Preparing for a baby is packed with its share of joyous moments tempered with bouts of overwhelming anxiety about your budget constraints. The process involves learning to juggle your expenses while avoiding compromise on quality and safety standards of the products you buy. The colourful displays of attractive baby paraphernalia can present an irresistible urge to splurge on items that you do not really require.
Recently, Gurgle.com conducted a survey that indicated that first time parents in the UK spent close to a whopping £4000 on a new baby in the first year itself!
Read on for useful tips on how to prepare for a new baby on a budget:
- The budgeting process for a baby begins right from the planning stage. Expenses begin to rise as you invest in pregnancy indicator and ovulation predictor testing kits. Online shopping often proves cheaper. For example, Boots sells Clearblue Pregnancy test kits at £ 11.45 but the same product is available on eBay at anywhere between £4 and £5.
- The UK government offers what is referred to the ‘Sure Start Maternity Grant’. This scheme is designed to assist pregnant women who belong to low income groups. The grant is a one-time tax-free payment intended to help out with the purchase of baby products as well as with other costs related to maternity issues. Sure Start grant recipients are not required to repay this amount.
- Make a list of items that you really need for the arrival of the baby. Maternity pads, nappies, warm blankets and baby suits would be quite adequate in the first three weeks. Breast feeding is a cheaper option than bottle feeding but you may wish to express and use bottles in addition. Remember that once you opt for bottle feeding, you would subsequently need to invest in sterilising equipment as well as in new bottles.
- If you know someone who has had a baby and is not planning on having any more, they might be more than happy to lend you items for the baby. Ask friends and acquaintances before your baby is due so you are all set.
Another alternative is the annual Nearly New Sales held by the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) where you can buy any used baby items ranging from prams to cots to blankets at much cheaper prices. Even major purchases such as buggies or cots can be brought at a fraction of the price.