Even if you weren’t a sleep-deprived new mum, the thought of budgeting would probably make you nod off. But with your baby’s first year estimated to cost over £10,000, it’s time to wake up to your new financial reality.
“Eighty per cent of parents are forced to make cuts on everything from bills to food in the current climate,” says family finance expert Sue Hayward. “With a new baby, it’s even more important because it’s a juggling act between buying the best you can without skimping.” So don’t let money add to your worries, follow our experts’ advice for living on less.
Draw up a budget
Sue suggests: “Start with your mortgage, gas, electricity, travel and childcare costs and write down everything you spend. Cut back by shopping around on price comparison websites, and detox your bank account. Sometimes you can be shelling out for old insurance policies that have an automatic renewal or gym memberships you don’t use.”
Keep track of impulse buys, too. “Keep a diary of everything you spend for a week,” says baby budgeting expert Becky Goddard-Hill . “There are so many unnecessary expenses, like buying a coffee when you’re out rather than taking a flask.”
Did you know?
You can sort out your spending using the free online budget planner at Money Advice Service
Save on shopping
Costs of baby items can soon add up, so get creative. “Host a swishing party, where you and your friends set out all your second-hand stuff in your living room, grab a glass of wine and just help yourself to each other’s stuff,” says Becky. “Or go to charity shops and car boot sales in posh areas and you’ll get really nice stuff. eBay is another option – people often sell bundles of newborn clothes that are hardly used.”
If you do hit the shops, do it online via a cashback site such as KIdstart, suggests Sue. “If you use it as a gateway to the High Street sites, you can earn around 10-20% cashback that can then go straight into your little one’s savings account.”
Did you know?
When your toddler turns 3, you could be eligible for 30 hours a week free nursery education for up to two years. Find out if you can claim it
Do a trial run on classes
Always try baby classes before you buy. Becky advises: “Ring them and say you’d like to try it before you sign up for 12 weeks because sometimes your baby doesn’t settle. They’ll almost always say yes, and you can get a sense of what’s going to be most fun and where you feel most comfortable.”