Becoming a parent for the first time is exciting, magical, unforgettable, and in some cases, a bit stressful. Babies are expensive, and it’s easy to throw budgets out of the window when it comes to raising them. With that in mind, we put together a quick money-saving guide for new parents, helping you to spend a little less time worrying about cash, and a little more time being Mum or Dad.
The list of things babies need is endless. Nappies, food, bottles, clothes, toys, chairs, babysitters… it goes on. Budgets are obvious, but they’re the first thing people recommend for a reason. Set yourself a target for the month, and then break it down into categories. If you find yourself spending way more on baby clothes than you should, then that’s the first place you should try to save some cash.
Budgeting is hard, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you struggle to get things right in the beginning. The most important thing to do is to keep trying to stick to your budget, even if you fail a couple of times. You might even find you were too ambitious, and things cost more than you thought.
Make sure that you’re up to speed with maternity and paternity pay. Most new parents are entitled to it, but it typically depends on how long you’ve been working with your current employer. New mums should get 90% of their earnings for the first six weeks. According to the Money Advice service, you’re entitled to £145.18 per week, or 90% of your earnings (whichever is less) for the following 33 weeks.
Also, check out working families tax credit. Some families could get up to £1,960 in tax credit per year, depending on the hours they work and how much they earn.
No matter how much you earn, or how big your budget is, you can easily spend it all on the newest addition to your family. When we scoured the web looking for the best tips, people often said that baby clothes were one of the fastest ways to exhaust a baby budget. Two things kept coming up: buy baby clothes as and when they’re needed, and when you do, get them with growing room. If it’s your first child, the temptation to buy things “just in case” can be enormous, and often results in a wardrobe full of things that never got used.
If you’re expecting, the NHS has a great list on what you’ll need before baby arrives. It’s also a perfect place to start if you’re looking to buy a gift for people that have just welcomed new life into the world.
Another good tip is to invest, not indulge, in the basics. Things like vest tops, bibs and pyjamas are vital, but don’t get carried away with fancy brands or fun designs. The main thing to look for is quality i.e does it wash well and won't fall apart after a couple of trips round the washing machine. If you set out with the goal of finding clothes that are an investment for your little one, not an indulgence, you could save hundreds.
As a new parent, you’re one of the most desirable consumers in the universe. Companies far and wide want to find a way to help themselves to your hard-earned cash, and they’ll try every trick in the book to do so. You can play that to your advantage, however, as free samples are often quite easy to come by when it comes to babies.
Mothercare often run ‘expectant parent events‘ with samples and freebies galore, but parents to newborns are more than welcome to go too. Cow & Gate have a baby club with regular freebies, and often local nurseries and mums groups get sent free samples to enjoy.
One of the best freebies that motherhood (sorry dads) entitles you to is a year’s free dental care on the NHS. You’ll need to apply for a maternity exemption certificate, but it’s well worth going for and you won’t pay a penny.
When it comes to our children, everybody wants the best. A lot of the time, that can be had for next to nothing thanks to fellow mums and dads! Little ones don’t stay little for very long, so the hundreds of pounds that gets spent on high chairs, car seats, strollers, cots and countless other things can quickly go to waste. Websites like Freecycle and Freegle are a great place to start. Most ads cost nothing to put up, so it’s full of brilliant baby gear that’s being given away for free to try and reclaim precious space in the house. Gumtree is another popular option too.
Be sure to check on Facebook if there’s a parents group in your area. It’s a super way to learn about what’s going on in the community, and it’s usually the first way people try giving away things that their baby outgrew.
Having a baby is hard work, and raising one is even harder. The most important tip of all is to think ahead, and try not to leave everything to the last minute. Ask yourself if there’s ways to get things for cheaper, or a way to get more for less. Best of all, ask yourself if you even need it in the first place! So long as you pay attention to your pennies and your pounds, do your best to make the most of your cash, and spend a little time hunting for the best deal… you’ll do just fine.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to save cash as a new parents, MoneySavingExpert has a fantastic checklist that we’d recommend to anybody.
And for those emergencies or unexpected expenses, take a look at our membership loans. They give you access to extra cash as and when you need it. To find out more just click here.