Money Saving Ideas for Mums-to-be
As an expecting or new parent it is overwhelmingly tempting to buy virtually everything you see! Flick through a pregnancy magazine or article aimed at mothers-to-be and they will tell you about the latest must-have gadgets that are almost certain to help make your child more comfortable, or brighter, or teethe more easily, or feed better, or (the holy grail) sleep better!
The truth is that whilst newborns certainly have the capacity to load credit card balances and drain bank accounts at a frightening rate, in reality they need relatively little. It is not that today`s baby products will not deliver on some of what they promise, or that they are not useful to a degree (who, given the choice would not opt for a video baby monitor?) but they are mostly unnecessary and can be very expensive.
Baby products require expensive research and development processes and are subject to rigorous testing and certification to various UK and European standards such as the kite mark and European CE marking. This is then recouped through expensive online and offline marketing. All of this results in significant production and distribution costs which are passed on to the consumer. And of course there is the `consumer` factor. You are having a new baby, ergo you want new things, you want the latest and greatest and most expensive and you want (or at least you believe that you want) to spend out on all the latest baby products to give your precious little bundle the best start in life.
Alas, with a recession in full flow, it is more important than ever to try to spare yourself unnecessary expense and concentrate on money saving ideas and tips.
First, make a list. Concentrate on what you will need. Really need. Babies need to be fed, to be clothed, somewhere to sleep and somewhere to bathe. Many experts suggest that breastfeeding is best for baby so, if you are breastfeeding then of course you have you have the most basic need covered for free! If not, you will need to budget for milk (best stick to tried and tested brands), bottles and vital sterilising equipment (not an area in which to skimp and save).
Ask almost anyone who has been through the `baby phase` of parenting and, if they can remember that far back, they will almost certainly advise you to clothe your baby in baby grows. They do not have to be expensive and you do not need a huge number of them. But save yourself the hassle of trying to dress a baby in outfits and shoes and save yourself the money too! Babies outgrow clothes and Moses baskets ridiculously quickly. Also, many buggies are now engineered to be suitable from birth and are usually at least half the price of "travel systems" or prams.
Take advantage of freebies. Join baby clubs. You will receive loads of leaflets in your Bounty pack and all the leading retailers will send you money off coupons and free offers. Don`t be afraid to accept second hand items or gifts from friends: most will genuinely delight in seeing them being put to good use once again. However, ensure cots and Moses baskets have new mattresses and that any furnishing gifts adhere to current fire retardant standards. Similarly check that any toys are age appropriate and carry the CE and kite marking. Clearly you will need to be tactful: accept them gracefully and simply hide any that are not up to scratch!
Finally, it is well worth browsing the internet for discounts and money off voucher codes. Not only will you find things online are often much cheaper but discounts and voucher codes are now big business, estimated to drive in excess of £1 billion in annual online sales in the UK alone so most major retailers will have offers or codes of some kind.
Whether in the last stages of pregnancy or the early stages of parenthood, there are opportunities to control expenditure at every turn.