Thanks to Katy for this fabulous guest post. You can find her at her own blog Katy Kicker
Baby budgeting – The essentials guide
When it comes to having a baby I know just how expensive they are! Despite our daughter being placed, for seven whole years, I was still shocked at how much everything costs. While it can be tempting to only have brand new, for your brand new baby, you needn’t overspend. Today I am going to talk to you about budgeting for the essentials – those must have baby items. Some of these might not seem essential, if you don’t have a baby, but these are the items that really got use for us – especially in the first 6 months!
Cot – This does NOT need to be brand new. You can buy a second hand cot, borrow one from a friend who isn’t using it again for a while or buy one of the cheaper new ones. You will want to buy a brand new mattress to ensure that there is no dust or allergens within it. This will help to keep you baby safe and reduce their risk of SIDs.
Pram / Travel system – You can choose to buy the pram, with carrycot, or you can choose to buy a pram with a lay flat seat. Either will be sufficient for your baby and you can visit Mothercare to try them out first. There is nothing wrong with buying second hand here. However, there are often fantastic offers on complete systems – including a car seat.
Car Seat – For us the ‘free’ car seat with our travel system didn’t actually fit safely in our car. What we did was return it back to the store and they knocked £80 off the price of the new car seat that we needed. This was SUPER expensive, at £175, however, we have a funny shaped car without ISOFIX so that didn’t help. There were models starting at around £35 suitable from birth. I wouldn’t recommend a second hand car seat, unless you can be sure that it hasn’t ever been involved in an accident. If you want to save money in the long term you can buy car seats now that are suitable from 0 – 12 years. This is a big investment initially but the money that you will save over 12 years can add up to £100s.
Nappies – We tried the branded ones first. Pampers in particular. While the tiny baby size were fine we found that the size 1 nappies leaked. It was an almost daily occurrence for us to have a poosplosion. Once we changed to supermarket brand nappies, from Aldi (Mamia), we haven’t had a leak since – in 7 months! Do not be tempted to stockpile nappies before your baby is born. 1. They grow fast and 2. Not all nappies suit all babies. You will want to try out some different brands. We have found Little Angels from Asda, Tesco nappies and Aldi Mamia to be the best ones for us. The Sainsburys ones were also pretty good quality – overall the savings can be as high as 40-50%. That is a staggering amount over 2+ years. Cloth nappies are a fantastic way to make great savings also. You can even keep them for future babies making them a great investment for the long term!
Wipes – Again, do not be tempted to stockpile. You newborn baby will need wipes that do not have added perfumes. Some babies can tolerate value wipes, some can only tolerate Water wipes. You will save a little money if you use cotton wool balls and water – plus it is better for your little one’s delicate skin too. Once you realise that cotton wool balls and water are a little bit of a faff then consider trying the supermarket branded wipes. Look at the price per packet and check the amount of wipes that you receive. The shelf edge label in the supermarket should help you work out which ones are the best value per wipe.
Changing Bag – Often you can receive one of these free, or discounted, via the Boots Parenting Club. You can sign up, for free, with your Boots Advantage Card (also free) and then you’ll receive vouchers. I received quite a few nice freebies over the first year of my daughter’s life. Little packets of wipes, baby food and more. All handy for saving a few pounds!
Baby monitor – I feel that a baby monitor is an essential. Whether you want to be able to hear your baby, see them, or check they are breathing there is a monitor for everyone. For me personally I went for a breathing movement pad. This has activated one time since my daughter was born and she was genuinely in danger. For me that made it worth every single penny. I got my monitor for HALF PRICE by waiting for the retailer to have a sale. I had to wait until the 6th or 7th month of my pregnancy. Also, these are often available cheap second hand on eBay. With most monitors it is simple to check that they are working effectively when they arrive, even if your baby hasn’t been born yet. For the movement monitor you can place a teddy, or other item on the mat, and then wait for the alarm to activate when no breathing/movement is detected. With buyer protection from eBay you could save a significant amount of money.
Baby sling – This was a real essential for us. Our daughter has reflux so needed to be held in an upright position frequently. Initially I spent less than £15 for a fabric sling from Amazon. I then learned how to secure it by watching YouTube videos. This was around £70-£75 cheaper than the similar branded ones. My daughter was safe, secure and close to me – it also allowed me to get some chores done!
Baby clothes – You really don’t need to buy 100s of brand new outfits. Second hand is absolutely fine. There are lots of fantastic groups on Facebook dedicated to selling second hand clothing from brands such as Next and Joules. My daughter has worn a mixture of brands and both new and second hand clothing. I also made it clear to relatives who wanted to buy us a gift when she was born that I was happy with second hand. We got some beautiful outfits for less than a supermarket gift would have cost!
Now there are more ‘essentials’ that a baby requires. I’ve just covered a few of the basics today! What I want to show you is that second hand is absolutely fine. There are some items that should be brand new, such as a mattress and a car seat. However, there are lots of items that you can pick up second hand. Also, Facebook selling pages are a fantastic place to look – as is eBay!
I’ve had some real bargains during my first year as a parent. For example when I wanted to upgrade from a baby sling to a baby carrier, so my tall husband could babywear, I found a £100 baby carrier for just £10 including delivery on eBay! If your baby hasn’t been born yet then you have a fantastic opportunity to shop around, set up alerts on eBay and keep your eyes peeled on those Facebook pages!
Thanks so much Katy. Great advice!
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