Bringing a new person into this world – or, essentially, keeping them fed, watered, warm, dressed, amused and pretty darn comfy – can hit your bank balance hard.
For such tiny beings, having babies can cost big! As parents, we simply want to concentrate on all the mini milestones, bask in the OMG cuteness and not stress the baby budget. So, while the bun’s in the oven and then beyond, take a few tips on how to prepare your purse for parenthood.
Here’s 7 ideas that are easy to implement and sure to assist in making the transition from two-to-three more friendly on the hip-pocket!
1. Clear out the clutter – turn your trash into cash!
Have a garage sale, flood eBay with all your odds and sods, sell off the spare room ‘stuff’, and make some cash (and space!) for your soon-to-arrive addition. Think about trading in your hot little hatchback and taking on a trusty ‘family’ car instead. Babies mean bigger boot space is always required! All those excessive pre-baby clothes and shoes? Take stock of what you need, what fits and what your new life requires. Check out Ebay, Gumtree and local Buy, Swap, Sell pages as easy ways to move your items!
2. Understand your baby benefits
Those holding the purse strings at Government HQ offer lots of payments to parents and families, so get registered and don’t miss out. Some of these are one-off payments while others are ongoing, from family tax and child care benefit to parental leave pay. Working? Check your company policy and employment contract about maternity leave with a fine tooth comb. And think about holding onto any holidays you have until after baby has arrived – you might be able to combine paid annual leave with unpaid maternity leave.
3. Say yes to secondhand – yes, yes, yes!
The minute you publicly utter the words “I’m Pregnant” every second person you’ve ever met offers to unload their baby stuff on you. And you know what? Accept, always accept. Bite their hand off! Especially clothes (babies grow so damn fast, blink and you’ll miss today’s outfit). You’ll get plenty of ‘new’ all in good time, so go with the freebies. For other bits you need, shop online and buy secondhand. It’s a freaking treasure trove out there, from designer prams to quality brands of everything, second-hand means huge savings.
4. Know there is stuff you really don’t need
In an era where there’s literally something for everything (and more!) there’s actually a lot of baby items that you can live without. If you’re on a budget think about what can afford not to have. Everyone is different in their needs and wants but ask a few mum-friends what they ‘wouldn’t spend their money on again now’ and they’ll have a list as long as your arm for you. If you’re really not sure if you need a specific item consider buying it second hand – or wait and see if the need actually arises.
5. Choose free baby (and mummy) entertainment
Don’t spend a stack on classes and groups, there’s plenty of pocket-friendly options to explore! Do you really need pre-natal yoga? Could you just go for a walk or a swim? Everything comes down to what’s your priorities and what you want to save. After bubs is here, if you’re in a mother’s group, your baby already has his/her own social circle. The invites will soon flow. Your lovely local library is perfect for penny-watching parents, with free ‘Rhyme-time’ and ‘Story-time’ sessions. Plus you can borrow tons of baby books and games, audio books and DVDs and it won’t cost a thing, hurrah! And don’t overlook the good old park. Everything comes in good time, save you money for when your little person is really ready for activities and outings.
6. Start shopping early & look for good deals
If you’re worried about cash flow when baby comes start to add a few necessities to your grocery shop now. Throw in some wipes or nappies when they are on special. What doesn’t hurt as much now is much easier to stomach than later. If you’re also looking at big budget items like nursery furniture or a pram and want to buy brand new consider layby and chip away at your costs. Some baby stores offer registries, if you’re bold enough to have one, use one! Ask family and friends to choose from the list so you’ll know what’s covered, what’s not and minimise the stuff you don’t want at all.
7. Have a baby shower!
You might think you don’t want a baby shower but seriously, go with it. Enjoy the pressies for baby. Be grateful for all the goodies. Don’t feel bad for keeping gift receipts – go back for what you actually need. And often you’ll be gifted with heaps of super-handy stuff anyway (we guarantee hats, baby blankets, bibs, rattles). So sit back, enjoy the fun and eat cake. Because there is always cake.
What’s your best tip for budgeting for baby? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.