5 Handy Extras
Although not absolute must-haves, these five items will make your life easier, and perhaps grant you peace of mind.
Go digital instead of analog for compactness and ease of making copies, and look for an image stabilizer to reduce shaking. To save money, consider MiniDV models over DVD models.
Choose a compact digital model with a resolution of 5 to 8 megapixels to allow for sharp 4-by-6 and 8-by-10 enlargements. An optical zoom of 4x to 6x is ideal for shooting candid portraits at a comfortable distance.
3. Life insurance
Protect your children in case of the unthinkable: your death or your partner's. The best value is term life insurance, according to Eric Tyson, M.B.A., author of Personal Finance for Dummies (Wiley Publishing). Apply before getting pregnant because the weight gain may jack up your premium. How much insurance do you need? To replace 20 years of income, multiply your annual after-tax income by 15.
4. Telephone headset
Hold or nurse your baby while talking on the phone without injuring your neck. Look for a cushioned earpiece, an adjustable microphone for clarity and a switch on the cord to answer and end calls.
Your will should include a guardianship agreement. Without a will, state law will dictate what happens to your children and your assets in the event of your death.
For recommendations on gadgets, check out our 2009 Buyer's Guide.