My other half laughed when he heard me talking about writing this post! I’m not great at sticking to budgets to be honest. However, after two babies, I do have a few tips (in hindsight!) on savings for new parents and parents to be that I have learned the hard way! Here’s my 7 top tips to having a baby on a budget so you don’t make the same mistakes as I did:
1. Savings on a Travel System
Simply – you don’t need a travel system – shock horror. Biggest saving! Yes, I got sucked in and bought an iCandy Peach for baby number one with all the trimmings, it was like buying a car with all the research that went into it! It is beautiful as you can see from my photo with it’s brown leather trim and navy blue fabric but… when baby got to the grand old age of 9 months, we bought a Chicco lightweight stroller for holidays and the iCandy stayed in the spare room for many months. The lightweight one was just so handy, folded in one go, light to load in and out of car and no attachments. Ok, so it doesn’t have the suspension of the iCandy or the sleek lines and fab fabric but the child was happy in it! So second time round, we sold the iCandy and used his carseat in the car and a carrier/sling when out and about. Perfect. When he’s 6 months, he’ll go in a double buggy with the toddler but for now, everyone is happy. So start with your car seat and your sling and go from there!
2. Savings on Nappies
There is one thing for sure about babies – what goes in must come out! I personally find the nappies in Aldi are just fine and a fraction of the price of Pampers. There are often sales on the big brands and it’s worth stocking up when you see good prices as you will always use the nappies. Keep an eye out on money savings groups on Facebook so you don’t miss the deals. It’s best to stock up on size 2 though as babies grow out of size 1 very quickly and some babies are in size 2 from the start. Some people go down the route of cloth nappies which have any pros such as the fab designs available, they’re ecofriendly, the worst of the dirt is on a disposable liner and in the long run you will save money. For more info on cloth nappies, see the Cloth Nappy Library website.
3. Savings on Wipes
It’s handy to have a stock of them. I usually have a pack in my bedside locker for middle of the night nappy changes, a pack at the changing mat, a pack on the kitchen table, a pack in the changing bag, a pack in the car, a pack in my handbag, etc etc – you get this picture! And as baby gets older you need more and more! Water Wipes are the holy grail of wipes but also very expensive. So watch out for offers and buy in bulk, we got great deals from Dunnes Stores on big boxes of them. But really, cotton wool and water is enough to deal with most nappy situations at the start. I also love the Aldi sensitive wipes (I do not work for Aldi, I just happen to do a lot of my grocery shopping there!).
4. Savings on Nursery Furniture
Firstly the nursery chair – you don’t need one in my opinion as per my facebook post below! Have a baby on a budget by not buying one!
The changing station is another con really (yes I bought one – you guessed it!). We fell for the matching cotbed and changing station for some eye watering price. The changing station is a chest of drawers with a little surround on top to keep a changing mat in place. You could easily use a normal set of drawers here. As for the changing station on wheels – you know the one with the inbuilt bath and lots of storage? Yes bought one of those too – disaster. It’s far easier to do baths in a stand alone baby bath that you can put in a big bath. If you have a toddler, I guarantee there will be nothing left stored in the open storage shelves. And once you have a mat, you can change a baby anywhere. Or just go to your chest of drawers with your changing mat on top. At least you can keep all the nappies, wipes, creams, etc hidden away in the top drawer!
5. Savings on Feeding Baby
I was debating on whether to put this one in! Obviously breastfeeding is a no-brainer here – it’s about the only thing that’s free when it comes to having a baby on a budget. However, if you formula feed for whatever reason, don’t go out buying a big set of bottles – try them on baby first, some babies don’t like some bottles. Sterilising – you can use a lot of electricity sterilising bottles and soothers if you’re using an electric steam steriliser or a microwave one. You can save money by using milton and cold water like they did in the “olden days”. I’m not joking though, I used to use milton for all my electric breast pump equipment because that’s what we use on the maternity ward at work so I was used to it. It saves a fortune too if you don’t mind the milton smell. Another great use for milton is getting certain stains (you know the ones) off white baby vests and babygrows by steeping them. Also for expressing breast milk, you’ll save a fortune in time and money by using the Haakaa.
6. Savings on Clothes
Babies grow at an alarming rate. You can really get sucked in to buying loads and loads of baby clothes. Cute and all as those newborn outfits are – they don’t last long and baby is far more comfy in a babygrow than jeans and a shirt or whatever. Stock up on babygrows and vests, you’ll get lots of gifts of new outfits and accept any hand-me-downs as I can guarantee most items will be barely worn! If you are super savvy, you will plan your pregnancy about 6 months behind your sibling…
7. Savings on the Changing Bag
Oh yes, I just had to have one to match the expensive travel system. It looked fab but in reality, apart from the matching changing mat (which I left behind me in a baby changing room on our very first outing), there’s not much difference between a changing bag and a regular large handbag. Those insulated pockets for bottles? Waste of time as far as I’m concerned but maybe others found them useful? Now I throw a nappy, some wipes, a vest and babygrow into my regular handbag and I’m off! But if you want a changing bag for baby, a (regular) rucksack is the handiest especially if you have baby in sling. And you can pop your purse and phone in there to save carrying a handbag. Then you are totally handsfree!