MIAMI (CBS4) – Expectant parents know having a child is not only a gift but a real expense, but there’s a book that can help parents save on their bundle of joy.

From strollers and cribs to clothes and bottles, raising a baby is no cheap task. Mother Jessica Winters who has a five-year-old son and a baby due in March said she’s all about saving money.

Winters said it can cost parents on average $6,000 the first year if they “don’t do it right.”

“I buy boxes and boxes of diapers before the baby’s even born for every size,” she said. “I didn’t have to buy any diapers until my son was two.”

But with the myriad of baby products on the market these days with many makers parents often do not know what to choose.  Winters said she needed some direction so she turned to a book, Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields.

Co-author Alan Fields said products on his list have increased.

“When we first started writing baby bargains, we had a chapter on strollers that had 13 stroller brands,” he said. “Now there are 38 brands of baby strollers.

The book covers everything from maternity wear to baby monitors, cribs and car

“As a first time parent, you’re buying things you’ve never thought about before,” Fields said.

The couple tests out each product and give grades on safety, durability and price. They also offer shopping tips to find products that’ll give you more bang for fewer bucks.

Alan Fields said new parents can save on strollers.

“We do recommend you buy a good lightweight stroller, but you can have that for a couple hundred dollars,” Fields said. “You don’t have to spend $1,000.”

Winters said she took the book for a spin while she shopped for a new high chair. She said she found several choices that received good grades, which saved her between $50 and $100 over more costly chairs.

“I don’t make a purchase without knowing what it is and how much it’s going to be,” she said.

Alan Fields said while most of the book is about cutting costs they also recommend that consumers should splurge on items, including car seats or carriers, where safety is top priority.

“You have to be careful because cheaper carriers might hurt your back or don’t distribute the weight of the baby appropriately so spending a little bit of money on that is good,” he said.

Winters said she used the book as she prepared for her son’s arrival five years ago. She estimated that she saved more than a $1,000.

Now she’s just waiting to find out what the sex of her baby is so she can hit the stores again.

“I’ve already highlighted and earmarked, and I’m ready,” she said. “I’m ready to find out so I can go buy something.”

The Fields said they update their research and prices in the book every two years.


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