We all know raising children ain’t cheap. And that lifetime of pocket dipping starts long before they come kicking and screaming into this world. Here are 5 ways to start saving now that are an absolute no brainer for new parents-to-be.
1. Avoid the ‘we need everything new’ trap
Certain things, particularly bottle teats and mattresses, you should buy new if you can. However, for many big ticket items (cots, prams, etc.), make Gumtree, Freecycle, and eBay your first port of call. With a little effort, you can source ‘like new’ versions, second-hand at a fraction of the price.
My wife and I were dubious at first. We worried about hygiene, food stains (and worse). But once we discovered we could buy new replacement parts (and use the money saved to get all this other stuff we needed), we quickly came round to the idea.
We nabbed a second hand bugaboo on Gumtree for $500, then purchased a new seat liner and canopy from Baby Bunting. We did the same with the cot – securing an old one from a friend of friend and sprucing (or sanitising) it up with a brand new mattress.
2. Be gracious and open to everything and anything
Some people are cautious about offering other parents their own used goods, so make it known you’re happy to accept hand-me-downs. You’ll be surprised how many people know people who know people who are getting rid of that very thing you’re after.
As well as the friend of a friend that gave us the cot, we received bags of clothes from a friend of a friend of a friend who works as a nanny. Newborns grow so quickly you soon get over what looks cute and take whatever you can get. All that matters is that it’s clean and it fits.
Bonus Tip: What goes around comes around, so pass on your used baby goods when the time comes and keep that good karma flowing.
3. Seriously, consider reusable nappies
I admit, we were apprehensive about them at first. Particularly their ability to deal with poo explosions and our ability to deal with clips and pins. But we visited a supplier for a demonstration and were put at ease by the design, construction and easy button clips.
So much so, we actually went one-step further and opted for second hand reusable nappies! We figured whatever anyone else had done to them in the past, Sam would do the same, if not worse. So we bought our Bambooties on eBay and only used disposables in emergencies.
If second-hand is too far, new ones can still save you a wedge. The ones that come in one-size-fits all (you adjust the clips as baby grows) retail for around $35 each. So you could purchase 10 reusable nappies around $350, and use them for three years. Meanwhile, three years of quality disposables, based on six to eight nappies per day, will set you back about $3600…
Of course, you have to commit to scraping them clean and putting them through the wash each day. For many parents, that’s money well spent.
4. Extended warranties… for free
A hell of a lot of shopping gets done for ‘the new baby’ when it’s still firmly entrenched in mum’s tum. However, as soon as you take possession of a new purchase the warranty starts. This means that by the time you get round to using the item, the warranty has ran down significantly.
Being planned and organised is all well and good, but you don’t want to buy a car seat or bassinet six months before the due date only for the warranty to run out after just six months of use.
Solution? Use layby and pick up items closer to your due date. This helped us avoid filling baby’s room with things we wouldn’t use for a year. It also meant we could make payments towards the items rather than making some big financial outlays and racking up credit card interest.
5. Get strategic with the baby shower
Ah, the baby shower. It’s a tricky one for both mother-to-be (can we ask for certain things?), as well as the guests (what the hell should we buy? what if somebody else gets it for them?). In hindsight, I wish we’d set up a gift registry and shared some much needed insider intel on the things we actually needed.
Don’t get me wrong, we were very grateful for every present and individually they were all great. It’s just that there were so many items we could have used more than (more) baby toys, (more) singlets, (more) muslin wraps, (more) booties, and (more) blankies: Replacement parts for all the second hand gear we’d mustered is one example that springs to mind.
That said, the best gifts were the things we didn’t even know we needed. One friend who had been there and done that gave us a survival kit that was particularly awesome. It contained wind drops, suppositories, nasal spray, and other stuff we never would have thought to buy.
Such gifts tend to be the exception however. So get strategic and encourage your partner to create a wishlist on a website like Checked it Twice. Your guests will likely appreciate you removing the gift-guesswork, while you get to stock up on the things you really need.
That said, what new parent couldn’t use five copies of Goodnight Moon…