Monday, 9 November 2015

How to cut the costs of having a baby

Some bright spark decided to contact me recently to tell me that having a baby when I am in debt wasn't a good idea. Not to sound facetious, but I already know that(!). 

However, as I am in debt it was important to not spend too much money. This is how I have cut the cost of having a baby:-

Distinguish between your 'essentials' and 'wants'.

Babies need three things:-

1) Somewhere to sleep
2) Something to keep them warm
3) Something to eat 

There are lots of wonderful baby products out there but many are just 'wants' and are not essential. My friends may tell me they are essential, but I am coping without them so they are not essential in my opinion. 

I made a list of essentials. These were:-
  • Pushchair/sling (some form of transport)
  • Car seat
  • Clothes
  • Nappies
  • Items to clean the baby
  • Crib/cot
  • Blankets/Sheets
Everything else were 'wants'. 

Source your items

I know it is tempting to want everything brand new. After all this is your first baby but your baby isn't going to know if their vest is second hand or for that matter if it's Primark or Ralph Lauren. 

I was on a mission to find low cost/free items. Here are some suggestions:- 

  • Ebay
  • Freecycle
  • Preloved 
  • Facebook selling groups
  • NCT sales
  • Mum2Mum markets
  • Car boots/Jumble sales
  • Charity shops
In my case I purchased my pushchair from Ebay. I made a huge saving on the pushchair compared to a brand new one and my one is as good as new.

I purchased a Baby Bjorn carrier in a charity shop for £3 (they retail circa £55).

Buy bundles of clothes

Ebay and Facebook are great for bundles of clothes. If you undertake a search, for example for 'baby girl 0-3 months' on Ebay you will find many sellers selling a bundle of clothing, often very cheaply. You could easily kit your baby out for a 3 months period for £10, if that.

In addition, as baby clothes are not used for long they tend to be good quality.

Buy out of season

Buy winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter.

I purchased a snowsuit in the sale for £3. It was £3 instead of £20 because it was the summer sale. 


Thankfully reusable nappies are much more impressive than the terry towling of yesteryear. You will need to pay much more upfront compared to disposables, there is a start up cost, but again these can be sourced second hand, particularly on Preloved and Ebay. 

I'll be sharing a more detailed post about reusable nappies in the future so please pop back and don't forget about making reusable baby wipes

Gifts/Hand me downs

I have been lucky to be given a lot of hand me downs, especially clothes. Once you become pregnant friends and family are desperate to off load used baby items to you. 

In addition, I was given a crib, cot and baby bouncer. Pricey items. 

I have also been given gift vouchers which have been great because I could buy things when they were needed.

Spread the cost 

One day you will need a high chair. One day a play gym and toys will be handy. However, you do not need these items for a newborn. That said, if you see a good deal whilst pregnant (like the snowsuit above), by all means snap it up, but these can be purchased at a later date.

Join parenting clubs

There are loads of parenting clubs run by various stores and baby food/product companies. I'm not going to list them all here, mostly because  I don't agree with some of the companies ethos (some encourage women to formula feed/others are just data collectors and sell on your details) but I have found Boots club to be great. I received a free changing bag, free bottle and dummy as well as money off vouchers on a regular basis and extra advantage card points. 

Supermarkets are fab!

These days most baby clothes are 100% cotton so there is very little difference in quality between a designer babygrow and a supermarket babygrow. I have been very impressed with supermarket ranges. I mostly shop at Sainsburys and they regularly have events where you can double up your nectar points if you convert them into vouchers so I exchanged some points for clothing vouchers and purchased some new baby clothes, blankets and nightwear for breastfeeding.

Aldi's disposable nappies are also infamous for being amazing (they really are amazing and incredibly cheap!).


I'm not a paid up member of the 'breastapo' or a 'lactative' but one of the advantages of breast feeding is that it is free. 

Again come back in the future for a more detailed post on this issue. 

Safety aspect

It is recommended are that car seats and mattresses are purchased new. My understanding is that with second hand car seats you can never know for certain that it has not been involved in an accident. With mattresses some cases of Sudden Death Syndrome have been linked to bacteria which thrives in damp mattresses.

I have obviously spent money with having a baby, and have lost a wage, but I have been rather restrained with my spending. 

Congratulations to Nicola at The Frugal Cottage on her recent arrival and Nichole at Budget Loving Military Wife for the bundle she is expecting. 

Do you have any tips for saving money when having a baby? What's the best bargain you found?

* Picture courtesy of Keerati via 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


There are a lot of expenses to take into account when having a baby. One of them is how to clean their little bums. 

I decided to make my own reusable baby wipes. There are two reasons why I chose to make my own reusable baby wipes:-

1) to control what ingredients go on my baby's skin; and
2) because I am on a frugal trial.

