VehicleHistory.com Launches Large Used Car Scam Buying And Selling …

Intends to help both buyers and sellers in the used car market.

San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) February 26, 2013

VehicleHistory.com is launching a massive information campaign aimed at helping out both buyers and sellers of used cars, company officials said yesterday.

“We want to do everything we can to give people the information they need so that everyone wins from the used car buying and selling experience,” a company representative said. “The used car industry gets a bad rap, but thats mostly because people dont know how to buy and sell used cars. We want to change that.”

The companys primary mission is selling people vehicle history reports based on public documents so they can avoid used car scams. The new initiative is aimed at existing customers.

“There will be no charge for the information that we will provide,” the representative said. “Its just a public service for our existing customers to help them learn more about the business.”

Initially, customers will be sent a pamphlet outlining the ins and outs of buying and selling used cars, the company said. In the near future, they will be sent a 100-page book that goes into much more detail about buying and selling used cars and trucks. In addition, they will be re-launching their vehicle history blog with information about how to maintain your vehicle.

“Its going to be a huge package of information created by experts,” the representative said. “We think it will demonstrate to customers that we are willing to help them any way we can. Information is power, and we want empowered customers.”

About VehicleHistory.com:

VehicleHistory.com provides online vehicle history report services for used car buyers and sellers in North America. VehicleHistory.com is most reliable way for customers to get background material on the cars they are interested in purchasing with one of the largest databases of used car information in the United States. VehicleHistory.com has had millions of vehicle history reports purchased from their online database. Contact VehicleHistory.com customer service 24/7 through live chat or by calling toll free 1-855-395-6395.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebvehiclehistorycom/scam-buying-campaign/prweb10469705.htm

Geek Speak: A new kind of food

It is my duty to inform you that I have accepted a position at a different newspaper, and will be leaving the Times at the end of this week.

As such, I wanted to close out my blog with a subject near to my heart. It has been my pleasure to work on the Food feature section for Wednesday’s papers, and I loved doing so because of my love for food. A problem that I have always had with food is the incredible amount of waste that results from the industry. I am a big fan of cooking meals entirely from scratch, using single-ingredient produce, and I try to avoid processed foods or packaged items with many ingredients. Still, it is sometimes hard in the busy world we live in to avoid buying things that can be made quickly.

Why Silicon Valley is Losing Its Foreign Talent

As immigration laws make it harder for foreigners to stay and work in the US, Silicon Valley is losing some of its most promising talent — and its unrivaled reputation as ground zero for tech innovation. Those who came here for education or to take a stab at fame and fortune are no longer waiting around for a local job and visa to start their careers. Theyre going home — to India, China, Brazil, or other countries courting them. With the growth of global tech hubs and the capital available abroad, some immigrant entrepreneurs are wondering why they should bother to stay.

Kunal Bahl, who got his engineering and business degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, made money on campus by charging students to watch cricket games. Bahl was hired at Microsoft for what he calls a super-exciting role traveling the globe, selling their products in Asia and Latin America. Bahl’s steady climb was halted in 2007, after his professional H1B visa was not chosen in the immigration lottery system.

But Bahl didn’t pine to stay in the US He declined Microsofts offer to place him in another country and try again. After losing the lottery, Bahl was ready to place a new bet.

“Maybe the time is now getting to a point where it would be right to start a business in India,” Bahl said. “Earlier than that, there was just no meaningful internet penetration to start a technology business.”

Today, at age 29, Bahl is the CEO of Snapdeal, Indias largest e-commerce company (much like eBay) and employs more than 1,000 people.

  • How Other Countries Are Vying for Foreign Talent
  • Meet the Chile-con Valley Entrepreneurs

In the global market, two big shifts have made it possible for Bahl’s business to grow: First, people in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are going online and buying things at breakneck speed, and what were considered “developing countries” are now called “emerging markets.” Secondly, its a lot cheaper to build an internet company than say, a semiconductor plant.

“This is a wave, and this wave is not stopping,”Bahl said.

AMERICAN INVESTORS FOLLOW THE TALENT

American money is following the foreign talent. Leading venture capitalists are opening offices in Asia and Latin America in order to more easily scout start-ups, and funds that buy start-ups are promoting foreigners to be partners.

