Monday, 9 April 2012

Money Saving Tips for New Parents

None of us (well, apart from all those high earners given a nice Tory tax break recently) need reminding that these are harsh economic times.  We are all far too aware that the pounds, or pennies, in our pockets don't go very far these days.  This is especially true when you have children, a whole new can of financial worms!

Expecting your first child can be especially challenging financially, coming, as it often does, with high expectations, a 'keep up with the Jones's' attitude, and complete bewilderment in the face of companies' marketing campaigns.  Don't get me wrong, the 'what you need' leaflets handed out by various stores are useful but, as all parents know, there are definitely some items on those lists that you buy and never use.

So here are my top money-saving tips for new parents:

Plan Ahead

  • Budget as much as you can during your pregnant months so that you can enjoy your maternity leave without too many worries.  If you are not returning to work, or even if you are, make sure you have had a frank discussion with your other half about your finances, and both of your financial expectations post-birth.

  • Don't buy too many uber cute outfits in the smaller sizes.  First of all, your baby will be lying down most of the time, and secondly, you have no idea what size they'll be when they arrive so they may only be in the small sizes for a really short time.  When we had Lara we took the most beautiful outfits we were given back to the shops to swap for larger sizes, they were much cuter and got far more wear when she was walking around.  Tempting as it is to get all those cute little numbers, babygrows are absolutely perfect for the first couple of months, and you can get some super-sweet ones of those too.

  • Look out for the sales.  You'll know you're pregnant for about 7 months, there are bound to be sales in your favourite baby clothes and equipment shops during that time.  I cannot recommend enough that you buy ahead of time.  We have stuff in storage going up to about 3-4 years sizes, and petite little Lara has only just gone into 18-24 months!  Get your e-mail address registered with all of your favourite retailers so that you get a heads-up when a sale's coming.

  • Sign up too to Mothercare and Mamas & Papas, both of whom offer a scheme where you can choose the equipment you want, pay a deposit, then pay the rest of the money owed in instalments.  Perfect for helping with that essential budgetting mentioned above.

  • Don't buy masses of equipment, 'sposies and other stuff ahead of time though, and don't feel that you have to have it all ready months in advance of bub's arrival.  Most things can wait till after the birth, especially with the joy that is Internet shopping!

  • Don't get caught up in the 'must have' lists.  A tiny baby needs little more than milk, warmth and love.  They really won't care if the nursery is decorated just so, they'll be happy sleeping in a cardboard box or a drawer, even more so in bed with you (co-sleeping post coming soon...).  Toys and books come later too, YOU are what your baby needs, so concentrate on the essentials first.

Get Free Stuff

  • In fact, don't buy anything at all if you can help it - seriously!  There is absolutely no shame in using secondhand  stuff, and most of it will be hardly worn or used.  Plus, the money you save can be kept towards your first holiday as a family, a really good camera, or saved for baby's future.

  • Try asking friends and family with older babies/children if they have anything they could pass on to you; and join your local Freecycle or Freegle groups.  People often give away massive bags of good quality, hardly worn clothes.  Take them, even if they're in larger sizes, babies grow REALLY fast!

  • Also ask around to see if you can borrow things.  Remember, often people are worried to offer in case you think they're being insulting, so ask away!  We didn't know if we were having a pink or a blue bub, so we borrowed neutral coloured outfits and then went shopping after she arrived.

  • Remember that virtually everyone you have ever met will buy you things, especially for your first baby, and even more so if you're the first in your group of friends or colleagues to be pregnant.  People love buying the cute first toys, rattles and adorable outfits, so don't buy too many of those yourself.  Just make sure you have a stash of thank you cards ready for your baby shower or leaving do, and even more for after the birth.

  • And, if you can't get things free, get them cheap!  Local NCT and other nearly new sales are perfect for buying both clothes and equipment, invariably in very good condition.  You can also try sites like e-Bay and Gumtree.  Do bear in mind safety considerations when it comes to things like Moses baskets & cots (always buy a new mattress and check they meet current safety guidelines; and car seats (only buy if you can be 100% certain it has never been involved in an accident).

  • Sign up to all the clubs and advice sites you can think of, from the obvious ones like Emma's Diary and Bounty, through the disposable nappy sites like Pampers, and onto the food ones like Ella's Kitchen and Plum Organics.  All give out freebies and vouchers.  There are so many out there and a quick Internet search will yield many more.

Choose Natural

  • Cloth nappies may be a more expensive initial outlay than disposables, but even taking into account washing costs, will save you at least £500 for your first child, more if they are re-used on subsequent children.  Again, eBay is an excellent source for new washable nappies, as a lot of people buy them then never get round to using them.  Check the listings carefully.

  • Finally, consider natural parenting choices.  Breastfeeding is the cheapest, easiest, most portable way to feed your baby and involves no equipment or expense.  Co-sleeping means no expensive cot; and a sling is much cheaper than a pram, even if it is a beautiful new Stokke carrier!

You can find some more tips for new parents here.

And don't forget to enter our competitions!


  1. Great post! As a first-time mum-to-be, this is just the sort of information I need.

    Mrs W x

    1. I'm so glad to hear it's been useful, have had some lovely feedback on Twitter and Facebook too ~ *smiles*.

  2. These are some really lovely and useful tips! Some of these I followed and some I wish I'd followed!
    This is a great post for first time mums!
    I breast fed and was more than happy to take hand me downs for clothes but spent way too much on her furniture and nappies! Next time I'm going with washables!!

    1. Glad you think it useful :o) Definitely recommend washable nappies, we found Tots Bots best.

  3. Great blog and pretty much agree with all your tags - I fed all of mine extensively although they are older now and was a breastfeeding counsellor for the NCT for 10 years xx

  4. Excellent, always good to hear from other long-term breastfeeders. Will be posting more on breastfeeding soon, let me know anything you think needs addressing.

  5. Great tips! Love reading things like this!


  6. Great tips - it is very easy to over buy when you are excited! #brilliantblogposts

  7. Great post :-) We did a lot of these things. I love searching through opp shops for hidden treasures and find that friends and others are so generous giving, lending and sharing baby and kiddies things!
    #brilliantblogposts Xx

  8. These are great tips. As a first time mum I didn't follow a lot of these and wasted a lot of money. Next time will be a different story #brilliantblogposts

  9. These are all really fab ideas! I love the re-usable nappies! We had some of these for my daughter! they really are fab!

    Angela xx

    Angela recently posted How to teach your children about healthy competition- It’s okay to lose.


Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!

Comments will usually be visible after moderation.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...