The cost of having a baby soon makes you realize how much you need to save money.
If you’re a soon-to-be parent you might be worrying about how your financial life is going to change when a little one comes along. Especially if saving hasn’t been a regular part of your life until now. Don’t worry, saving doesn’t have to make life difficult. We’ve put together 14 little changes you can make that all add up to provide a savings buffer-zone as your family grows, so you won’t require an Individual Voluntary Arrangement!
1. Testing, testing, 1,2,3…
If you’re hoping to become pregnant it can be tempting to do tests every hour of every day to see if you need to start choosing names. But it can get expensive. There are test kits on the market that mean you won’t see much change from £20. The cost of repeated testing quickly adds up!
2. Live the lifestyle now
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about needlessly waking yourself up every half-hour before baby arrives! Actually, we’re talking about the lifestyle changes you’ll have in mind for when you become pregnant. For instance, stopping smoking or kerbing alcohol. If you’re trying to become pregnant, doing both of these now will increase your chances – and will put significant money in your purse at the same time!
3. Maternity Exemption Form
As early as possible, talk to your doctor or midwife about an FW8 maternity exception form. Pregnancy sees a host of associated medical issues and so this form will save a big chunk on any prescription costs or dental work until your little one arrives.
4. Clothing extenders
It’s not just baby who’s going to rapidly grow. As you begin to fill your favourite clothes more and more it’s worth getting a few extra weeks and months out of them with the help of extenders. Generally made for bras and jeans, they cost very little and are widely available. They will save you a fortune on sizing your wardrobe up with the passing months.
5. Ditch the expensive creams
There are plenty of creams on the market that promise to reduce stretch-marks at an astronomical cost. Tests show that using a cheaper alternative such as baby oil or even olive oil can work just as well.
6. Getting a room ready
It’s tempting to go all-out and prepare a room fit for a prince or princess. But the reality is your baby isn’t going to know or care whether you’ve spent a small fortune on preparing a room. Is redecorating necessary? Would adding a simple cot to your spare bedroom suffice? It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of pregnancy but your bank balance might suffer.
7. Pre-owned equipment and clothes
The internet is awash with friendly people who are keen to help you as an expecting family. The reality is, millions of people buy expensive equipment, clothing and furniture for their new-additions only to find it surplus to requirements as baby grows or needs change. Have a look at some social media groups and classified sites. You’ll find virtually everything you’re going to need for a fraction of the retail prices.
There are a couple of exceptions though – cot mattresses aren’t expensive and it’s good to make sure you’re getting something squeaky clean. Also, car seats can’t be re-used if they’ve been in a bump, so be safe and buy new.
8. Not sure? Wait!
If you’re a parent you already know that babies can be fickle when it comes to the things they like. It doesn’t matter if it’s dummies, bottles, toys or nappies – you might not see a difference, but baby can! If you’re tempted to buy in bulk ready for your arrival, you might want to hold off and see which things your little one responds well too. If not, that mountain of nappies might end up being given away…
9. Compare costs
The price of nappies and other baby products can vary massively from store to store. Fortunately there are some great online price comparison sites that mean you don’t have to visit every supermarket with a notepad. Check prices of your chosen baby products online – and if you just can’t face taking baby shopping, look for new customer online shopping and delivery offers.
10. Buy a convertible
Sadly, a convertible sports car is unlikely to save you money or be practical – a convertible cot or baby seat is a totally different story though. They might be slightly costlier now, but having items that grow with your little one mean you’re going to be able to save on the big costs going forward.
11. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need
Got a relative that’s already started knitting blankets and jumpers for baby? Or someone who’s lavishing you with the latest baby gadgets? If you can direct people’s good intentions toward things you really need then you’re going to save money. Depending on who you’re talking to you might need to exercise your best diplomacy skills – but your bank balance will thank you for it!
12. Return unwanted gifts
If your diplomacy hasn’t worked and you’re left with unwanted gifts don’t be afraid to return them. Even without the receipt you’ll find you’re generally able to exchange providing the items haven’t been used. When you’re inundated with clothes, returning some and replacing them with the next sizes up can save money in the coming months.
13. Let’s talk feet!
Your baby’s feet can cost serious money – so, avoid the cost of expensive miniature footwear until they’re properly walking, experts say baby will learn to walk more confidently without shoes. Also, plump for all-in-ones that don’t have feet – socks will keep their toes just as toasty and you’ll get an extra couple of inches of growth out of your little ones’ clothes.
14. Loyalty cards
If you find a particular store that does consistently good deals on items you need then see if there’s a loyalty card scheme you can sign up to. In return, you might get a few pounds off your weekly shop, either with vouchers or just reduced prices.
Life can throw lots of unexpected costs your way. When you’re pregnant it’s easy to splash the cash and throw caution to the wind – individually these little tricks might not save fortunes, but add them up and you’ll be able to put some money in the bank for any unexpected financial rainy days.