First Person: Getting Rid of Newlywed Debt

When my husband and I got married, we didnt want to take on new debt until we got rid of the old debt. Our new debt was what financial experts call good debt because it would be for our first home together. However, our old debt was all bad debt related to credit cards and car loans.

By having an inexpensive wedding that cost us less than $500, we were able to focus our attention on our consumer debt as well as save for a down payment for our first home.

Receiving wedding gifts

Most of our wedding gifts included cash and gift certificates. We used the money and gift certificates for necessities so that we could put aside any extra money for paying off debt. We also avoided the temptation to go out and buy all new things. I was able to sell many of my furniture and household items at a yard sale and on consignment. I used all the proceeds from our yard sales to pay off my car loan.

Moving in with dad

According to experts, multigenerational living is rising. A recent article by The American Society of Aging points out that the concept of several generations sharing a home is not new. In fact, according to Pew Research, 57 percent of people over the age of 65 lived in a home with children or grandchildren in 1900. In order to get rid of our debt as newlyweds, my husband and I shared a home with my father-in-law. We lived under the same roof as we waited for our new construction home to be built. By living together, we were able to share cars, utilities and food costs.

Pretending to be single

Another way we dug ourselves out of our newlywed debt was by pretending to still only have one income. With two incomes, we dramatically increased our spending power. However, we used our power to eradicate debt instead of buying things we didnt need. We followed a strict budget so that we could be debt free by the time our new house was built. Because it was during the housing boom, the construction time was longer than usual. We had to wait more than one year for our home to be ready, which gave us plenty of time to get out of debt.

Paying off the high-interest rate cards

Although we had an equal amount of credit card debt, we had a mixture of interest rates on our credit cards. We made a list of the different interest rates and then paid down the one with the highest interest rate first. We paid of one of my husbands high-interest rate credit cards before paying off two of my bills with higher interest rates. Then we paid off one of his bills with a moderate interest rate before finally paying off my zero interest rate credit cards.

After getting rid of our newlywed debt, we made a vow to remain debt free, with the exception of a low-interest rate car loan and mortgage. Being open and honest about our finances provided a solid foundation for our marriage.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that youd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

More from this contributor:

My Kids Wont Die in Debt

Save or Spend the Tax Refund?

Smartest Financial Moves in my 30s

CapLease Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Results

0.16

For the quarter ended December 31, 2012, the Company grew total revenues
seven percent to $41.6 million. The increase in total revenues reflects
growth in the owned property portfolio. Rental revenue was up eight
percent for the 2012 period, reflecting the new properties acquired.

FFO adjusted for items that affect comparability was $10.7 million, or
$0.16 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $10.4
million, or $0.16 per share, in the 2011 period.

Net loss to common stockholders for the fourth quarter of 2012 was
$(2.0) million, or $(0.03) per share, compared to net income of $14.4
million, or $0.22 per share, in the comparable period in 2011. Fourth
quarter 2011 net income to common stockholders includes the net impact
of discontinued operations, or a net gain of $15.9 million, driven
primarily by gain on debt extinguishment on a property that was
transferred to the lender in full satisfaction of the related
non-recourse mortgage debt.

New Property Investments:

During the year, the Company acquired or committed to acquire
approximately $190 million of new property assets, including
approximately $80 million of properties added during December which will
begin to increase our revenue and earnings results during 2013. The
eight new properties added during 2012 including one build-to-suit
transaction comprise 1.2 million square feet. Our average capitalization
rate across the properties is about 8.5% and average spread to the
actual or anticipated cost of debt is about 450 basis points. During the
year, we added a number of very high credit quality tenants to the
portfolio, such as Becton, Dickinson amp; Company, Praxair, Inc., ATamp;T
Services, Inc. and Comcast Corporation. Lease maturities for the new
properties are all at or beyond our portfolio average of six years, and
the properties are all located in good markets with strong growth
prospects. For more details regarding these new acquisitions please see
our prior press releases describing each transaction and our Form 10-K
for the year ended December 31, 2012 which will include when filed a
summary table of all of our owned properties.

