Estimates may vary on the cost of a new baby and growing toddler, but there’s a general consensus that it can run into the thousands. According to figures from the Family and Parenting Institute, new parents are set to lose over £5,000 in financial support in the first year of their lives, while the average cost of raising a child to a 21-year-old is an eye-watering £200,000!
It all means that the growing costs of having a new baby, particularly in the current economic climate of recent cuts to the various financial packages for UK families and rising inflation, is making more parents increasingly feel the pinch.
Parenting expert, Becky Goddard-Hill of Baby Budgeting joins us in giving you some great advice to make sure your new bundle doesn’t cost a packet. And if you have some innovative ways to save money, share them with others in the comments section below or head over to our Children’s forum in Preloved People.
Second is Best
Buying second hand items for babies and children is easily one of the most effective ways of stretching your money further. The needs of young children change very rapidly so it means that there are thousands of other parents who are always selling items that have hardly been used and are real bargains.
While there’s an endless array of things that parents can buy for their new-born, they can easily meet most of their baby’s immediate needs without breaking the bank simply by sticking to the essentials. Our top baby buys are:
Time Well Spent
To avoid any unnecessary purchases and impulse buys, take some time to make a household budget, and stick to it!
- Calculate your monthly earnings and then compare that with your essential outgoings, such as household bills, mortgage repayments and food shopping, to find out what you can spend on any other purchases
- Plan ahead and work out what other bills you will need to pay in the coming months, ranging from MOTs and phone bills, to essential travel
- Try to save a little money each month to pay for any unforeseen bills or emergencies
- Keep a diary of your day-to-day spending over a month to give you an idea of where your money is going and where you could make further savings
There are plenty of bargains to be found online, from cost comparison websites to the best in second hand shopping at Preloved. Meet up with a Preloved seller or chat in our forum and you can share money-saving ideas and experiences with each other. Check out these money-saving sites for more ideas on how to make your money work harder:
Buy, Buy, Baby
Buying for baby in bulk is a great way to save money and reduce the costs that can come with making individual purchases. Many parents bundle up baby and children’s clothes for sale, so it’s the perfect way of getting more while paying less.
Children, of course, love toys and just can’t get enough of them! Every parent has experienced the ‘pester power’ of being in a toy shop while their toddler pleads for the latest expensive toy or game. But as children quickly move on to the next craze, bedroom cupboards and the space beneath beds soon become rammed with forgotten toys. Two great ways to make and save money is to sell those that are no longer wanted for free, while snapping up some nearly new toys as replacements!
Naturally brimming with excitement, most expectant parents will enjoy doing a little nest-building in preparation for their new arrival. By rolling up your sleeves for some DIY home improvements – a lick of paint, some wallpaper, a cot and a colourful mobile can soon transform a bedroom into a lovely nursery – you can save money while creating a safe and cosy environment for the new addition.
Leading parenting blogger, Becky Goddard-Hill hosts the blog, Baby Budgeting, which is packed with products reviews, articles and tips on saving and making money when you have a young family. Baby Budgeting also has lots of competitions to help cash-strapped parents. Becky is author of the book, ‘How to Afford Time Off with your Baby – 101 Ways to Ease the Financial Strain’, which offers guidance on creative budgeting from pre-pregnancy to pre-school.
Here, Becky shares some of her top money-saving ideas for new parents, her essential buys for new babies and advice for working mums.
- Embrace and adore preloved items. You are not only helping your budget this way, but also being totally eco-friendly. Well done you!
- Hit the library for books on breastfeeding, being pregnant, getting your baby to sleep, etc. library books can be renewed online now, and they won’t cost you a penny
- Be creative. If you see a gorgeous nursery in a magazine you don’t not have to buy it lock, stock and barrel. Take the colours and paint your wooden cot white if you want to. Perhaps buy some material for your Great Aunt to run up some curtains or bedding as a baby gift. There is always another way and you want it to be unique!
- Babies don’t need much ‘stuff’ to play with, they are happy to watch clouds and leaves, smiley faces and a simple mobile. They prefer to see familiar toys and books; not new things all the while. A wooden spoon on a saucepan is great entertainment. Take a natural approach to parenting and reduce your expenses.
- Sell or give away what you no longer use. Sharing with others often means they will share back. Build up a community of like-minded parents and pass along resources, such as DVDs, toys, books and clothes
Top Five Essentials for New Babies
- Clothes – you will probably get lots as baby gifts, so wait and see before you start buying. You can often get great bundles of baby clothes on Preloved very reasonably and in great condition as babies grow so fast
- Nappies – Re-usable work out cheaper. Fact – own brand are fine
- Transport – pushchairs with logos don’t make you a better mum! As long as they are safe and functioning, they are just transport. They will all look preloved very quickly, so embrace Preloved from the start and you will save a fortune.
- Somewhere to sleep – some parents put their babies straight into a cot, come co-sleep and come a have a Moses basket first. It is a matter of choice and opinion. Do accept hand-me-downs (although mattresses should always be new and safety checks made)
- Milk – breastfeeding is free. Do your best to try this at least. Get books from the library, talk to friends, watch videos on YouTube and give it your best shot!
Working Mums on a Budget
Working mums need to budget too… They have hefty childcare fees to pay and baby stuff to buy. Here are my tips for working mums
- Make pack-ups instead of lunches out. Take a flask of coffee instead of buying takeaways. Don’t waste money by not being prepared.
- Make it a rule to just £1 on all sponsorships, leaving gifts, etc that you are asked to contribute to at work. These all add up! Have it set in your head that this is what you will give. Keep £1 coins on you. Give a fiver just once and you will forever feel that you need to do so.
- Shop for nearly new work clothes on Preloved and in charity shops in posh areas – you will get some classy deals!
- Don’t try and keep up with work nights out, Christmas lunches, etc. Just say “Sorry, I can get a sitter” or “I’m just so tired” and smile!
- Car share where possible or consider riding your bike to work
Tips for Buying Preloved
Ensure the item is safe and check it thoroughly for splinters, missing screws, etc
Clean thoroughly and disinfect where appropriate
Remember – the best thing for a baby is that his parents are debt light and unstressed. This is far more important than parents stressing and stretching themselves to buy everything brand new.