Like all well intentioned BFFs, we take it upon ourselves to throw our girlfriends a babyshower to remember. The tradition of welcoming a new born in the form of a baby shower has formed a fundamental part of how families and friends celebrate and display their affection around the looming birth of a new life.
This tradition has evolved throughout the ages with gestures growing more and more lavish – from the expensive tailor made cakes,the mom-to-be’s designer dress, the make-up team on standby to make sure the “face beat” is on par and the over the top gift registry.
The term baby shower itself is now outdated, with the more modern generation terming it a “baby launch”. The financial strain that can follow the said “baby launches” has the potential to harm the positive vibes that a baby shower should come with.
In the age of social media and chasing after the “keeping up with the Kardashians” aesthetic, modest or simple baby showers are now negatively termed as “random” in the social streets.
Families and mothers-to-be strive to portray an image of making the big time, merely for Facebook and Instagram likes.
This is unfortunate when one considers we live in a world where financial pressures follows us at every corner. We need to ensure that we remain aware of celebrating within the limits of our pockets as well as the purses of our loved ones.
Resisting the pressure to have the same material things as the people around you and even the people on television ensures piece of mind. You may be able to use credit cards and loans to fake wealth for a short period of time, but you’ll pay for it later, and you’ll end up paying more.
If you are invited to a friend’s baby shower and you can’t afford lavish gifts, the most sensible thing to do is to pool your funds with other friends to buy a bigger gift.
“Given the uncertainty of the economy, expecting couples need to be honest to themselves about their financial status and what they can and can’t afford. While this can be an awkward conversation, it is important to be upfront about how much you’re willing and able to spend on the shower,” says John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual Limited.
So instead of breaking the bank trying to trend on Twitter to impress people you might never meet, the smarter move would then be to open a bank account for the coming baby and give everyone an option to contribute towards a savings account for the baby’s current or future needs. They can choose to remain anonymous should they wish to.
Whether you are planning the shower yourself or have enlisted the help of a friend, family member or 3rd party supplier, one needs to ensure they have a budget to keep to. This is the most effective step you can take to ensuring you do not find yourself in the trenches of overspending and unnecessary debt.
A budget also allows you to push back next time that fancy aunt (who only sips on Moet and Veuve Clicqout Rose) suggests an open bar at your expense. You can simply state, “My budget will not support that additional expense.”
This is to not say that having an expensive baby shower is necessarily a negative thing, if you are able to be diligent in your saving leading up to the baby shower then the sky truly is your limit.
“The one thing you want to ensure you avoid is using credit for large purchases you can’t afford to pay for outright, Instead of paying for these purchases on credit, put aside some money each month until you have saved up enough. If you can’t afford to save up for the purchase, then you can’t afford to buy it,” concludes Manyike.