Portfolio Management:

During 2012, we extended 1.9 million square feet of leases, including
five year agreements through December 2017 on the warehouse properties
we own in Breinigsville, PA and Lathrop, CA. The Breinigsville, PA
property was extended with the existing tenant Nestlà Holdings, Inc.,
and the Lathrop, CA property was extended with the subtenant Del Monte
Corporation. Our lease with Nestlà at the Fort Wayne, IN property
expired on December 31, 2012, and the Company is continuing to actively
market the property for re-lease.

We also extended $125 million of maturing debt during 2012, including
the extension of the $106 million securitized first mortgage note on the
Breinigsville, PA, Lathrop, CA and Fort Wayne, IN warehouse properties
for up to five years. The Company also repurchased the $11 million
junior mortgage note on the same warehouse properties for a purchase
price including costs of $2 million.

At December 31, 2012, the Company’s investment portfolio included $1.9
billion of primarily single tenant commercial real estate properties.
The weighted average tenant credit rating across the owned property
portfolio is A- from Standard amp; Poor’s, and the average remaining lease
term is approximately six years.

The property portfolio comprises 12.1 million square feet and includes a
variety of office, warehouse, retail and other property types. The
Company owns 71 properties in 25 states with 43 different tenants. As of
December 31, 2012, the occupancy rate across the owned property
portfolio was 92.9%, with the vacant space comprised principally of the
approximately 765,000 square foot vacant warehouse in Fort Wayne, IN.

New $100 Million Revolving Credit Facility and $10 Million Term Loan:

During 2012, the Company strengthened its bank lending relationships
with the addition of two new borrowing facilities.

During June, the Company added a new $100 million secured revolving
credit agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, NA which is expected to be the
Company’s primary short–term borrowing facility for the foreseeable
future. This three year facility will provide the Company with
significant financing and refinancing flexibility as new properties are
added to the portfolio and mortgage debt on properties already owned
mature. The facility was initially collateralized with a pool of 16
otherwise unencumbered real properties. The Company is in the process of
adding two recent property acquisitions totaling $26.1 million in
purchase price to the borrowing base, and expects to add additional real
estate properties to the collateral pool and increase the facility size
over time. The Company’s borrowings under the facility will bear
interest at prevailing LIBOR rates plus 275 basis points.

The Company also obtained a three year $10 million secured term loan
from KeyBank National Association. Proceeds from the new term loan were
used to replace and terminate the Company’s borrowing facility with
Wells Fargo that was scheduled to mature in July 2013. The Company
expects to cultivate and grow the relationship with KeyBank over time as
it continues to refinance and extend maturing debt.

Capital Activity:

During 2012, the Company raised approximately $110 million of net
proceeds through the sale of common stock and preferred stock. Other
than the sale of 2,000,000 shares of 8.375% Series B Cumulative
Redeemable Preferred Stock during April, all of the sales were executed
through the Company’s “at-the-market” offering program. The Company
raised net proceeds of (i) $32.2 million through the issuance of
6,891,080 shares of common stock at an average price of $4.76 per share
and (ii) $77.8 million through the issuance of 242,282 shares of 8.125%
Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock and 2,941,073 shares of
8.375% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock. The Company has
fully utilized the proceeds from equity issuances during 2012, with
$98.9 million used to fund purchases of or improvements to owned
properties and the balance utilized to reduce indebtedness.

Balance Sheet:

At December 31, 2012, the Company’s assets included $1.9 billion in
owned real property investments before depreciation and amortization,
$27 million in loan investments, and $62 million in commercial
mortgage-backed securities. The Company continues to have strong
liquidity with about $53 million of cash on hand currently, and $14
million of additional borrowing capacity under its revolving credit
agreement which will grow to about $30 million of capacity once the
recent property acquisitions discussed above are added to the borrowing
base.

The Company’s leverage on its owned property portfolio was approximately
59% as of December 31, 2012. CapLease expects its leverage to continue
to decrease over time, primarily as a result of scheduled principal
amortization on our debt which, net of principal collected on our debt
investments, averages about $30 million annually through 2014, and
expected lower or no leverage on new asset acquisitions.

