For the new baby I just watched sales and did lots of froogle searches for the seat I wanted and managed to find it on sale with a 20% off coupon to go with it. That..was a very nice find From a totally obscure site that I'd never heard of in my life (sells medical supplies, so not the kind of place most would go looking for baby items) but froogle is *awesome*
We don't have to have another seat right now but there is a Buy Buy Baby opening in our area and they sent a 20% off coupon so I am researching which to get (we have a snugride and Boulevard right now) and will only purchase it with coupon in hand

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#15 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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Right now I'm expecting any day now.

I did get an used car seat from a trusted friend that is infant so I don't have to buy. One of the items on my baby list was the britax marathon with the notation... clearly this is expensive but very important to me to have a good quality car seat... if you did give me any gift cards, etc... at babies r us/toys rus.. this is what I'd buy.

I ended up getting 125... and I'll spend the remaining after the next 15%, etc comes around on car seats from the store. I wish I had done that the first child around... I overspent the marathon easily between all the car seats I bought because frankly I found they didn't last or didn't fit the entire weight range specified very well. Also.. I commute and I choose to have child care closer than farther than work so it's inevitable that sometimes we're eating/drinking in the car. The marathon is completely and easily washable. All fabric comes off and you can hose down the rest. Unfortunately, I just got rid of my first marathon to my sister in law/brother before i found out i was unexpectantly pregnant. It easily could have lasted another child.
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#16 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 10:25 PM
 
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I watch for sales like crazy.

We don't have extra seats (didn't even have a seat for dd in the other car until she was 4yrs old)

We don't buy many other big ticket "baby items" (no crib, no bassinet, no crib sheets, no nursery stuff, high chair $40 from IKEA, swing was a gift, etc)

Save ahead.

Plan ahead (tax refund etc)

Plan long-lasting seats.

-Angela
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#17 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 10:34 PM
 
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I have a Marathon that was gifted to me from a trusted friend, and prior to that, I had a Snugride that I bought with help from shower money. I will eventually have to buy one more seat for DS (he has an insanely long torso), but I am hopeful that I will have enough saved by then.

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#18 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to all who have replied. Its always interesting to see how people save. I've been thinking tonight that we could take money from our garage sale planned for early May along w/selling our beloved Prima Pappa highchair. DS MIGHT be okay in his ComfortSport until then and DD will definitely be okay in her Snugride until then. DS is just slightly below or right at the height limit in his CS. I'll watch for sales in the mean time. I spied some Britax seats $100 off earlier today.
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#19 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 11:53 PM
 
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I wouldn't feel like you need a britax. The nautilus is much cheaper and lasts a good long time! Then your baby can ride in the comfortsport.

We have gotten our seats mostly on year end clearance sales, which makes the price of two marathons easier to swallow.

Also, we only have seats for my car, just switch them if needed
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#20 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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We bought ours on great sales, coupled with extra savings knowing that we needed new ones and the sales were coming (Britax has historically done semi-annual sales). I didn't start with Britax seats either but when I realized I could have bought one for the chepaer seats that kept needing replacing, I bit the bullet! And then we handed DD's down to DS, and bought her a new one, and then a second for DS, it's been gradual over the last 5 years and well planned for

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#21 of 110 Old 02-22-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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We bought them one at a time paying cash. The baby is still in the Infant seat (peg perego) but she is fast outgrowing it. We have been putting off gettng my son the nautilus (he will be 5 this week but is very little still....only 34 pounds) but because of shortage of cash.

Right now the two oldest are in Evenflo Triumph DLX. They have been great seats. Not expensive, but not cheap either. I think I paid $130 for them each.

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#22 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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I am blessed with a friend that owns a baby store so I was able to get our Marathons at cost ($140ish) and when we were done with them and wanted to try a different seat we saved and sold. I've also found some great return deals at Target - I got my older DD a Britax Parkway for $40.

