How to budget for a baby: some useful tips and tricks

Like many things in life, there is no ‘right time’ to have a baby. If we waited for the perfect ‘conditions’ in life until we did anything, we’d never do anything now would we?

Having a baby and raising a child is very expensive, there’s no doubt about that. If you’ve ever seen those rough calculations of what it costs to have a child and how much you will spend until they reach adulthood, well it’s pretty scary stuff. Yet, people have children and manage. There are so many things I’ve learnt along the way, things I wish I’d thought through more, things I wish I’d known earlier on in my parenting journey. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you budget for a baby.

Start early

I always think it’s really hard knowing when to start buying things for your baby. So many parents have a feeling of not wanting to jinx the pregnancy somehow by buying things early on. I get that, I really do and I’ve had those exact feelings too.

At some point though you need to start buying things and from a financial perspective, the earlier the better, so you can spread these costs out over the time of your pregnancy.

If you don’t want to physically buy things you could instead put money aside each week or load up gift cards to spend at a later date.

Focus on the essentials

Babies are a bit like weddings in the sense that brands are very good at making you think you NEED a particular thing otherwise the nursery wont be perfect. It’s so tricky and when you are excited about having a baby and being pregnant, it is so very easy to get carried away.

I’ve been there. With my first baby I was convinced I needed one of these fancy nappy bin things with cartridges that wrap each nappy into a sausage. Absolutely awful things – never ever buy one! Total waste of money and completely nonsensical, as the bin ended up smelling so bad – way worse than if you’d just thrown it away as normal.

Just think really hard about what the essential items are. Somewhere to sleep, muslin squares, vests and sleep suits, a baby sleeping bag, baby monitor, pushchair and if you think it will be helpful a sling or baby carrier.

It doesn’t always have to be new or top of the range

When you have your first baby you may well be outraged at the mere suggestion of either not having the best of something, or using something second hand. Parents tend to relax about this after their first child and it then becomes common place to reuse things, borrow things from friends and family, buy from Facebook marketplace or eBay and pass things down through siblings.

So many second hand things these days are like new anyway. You can pick up some real second hand bargains, so give it a try. You aren’t letting your baby down by doing this – quite the opposite, you are freeing up more income to use on time as a family, or longer maternity or paternity leave and so on.

Look out for deals

During your pregnancy keep you eyes on the deals. Sign up to a few mailing lists so you are the first to know about offers, special events and sale dates.

These kinds of offers can be so helpful and save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.

Amazon is a also a great place for good deals. Always check how much something is on Amazon before buying it somewhere else. You could consider getting an Amazon Prime membership, which will also give you free postage and better offers over time.

Stock up on essentials

One of the things I did after my first child was to take advantage of offers and discount in supermarkets to stock up on essentials. Things like nappies, wipes, baby wash and so on. At one point, when I was expecting my third child we literally had a garage full of nappies and wipes. They all got used and because we bought them all when they were on offer I worked out we had saved over £1000 – the price of the pushchair, car seat, high chair, baby carrier and bouncer all together!

One thing I would say is don’t buy millions of the first size of nappy. When you stock up at baby events, by a range of sizes, so you aren’t left with tons of size 1 nappies when you need size 4 later on!

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