Dividends:

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company declared a cash dividend
on its common stock in the amount of $0.075 per share, representing a
15% total increase for 2012, and a 7% increase from the third quarter of
2012. The level of CapLease’s common dividend is determined by the
Company’s operating results, economic conditions, capital requirements,
and other operating trends.

The Company also declared a cash dividend of $0.5078125 on its 8.125%
Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, and a cash dividend of
$0.5234375 on its 8.375% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock.

2013 Guidance:

CapLease expects full year 2013 FFO to be in the range of $0.55 to $0.60
per share, and earnings per share (EPS) to be in the range of $(0.07) to
$(0.03). The difference between FFO and EPS is primarily depreciation
and amortization expense on real property.

The expected decline in our year-over-year per share FFO reflects rent
roll-downs at the two warehouses properties in Breinigsville, PA and
Lathrop, CA under their new leases, and expected downtime and property
expenses associated with the Fort Wayne, IN and other 2013 expected
property vacancies. New property investments from 2012, the completion
of our two existing build-to-suit projects, and expected new investments
for 2013 will offset the decline to a large degree, but not completely
during 2013. As we re-lease the properties that have lease terminations
this year, those new leases will add to earnings in future years.

We expect to continue our acquisition momentum in 2013. For a variety of
reasons we do not forecast the timing, quantity and returns relating to
that acquisition activity. Our guidance projections are based primarily
on our existing portfolio. The Company’s guidance estimates also assume
no disposition activity and no gains or losses associated with asset
sales or debt extinguishment, no share repurchase activity, no portfolio
impairments or losses, and no other gains or charges that may occur
during the year. The guidance also includes our current estimates with
respect to additional capital needs, the timing and terms of re-leasing
maturing leases, interest rate levels on our floating rate facility, the
level of property operating expenses and general and administrative
expenses.

The factors described in the Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
section of this release could cause actual results to differ materially
from our guidance.

Conference Call:

CapLease will hold a conference call and webcast to discuss the
Company’s fourth quarter and full year 2012 results at 10:00 am
(Eastern Time) today. Hosting the call will be Paul H. McDowell,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Shawn P. Seale, Senior Vice
President and Chief Financial Officer.

Interested parties may listen to the conference call by dialing (877)
407-3982 or (201) 493-6780 for international participants. A
simultaneous webcast of the conference call may be accessed by logging
onto the Company’s website at www.caplease.com.

A replay of the conference call will be available on the Internet at www.streetevents.com
and the Company’s website for approximately fourteen days following the
call. A recording of the call also will be available beginning after
1:00 pm (Eastern Time) today by dialing (877) 870-5176 or (858) 384-5517
for international participants. To access the telephonic replay, please
enter conference ID 408365.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

Funds from operations (FFO) and cash available for distribution (CAD)
are non-GAAP financial measures. The Company believes FFO and CAD are
useful additional measures of the Company’s financial performance, as
these measures are commonly used by the investment community in
evaluating the performance of an equity REIT. The Company also believes
that these measures are useful because they adjust for a variety of
non-cash items (like depreciation and amortization, in the case of FFO,
and depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation and
straight-line rent adjustments, in the case of CAD). FFO and CAD should
not be considered as alternatives to net income or earnings per share
determined in accordance with GAAP as an indicator of the Company’s
operating performance or as an alternative to cash flow as a measure of
liquidity. Since all companies and analysts do not calculate FFO and CAD
in a similar fashion, the Company’s calculation of FFO and CAD may not
be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

The Company calculates FFO consistent with the NAREIT definition, or net
income (computed in accordance with GAAP), excluding gains (or losses)
from sales of property and impairment losses on depreciable real estate,
plus real estate-related depreciation and amortization, and after
adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures. Real
estate-related depreciation includes amortization of capitalized leasing
expenses, tenant allowances or improvements, and excludes amortization
of deferred financing costs.

The Company calculates CAD by further adjusting FFO to exclude
straight-line rent adjustments, stock-based compensation, above or below
market rent amortization and non-cash interest income and expense, and
to include routine capital expenditures on investments in real property
and capitalized interest expense (if any). The Company will also adjust
its CAD computations to exclude certain non-cash or unusual items. For
example, CAD for the 2012 and 2011 periods have been adjusted to exclude
non-recurring gains or losses on investments and any gain or loss on
extinguishment of debt.

