When we first told people that we were expecting a baby, one of the first responses to that, apart from the obligatory congratulations, were that babies are expensive and that we’ll never have any money again. And I suppose, the average couple will spend a lot on their children. According to research, raising a child in the UK until the age of 21 has risen to £230,00 which is an insane number.
But there’s something that other people and the media don’t tell you. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your children. Yes, they need the basic necessities, like shelter, food, water and clothing, but, at least to begin with, they need little else. Plus, overstimulation of the senses can be a bad thing; giving children too many choices can be limiting.
Here are some ways you can save money when you have a baby:
- Buy secondhand. Now, I know some people are very against having secondhand items when it’s for a new baby, but it can seriously save you a ton of money. We bought our moses basket off eBay which included a stand for £10 and purchased a new mattress. This saved us over £100 which is fantastic. The moses basket we got is absolutely fine and with a new mattress it’s as good as new. We also bought a rocking chair for the nursery for £15 which is so comfortable to sit on and is a perfect addition to the room.
- Get neutral clothes, especially if you plan to have more children. This way you can reuse them, providing the clothes are in a fit state by the time your child has grown out of them. The majority of clothes we received were white as we didn’t know whether we were having a girl or a boy. We also got some which had a green pattern on, which again is more gender neutral.
- Accept presents! People seemingly love to buy new babies things, which is amazing. Accept these! We have had to buy hardly any baby clothes, as apparently buying tiny versions of outfits is very exciting and people like doing that. We were very lucky as my parents bought our car seat and pram set up and various other people have bought other things we needed. If people ask if you’d like anything buying, then ask for something useful. One of the things we asked for in a practical sense were nappies (diapers) as we all know how many of those a newborn can go through!
- Sign up to different baby clubs, as they often send out free samples or vouchers for products. We signed up to the Boots one as well as Tesco and Asda. We’ve been sent money off vouchers from all three and whilst we haven’t used them all, they might come in handy and haven’t cost us anything.
- Don’t buy everything – you don’t need it. As a new parent, it was very tempting to go overboard and buy every little thing we could possibly need for our newborn. However, you really don’t need hardly anything at all. The first couple of weeks all you’ll be doing is having lots of baby cuddles, feeding and wishing you could get some more sleep. A friend of ours spent a lot of money on various gadgets for their newborn baby before it arrived, and then their baby girl didn’t like hardly any of the things they’d bought. It includes this electric swing, which they used twice before deciding she really didn’t like it. A waste of money and one which was languishing in their garage, before we gladly accepted it as a donation. If you do want to buy things, try and see if you can borrow one first to try it out; babies like different things.
- More expensive doesn’t mean better. When looking at prams for our new baby, there were so many options of vastly different prices. Some of the upper range ones start at over £1,00 which seems a tad excessive. The best thing to do is to test prams out in the shop to see what suits, although you do feel a bit daft pushing an empty pram around a shop! We ended up getting this travel system, as it was lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. It wasn’t on our shortlist before we started looking at them in the shops, but it quickly became a firm favourite and so far, it’s been very easy to use. I love the fact that you can just take the car seat from the car and attach to the pram frame as it makes it so much easier.
- If you can, then nurse your baby. I know this is a bit of a sensitive topic so I won’t dwell on it, but breastfeeding your baby is obviously a big money saver, as the milk is free! Formula can add up very quickly. But, this is a very personal choice and sometimes, for whatever reason, breastfeeding isn’t possible.
All of these things should keep costs down, especially to start with. Having a new person in your life and be totally responsible for is very daunting and life is never the same again, including the family finances. However, with some planning, it needn’t be a drain on your finances from the word go.
Any other tips for keeping child costs down? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!