Budgeting tips for new parents  

Save, not spend!

Some people spend £10,000 or more in the first year of their baby’s life, while others spend just a few hundred! If you want to be in the latter group, read on to find out how to keep things simple and cheap.

Keep a spending diary for a month, noting everything that you spend is a good idea. You might find an excessive amount of money goes on unnecessary things. Remember to include receipts and statements for cashless payments or bills, and set a time and date to go through it (and stick to it!).

It’s good to talk

New babies need both parents to make decisions about spending – it’s not down to just the breadwinner. You need to be open and honest as well – you’ll be tired and stressed enough already, without secrets and anxieties.

Setting out ground rules – no purchases over £100 without consultation, for example – is a good idea. If you don’t plan ahead for a big purchase, you could fall into the trap of a payday loan to buy essential equipment. Companies like wonga offer payday loans which are short-term loans that are convenient and quick, but must be paid back promptly to avoid a debt spiral.

Find out what equipment you really need – and what you really don’t need, as this will cut down on expense. The top items that people blow loads of money on and don’t use are changing tables, expensive newborn clothes and baby baths. Online consumer sites are a good place to start this research, as well as parenting forums.

Try before you buy

Any items over £100 should be researched thoroughly before purchase to see if you can get them cheaper, or second hand. Your biggest expense by far will be the likes of the pram, so really do your homework here. Ask friends, go online for advice, and make sure that the type of pram you buy will actually suit your lifestyle. If it’ll be going in the boot of your car a lot, make sure it folds down. If you travel by bus a lot, how wide is it?

Second-hand baby gear is brilliant, because it’s often a fraction of the retail cost, and it’s not been used too much, as babies are only tiny for a little while. Check out the National Childbirth Trust in your area, as it’s always having nearly new sales. You should also spend some time on online auction sites. Second-hand car seats aren’t recommended, though, unless you know the people you’re buying it from. If a seat’s been involved in an accident, you can’t be sure it’s safe.

Second hand Rose

Friends and family will often swamp you with old gear, so don’t be too proud to accept it. You’re doing them as big a favour as they’re doing you, as they’ll need the space.

New parents are a marketer’s dream, so you’ll also be swamped with offers for freebies – free samples, discount vouchers, introduction packs and loads more. Sign up for as much as you can bear! Many parents fondly recall the tiny tub of Sudocrem they got as a freebie that became essential in their change bag for months!