The Company also discloses FFO as adjusted for items that affect
comparability, as it believes this measure is a useful proxy for
existing portfolio performance and, therefore, provides a meaningful
presentation of operating performance. Items that affect comparability
currently include gains or losses on the Company’s debt investments
which, unlike gains or losses on owned properties, are not excluded from
FFO under the NAREIT definition, gain or loss on debt extinguishment,
debt modification costs and property acquisition costs. FFO as adjusted
for items that affect comparability should not be considered as an
alternative to net income or earnings per share determined in accordance
with GAAP as an indicator of our operating performance or as an
alternative to cash flow as a measure of liquidity. It also differs from
the NAREIT’s definition of FFO and may not be comparable to similarly
titled measures reported by other companies.

The Company’s leverage ratios, which are among the financial metrics
used by management to review and analyze CapLease’s debt, are also
non-GAAP financial measures. Leverage ratios are a widely used financial
measure by the real estate investment community, especially for REITs.
We measure our leverage ratios by dividing total debt by total assets,
as adjusted. We measure total assets, as adjusted, at historical cost
before depreciation and amortization on owned properties. Therefore, our
leverage ratios do not account for any fluctuations in value, up or
down, that may have occurred since we acquired our owned properties.
Other companies including other REITs may compute leverage ratios in a
different manner and, therefore, our leverage ratios may not be
comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements:

This press release contains projections of future results and other
forward-looking statements that involve a number of trends, risks and
uncertainties and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following
important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from
those projected in such forward-looking statements.

  • our ability to re-let vacant space on favorable terms in a timely
    manner;
  • our ability to refinance or extend maturing debt obligations on
    favorable terms or at all;
  • payment defaults on one or more of our asset investments;
  • the impact to earnings associated with potential asset dispositions
    and debt repayments;
  • increases in our financing costs (including as a result of LIBOR rate
    increases), our general and administrative costs and/or our property
    expenses; and
  • our failure to comply with our debt obligations.

Developments in any of those areas could cause actual results to differ
materially from results that have been or may be projected. For a more
detailed discussion of the trends, risks and uncertainties that may
affect our operating and financial results and our ability to achieve
the financial objectives discussed in this press release, readers should
review the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, including
the section entitled “Risk Factors,” and the Company’s other periodic
filings with the SEC. Copies of these documents are available on our web
site at www.caplease.com
and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
We caution that the foregoing list of important factors is not complete
and we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement.

About the Company:

CapLease, Inc. is a real estate investment trust, or REIT, that
primarily owns and manages a diversified portfolio of single tenant
commercial real estate properties subject to long-term leases to high
credit quality tenants.

Does Buying and Accumulating More and More Stuff Make Us Happier?

I really dont like buying things. I dont feel like to go for shopping at all. I have been living with girlfriend and we both agree with not holding things that there is no need for. We always donate everything we dont need anymore. Our house is completely clean. We dont have many furniture. We only have the necessary for living. In my opinion, we have all been living in a world even more compact. Things have been updating year a year. Ages ago, we needed much more equipaments at house. Today, we can watch movies, listen to music or even pay bills only with a computer. I guess that peoples life is much more complicated with a lot of things to care about. It might make life easier without over stuffs.

Wanderson

Property Assessment notices to be mailed

Mayor Nutter and City officials provide update on the Actual Value Initiative (AVI).

Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Property Assessment Notices for tax year 2014 for residential, commercial and industrial properties are being mailed and are available online today. The Assessment Notices reflect, for the first time, the real value of properties in Philadelphia.

Assessment Notices for a small percentage of properties will be delayed, while the Office of Property Assessment finalizes assessment values and information. These notices will be mailed by March 1.

For decades, the property tax system in Philadelphia has unfairly undervalued and over-assessed properties across the City, said Nutter. Under AVI, for the first time, property owners will see a fair and equitable tax system based on an accurate valuation of real properties. These assessment notices will be the first of many that demonstrate our commitment to industry best practices and a transformed approach to assessing properties.

Rate Digest Presents 5 Tips on Finding Cheap Auto Insurance That Will Help …

America’s Favorite Insurance Comparison tool, http://www.ratedigest.com/, has released the latest tips to help consumers lower their monthly costs.