Seriously though, I'm cheap and pay cash so I'm always looking for the best possible deal. DDs Nautilus was the first seat we've paid full price for in a very very long time but we sold our Radian to get it and it more than covered the price.

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#23 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 01:01 AM
 
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I paid cash for all ds's seats, never used credit cards for one (actually, it's like that with EVERYTHING in my life... if I don't have the money, I don't spend it). His infant seat was a hand-me-down from my mom (I have a little sister who was 14 months old when my ds was born and the carseat was new for my sister). He quickly outgrew that (by like 3-4 months old) and I bought him a Graco ComfortSport for about $100. I wanted a Britax for him but couldn't save up enough money (he was born way bigger than I planned and grew way quicker than I imagined he would!). I moved that one between my car (during the week) and my dad's van (on the weekends since we mostly traveled with him on weekends). It was a pain in the butt! A few months after that I had enough saved for a Britax Marathon. I bought one (paying cash) and put that in my car and the ComfortSport in my dad's van. When ds outgrew the ComfortSport (at about 3 years old) I had saved up enough for a Britax Regent. I put that in my car and the Marathon in my dad's van.

When ds was 3 1/2 we moved to Kentucky. Now the Regent is in my car and the Marathon is in dp's car. Last summer dp's mom was insisting we needed a carseat for her car ("in case of emergency"). She wanted one for quick trips around town or whatever. She was looking at booster seats and was insisting they were fine and we should get one for her car. I refused. DS is nowhere near mature enough to ride in a booster (or big enough, but that's another story.... he's not even 40lbs fully dressed). I ended up finding the Graco Nautilus on sale plus I had my sister with me (who worked at that chain of store so could get a discount) so I ended up getting one since it was a good deal. It now sits in dp's parents garage BUT I no longer have to hear multiple times a week about how they are going to buy a booster for him. LOL! When ds outgrows the Marathon (probably 1 1/2 to 2 more years) we'll put the Nautilus in dp's car.

I was a single mom until ds was 3 1/2. I had NO help buying carseats (other than the infant seat I borrowed for about 3 months), not even from ds's bio-dad. I saved every single penny my hands came across to pay for them. I went without a lot (I never bought new clothes/shoes/whatever for me and never ate out) so I could save for them. Thankfully we've never had to "test" them, and I pray we never do, but they are worth every penny I spent on them. And I'd do without again in a heartbeat if it meant buying something to potentially save my child's life.

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#24 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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I totally respect the fact that you're trying to keep your children as safe as possible. But, I read post after post about these high-end carseats and to be quite honest no family I know of IRL can afford this. So from a practical standpoint how were/did most of you come up with the funds to pay for these?
We work & spend money on things we need. I don't know what kind of answer you're expecting. It's really not more complicated than that.

It's almost like the tone of your post is questioning the legitimacy of folks who would spend their money on high end car seats?

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#25 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Questioning legitimacy? If you want to put it that way then that's fine I can handle that. I truly was wondering how people could afford all these seats. It was an honest question. From the tone of the posts it sounds like most people planned for MONTHS, if not years, for these purchases which gives you the opportunity to squirrel away $5 here, $10 there. We also work and spend money on things we need but finances are tight around here (as they are in a lot of homes). Squeaking out the money at a drop of the hat for a $250-$300 carseat isn't happening around here and doesn't appear to be what most on this board have done. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to look at it) I've learned more about carseats in the last month or so than I ever had. Didn't know that there was so much to think about. I was one of those I referred to earlier about going to WallyWorld and picking a seat off the shelf and calling it good. My thought process was LO is in a carseat and that will protect him. Now I know there's more to think about. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a situation were we will need to buy a new seat and don't have a long time to save. That makes us different than a lot of the posters on this board.
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#26 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 09:12 AM
 
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Sure families "in real life' could afford a decent seat. How many families buy an infant bucket with travel system for like $300, then a convertible for another $100, then a toddler seat for another $150 or so, then a booster for maybe $50....

