Let’s be honest — when you find out you are having a baby you will have a huge list of things you want to buy before that little baby arrives. It won’t take long before you are spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your little bundle of joy. The average family spends between $10,000 – $20,000, just in baby’s first year. Give me 5 minutes of your time and I promise you I can save you money as you prepare for your new baby.
The Roadblocks To Getting a Great Deal
I’ve been scoping out deals on the hottest baby items for years now. One of the problems I’ve run into is that many of the popular brands implement rules that dictate their prices to retailers. They have a set bottom price and the retailers can’t go below that. You’ve probably noticed many of these brands listed on the exclusions section for retailers when they offer store-wide sales. What that means is no matter how hard you search for a fabulous sale, you just aren’t going to find one.
The second problem is, essentially, greed. The big box retailers get the products at a discount because they are buying them in bulk. Rather than passing these savings off to you, they pocket all the proceeds for their company. It’s the nature of business really.
What About Buying Groups
Businesses get a discount because they are buying in bulk. Likewise, you could also get a discount if you could purchase in bulk too. Imagine if you called 4Moms and told them you wanted to buy 1 mamaRoo versus 100 mamaRoos — don’t you think they’d be ready and willing to give you a discount on your order of 100? The problem is, you don’t NEED 100 and the hassle of trying to sell the other 99 is just not worth it.
This is the reason why some people organize co-ops. Everyone bands together to form one big order so that the whole group can save. It’s a great concept and works wonderfully, but when you’re shopping for baby gear it’s going to be much harder to find enough people in your circle of friends and acquaintances who are also shopping for those same items.
The Solution: Bandalou Baby
Yes, I probably sound like an infomercial right now, but I actually found and tried a better solution! There’s a way you can save money on all of your baby needs needs — especially for the premier, hard to find, upscale brands you love — without having to organize a co-op yourself or purchase things in bulk. It’s a brand new store and website called Bandalou. At Bandalou, moms all over the US can band together, share product information and experiences, and crowdsource to buy the very best. They have thousands of baby products in lots of categories and by shopping Bandalou you can save 5-25%!
How Bandalou Works to Save You Money
At Bandalou, you’ll shop their site similar to the way you’d shop any other site. First, find the items you’ve been wanting. On the off-chance that you don’t see an item on your wishlist, you can send a special request to Bandalou for that item. Once you pull up the item you’d like you have two options. You can purchase the item immediately already at a great price (I price-checked — most of the prices were already equal to Amazon.com or BabiesRUs) by clicking “Buy Now”, OR if you don’t need it immediately, you can click “Crowdsource, Wait & Save” — this is how you can really rack up the savings.
- By clicking “Crowdsource, Wait & Save” you’ll start a new crowdsourcing group. You become the first member of the group.
- By starting or joining a crowdsourcing group, you are not obligating yourself to purchase the product, you’re simply expressing your interest in the item and a desire to find out just how good of a deal you can receive by crowdsourcing the item with other shoppers.
- For the next 5 days, other members of Bandalou have the chance to join your buying group.
- After 3 days, Bandalou will notify you via email what the exact cost of the item will be along with the amount of Bandalou Bucks you will earn if you purchase it.
- At this point, you decide whether you want to buy the item or not. You have 48 hours to make up your mind.
Bandalou Bucks Details
I mentioned Bandalou Bucks and now you’re probably thinking, “what the heck are Bandalou Bucks?!” Well, I’m glad you asked! Bandalou Bucks are just like Nordstrom’s Notes or miles – except Bandalou Bucks never expire, are fully transferable or donatable to charity if you don’t need them! Essentially, you’ll redeem them on your next purchase, just as you would a store credit.
How Bandalou Can Save You Hundreds
Yes, I mentioned that you can save hundreds and here’s how. For example, say you purchase the following items (please note, the Bandalou Bucks amounts mentioned below are purely based on the crowdsourced groups I saw when I was shopping and not necessarily the exact amount you will receive):
- 4Moms mamaRoo — $20 Bandalou Bucks
- Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair — $25 Bandalou Bucks
- Bugaboo Donkey Duo — $180 Bandalou Bucks
- Dutailier Sleigh Glider — $70 Bandalou Bucks
- Joovy Room — $27 Bandalou Bucks
- Clek Fllo — $38 Bandalou Bucks
Just with those 6 items, you’ve earned over $350 in Bandalou Bucks, enough to get the aden + anais muslin you’ve been eyeing and the Skip Hop diaper bag too, without paying a penny more!
Other Perks of Shopping Bandalou
- Baby Registry: They have a great baby registry that gives a gift back to the mom + baby (10% back in Bandalou Bucks on all purchases made from registry)
- Social Features: You can see who’s in your crowd-sourcing group by hovering over their avatar or photo (which you can set in profiles), and you can message people in your group by double clicking on their photo avatar (but only if you’ve joined the group). This is a nice feature if you want to chat, ask questions like, why did you choose this stroller over another stroller, etc., and makes it easy for moms to buy together again.
- Product Reviews and Articles from Celebrity Pediatrician, Dr. JJ Levenstein: Customers can send in questions and comments to Dr. JJ through the website, and also ask for a product review by her. Dr. JJ has her own show on the Hallmark channel and has so much experience! More experts will also be added soon.
- Brick and Mortar Store: Do you live in the San Francisco Bay area? If so, visit the Bandalou retail store in Palo Alto. You can check out the stores reviews on Yelp.
My Experience Shopping Bandalou
I know, with all of the baby gear items I review, it’s probably hard to believe that I still need anything for baby #4. The fact is though, I DO still have a few things on my wishlist, so I went shopping at Bandalou. The first thing I knew I wanted was an infant insert for our mamaRoo. Zellene, our 3rd child, loved her mamaRoo and I fully expect to use it a lot this time around too. I’d always wanted the infant insert but never had the extra cash to order it…..but thanks to Bandalou, I’ve got it now! We also recently purchased a new-to-us minivan. It’s in good shape and I’d like to keep it that way, so we needed a seat protector for the new baby’s car seat. Bandalou had just the Diono cover we needed.
I kicked off crowdsourcing for both items. After 3 days, 4 other people had joined in to crowdsource the mamaRoo insert with me and 1 other person had joined for the Diono cover. I received an email from Bandalou at that point letting me know how much I would receive in Bandalou Bucks if I purchased the items. Take a look at this:
So, as you can see, on an order that’s just over $50, I received $7 in Bandalou Bucks! That’s over 10% back! To get the most out of your money, order at least $75 worth of product so you’ll receive free shipping too. There is no sales tax outside of California (loved that part too). My order should be here in just a few days and I can’t wait! Just in time for our little one.
If you’re pregnant and shopping for baby gear, you really must check out Bandalou! It’s a great shopping AND money-saving experience!
As a special just for my readers, if you enter code TNM2016 you’ll receive an extra 10% off at checkout, on TOP of the Bandalou Bucks!! That means savings of up to 35% depending on your purchase and the size of your buying group. This code is good for the entire year of 2016! Check out Bandalou today and let me know what you think!