How to have a baby on a budget!
You don't have to have Victoria Beckham's bank account in order to afford to have a baby - follow these tips and your tot can have everything they need for a fraction of the price.
Every few months a study is published that tries to tell us how much it costs (in the first 12 months) to have a baby. The last one I read had handily calculated that sum to be £9,491. Marvellous.
But, the amount you spend on equipment, at least, is up to you. With a bit of canny shopping, bargain hunting and planning, you can massively slash those costs.
The more you can put away now, the better shape you will be in financially when the little one finally arrives.
Resist the urge to spend a fortune on fancy baby clothes – they’ll outgrow them in two minutes (and you’ll probably be given numerous cute items anyway).
Far more satisfying is to pick up bundles of lovely baby (and maternity) clothes on sites such as eBay, Netmums and Gumtree for just a few pounds!
But do stock up on neutral coloured vests and sleepsuits, which can be picked up cheaply at supermarkets/Primark/Matalan etc. They’re comfortable, practical, and can be used for subsequent babies to boot.
And if you’re having a boy (and have a daughter already) and have friend in the reverse situation, why not arrange to swap your old baby clothes?
3. Essential equipment
There’s a lot of baby paraphernalia out there, so you need to focus. You don’t need it all!
Moses basket – these are regularly advertised on Freecycle (probably because babies are rarely in them for more than six weeks) so check groups in your area regularly.
Cot – Cots start at just £34.99 at Ikea, but ask around as friends/family may have one that they are happy for you to use. Again, be sure to check out Freecycle, eBay and Gumtreetoo . Just check it complies with these safety standards.
And remember, it’s recommended that you buy brand new, snug-fitting mattresses for second-hand moses baskets and cots.
Travel Cot – These are useful for weekends away and can even be used as a mini-playpen in the lounge. If you can’t find one second-hand (NCT Nearly New Sales often have plenty), you can pick up a new one from just £29.99 from Kiddicare.
Pram/Stroller – With pushchairs costing anything up to £1,200 (Yikes!) you could spend more than you did on your first car! But again, you don’t have to buy new.
A quick search on my local Gumtree revealed a Phil & Ted’s Sport tandem pushchair being advertised for £100 (RRP ca. £400+) and a three-year-old Mamas & Papas Pliko Pramette being advertised for just £25! Plus there are often very serviceable strollers and prams being given away on Freecycle.
Car seat – The one exception to the second-hand rule is your car seat. Unless you can obtain a relatively new one from a trusted friend (so you know it’s never been in an accident) it’s best to buy new.
Changing tables, baby carriers, baby baths and nappy disposal systems etc. are all non-essential, so you can save money here. But there are bargains to be had second-hand.
There are three Baby Bjorn baby carriers, for example, currently advertised on my local Gumtree for £10 each – an 85% saving on the £65 RRP. Alternatively, Ikea has changing tables starting at £24.99 and baby baths for just £5.49.
With babies requiring around 4,500 nappy changes before potty training, washable nappies can save you a small fortune – check out the Nappy Lady for some free advice.
But if you opt for disposables, don’t limit yourself to brand names. Tesco, Boots and Sainsbury’s make some very good own-brand nappies which are about a third cheaper. Give them all a try to find which suit your child.
And if you do choose brand names, save by buying in bulk when they’re on offer. Shopping online can quickly reveal the cost per nappy for easy comparison, and could provide free delivery to boot!
As for changing bags, while Cath Kidston may stock some lovely ones, that small rucksack you have at home will hold more and leave both hands free when you’re carrying your baby (and save you £80!).
6. Claim everything!
So there you have it, some tips to seriously slash the cost of having a baby! Why not get started by snapping up this plethora of baby freebies?
If you have any further tips, do post them below – we’d love to hear them!
More on moneysaving: