By Jo Violeta
Having a baby is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. It’s also one of the most expensive experiences you’ll ever encounter.
A new baby can put a strain on the household budget. Not only are your expenses going to increase, but your income will likely decrease. A scary thought, right? But the arrival of a new baby doesn’t mean you must abandon your savings plan and money goals.
Here are 8 ways to save money when you’re preparing for your newborn:
1) Buy second-hand
I wish I’d known what was ‘really necessary’ and what wasn’t before my first bub. I bought everything new and didn’t need half of it! For my second child however, I was far savvier. I scoured eBay during my pregnancy and found lots of brand-name bargains, many still with the tags on.
Second-hand is a smart strategy for special occasion clothes. You can pick up a beautiful dress or a tiny suit for a fraction of the retail cost and chances are its previous owner only wore it once or twice.
If buying second-hand cots, prams or car seats, you’ll need to check that the items comply with current safety standards. Even if a second-hand item is in good condition, it may be less safe than a newer model. Keep in mind that second-hand goods bought from a private seller usually aren’t covered by consumer guarantees.
2) Road test your pram & carrier
Do your research before buying a pram. Ask around for recommendations. Test prams out, make sure that you can fold and unfold it easily it. I tested prams at a baby expo, which gave me the opportunity to try a variety of prams one after another and compare them.
When I bought my pram, I considered its weight, ease of use, size, warranty and whether it was suitable for newborns and toddlers.
Also check that you will be able to return it and receive a refund in case you get it home, give it a test run and discover that it’s just not right.
Our baby carrier was an absolute sanity saver with our youngest, Marcus. It was quick and easy and allowed him to feel settled and connected, whilst I was able to move around and get stuff done. It’s an excellent way to manage if you have both a young baby and a toddler, as it keeps your hands free to play and attend to the older child. Some of our friends only used a carrier and never purchased a pram.
Many local communities have babywearing groups that meet at libraries and other various community venues and offer the opportunity to try on different baby carriers. Try searching on Facebook or Google to see if there is a group in your local area. This way you can try before you buy and make sure you have the right carrier for your needs.
3) Australian Breastfeeding Association
If you’re breastfeeding, consider joining the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). You’ll have access to a huge variety of discounts including breastfeeding related products. The ABA membership also offers half-price hire fees for breast pumps and access to free information and support.
4) Wait to purchase
If you’re going to have a baby shower, or have particularly clucky and generous friends and family, wait to see what presents you receive before buying stuff for your baby. That way you’ll save doubling up.
5) Test before buying up big
If you’re going to use bottles to feed your baby (whether it be formula or expressed breast milk) only buy one or two bottles initially. You need to be sure that bubs will drink out of that bottle design and may need to test a few different brands until you find the right one.
A friend of mine bought 10 bottles of a certain brand because everyone raved about them, but unfortunately her son wouldn’t drink from them. It took a few attempts before she found a brand he liked.
6) Don’t buy too many baby clothes in advance
Babies grow super-fast. It can be hard to coordinate what size they’ll need for which season. Newborns can have sudden growth spurts at any time of the year. For example: when I was pregnant with our eldest Eva, I bought her a beautiful (and very expensive) coat. But sadly, by the time winter came, she had outgrown it.
7) Reconsider baby shoes
We have a super cute collection of never worn sneakers for our youngest. They were never worn because he didn’t really need shoes and even when we did try to put them on him they just fell straight off.
Baby shoes look gorgeous, but before you whip out your credit card, consider whether you really need them.
8) Shop around for better deals on household expenses
Towards the end of both of my pregnancies, I was in full-on nesting mode. I spring-cleaned the entire house. We also spring-cleaned our finances. We went through every ongoing expense to see if we could save by negotiating a better deal. We contacted our utility and insurance providers. Before I started maternity leave, we refinanced our home-loan, reducing our interest rate and monthly repayments. By dedicating an afternoon to ringing around, we literally saved hundreds of dollars a month.
Do you have any other useful tips for saving money in the lead up to, and during the first year of, having a new baby? Please feel free to join our Facebook group and share your tips with other parents. There are plenty of great money-saving conversations going on in there.
Jo and Carl Violeta are self-confessed numbers nerds, parents of an energetic toddler and a super switched-on teenager, and co-founders of the award-winning business, Violeta Finance. They are a husband and wife team who are passionate about empowering their community with financial education, love the odd glass of wine, and get a kick out of helping families achieve their homeownership and financial dreams.