Don’t buy baby stuff with a credit card
This is a guest post by Sara Williams, who blogs about everything related to debt, from payday loans refunds to mortgages and even pensions at her website, Debt Camel.
You want the best for your baby of course. And baby clothes are so cute… And the perfect buggy, stroller, changing table, changing bag, nursery furniture will all make your life so much easier… I remember when my two were little, the list of stuff I wanted seemed almost endless.
The best bit of advice I never took
When I was 6 months pregnant, a good friend told me to find a cheap second-hand buggy as by the time the baby was 6 months old I would be desperate to get a lightweight stroller instead. Of course I ignored this, the idea of having an all in one buggy where the baby could lie flat at the start and use a car seat later on seemed so practical.
Well my friend was right, managing that big beast up and down steps and into the car was no fun at all. No matter how light-weight it seems in the shop, add a baby and half a ton of baby kit and it’s a pest. And one that takes up a lot of room as well!
Baby stuff lasts a lot less time than you think
I think this applies to a lot of children’s stuff. Six months or a year later and even if it still physically fits, it won’t be really right any more.
This isn’t just for babies. The perfect bike for a 7 year old – he will need a new one in a year or two. Or even 6 months if you are unlucky and he hits a growth spurt!
So it’s good to plan for this when you are budgeting. Paying for nice extras or top of the range quality can make sense if you are using something for years, but for a short period it’s better to go for a cheaper option which you can then afford to replace sooner.
Plan to pay for the item before it’s outgrown
There is a good rule of thumb about buying something on credit – make sure you pay the debt off before it’s worn out. So it’s fine to get a 25 year mortgage as you will still be living in the house at the end. And it’s OK to get car finance for 5 years for a newish car.
But if you are thinking of putting baby and children’s clothes and kit on a credit card or catalogue, think twice. If you only make the minimum payments it can take 10, 15 or more years to repay that. This is the minimum payment credit card trap that it’s too easy to fall into, you can end up still paying for her buggy when she is a teenager!
The “Buy Now, Pay Later” options in catalogues can look very tempting, but these can work out incredibly expensive. If you don’t repay the whole amount by the end date you get hit with high interest going back to the date you bought it, even if you are just a day late. They are best avoided – if you do want to go for one, divide up the cost by the number of months and set up a standing order to pay that amount.
Paying cash is best
Paying cash is the best way for children’s things. If you can’t afford something now, you can’t afford to be still paying for it later when you need to buy something else!
Sound advice Sara thank you!