Experts estimate that bringing a baby into the world can cost between £20-50,000.
But don’t panic because we’ve got 18 great money-saving tips to help make those early months a little cheaper.
1. Budget for baby
Before you give birth go through your monthly outgoings to look at where you might be able to cut costs. You might find that you’re entitled to a mortgage payment holiday, you have an ISA that you can cash in or that it’s time settle your credit card bills and cut up the cards.
2. Make your claim
Child Benefit is available as soon as you have your baby, so make sure you put in your claim. It might be easier to get the forms before you give birth.
You’ll also get a Child Trust Fund voucher for £250 which you must then invest in a proper child trust account. Anyone can then contribute to this fund so you could ask friends and relatives to make a donation rather than buy clothes or toys.
You might be entitled to Tax Credits too – find out if you can claim.
3. Borrow, beg and buy cheap
There’s no shame in asking friends and relatives for hand-me-downs. Babies grow out of clothes so rapidly that spending large amounts of money can be a waste.
4. Babysitting fees
Babysitting can be expensive so why not save cash and start a babysitting circle. Get together a group of friends who also have kids that need babysitting.
How does it work?
Everyone is given a token, which is exchanged for a night of babysitting. The babysitter is paid with a token, so that they can cash it in for a babysitter and enjoy a night out.
5. Ignore the baby books
Ok, don’t ignore all the advice in the baby books, but you don’t need to buy every single thing that they tell you to. Plus, some of the things you need can be bought second-hand.
What do you really need?
6. Try re-usable nappies
It might seem like a lot of hassle but disposable nappies cost an average of £950 over three years, whereas re-usable ones (cloth nappies that you have to wash) cost around £350 for three years.
Of course, you also have the cost of washing them, but this still makes it cheaper than buying disposable nappies – and it’s better for the environment too. Visit www.wen.org/nappies for more information on reusable nappies.
7. Make your own baby food
There are no magic ingredients in baby food, – generally it’s just pureed meals. However, it is free from any artificial nasties and you control what your little one is eating. Soft fruit and plain home-made food (without salt, spices or sugar) is fine for babies, just make sure it’s really well blended.
8. Speak to your employer
Ask your employer if there are any grants, allowances or offers that they have for pregnant employees. Some large companies have special deals with other local companies that offer discounts or free advice.
9. Buy own brands
Most of the time there’s really no difference between a famous brand and an own-brand, cheap variety. Usually, it’s just the packaging that’s different. So, when you’re shopping for pregnancy and baby stuff don’t be swayed by a flashy label, go cheap ‘n cheerful instead.
10. Stock up on essentials
Keep your eyes peeled for BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) and other deals on baby things before the birth – you’ll be surprised at how much nappy cream and wet wipes you can get through!
11. Make a list
Close friends and family may ask if there’s anything you really need or want, maybe to celebrate the baby’s birth, your pregnancy or Christening. Rather than saying, ‘no thanks,’ have a list to hand.
Don’t feel this is rude, people wouldn’t offer their help if they didn’t mean it – although obviously, asking someone for an expensive, top-of-the-range pram, might be pushing things too far!
12. Get a grant
Every local council has a different system and different criteria so you need to contact them directly.
13. Prescription charges
Don’t forget that during pregnancy and until your child turns 1, prescriptions are free.
– Find out if you’re spending too much on medicine.
Although breastfeeding isn’t free – because you’ll have to buy things like nursing bras and breast pumps – it’s still cheaper than buying formula milk and all the bottles and sterilising equipment, and it’s been shown to have benefits for a baby’s long-term health too.
15. Join a club
Some supermarkets and large stores, such as Babies R Us, have special mum’s clubs where you can get special offers and money-off vouchers.
16. Go online
Try eBay for bigger, more expensive items – it can still work out cheaper then department stores and you don’t even have to leave the house.
Price comparison sites are also a good way of saving money, especially on large and expensive items such as prams and cots, here are three of the best:
17. Hit the sales
Elbows at the ready! You can grab some great bargains in the sales but you need to think practically and long-term: Is it worth buying summer clothes for a newborn if your baby will be too big by the summer? Will you be wearing a maternity winter party dress if you’re due in the middle of summer?
18. Join the library
Your local library isn’t just great for books there are also toys that you can borrow, which will also save pounds on buying new toys.
Plus, library notice boards are a good source of local information, advice and groups.