As a mum to three (almost), Bianca Hartge-Hazelman is always on the hunt for cost savings when it comes to kids. Here’s what the Financy Editor has learnt about money and babies.
Finding cost savings with baby on the way seems to get easier the more children you have.
For me, baby three will be here in weeks and still I know that a lot of money is about to be spent on nappies, nursery furniture, toys and of course medical expenses.
Without question, setting a budget is a great idea, but so too is knowing what you can you honestly do without. And yes, I like to think I’ve learnt something that can help any parent around money.
- Tip 1: Pretty costs money. Just like Weddings, pretty costs and sometimes you need to ask yourself: am I just paying for pretty or is there another option?
- Tip 2. Baby’s don’t know brands. Remember quality clothing can be found at low to mid and high-end baby stores.
- Tip 3. Borrow, gifts and recycle. Remember somethings don’t have to be bought by you.
- Tip 4. Baby grows. This is good to always keep in your mind, be that when buying clothes or toys on sale or as a preventative measure for splashing on shoes that really will only be worn a few times in a few weeks.
- Tip 5. Think economies of scale. If you are planning on having more than one bub, certain purchases should be seen as an investment to ensure you get the longevity and peace of mind you need.
With those tips said and done, let’s take a frank look at all that stuff and what you actually really need.
Baby cot or bassinet?
It was after baby two that I realised you don’t really need a bassinet when you have a cot.
Not only did the lack of transitioning baby between the bassinet to a cot, mean that baby two was a better sleeper than baby one, but it also saved me about $100 – at least.
Cots can be expensive equipment and mine was about $600, but thankfully they can be found at a discount online, in opt shops, and passed down the family chain.
The only updates to cots usually required include a spring clean of the mattress or a new one all together. Let’s allow about $80 for this if you need it.
Sheet and blanket fittings, especially when baby is an infant, are about the same cost regardless of whether you are buying a bassinet or a cot. But at least with a cot, you get longer usage.
Odour free-nappy bins and nappy bags
I really looked at these with baby one because I thought, how organised and convenient this all is!
But then it took my father to say to me: “do you really want stinky nappies staying in the house? Take them to the bin!” Point taken.
As a result I saved $50-$100 in not buying an odour free nappy bin and recycling all those Coles and Woolworths bags that mount up under my kitchen sink to use as nappy bags.
Toys and clothes
It goes without saying that having all girls or all boys, often means that many items can be spruced up and handed down the family.
But I’m pretty brutal with this, the clothes and toys have to be in good condition, otherwise I hit the shops.
Great savings can be found on basics throughout the year, and during pregnancy, at Target, BigW and Kmart on this.
Old school cloth nappies or plastic ones?
Now this one can be debated. Arguably a one off spend on 20 cloth nappies is cheaper than spending $30 to $60 a week on disposable nappies.
The same can be said for baby wipes versus face washers for cleaning up baby.
But your personality and time are going to be deciding factors in this.
What you need to ask yourself is; what’s your time worth in washing and soaking, plus the added costs of detergents versus how cheaply can you buy disposable nappies?
Baby doesn’t know about brands
Okay, baby one was decked out in $70 Adidas shoes and a Polo Ralph Lauren suit. Did baby look cute – yes, did baby know or care, no.
Frankly, I seemed to get more comments on baby’s cuteness each time she wore a $20 bonds suit from Target, than I ever did on that Polo suit.
But thankfully the Adidas shoes are still going strong for baby three’s arrival!
More expensive doesn’t mean better
This goes for baby furniture right through to nappy brands.
I like Huggies nappies for night sleeping, but they are more expensive. So where I can, I’ll use a cheaper brand, even from Aldis for day-to-day changes.
There are also some good eco disposable nappies out there if you want to put your dollars to good use.
Baby’s room isn’t a design studio
It’s nice to get caught up in decorating your baby’s nursery with matching everything.
Sometimes you need to ask yourself: are you paying for pretty?
But if you are going to go out and spend thousands of dollars on Boori furniture in making baby’s room look like a page out of a glossy magazine, keep in mind that baby grows up.
Change tables are they really needed?
To be honest, I like a change table for the storage that it provides. It’s a place to keep nappies and wipes, but let’s be real – a change table is only a change table for a couple of months, then it may as well be a chest of drawers or storage cupboard.
Parents change their babies everywhere, especially in the middle of the night when dog tired.
Not only that, babies grow and many change tables have a maximum weight of around 10 kilos. So think about all these factors before splashing several hundred dollars on a change table, specially if that cost is already at a stretch.
Car seats, save and borrow
Gifts can be wonderful saving. Our first lot of car seats were given to us, thank you!
But at some point we had to upgrade and with three kids that’s close to $1000 for the best we could get.
Now, you don’t have to spend that much, especially if you buy items on sale.
Image source: http://www.mumarazzi.com/