Having a baby is one of life’s great experiences, but it can also be a strain on family finances. You’re introducing a new little miracle into the world and you want them to have the very best of everything. It’s important to remember that the best doesn’t have to mean the most expensive. In this article, we’re going to explore what you need, what you don’t need and where you can save money as you prepare for a new baby to join the family.
When you first have your baby, you'll find out whether breast or bottle is best. If you breast feed, the cost is minimal. You create the milk and the only purchase you might need is a breast pump. If you don’t want to purchase or use a breast pump, you could tease the milk out with your fingers. But this can be time consuming and some mothers even find this painful. If you bottle feed, there are a number of options that you can go with. Many brands create powdered milk and which one to go with is a personal choice based on availability and preference.
One way of saving time and effort when using powdered milk is to buy a preparation machine. These machines dispense water at the correct temperature so the baby can start drinking as soon as the bottle is ready. These can require a large spend to begin with. Instead, you could boil the water first in a kettle or saucepan, mix with the powder and then leave to cool. The other machine available to aid with preparation is a steriliser. All bottles should be sterilised before use. A steriliser steam-cleans the bottles but like the preparation machine, it would require an initial outlay. Alternatively, you could soak each bottle in boiled water.
Nappies are a must have, unless you fancy a very messy clean up job on a regular basis. Unfortunately babies aren’t that great at controlling when, and how much, they go to the toilet. Depending on the size and appetite of the baby, you could be changing nappies around 12 times per day. That’s a lot of nappies. The standard, disposable nappies that are most common in shops can range in price significantly. A quick online search has found them as low as £1.29 for a pack of 19, and as high as £6 for 22. The alternative is using reusable nappies. Instead of taking the nappy off and disposing of it after it is filled, reusable nappies are washed and re-worn. They are more expensive to buy up front, but there is a less frequent need for repeat purchase. Like many of the alternatives on this list, there are counter arguments. Some people feel that they are less hygienic and more time consuming than disposable nappies.
Baby fashion is a growing industry. Everywhere you go you see babies in the latest designer gear. Shorts, t-shirts, boots, gilets and a lot of brand names. If you want to give them that extra flair and style, that is your decision. But remember that babies don’t know what they’re wearing; they only know whether it is comfortable or not. As long as you have the essentials: vests, baby-grows, an outdoor cold weather outfit, socks, scratch mitts and a hat, you’ll be fine. Children grow so fast that they’ll be out of 0-3 month size clothing before you know it. Buy too much and your child won’t have time to wear it! Also, clothes are an easy present to buy. If you’re lucky enough to have lots of friends and family, you’ll probably be inundated with clothes anyway.
The key to buying baby furniture, isn’t about saving money, but more about spreading the cost. When you’re expecting, it’s tempting to go out and buy everything you could ever need. Cots, beds, highchairs, walkers; there’s so much that you can buy for your baby. It’s worth remembering that it’s going to be a long time before your baby will be able to use any of these items. 6 months before they can sit at a high chair, 6-12 months before they need a separate cot, up to 12 months before they need a walker. Knowing when to buy the furniture will help you spread the cost and anticipate when you will need to make an outlay.
Raising a child is one of the most incredible experiences that you will ever have. The last thing you want to think about is how you’re going to afford it. Make the most of this time; new things and designer brands will age and fade, but these experiences will last a life time. For more budgeting hints and tips for when you're planning to have a baby.