We know (we’re parents too!) how overwhelming it can be to plan for the costs of having a baby, especially if it’s your first time. Follow our tips for ways to make your money go further - from adapting your household budget to the best way to buy baby essentials - and take advantage of what you’re entitled to as parents.
1. What financial support you’re entitled to?
There are many types of financial support provided for families. From different types of paid parental leave, to child benefit, and healthy start vouchers towards food shopping. If you live in Scotland there is a slightly different scheme called Best Start Grant. You can check what you’re entitled to using the Government’s calculator.
2. Find out where your money goes
Money-management apps can be great for tracking money in and out of your account and can help you see clearly how much you’re spending each month, and on what. If you’re still coming up a bit short after working out how much to save for a baby, you might need to see if you can trim the non-essentials list.
3. Write a list of things for new baby
Designer baby trainers? Monogrammed baby grows? You name it, we’ve seen it. There are so many baby items out there today, but plan ahead and think about what you’ll really need. Write a baby checklist, and check with friends and family with babies what they found essential and what they could do without. If you’re having a baby shower you could set up a gift registry and ask family and friends to club together towards some of the more expensive items.
4. Ask friends for hand-me-downs
Hand me downs are a great way to stock up on the baby essentials (as well as being a sustainable way to consume). Ask friends and families with children if you can have or borrow some of the things on your baby essentials list – you may find they’ll be only too happy to help if it means they can have a bit of a clear out!
5. Buy second-hand baby essentials
Check out local Facebook groups and second-hand sites like eBay or Vinted for pre-loved baby essentials. You can often find big-ticket items or big clothing bundles for sale, still in excellent condition but at a fraction of the retail cost.
6. Search “find a toy library near me.”
You could find out if there’s a local toy library near you—often for a small membership fee, you can get access to hundreds of toys, games and books for your little one. You’ll save money, they’ll never be bored because there will always be something new to play with, and you don’t have the hassle of finding a new home for items that they’ve grown out of!
7. Try reusable nappies
Reusable nappies are certainly kinder on the environment and your bank balance too. Using cloth nappies instead of disposable ones can save hundreds of pounds a year. There will be some initial outlay costs, depending on what type of cloth nappy you opt for, but they might last for when a little brother or sister is on the way. Search online for the best options for you and your baby.
8. Buy in bulk
We know that cloth nappies aren’t for everyone, and with a million other things on your list, don’t feel bad if you need to go down the disposable route. There are savings to be had by bulk buying or signing up to a subscription service. Of course, your little bundle of joy won’t stay so little forever, so remember to change your regular order, or they might be a bit tight!
9. Open a baby savings account
If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to save some money for your child’s future, there are some good options for you. Check out accounts that are specially designed for children, but make sure you read the small print, as some options won’t let you access the money again until your child turns 18. Setting up a regular bank transfer to deposit money into the account each month means you won’t forget and your nest egg will grow as your baby does. Whether you’re putting money away for buying baby gear or even starting a university fund, it’s worth shopping around for the best interest rates so you can save the most for your child’s future.
10. Put together a baby budget
Even if you take all the advice above it can still be tricky to cover all the baby essentials. When you have completed your list of essentials put them in order of priority and focus on the top priority items first. Why not try using the Mother of all Checklists to find baby items and to create your baby essentials list. Also, you can use an online baby costs calculator that can help.