Congratulations! You’re expecting. So now it’s time to get down to business. Your baby is going to cost a LOT. For a thing so very tiny, the dent in your bank account may come as a surprise to new parents.
[photo by Dominik Meissner]
Gumtree, Craigslist and Freecycle are your new best friends – as are work colleagues, cousins, siblings and your mum’s next door neighbours’ niece. Once they find out you’re having a baby, they’ll happily shower you in hand-me downs, from clothing to toys to bouncers to prams, cots, and bassinets.
Resist the urge to splurge on a brand new, matching nursery suite or matching pram and car-seat, and scour online listings for pre-loved items. Be sure to check for safety tags and cleanliness; but some paint to an old cot or some fabric dye on tired bedding and clothes could be all you need to make them as good as new (remember that your baby will quickly grow out of clothes, especially in the first few months – some items may only be worn once, so a few stains isn’t the end of the world).
At the hospital
Make sure you collect any free samples, vouchers and coupons on offer in the maternity ward, and avoid paying for extras like access to movies.
When the baby arrives
Unfortunately, the spending doesn’t stop when the baby gets home. Here are a few more tips to keep your costs down:
- Formula is expensive, so avoid it if you can
- Use washable cloth nappies; they’re environmentally friendly and will save money in the long run
- When your baby moves to solid food, make your own – mashing up veggies is easy for even the worst cooks. You can store them in sterilised jars
- Buy one plastic bib that you can wipe down instead of lots of cloth ones
- For music and books, visit your local library – they will have plenty you can get for free instead of purchasing
- Make your own baby wipes
- Make your own baby-friendly laundry detergent
- Keep an eye out for deals online and in the supermarket
- Talk to other parents to share tips
- If you’re planning another baby, get gender-neutral clothing and accessories.
It’s easy to get carried away buying things for the baby – remember that all your baby really needs is to be loved and looked after!
Vivienne Egan is a content writer for Thomson Local.