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According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, a first child costs between $3,000 and $13,000 in the first year of their life alone. This doesn’t factor in any costs before then either such as IVF, pregnancy or birth expenses. Kids are cute, but boy they sure can be expensive! Luckily there are some ways new parents can avoid blowing the budget in those early days. Here are our top 7 tips for saving money in baby’s first year.
1. Have a gift registry
It may feel a bit over the top to have a gift registry for your baby shower, but do you really want to end up with 20 stuffed Teddy Bears or endless beanies and muslin blankets? Believe it or not most people like it when there is a list of baby presents for them to choose from, especially when it’s online and so after a few clicks they’re done. The most important reason for doing this however is so that you don’t end up with multiples of the same items, or a bunch of things you don’t need or will never use. If you don’t want to do a registry you can always give a list of suggestions instead to a friend or family member to pass around, so again people are buying you things that are really going to be useful. You can even include things on there like a family photo session with the new addition, or a meal delivery service to save you cooking in those tricky first few weeks.
2. Borrow, rent and rethink items
Having a baby is so exciting and it’s tempting to go completely nuts buying all kinds of cute outfits, toys and accessories. But don’t! This is the fastest way to rack up the bills. The first avenue to explore is friends and families. Ask around, you’d be surprised at how many people may have an unused cot or highchair lying around, or bags of baby clothes and linen they no longer need. To fill in the missing gaps you can always hire something for bub instead of buying. For example, a baby car capsule is only required for around the first six months, so you’re much better off renting one than buying. The same can be said of breast pumps and many other baby items. Another big trap new parents fall into is buying things they don’t need, so before you purchase something do your research and work out if it’s absolutely necessary. For example, a baby bath may not be needed if your bathroom sink is the perfect size, or perhaps you have a pram carrier insert that will double as a bassinet when removed. It’s easy to be sucked in by the marketing but how often will you really use that aromatic musical nappy disposal bin.
3. Buy second-hand
We know you want only the best for your precious new bundle, but there are plenty of items that you can buy second-hand on places like Gumtree, eBay or Facebook Marketplace that are in very good condition, such as prams, car baby seats, cots, change tables and play pens. You’ll be amazed at what bargains you can find – some pieces may not even have been used!
4. Bulk it up
New mums and dads are always looking for convenience, but rethink purchasing anything that is a single use item such as squeezy baby food pouches and individual packs of baby wipes. Go the bulk boxes of wipes and you’ll save money. You can even order online so you don’t have to lug it home either and have it delivered instead. And when it comes to instant baby food, opt for a smarter choice like our Sweetpea natural dried baby meals. At RRP $3.49 each with 12 serves per pack, they’re such great value for money. Buying multiple serve packs or bulk boxes of items will also save you time by cutting down the trips to the shops you need to do.
5. Buy reusable nappies
This one isn’t for everyone but if you’re really on a budget then perhaps consider using reusable nappies instead of disposables. For your first child it can save you up to $2,000, and for two children up to $5,000! Plus, it’s so much better for the environment, saving all those nappies from going to landfill. If you can’t face the thought of washing nappies, another neat trick is to reuse your disposable swimming nappies. As long as they’re not soiled or damaged, you simply rinse and dry them and they’re good to go again for the next swimming lesson!
6. Learn to love the library
Libraries are a new parent’s best friend! Instead of buying hundreds of books and cluttering up baby’s room, simply borrow new ones each week – for free! You can also borrow DVDs and sometimes toys from the library, plus there are free mum and bub reading playgroups and other activities that are perfect for cash-free outings.
7. Swap babysitting with friends or family
Babysitters can charge anywhere from $20-$50 an hour which can be really expensive if you’re using them a lot. Have a friend or someone in the family who has a baby too? Do a deal with them and swap babysitting! This way you both get to keep up your date nights, exercise classes or whatever else you need without the cost.
Just think - the more money you’ll save on baby stuff, the more cash you’ll have to spend on holidays and other things!