As a lady in my early 30’s, having children is now at the forefront of my mind. As a result, I’ve been wondering lately about the costs of having children and ways in which one could save money as a new parent.
Consequently, I’ve sought out an interview from a new mum I happen to know. So, take it away Stacey!
Hi, I’m Stacey! I am a stay at home mum with one 17 month old daughter who lives in the Hunter Valley, Australia.
What was the biggest unexpected financial shock for you when you had children?
The initial setup costs are expensive, especially safety-related items such as capsules, car seats, baby monitors, prams and cots.
Whilst this is an expected outlay, what surprised me most was the ‘guilt’ the baby industry seems to place on parents in relation to the safety of their precious new baby. We all want to provide the safest and best that we can for our children… And this often translated (for me at least) to feeling the need to buy the item with every safety feature imaginable, which of course meant the most expensive.
Big items aside, I must say the biggest unexpected shock was the cost of all the little necessities such as wipes, washers, sheets, bedding, swaddles, wraps, clothes, socks, bibs, beanies, bath wash, change mat, nappy bag, nappies, bottles, dummies, teething rings, pain relief and other medications, nappy rash cream…And that’s just for the baby! Not to mention creams, rubs and many other items a mum needs post-partum.
How have you adapted financially to having kids?
I’ve definitely become more frugal in my personal spending. Fortunately, when it came to my newborn, I was lucky enough to have my best friend advising me on what you really need to buy and what you can do without, despite what the baby store catalogues may tell you.
Op shops have also become my ‘happy place’.
What are your best money saving tips for new mums and dads?
- Don’t feel the pressure to buy new! With a few exceptions, my baby stuff to date comprises hand-me-downs and lots of second hand. Most of this has been in new or near new condition as I’m pretty picky. As, newborns and pre-walkers use these for such a short time, second hand is an easy way to save money.
- This may sound odd – but have a baby shower! I personally didn’t, but I’ve seen just how generous people are when it comes to new babies and this will help you with those expensive initial set up costs. Its also a lovely time for you to spend with your family and friends before becoming a parent.
- This is a no-brainer but buy items you use frequently in bulk such as nappies, nappy cream and wipes. And don’t pay full price… If one supermarket doesn’t have your preferred brand on sale the next one will and vice versa. But beware of stocking up on too many nappies as children grow so fast. If you have purchased too many just open one pack at a time as the major supermarkets will swap sizes without a receipt.
- Don’t assume price equates to quality or suitability for your child. Word of mouth and forums are generally very helpful with this.
- Check labels and ingredients. We all want to minimise our childrens exposure to chemicals and additives, and unfortunately I feel the baby industry plays on this by promoting products as “natural” and “organic” when they are not necessarily so. They of course charge a premium price for this, so just do your own research.
- Make your own baby food! It’s so easy, you control every ingredient that is used, most freeze well and it is far more cost effective than pre-packaged foods. Additionally, if you like the convenience of pouches, there are many reusable pouches on the market.
- Don’t remove tags before you need to use an item such as clothing. In the event you don’t get to use such items, you can resell them for more if the tags are still attached.
- Buy and sell through the multitude of social media and electronic selling platforms available. The majority of my daughters clothes, toys and furniture are second hand and I’ve then resold these items as she has outgrown them.
- Join a toy library so you can try toys before purchasing and can rotate more often as babies love variety.
- Check out your local library for books, cds and childrens programs on offer such as baby rhyme time.
Do you have any kids stores that you like to shop at because of the cost?
I don’t have a ‘go-to’ store; but I will say that baby megastores aren’t necessarily the cheapest, so do your research if you have the time. A perfect example of this was an item I found today priced at $289 at a major retailer, and $199 at an independent toy store.
If you could choose just one piece of financial advice for mums and dads to be, what would it be?
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle! Don’t buy new where you don’t absolutely need to, as you can purchase items in ‘as new’ condition for a fraction of the price. I am amazed at the amount of people who won’t buy second hand for their kids. I wouldn’t even be able to begin to calculate the money I’ve saved, whilst not sacrificing quality/condition, by buying second hand!
Great! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Stacey.
Do you have any words of wisdom on how to save money as a new parent?
Share your thoughts below!