The first year – keeping costs down

Piggy Box

There have been lots of studies conducted into the cost of having children and it’s safe to say that I was extremely shocked with the results. Recent surveys suggest that in the first year alone you can spend up to £9000. Now to me that’s a hefty sum of money for such a little person and knowing this when I was pregnant I did feel a little queasy. How would we cope and would it be easy keeping costs down?

Well my original plan was to return to work as soon as possible after having Isabelle, but who was I kidding? 15 fun filled months later I am still at home with my little monster bundle of joy. I won’t lie, having a baby on just the one income has been hard on the ol’ purse strings. It wasn’t planned for me to stay at home and with expected costs of £1000’s it was a little daunting. I didn’t want to be naive about the costs
It’s safe to say that we have managed, and spent a lot less than expected. With careful planning we have managed to even save money for our future nest egg. I didn’t have to pawn in my worldly possessions and get cash for gold from selling my jewellery.

I have had comments before along the lines of “If you can’t afford a baby or worried about money then you shouldn’t start a family” and to a point I can see the logic there but in my position we could easily afford a baby whilst we were both still earning. When my plans to return to work changed that’s when we had to tighten our outgoings.

Piggy Box

How did we do it?
We cut back, a lot, rather than splashing out on meals and takeaways we make most of meals with the occasional takeaway treat. We bargain shop and look for deals. I am always searching money saving websites for current deals and I always look for value for money.
Isabelle didn’t need designer baby clothes; at the rate she was growing she was barely getting a chance to wear half of the clothes that she had. This made us more realistic in our purchases; we only bought items that we needed. Don’t get me wrong, Isabelle is well and truly spoilt by me and AJ and she wants for nothing

Days out are planned ahead and we research to help keep the costs down.

Family members have also made our lives easier, if they want to buy something for Isabelle they will ask us what we need or want. It really does help, at first I felt a little awkward asking family members to consult us before buying things but they were pleased we had asked them. They didn’t want to buy us items that we were not going to use or already had.

It pays to shop around, I didn’t have to buy everything from specialist baby stores, I found that supermarkets, low cost stores and even pound shops were just as good. I found great deals on Tommee Tippee bottles in my local Tesco store; I’d never even thought to look in other places. At my local baby group parents were raving about a Fisher Price Jumperoo and after my own research I discovered that they were a little on the pricey side being in excess of £90 but I was determined that we would have one. I was very close to purchasing one second hand off ebay but when Tesco had their baby event that spring they reduced the cost of the Jumperoo and I managed to get one for less than half price which is what I would have paid for second hand anyway. A bargain indeed! Often supermarkets will have baby events which we have found to be invaluable, with massive savings on baby products we were able to buy ahead with items like nappies and wipes so it’s definitely worth a look.

One of the best things that I have learned was not to be too proud to buy second hand, what I realised is that babies grow out of things so fast that baby items barely get used. One of the best purchases I made was a second hand Bumbo seat for Isabelle from eBay and got it for a fraction of the full retail cost, it looked brand new! Have a look for NCT sales in your area, local advertising boards like Gumtree etc. Again if you are offered hand me downs accept them, if you aren’t going to use something then pass it onto another family.

Read product reviews from real parents before you buy, it helps a lot especially if you have no previous knowledge of a product. When we first had Isabelle I didn’t have a clue about baby products. One of the situations that I found myself in was that Isabelle didn’t want to be put down at all in the first four months and why would she? She wanted and needed the closeness of her parents which was only to be expected after being carried by me for 9 months. So after doing yet more research I discovered parents were using a carrier of some kind to help them carry their child, with the help of reviews from parents we decided upon a Mei Tai carrier and it worked a treat, I could wear Isabelle whilst getting on with my daily duties. Without the reviews we would have been stuck as to what to buy and probably would have wasted money on the first item we saw in a store.

Lastly, something that I haven’t yet used but I have been told about. Renting items such as toys, there are schemes set up by your Sure Start centre and even online companies now that are advertising toy rentals. Personally I think that they are a great idea, for a fraction of the cost your child can use the toy then swap it for the next as they go through their stages of development.

Overall the cost of having a baby hasn’t been anywhere near the £9000 mark in the first year and I am thankful for that.

The first year - keeping costs down 1

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