Having a baby is one of the most expensive commitments in life, so if you’re about to give birth then you’ll be wanting all the money saving tips you can get.

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, you’ll have to be thrifty, so here are some great tips from Family Action and Lloyds Banking Group’s Money for Life Programme.

• You can cut costs by being sensible when it comes to buying new outfits for the baby. If friends and family offer second hand baby clothes, consider taking up the offer as babies grow out of clothes so quickly that second hand clothes are often barely worn.

• Nappies can be very expensive. Use shops’ own brands or, if you are considering using reusable nappies, some local authorities have a reusable nappies scheme. You can claim a set of new washable, cloth nappies which include liners and waterproof pants.

• Try to breastfeed – it’s free, and help is available for those who find it difficult.

• Nearly new sales (such as those offered by the National Childbirth Trust and recycle4children) have strict standards regarding the quality of goods. Pushchairs, highchairs and toys are available for half the cost of buying new and a percentage of the sale often goes to charity. Only buy essential items and consider borrowing items that baby will only use for a short time (e.g. walking aids) from family and friends.

• Save money on wipes by buying muslins. Muslins can be used to wipe snotty noses, clean up sick and a whole lot more. As they then go in the wash they can be re-used, saving you lots on buying wipes.

• Join a local library – it’s free and very friendly. Libraries often run free classes for babies that include singing and actions with babies. It’s a great way to meet other parents with babies and a good motivator to get out the house for a stroll. The library is also a great place to find books containing lots of help and advice on all things baby related.

• Learning toys are very expensive. Why not get a small group of mums with babies the same age, meet once a week for a coffee morning – taking it in turns to hold the coffee mornings - and do weekly toy swaps. This enables the babies to have different toys and the parents can save money.

• Before baby arrives, freeze extra portions of home cooked meals (bolognese, curries etc) and make big pots of soup that you can freeze in individual  portions. If you don’t have tupperware or food bags you can use clean margarine tubs. Frozen portions means there is home cooked healthy options easily available to you when you are tired and busy and it can stretch the weekly shopping budget much further.

• Instead of putting your child benefit allowance into the general household monthly spending, set up an account for the child benefit to go into. You can use this money to pay for birthday parties, clubs, school trips, etc. and even birthday presents for their friends. You won’t get used to that money in the monthly spending and it means you always have money to do those things for your children without going short during the month.

• If money’s tight and you worry about getting into debt, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Try your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or call the Money Advice Service’s helpline – 0300 500 5000. Or try Lloyds Banking Group’s www.moneyforlifeprogramme.org.uk for more hints and tips.

• Sign up for free to all the supermarket and high street baby clubs, (e.g. Tesco, Boots, Mothercare, etc). Not only do you get lots of money-off vouchers, you are notified of sales and other offers. This also applies to online baby clubs such as Bounty (who hold regular flash sales) and Netmums, and baby product manufacturers such as Cow and Gate, Pampers, etc.

• Set up an ISA and ask friends and relatives to put in contributions to the baby's future (e.g. University) instead of buying gifts.

• If you’re feeling the baby blues don’t bottle it in – talk to your doctor, or someone at your local children’s centre.

• Having a baby can be a lonely experience – look out for mother and baby groups in your area and meet some new friends.

• Find your local children’s centre before you have the baby. Ask what kind of services and support they offer.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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