Seattle, Washington (PRWEB) March 07, 2013

Cheap auto insurance is more than a myth. In fact, it is easier than ever to obtain, for people who are willing to look for it. With some information, a bit of inquiry, and a willingness to adjust, anyone can get cheap auto insurance.

With this in mind, Rate Digest has given some need-to-know information on getting the best auto insurance rates for consumer’s money. Even if the consumer has very carefully and cautiously worked out their insurance plan, a better understanding will almost certainly lower their bill, sometimes to just $19/month.

One of the things Rate Digest wants consumers to know is that comparison shopping is the single most helpful tool to lower their rates. Of course, the internet is a great way to do this; being able to access information easily and effectively is the reason for the internet, after all. However, it is even easier to use a comparison shopping tool, such as this one, to get excellent policies from top of the line insurance companies at rock bottom rates.

There are also many ways to cut one’s premiums without switching providers. Paying the entire yearly insurance bill is one way; drivers can save hundreds in billing fees in this case. Bundling insurance plans, including homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, and other policies through one provider is also an excellent method. By taking a few simple steps, consumers can significantly lower their auto insurance costs.

About Rate Digest

Rate Digest, the premier auto insurance comparison tool, has helped thousands of people get the insurance policies they want at rock bottom rates. Visit http://www.ratedigest.com/ for more.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prwebcheap-auto-insurance/seattle-washington/prweb10505171.htm

Book Review: The Truth About Luck, by Iain Reid

The Truth About Luck
By Iain Reid
House of Anansi Press
272 pp; $18.95

Last Saturday, my grandparents were sitting in the half-light of their awning-shaded, giant-picture-windowed, little bungalow living room. Kris Kristofferson was crackling from a boombox that used to live in the garage and now rests on a Chippendale-style side table. My grandparents were born in 1928; I’ll spare you the mental math: This makes them 85 years old. They were talking, yet again, of “down east” — an expansive term that actually refers to the microscopic abode of Blackville, NB, where they were born. But this day’s story was a brand new one, spurred by the recent death of Stompin’ Tom Connors: It turns out they knew and grew up surrounded by his entire extended family. Suddenly, the room was full of laughing reminiscences — how Stompin’ Tom looked just like (and was apparently named after) a certain uncle; how one family member, my grandfather exclaimed, told so many fibs he just had to keel over. And so on. Spending time with your grandparents as an adult is different than as a child: it moves from all-comfort to large-part revelation.

Iain Reid’s newest book, The Truth About Luck, rejoices in this blend of intergenerational familiarity and serendipity. He is from a close-knit family and has long known his 92-year-old grandmother; this is in part what leads him to think of a meaningful gift for her fairly significant birthday. For a moment, he settles on a scented candle — everyone likes candles, right? But, in brainstorming with his brother, it dawns on him: why not, instead of buying things, spend time? From there, he decides to take Grandma on a trip, maybe a road trip. But the this idea contracts soon after the rush of discovery: Reid begins to reconsider the logistics — his beater of a car, his lack of funds — and scales back the idea back somewhat. He decides to bring Grandma from her town, Ottawa, to his, Kingston. That’s still a trip! This turns out to either be a prescient or genetically motivated move: Grandma recounts how she and her late husband used to love micro trips — one time going only as far as a motel a few blocks away. Grandma is just as happy to go to Kingston as anywhere else.

The dos and don’ts of buying for baby

Although very few people have the budget to provide a set of wheels of that calibre for their infant, when times were good it was a different story – we had the means and wanted our kids to be kitted out as well as possible. But in these economically challenging times, most parents cant afford to buy things they dont really need which will be obsolete after the first six months.

So we asked a few mums and a couple of experts for advice on what is really useful and what you can actually do without.

Mandy ORorke, from Kildare, is the owner of BabyBay.ie and BabyBayMarket.ie – she and her husband Jonathan have three children, James, (7), Hannah (6) and Lucy (4). Over the course of their early years, she bought quite a lot of equipment but feels she got good use out of most of it.

