When you get pregnant, you may not realise how expensive things can be to buy. There will be prams, pushchairs, cots, car seats, changing tables, bedding, clothing, nappies and possibly milk and bottles to pay for. Although you may be lucky enough to get gifts from friends and family, the more expensive items will be likely to be left to you to pay for. Below are some tips on how to save money on these things.
Before you buy anything it is a good idea to ask friends and family members that have had babies for advice. Find out what they bought for their baby and what was worth buying and what was not. They may be able to give you some tips on where to shop, what to pay for things and where to find the best bargains. You may not agree with them, but if you ask enough people, you will be able to build up an idea of what sorts of things to buy and where to spot the best prices. You can also find online forums which will have the same sort of advice, so if you have no one to ask or want to ask even more people, you could look there.
You will probably have family members or friends that have children and they may have items that you can borrow. Often parents will keep hold of things like Moses baskets and high chairs ready for a second baby. However, in between, they may be happy to let you borrow them. So it is worth asking around to see whether anyone has anything that they could lend you. Things that get very little use such as new born size car seats, prams and Moses baskets are well worth considering. You may be fussy about what you have for your baby, so therefore only ask people that you know you can trust with regards to cleanliness and how they may treat items.
Choose Multi-Purpose Items
When you are buying items, it is worth considering getting things that will serve more than one purpose. For example, you can buy a car seat that will last across a long age span, which may work out better value for money than changing it frequently. The same with a cot, which will not last that long, you may consider getting a cot bed instead, which will last a lot longer and therefore may be a more worthwhile investment. With a pram, you will get very little use out of it, so it may be better to get a pushchair that can accommodate new born babies as well as toddlers rather than buying a pram and a pushchair. Look at the prices of the items and see which you think would be the best.
Make Careful Decisions
It can be tempting to just go out and buy all the lovely cute matching items that you can find. However, it is worth thinking and possibly even waiting for some things. For example, consider whether you have room for a changing table and if you would be better off just using a chest of drawers and changing baby on the bed or floor. Think about how much use you are likely to get out of things and whether it is better to pay less for those items, even if they do not look so good or not buy them at all.
Consider Second Hand
You will find that you can get quite a few items second hand. You may not like the idea of your new baby having things that have been used and on a few things you will be right to be cautious but usually you can tell how well items have been looked after just by looking. The exception to this is mattresses and car seats. There has been thought to be a risk of mouldy mattresses causing cot death, so it is wise to buy a new mattress for a cot or Moses basket if you get one second hand. A car seat may not work properly if it has been involved in an accident, so unless you can be completely sure of the history it is wise not to buy one second hand.
You should be able to find second hand items quite easily. Charity shops can be good for baby clothes but for bigger items look at car boot sales for the best prices. You may also benefit from looking on freecycle and get some free things. There are also online boards and social media pages where people buy and sell items and if you find a local one you could end up being able to get some cheap things on there too.
Look for Cash Back Offers
If you are buying new, then it is wise to look for cash back offers. These can be found online and there are a number of cash back website that you can register with. They are usually designed for online purchases and when you buy from shops, using the links on their site, you can get money back. With expensive purchases it can be well worth doing some research to see whether you can benefit from this. You may have to build up a certain amount of money before you can withdraw, so make sure that you check the terms before you sign up.
Search for Voucher Codes
Another way to save when buying online is voucher codes. Again there are many websites with these and you can just search for ‘voucher code’ and the retailers names to see what current offers are available. You may be able to get free postage or money off what you buy or sometimes a percentage discount. Again, this is most worthwhile with more expensive purchases but always worth a quick check before buying anything online as even small savings can add up.
Keep an Eye Out for Sales
It is always a good idea to look out for sales. However, do not get carried away buying things that you do not need, just because they are cheap. It can be tempting to do this, so have a list of what you need and try your best to stick to it. Also compare prices between shops, because even if something is on a sale price in one shop does not mean its regular price could be cheaper elsewhere. Comparing online and high street retailers may help you to find the best prices. If you think sales are likely to come soon, perhaps because of the time of year, then it is worth waiting to see if the items that you need get reduced.
Compare Prices Online
It is wise to compare prices online before you shop. If you go into a high street shop and see the item you like, then it is tempting to just buy it there and then. This is particularly true for baby items as they look so cute and lovely and you can easily get carried away with wanting to get them. However, if you search online and compare prices first and then go to the cheapest shop to look at it, you will know that you are buying it for the best possible price. There will be some shops are generally cheaper than others, but sometimes you can be surprised by discounts, sales or odd low price deals from shops that might normally be dearer so it is always worth comparing.
Do not Over Buy
It is easy to get carried away buying lots of things before baby comes along. However, it is not always easy to predict what you will need. It is worth only buying the basics and waiting to see after the baby is born what other things you need, so that you do not buy more than is necessary. You may find you can manage without a changing table or baby bath stand, for example, but until baby comes home it is very hard to tell.
It can also be tempting to decorate a bedroom for baby and make it all a particular theme. However, it will not be long until baby becomes a toddler and has different interests and they may even want to choose the theme for their room. It is therefore a good idea to just do something plain and then you can add themed items when they want them without having to change the whole décor.
Ask for Things
Often friends and family like to give gifts when someone is having a baby. Baby showers are getting more common in the UK, although often it is still traditional to wait until the baby is born and give a gift then. It is wise to provide a list of items that you need for these occasions if appropriate. It is not very ‘British’ to ask directly, but if anyone asks for a suggestion then you can give them an idea from the list. Obviously you would not be asking for large items, unless a grandparent-to-be wants to be really generous, but baby clothing and things like that could be requested and would save you having to buy so much. Most people give 0-3 months sizes so they know they will fit even if baby is big. Therefore it could be worth asking for 3-6 month so that you have something to use as baby grows or smaller sizes as baby is unlikely to need clothes bigger than 0-3 months to start with.
Have a Savings Plan
It is wise to start a savings plan as soon as you know that you are pregnant. Put some money away each month towards paying for the items that you will need. Most parents-to-be will not want to shop early on, until they know that everything is going well for the baby. However, if you save right away then you will have the money available, when you do decide that it is time to start shopping.
Choosing how much to save will be restrained by how much income you have and what necessities you have to buy. However, it can be useful to get a list together of what you will need to buy and roughly how much it will cost so that you can save enough money each month. It can also be a good habit to get into, as there will often be new things that you need to buy as the child grows and so having savings to fall back on will be really helpful. It would be wise to save as much as you possibly can.
Plan Your Income
It is very wise to immediately start thinking about your income after baby is born. If both parents have been working, you have to decide whether they will both continue to work full time and if so how you will cover the cost of child care. If you decide to share child care by both working part time or that one of you will stop working, then you need to plan for this as well. The amount of income lost if this happens will have far more of a long term effect than the cost of buying items for baby and so it is well worth planning. Consider whether there are ways that you can cut down generally so that you can manage financially and whether you can afford for one of you to stop work or to work part time.
Hold Onto Things
If you have room, then it can be wise to hold onto things as baby grows out of them. Anything from prams, Moses baskets, clothing and baby baths could easily be used again as they will not get a lot of wear. Even if you do not plan on having any more children, you never know what may happen in the future and there may be grandchildren who may benefit too. If you sell them or give them away then you may regret it in the future.