If you’re having a baby, congratulations! And aside from the fact that a few months from now you’ll be holding that bundle of joy in your arms (woohoo!), you’ll also get a lot of time off work! (Double woohoo!)
But on that note, if you’re not working, you’re going to have less money coming in (unless your employer offers full pay during maternity leave). Eek! And baby things aren’t cheap, are they?
Well, don’t panic! Help is here. I’m going to give you a little help and advice on how you can start saving for a baby so that you can keep the money worries at bay when your little one arrives.
1.. Maternity clothing – I’m afraid you’re going to get a teeny bit bigger(!) so you’ll need clothes to fit your ever expanding belly. The problem is that buying maternity clothing is a minefield. Most brands only sell it online which means you can’t try before you buy and a lot of the ranges are incredibly uncomfortable. As a result, many mums-to-be end up buying a lot of items they don’t get to wear. My money saving tips here are as follows:
- Don’t dismiss your current wardrobe. Your favourite jeans and trousers won’t fit you but any loose fitting shirts, tops and dresses might. I was able to wear a lot of my existing wardrobe until month eight.
- New Look offers some of the best maternity jeans and leggings on the market and Gap’s maternity/nursing tops are very flattering and comfortable. Why go expensive when you don’t have to?
- Be realistic about your style limitations while you’re heavily pregnant. You don’t need to look like a million dollars every day so all you need is a couple of simple tops and jeans/leggings and you should getaway with your existing jackets, scarfs and wraps.
- Borrow maternity clothes from any of your mates that have recently had children. I’m not asking you to share their big pants but there may be a few nice shawls or tops that you could borrow to save you buying your own.
2.. Building a baby fund – Set up a savings account as soon as you can. This is where you’ll put all the money you’re saving for a baby. And to save this money, here’s what I recommend:
- You’re no longer drinking booze or smoking so whatever you used to spend on that per month (and be honest!) should go into the baby fund. Also, get your partner to cut back on his drinking and smoking too and that baby fund will grow even faster.
- Shortly before the baby is born, you’ll go through a nesting phase where you’ll have strong urges to clean and sort the house out. Rather than doing this late in your pregnancy and causing yourself an injury, do it now. With a little help, you may find a pile of things that you can sell to make some money.
- Change your eating out habits. DON’T eat out less often as it’s important you make the most of your ability to go out before the baby arrives, but instead use vouchers when you eat out. Then put the money you’ve saved in the baby fund!
- On the subject of eating, now that you can’t eat certain foods, use the change of diet as an opportunity to review the way you do your food shopping and cut down on your food bills. For help, I have a guide here. Again, what you save each week, should go into the savings account.
- Having a baby is a new and exciting experience and there is a temptation to buy a ton of baby books and guides to help your through it. My recommendation is not to do this. Speaking from experience, even though I bought lots of these books, I found the most valuable information came from the internet or my mummy friends. Save your money. A good website for help is http://www.babycentre.co.uk
- Review your direct debits for membership fees for gyms, fitness classes and other clubs or teams. I’m sorry to say that once the baby arrives, you’ll be far too busy to make use of these for a while so it’s best to cancel them as soon as you can and save that money.
3. Getting the home baby-ready. There are a lot of things to buy in preparation for the baby’s arrival but how do you avoid spending a fortune? Here are my tips:
- For the nursery, you’ll need a cot, black-out blinds, a wardrobe and a changing table. Review eBay for any nearly new items (you don’t want anything that’s not in great condition) and then I recommend obtaining the rest of the furniture from Mothercare, Toys-r-us or Ikea. They are the cheapest brands and the former two often have discount vouchers so keep your eyes peeled and get ready to buy! For the black-out blind, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to low cost options, but again, look out for sales so you can buy it when it’s at its cheapest.
- Take control of the baby shower. Your friends and family are likely to want to celebrate your new arrival with a party or with gifts. Rather than going somewhere swanky, host something small at your mum’s or best friend’s house to save everyone money and then they can spend that instead on something you will need for the baby. You can set up a little gift list of small affordable items such as nappies, newborn clothes, baby wipes, changing mat and other bits and pieces so that you’re stocked up for the first few weeks.
- Join your local mums group on Facebook. Not only will you get lots of support and advice, but you’re likely to also get offered a few helpful items that they no longer need such as pregnancy pillows and moses baskets!
Once the baby arrives, a whole load of new costs will arrive, so check out my guide on acquiring these things simply and cheaply here!
I hope this little guide has helped you and given you some tips for saving for a baby. Now sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the peace and quiet. You’re growing a little person and need to take it easy!