The average American family spends more than $7,000 on baby-related goods and services during the child's first two years. April Beach wants that money to work for you—not against you. The founder of Denver-based Sweet Pea Baby Planners, vice president of the National Baby Planners Association, and mother of three, Beach partners with local retailers such as Real Baby and Becoming Mothers to help new parents and growing families assess their lifestyles and budgets before baby arrives. "For some people, less is more," Beach says. "They may not want their house full of baby gear. My vision is to empower parents to make the best decisions for themselves. I just handle all the details and take the stress away so my clients can focus on enjoying the process of becoming a parent."
Sweet Pea's services start at $75 per hour and range from customized, toxin-free baby registries and help finding the perfect nanny to sniffing out Denver's best children's photographers. For Beach, it's not about spending less. It's about spending wisely, which means making sure the must-haves are met before splurging for the "icing on the cake"—as in, do you really need to spend $900 on that Bugaboo stroller? Below, Beach has identified five basic infant needs. Before blowing the entire budget on things you think you need, check out this sample priority list. Sweet Pea Baby Planners, 303-522-4334