How to have a baby on a budget…
Firstly congratulations and welcome to the club. In this article, I am going to talk about what you need to buy for your baby. By the end, you will know the priority items that your baby needs and how to get them on a budget.
There are so many things you could buy. However, as you have probably figured out if you buy all of the baby things, that is going to cost a lot of money. There are some key steps you can take to avoid buying unnecessary things and focus on what you really have to buy for your baby.
I’m a Mum of three including twin girls. I know first hand how overwhelming the thought of getting everything set up for your new arrival(s) can be. The catalogues from the baby shops depict beautiful matching items costing the same as a two week holiday.
The good news is you do not need to spend thousands to be set up safely.
Ask yourself would the baby notice if their bath towel was a different design to their bedding? No, they would not. They would rather you saved your cash and put it into the maternity leave savings account. Do not think that expensive means better quality or your baby will be any better off.
1. Set a budget and stick to it
The baby catalogues and magazines will be full of ‘indicative’ budgets. Remember they want you to part with your hard-earned cash and shop with them.
Think about what you can realistically afford, never go into debt if you can avoid it. The budget you set should keep in mind the reduced income you expect on maternity leave. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is around £5,000.
If spending £1,000 on a fancy travel system means you will have to struggle in your maternity leave, seriously consider if this is a priority item. Suitable prams are available which take car seats for £100-£200.
For example, when our eldest was born I was only entitled to SMP so I knew I had to be careful with my pennies. Any additional costs setting up the nursery would have impacted my ability to have a longer maternity leave. That meant that I needed to carefully prioritise what I was buying to make sure maternity leave was not cut short.
2. Write a list of everything you think you will need
In the same way, you would write a list for your weekly shop, think about what you will need. If you think you will get an item gifted or loaned from family and friends still add it to the list. It is important to feel in control. You can then see at a glance what you need to buy for your baby and what you don’t.
If you aren’t sure what size to buy, read this post.
3. Work out your priority order
If you have seen family and friends set up for their new arrivals you probably have a sense of how much ‘stuff’ they have and how quickly you can fill your house with baby equipment.
The overarching message here is you do not need to buy everything for day one! If you are expecting twins, triplets or more you more than likely don’t need more than one the essential items for day one.
For example, day one you need an approved car seat (if you plan to bring the baby home from the hospital in a car), a pushchair/pram which is suitable for a newborn, somewhere safe for them to sleep, and appropriate clothing/nappies/food and bedding.
Don’t get caught up buying highchairs, toys, bigger clothes, and everything else until you really have to.
4. Work out what you must buy new and where second hand will do
Safety is always the number one priority when you buy things for your baby. Some things can safely be purchased second hand and a few items are recommended that you purchase from new.
You may have generous family and friends who have offered to contribute towards your list by either passing items down or buying them on your behalf. A great way to keep check of this is to use something like the Amazon Baby Wishlist where you can make your list for family and friends to purchase directly from. This is something we found invaluable as we have family and friends overseas and this was a way for them to send us gifts without the added stress of postage and customs charges.
5. Break your budget down into individual items
Again thinking about your top three priority items; car seat, pram/pushchair, and somewhere to sleep these will consume the bulk of your budget.
A Stage 0 car seat for the UK will set you back £100-£150 depending on what you buy. Our personal favourite was the Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix Baby Car Seat, it was reasonably priced, safe and easy to get in and out of the car.
Prams/pushchairs can cost anywhere into the thousands of pounds for a celebrity-endorsed travel system. Shop around to get the best deal for the pram that fits your needs (including fitting into the boot of your car). When our eldest was born we got a bargain pushchair for £50 which was from an outlet store. When our twins were born we spent about £550 on an Out and About Nipper including footmuffs and rain covers. Neither were the most beautiful prams in the world but they met our budget and functional needs.
Cots/cot beds/cribs/Moses baskets come in a host of shapes, sizes, and budgets. Whatever you chose make sure you factor in the cost of the mattress and bedding to go with it. You do not need to spend a fortune because it is not like shopping for an adult mattress, your baby will be out of their cot potentially after two years.
6. Bargain hunt before you spend anything!
So you have set your budget, you have your list and now you know what you are prepared to spend on each item, its time to look for the best possible deals including any cashback offers which are available.
7. Know the best way to part with your cash
Whether buying new or second hand make sure you are spending your cash in the safest way.
If you are buying second hand always use PayPal Goods and Services for complete protection. Never use PayPal Friends and Family or Bank Transfer, if something goes wrong you will not be protected.
If you are buying new try to use a card which has chargeback protection on it (Visa, Mastercard or Amex). That way if your goods are faulty or you have issues actually getting what you bought.
You can get more money advice for Mums over in our Facebook Group. Click here to join.
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