We used a bucket that was a gift. Now we use a TrueFit that I bought for $160. It will likely last her until she is 6 or so if we don't have more kids. So, 6 years of use for $160. That's less than $30/YEAR. My windshield wipers cost more. Most people spend more than that on getting the car washed. I consider it a cost of car ownership.

Also I make it a general policy to research things that are expensive or that I plan to use for several years. So it did helpe that I was already looking into seats when DD outgrew her bucket. It's precisely BECAUSE it is a major purchase that I did my homework, not because we're so rich we can just throw around money at whatever seat is most expensive.

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#27 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ks Mama....I thought of something else. My original post was partly made out of frustration...the type of frustration you have when as a parent you want to provide what is best for your children but maybe unable to do so (while being embarrassed about not doing it right to begin with). In my case the situation is magnified b/c not only am I contemplating carseat purchases but also other lifestyle changes primarily as a result of participating on this message board along with additional research. All of this costs $$$. I must remember than you can't go from mainstream to crunchy or even partially crunchy overnight that its a gradual change over the course of months and years. This is one of the bad parts of my personality!!! I want to do everything at once and you can't.

Sooo....the carseat will obviously trump some of the other changes. I will plug away slowly.

TheGirls..."Sure families "in real life' could afford a decent seat. How many families buy an infant bucket with travel system for like $300, then a convertible for another $100, then a toddler seat for another $150 or so, then a booster for maybe $50...."

You are correct. I think this is a mistake MANY make. Although I do believe that many families skip over the toddler seat and go straight to the booster. They do bucket, convertible, booster. Not many people pay attention to the weight/height requirements on seats. I would have been one of them if I had not read lots of posts on this and other boards. My DS would have been left in his ComfortSport long after he should have been removed. And, very few and I mean very few people consider ERF. When I bring it up in conversation now (we will ERF DD) people look at me like I've gone off the deep end.
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#28 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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With savings.

We have 2 marathons but we didn't purchase them at the same time. We got them about 1 year apart and I got them for free shipping and at Albeebaby.com for $200 each.

If you break it down, over the year by saving about $3.85 per week, you could buy one.

It's all about what we want more and telling ourselves "no" to some wants and prioritizing funds for savings for when big purchases come up. Hugs.

Trying to build up my house, not tear it down namaste.gif.   Got 3 wonderful kids jumpers.gif  ribboncesarean.gif autismribbon.gif, blessed with a wonderful husband luxlove.gif and have the privilege of staying home full time to enjoy it all! 

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#29 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 11:25 AM
 
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Well, we are a "real family" and have two Marathons, a True Fit and an Evenflo Triumph Advance, all bought with cash on a tight budget.

We got the Marathons last summer when they were on clearance for $120 at Target. We got the True Fit for $99 for being part of the consumer buzz group for First Year and got the EFTA on deep discount at Target as well.

We had the money because we squirrel away 1% of DH salary a month (so $30ish dollars) into a "slush fund" for large and unexpected expenses (that aren't really emergencies) e.g. car seats or clothes we will need in the future on great clearance or buying therapy equipment that one of DS1's therapist insist that we "need." Having the slush fund allows us to buy things when they are cheep rather than paying full price down the line and keeps little unexpected expenses from affecting the budget.
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#30 of 110 Old 02-23-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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We prioritize. It's important that our kids are safe in the car and not so important that I get that pea coat I've been lusting for or that we go out for dinner or that the kids are signed up for swimming lessons when I can teach them myself.
For both our seats (and we have the disadvantage of being in Canada where car seats are extremely over priced) I watched for sales, used online coupons etc.
For the Nautilus, I lucked out by finding it for $30 off, I also returned an expensive snow suit that DS2 got for Christmas but definitely did not need and I used an online coupon. Brought it from $249 down to $150 including shipping.
Considering how much time DS1 is going to spend in this seat over how many years, it makes it quite inexpensive.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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