Obviously everyone’s in different situations when pregnant and post birth in terms of salary, benefits, maternity pay etc, but paying for baby equipment is like preparing for a wedding…it can be as cheap or expensive as you want.
The biggest tip on budgeting for babies, is set a budget and know how much you can afford. Especially have something set by in case things don’t go as planned.
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Babies don’t need that much.
There are key things that are expensive but legal requirements, like a car seat, if your baby’s ever going to be travelling in a car. Bear in mind you might end up needing more than one – or at least one that can go across different cars. And buy from a reputable store where they can ensure the seats fulfil the up to date legal requirements for the size and age of your baby or toddler.
Breast feeding’s free, but bear in mind things might not go to plan. They didn’t for me as he had tongue tie (which wasn’t recognised until he was 2 1/2 years old). So although I’d purchased a pump in case breast feeding didn’t work, it was rubbish, and I’d have been better off waiting til after he was born. Either not bothering at all, hiring one from the hospital, or just buying one that was a lot better if required.
We then had the cost of formula which is horrendous especially as for under 6 month milk it can’t be promoted. If you have a hungry baby they drink a lot of formula. While I agree that breast feeding is a nobrainer if it works, it feels a bit unfair when you’ve done what you can to try breast feeding or can’t due to medical reasons, but then get charged a massive amount for not being able to breastfeed.
I’d assumed that I’d be offered lots of unwanted items from friends, but had already bought everything needed by the time the offers started coming in. I guess I should have put pleas out to everyone or asked on Freecycle but in the end bought everything myself apart from some basic clothing like sleepsuits and vests.
Tips on budgeting for babies:
- Research and price compare. Lots of places will price match especially John Lewis. Places like Halfords do better offers online so check out in store first, then order online or check if they’ll price match in store.
- Buy online to make use of cashback sites. If you don’t know about these check out Topcashback*. You get money back for buying what you would have done anyway.
- Sign up for every baby club and online club going e.g Boots, supermarkets, Emma’s Diary, baby equipment manufacturers. They’ll send you lots of vouchers ongoing, give you discounts and when they have baby events and sales, you’ll hear about them first. I got 2 Avent bottles sent free, various soft toys etc, plus all the money off vouchers. Do set up a separate ‘junk’ email otherwise you’ll struggle to find your personal ones you want to see. Also, check what you’re signing up to with your information and make sure when you’re past that stage of pregnancy/newborn, to update your information or unsubscribe
- Use your loyalty card points. Double up on your Tesco points, use your Nectar points in Argo to buy things, and join the Boots parenting club to get 10 points instead of 1 on baby items.
- Buy second hand. People get bargain prams on eBay, there’s Gumtree or Freecycle for local swaps, sales or giveaways. And check out your NCT nearly new sales which happen around March and September in lots of different areas. You don’t need to be a member although you get in early if you are, but there are great bargains to be had. Baby websites often have classified areas.
- Make money by selling your ‘junk’ on eBay, Priceminister or Local ads.
- Enter competitions. I won £300 worth of Fisher Price baby equipment/toys that I wouldn’t have otherwise bought but have turned out to be invaluable.
- Fill in online surveys or join focus groups for research. Yes they take time and effort, but do them while sat watching the tv in an evening and the money will soon add up. I had my monitor from Amazon virtually free, £20 of Sainsbury’s vouchers and about £30 in cash just from filling in surveys.
These are just some of the things I did to help make buying for baby less painful. Oh, and my love of spreadsheets meant I had a budget and planning sheet for everything…some might say sad, but extremely useful.
How did you budget? Do you still budget now?
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