It’s no secret that babies are expensive little bundles of joy, and trying to make your budget stretch to cover all their wants and needs can be incredibly stressful, especially for first time mums who haven’t yet learned the best corners to cut when it comes to their little ones.
If you’re a first time mum looking for ways to make your budget go further, then try these four ingenious budgeting hacks to help you!
1. Don’t buy newborn sizes
You may be lucky, and be part of an extended circle of friends and acquaintances who are having babies around the same time – if so that’s great news! You will most likely inherit a lot of hand-me-downs!
If not, however, then still refrain from buying clothes in newborn sizes, no matter how tempting it may be. This is because the odds are that your friends, relatives, and colleagues will all buy you newborn baby clothes, and you will be swamped. Remember that babies grow out of clothes incredibly quickly, and it is a waste of money to buy them clothes that may never even get the chance to wear due to their rate of growth.
An additional problem with newborn sizes is that they don’t fit every baby; some babies are born already too big for them. It’s better value for money to save your money and buy clothes that are for 3-6 months and wait for your baby to grow into them, than to buy clothes they are unable to use.
2. Buy diapers in bulk
You may worry about storage, but your baby is not going to mind about diaper boxes in their bedroom. Buy diapers when they are on offer, and buy a lot of them. A six month old may use up to ten diapers a day, whereas a newborn can use upwards of twelve. That is a lot of diapers, so make sure you stock up when they’re most affordable.
Alternatively, you can look into buying reusable diapers. They have come a long way since the white cloth and safety pin days, and although they require a larger pay out at the beginning some advocates say that depending on how long your child is in diapers, the savings can add up to almost $1000 a year.
3. Plan child care early on
It may seem strange to be planning childcare for your potential return to work before your child has already arrived, but it’s true that the early bird catches the worm. In many countries nursery school is free, although you will usually need to pay for childcare for at least the first three years. However, some government schemes provide a limited number of free places for young babies that you may be able to snap up if you apply very early.
In addition, by planning childcare early on you will be more likely to make arrangements that suit your schedule. Try setting up a childcare “co-op” with other mums you know and take it in turns to watch each other’s kids throughout the week, or make inquiries at local nurseries to see their opening times, and never be afraid to try and negotiate fees. Saving money on childcare will help you stretch your budget much further.
4. Make your baby’s food in bulk
Although baby food jars look delicious, and can be useful to have in the cupboard if you are planning a day out or need something quick to hand, they are a costly way to feed your baby.
Once they reach the age where they can start digesting solid food it’s cheaper – and healthier – to cook you little one’s meals for them from scratch. Doing this every day three or four times a day, however, is obviously not sustainable.
The best way to save your money – and your time – is to plan three healthy baby meals for the week and then buy and cook them in bulk. Once they’ve cooled, portion them out into ice cube trays and freeze them. This means all you need to do on a daily basis is to put them on a plate and defrost; the older your baby gets, the more ice cubes you defrost each meal.