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Jane Yee: Defending the spending

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SPENDING GUILT: Is it fair enough to have the occasional splurge on your baby or should you keep your wallet under lock and key?

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Whoops. I accidentally spent a whole heap of money on the baby.

A while ago I was telling you that I deliberately avoided The Baby Show because I knew I'd end up parting with stacks of cash if I went. Well, I think my common sense left town for the weekend, because on Saturday morning I found myself recklessly shoving money into the hands of stallholders at Mary's Market.

The madness began before I even got to the market. My first mistake was giving myself a budget that was a mite too generous - just in case there was a big-ticket bargain that was too good to turn down. Of course I had no intention of spending the full amount - like I say it was just in case.

I think you know where this is going.

I stopped at an ATM to get some money out as I'd been warned most stalls were cash-only, and that's when I made my second mistake. When the ATM screen asked me how much I'd like to withdraw I decided on a whim to increase my budget by a further 25 per cent (what the heck? I want to go back in time and give myself a clip around the ears). Would I like the remaining balance printed on screen or on a receipt? Er. No thanks.

I arrived at the market shortly after it opened, which was one of my smart decisions (the other being the decision to leave the baby at home with his father) because within an hour it was total chaos. Most of the stalls were set up inside the main part of the community hall, but a few were operating in the foyer and in a side room. You guys, I spent the bulk of my money before I even walked into the main hall! Why didn't I canvas all the stalls so I could see what was on offer before blowing heaps of cash? Because I'm me.

Unsurprisingly I found a way to spend every last dollar in my purse; quite frankly, baby stuff is way too cute to resist. Seriously, I'm a sucker for clothing in miniature. I didn't score a big-ticket item at a bargain price, but I did buy THREE sunhats - because every six month old needs three sunhats, right? So I guess we won't be eating for the next few weeks, but at least the baby's nose will be safe from the sun's harmful rays while we're out busking for loose change.

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I was keen to put on a fashion show with Victor in all his new outfits when I got home, but the tiny shred of prudence I had remaining told me I should wrap up the stuff I'd bought him and save it for Christmas. I'm pretty sure Little Vic was just fine with this plan; he still hates clothes going over his head so a bunch of costume changes in quick succession probably wasn't high on his to-do list.

Putting the clothes away for Christmas has thankfully enabled me to justify how much I spent at the market - though really there's no reason I should feel the need to justify buying clothes for my son. I guess I'm just not used to it, which sounds a bit strange seeing as I have a baby and all. The thing is, up until Saturday we'd hardly spent anything on Victor's wardrobe. We were gifted loads of gorgeous outfits when he was born, have since been given some nice pre-loved gear and I've bought a few second-hand bits on TradeMe. But the kid, he's a-growing, and we're running out of stuff that fits. Plus, he didn't have a sunhat.

Truth be told, it was really nice to pick out some clothes for my son. Naturally we are extremely grateful for all the wonderful gifts and hand-me-downs we've received from friends and family, but it was actually pretty cool to be able to choose some new outfits for him - you know, from Mum and Dad.

I'll try to remember that warm-fuzzy sentiment when my card gets declined while I'm Christmas shopping.

Do you ever get carried away buying baby clothes? How much of your baby's wardrobe has been given to you, and how much have you bought yourself?

- © Fairfax NZ News

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