To put this into perspective I bought 9 packs of Water Wipes before the baby was born. 3 months in I still have 2 packs left. I used them for the first 2 weeks whilst we were getting to grips with having a baby. Since then I have only been using them when out and about and when I have fallen behind with the washing.

There are many recipes online for reusable baby wipes but this is the Frugal Trial method of making reusable baby wipes. 

You will need:- 
  • 2 x tubs with lids.
  • Cloth (as many as you can make/buy. I have approximately 70)
  • Lavender or tea tree oil 
  • Carrier oil 
  • Boiled water
  • Sandwich bags 

Step 1 - the material

Firstly you will need to obtain some material and cut it to a suitable size (mine are about the dimension of my hands). 

As I wanted to limit what I spent on making reusable baby wipes I cut up some old flannel cotton pyjamas that I had which no longer fitted me.  You could use old towels/sheets/fleece or purchase some microcloths. 

If you use cotton you may want to hem them (fleece is unlikely to require hemming). As you can see from my cloths they are frayed. This is mostly to do with the fact that I do not have a sewing machine and I could not be bothered to hem them all by hand. 

Step 2 - the solution 

The amount of water you will need for reusable baby wipes will depend on the size of the tub you keep the reusable baby wipes in. I keep mine in an old ice cream tub. I place approximately 3 mugs worth of boiling water into a bowl.

Next I add two tablespoons of oil. Since I began making reusable baby wipes I have used almond oil (which I used during my pregnancy in an attempt to avoid stretchmarks), olive oil (which we use for cooking) and coconut oil (which I use as a moisturiser). Personally I find that olive oil works best but I alternate it with coconut oil otherwise I would get through the olive oil too quickly. However, note that coconut oil solidifies at room temperature so leaves a residue over the wipes once it cools down. I find that almond oil just doesn't glide very well. 

Next, I add a few drops of lavender oil. I use lavender oil because I already had some as it was recommended to me to put into my bath water in order to assist with post-birth healing. Lavender oil is also antibacterial and one of the few essential oils which can be applied directly to the skin. My understanding is that tea tree oil is also antibacterial so that could also be used. 

If you wish you could add another essential oil for fragrance. 

I then place the cloth into the bowl and push it down with a spoon to ensure that it is all soaked. I then leave it for an hour to cool.

Lastly I wring out the excess water. The result is damp reusable baby wipes and I place them in the ice cream tub ready for use. 

To date it has cost me zilch to make reusable baby wipes as I have just used what I already had.

You may have noticed that I have not used any soap. Many other recipes include soap of some kind but I don't as I didn't want to buy anything specific for the wipes - I just used what I already had. In any event I haven't found that soap is required - water is sufficient for cleaning even the smelliest nappies. 

Step 3 - Washing

When I have used a wipe I place it in a separate tub which has a lid. When they are all used I put them in the wash with my normal washing (therefore I am not incurring any extra expense). As they are covered in faeces I recommend washing with a temperature of at least 40 degrees (i.e. hotter than body temperature). Every now and again I put them in a really hot wash.

I also wash out both tubs with hot water and disinfectant. 

Step 4 - Going out 

Sandwich bags are useful if you want to take reusable baby wipes when out and about as the wipes should remain moist and the bags don't take up too much space. Just remember a second bag for the dirty ones!


The downsides of reusable wipes are:- 

  1. The time you need to set aside to make them.
  2. That you may run out if you don't have time to wash them.
  3. They can go mouldy if not used within a week.

Do you use reusable baby wipes? What's your recipe?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Debt and Life Update

Hello people - I'm back!! 

If you follow me you'll be aware that I had a baby this summer. To be honest I found pregnancy very draining and I just didn't have the energy to devote to my blog and it was sorely neglected. I have many ideas but no energy to write them - now I have no time with caring for the baby.

The baby is still under 3 months old and very time consuming. Today is the first time I have managed to get her to have a nap somewhere other than my arms or a moving pushchair. Small victory for me today so I thought I would take the opportunity to provide a debt update. 

My total debt is now £7701.33

I need to transfer the balance of one card this month. As I am no longer employed (my last job ended just before baby was born) it is not possible for me to open a new card with a zero balance transfer fee so I will take a hit this month. However, I am able to transfer to one of my existing credit cards where I will have a 0% period until December 2016. I will incur a fee though however it is better than the £94 interest I would have been charged. 

In terms of baby, I had a very long labour - it was hard work but luckily not horrific. The baby hasn't been too difficult to care for but as I breastfeed on demand it is impossible to have a routine or schedule in my life. She is a delight. 

I hope to blog more regularly now so please do check back. It may be more baby related these days but I will aim to do some non-baby posts too.