Congratulations, you’re pregnant and walking on air! Before you rush off to buy the latest in maternity wear and designer baby gear, stop, take a breath and read this article. Babies pull on the purse strings as well as the heartstrings, and you may find you need to rethink your attitude toward spending money. Here are some practical tips to help you spend wisely.
Create a new family budget
First, figure out what to expect when you’re expecting. BNZ’s baby budget calculator helps you work out the different costs that will come with a baby over the first year, such as baby gear, nappies, nursery outfitting and food, and how these costs will change as baby grows into a toddler. Once you’ve calculated the costs, draw up a budget, and start putting aside a regular amount straight away, so you won’t be scrambling to come up with what you need all at once after baby is born.
List essential items
What will your tiny baby need in the first three to four months? Stick to the basics, such as a bassinet and bedding, nappies, wipes and cream, changing mat, season-appropriate clothing, a car capsule, a buggy, a nappy bag, and perhaps a few things for the nursery, such as a room thermometer and night-light. Ask friends who have had babies what their absolute essentials for the first three to four months were, and read first-time parents Enrico and Claire’s excellent tips on decorating a baby’s room. This OHbaby! Magazine checklist is a helpful guide for buying baby essentials.
And what will you need for yourself? Maternity bras are an obvious must, and it’s a good idea to get properly fitted for these before you buy. Some quality maternity items really are worth investing in – things like leggings and stretchy or floaty tops will be on high rotation during pregnancy, and probably for a couple of months after the birth as well.
Borrow or buy second-hand
Once you’ve made your list of essentials, put the word around at work and among family and friends that you’d be happy to accept any serviceable clothes, toys and gear that their kids have outgrown. You’ll be surprised at how grateful many people are to clear out their garage and cupboards and pass on their used baby gear. Buying on TradeMe or in second hand shops is also a smart option, especially for baby clothes that can end up being worn for such a short period of time. Your baby will not care what he or she wears (and hopefully your friends and family will buy some cute outfits for you as a gift!) Check out Plunket’s safety tips on buying secondhand.
If you’re having twins it’s perfectly ok to share instead of buying two of everything. Twins clubs often have regular sales of used toys, clothes and equipment. They can also make great support groups; go online to find the closest one to you.
Breast pumps, car seats, car capsules and snap-and-go wheels (the brilliant accessory that turns your capsule into a buggy) are available for hire through Plunket instead of purchasing new. Capsules and carseats have use-by dates, so it’s vital you check that date, usually found on the manufacturer’s sticker underneath the seat, before you buy second-hand.
Shopping online can bring you savings, especially when buying ongoing supplies like nappies and wipes in bulk – with home delivery the bonus. You can also price-check against rival brands with online search engines to make sure you get the best bargain. Consider doing your grocery shopping online to save time and effort. And what about home dinner deliveries? Weigh up the cost benefits of these services. They could be a sanity-saver even if you just use them for two or three nights a week for a month.