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. 

Reuse 

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!).


Breastfeed

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 www.freedigitalphotos.net