I bought a Maxi Cosi Travel System for my first baby and it was great because it lasted for all three and I sold it recently for EUR100 even though it was six years old. I also bought a Cosatto cot, which was very well used, a matching changing unit, a double buggy after my second child was born, a crib, bouncer, high chair, entertainer and the usual feeding equipment – bottles, warmer, breast pump etc.

QUICKER

The travel system was the best purchase because it could be used up to three years and it was wide enough for my youngest to take a nap in it. I think this is the most important purchase and parents should do a lot of research before deciding which brand suits their needs best.

The most useless item I bought was definitely the bottle warmer – I used a microwave instead, which I know isnt advised, but it is so much quicker and when your baby is screaming at 4am for a feed, you dont have time for the warmer to heat up. I also spent EUR740 on my double buggy and only used it for a very short time so I would advise parents to go second-hand for this as they are usually not used very much and are often in excellent condition.

I would also advise new parents to do some research, go into the baby stores and chat to the sales assistants, get all your information and then decide what you need. Dont buy everything before the baby is born – wait and see what you need first. There are lots of gadgets on the market now which look cute and fun but you dont really need them.

Hilary and Paul Hooks live in Castleknock with their baby son Jonathan who is 13 months old. As the owner of Active Mum – sling and dance classes – she found her baby carrier to be the most useful piece of equipment.

The best baby item we have is the sling because it helps to soothe Jonathan when he is tired or cranky and its really practical for getting things done around the house and also for getting out and about.

I did buy a few things that I havent used such as the Amby Baby Hammock, which I read was great for getting babies to sleep but we ended up just using the sling instead. I also bought loads of baby toiletries, which I was told were essential, but Ive only ended up using a fraction of them. I think people end up buying things they dont need out of fear because no one knows what to expect and you are being told by everyone that nothing prepares you so they go out and buy everything possible in an attempt to be as prepared as possible. But, unfortunately, having lots of stuff doesnt solve the problem of a crying baby.

Evin OKeeffe is originally from Washington DC but moved to Ireland when she married her husband, Conor with whom she had her son Liam, who is now 16 months.

I had Liam in November 2011 and among many items we received and bought, the main things we purchased were: a car seat, jogging stroller (so Conor could run while pushing it), a smaller folding stroller for travelling and going around town, a crib, rocking chair, baby carrier, breast pump and bottles.

During the first year, there were a lot of things which we found really essential, including: 1. Car seat; 2. Activity mat; 3. Bouncer Recliner; 4. IKEA rocking chair which I slept in with him on some nights; 5. Ergo baby carrier; 6. MAM anti-colic bottles

Of all the equipment we had, I didnt think we really needed two strollers but having two was quite useful, particularly as one is good for jogging and going off-trails and the other is portable and useful for travel or going into small cafes. Also, I dont think we really needed the sheepskin but it has been nice as it was a warm and soft place for Liam to lie.

Fiona Rea has four children and is an ante-natal teacher with Cuidiu. She agrees and says much of the baby paraphernalia available is unnecessary. But she says people expecting their first child are bombarded with advertising and advice from the moment the happy news is revealed.

As a first-time parent, its tempting to go on a spree from the moment you have your positive pregnancy test in your hand. But babies need far far less than the babycare superstores would have us believe – just love and attention coupled with food and warmth – they dont care what they are wearing, sitting in or playing with. In the blink of an eye, they will be heading off to college, so its best to save the pennies until then. Very little equipment is, in fact, essential. What you will need to have ready for the birth is lots of maternity pads, some new-born nappies, a few vests and babygros, blankets and a warm suit and hat if it is winter.

option

A car seat isnt even necessary on day one if you give birth at home, but if you have your baby in hospital you will need one for the journey home. Newborns shouldnt be carried around in a car seat that doesnt lay flat, so you should consider buying a cheap second-hand pram and a good buggy for trips of less than two hours. Slings are another option and before rushing out to buy one you can contact a sling library or go to a sling meet and try before you buy.

If your baby will sleep in a cot, you might decide to skip the expense of a Moses basket and go straight for the cot. There are plenty of other gadgets available; however none are essential. And there is an abundance of second-hand baby gear available from friends and family, car boot sales, charity shops and classified ads. Cuidiu holds nearly-new sales in most parts of the country. So you can buy virtually anything you need second-hand.