One of the biggest expenses in family life can be when you have a new addition to the family. Everyone knows that having a baby comes with costs, but just how much might you need to spend? And how much of it is really necessary?
It’s a while back since I first wrote on here about how you can have a baby without it costing the earth, and I think that many of the tips and tricks I gave then still hold true today. This time around, my financial situation is very different to when I welcome Little Miss C into my life. This time around I don’t still have everything from my first two babies, and we also were just in the process of buying our house when we found out I was pregnant. Combine that with the fact that now I’m self-employed and it gives our financial landscape a very different feel.
Whatever your financial situation, even with bad credit you could secure a loan to help with all the costs associated with having a baby. You’ll want that loan to stretch as far as possible though, so here are my top tips for saving money when you’re pregnant or have a new baby.
Stick to the basics
The advertising around various pregnancy and baby products is vast. If you step into certain shops, or look in baby magazines, you could be forgiven for thinking that you need to buy a huge range of equipment for your new baby. The truth is though that you don’t actually need that much.
In simple terms your baby needs nappies or some sort, to be kept warm, to get around, to be kept safe and to be fed. Nappies don’t have to be branded ones. Many supermarkets do their own brands of nappies now and many people judge them to be better than market leaders. They’re certainly a fraction of the price! Babies obviously need clothes, but you can buy a lot of these second-hand from local nearly new sales or even via the Facebook Marketplace. If you buy a bundle of clothes (often a bin bag full) you can get yourself a complete bargain.
Means of transport
You will need some way of getting your baby around with you. Depending on whether you drive or not this might determine what you need. In most cases people need a car seat (hospitals often won’t let you leave until they’ve checked your baby fastened into their car seat) and some sort of pushchair or pram. It can be possible though to just have a sling for your little one. Certainly consider that as an option to save money. The pushchair and pram market is huge, but please don’t think that you need to get yourself a gold plated top of the range one. The only item that I would say you should avoid second-hand (unless it’s from a family member that you can trust) is the car seat. You need to be able to ensure that it has never been in an accident and that safety’s something you don’t want to skimp on.
Babies also need somewhere safe to sleep, but remember that it just needs to be somewhere safe, not necessarily somewhere super luxurious. The news article that did the rounds a few years ago about Baby Boxes just goes to show how simple a solution you might have. Just make sure you follow all the latest advice about safe sleeping for babies.In our case we’ve opted to use the same Moses baskets that LMC and Master C sleeper in, just with new mattresses in them. Bearing in mind that I originally picked up these Moses baskets for free on Freecycle, and then made covers for them with my mum, the fact that this is my third child to sleep in them shows how you really don’t need to spend a fortune on things for a new baby.
Make your purchases work for you
For the things that you do need to buy, especially things like nappies, it is worth trying to take advantage of sales and special offers whenever possible. Supermarkets often have offers on like 3 for 2 or BOGOF and Buy One Get One Half Price. Also look into using a cash back site like Topcashback or KidStart so that the money you do have to spend works to your advantage, especially for high ticket items.
A final tip would be to look for freebies. Once you’ve had your booking appointment with a midwife you’re like be given a pack of information including a form to join Bounty. They give you packs at various stages of your little one’s life which have lots of helpful free samples and vouchers in them. If you sign up for this and similar schemes it can be really worth your while for the free samples and useful magazines alone.
At the end of the day though, the most important thing to remember is that more than anything else your little one needs your love. They’re not going to complain about what they’re dressed in or where you bought their toys. As long as they’re fed, safe and loved that’s all that matters.