BECOMING new parents is a very exciting time, but there's no denying the extra financial stress it brings.
From splurging on nappies to saving up for childcare, babies have an adorable way of draining our bank balances.
But according to Tom Church, Co-Founder of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, they don't have to, and as a new dad himself, he has a few thrifty tricks up his sleeve to help other parents save money.
1. Be organised and ignore social media
The more you scroll the more you see and it can be tempting to splurge on all the fanciest gadgets, prams and car seats you start to see.
But Tom warns against getting carried away and instead make a list of what you actually need, such as a pram, car seat, cot and steriliser.
A strict list will help you avoid impulse buys and will allow you to do the research to find the best deals out there.
According to Tom not everything you see online is a necessity. Take a changing bag for example which is just a normal bag with a mat.
So buy them separately instead which will probably work out cheaper.
2. Buy second-hand
While experts recommend you should buy certain things brand new for safety reasons, such as car seats and mattresses, there are so many things you can buy second-hand which are as good as new.
Prams which would have cost over £1,000 new can go for as little as £50 on Facebook Marketplace, ebay or Gumtree, Tom says.
And instead of spending hundreds on clothes for your baby’s first year, you can buy bundles of clothes appropriate for their age on these selling sites.
"For example, I got a Chicco Next 2 Me Bedside Cribs for £50 on Facebook Marketplace when it costs £199 brand new from John Lewis," he revealed.
"I found a Chicco Trio Travel system on Facebook Marketplace for £60. It normally costs £294.95 at Online4Baby, and it was in perfect condition. That's probably been the biggest single saving, and may end up being free when I sell it again in the future!"
3. Borrow pre-loved clothes
Babies outgrow clothes quicker than you can buy them so try borrowing, swapping or buying pre-loved clothes instead.
Think family members of friends who might still be hanging on to items, or try second-hand shopping sites instead.
Tom said: "When I began asking friends with kids if they had any clothes now outgrown, I was flooded with free hand-me-downs. I probably received about £300 worth of free baby clothes. Don’t be afraid to ask friends to spread the word."
4. Set deal alerts for shopping
Being organised can save you loads and if you know what you need start shopping early.
Tom said to try saving search terms on eBay which can give you "excellent results that can save you a fortune."
Examples he used include “unwanted gift baby”, “UV steriliser new in box” or “ex display pram”.
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What's more, online tools will allow you to buy products you want when they’re cheapest rather than impulse purchasing.
You can use CamelCamelCamel to receive alerts when the prices of products you like drop, PriceSpy, which compares product prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal, or Keepa, which will email you if a product you like drops in price.
5. Use Amazon
Amazon is a great tool at new parents’ disposal. Start curating a Baby Wish List early on and you can save up to 20% off all your items if you spend a certain amount on baby products at Amazon.
It's also great for people who want to buy you gifts and they can buy you what you need instead of wasting money on things you don't.
Tom also recommends trying the Subscribe and Save option on things like nappies, wipes or formula which gives you 15% each time.
6. Try reusable Nappies
Reusable nappies aren't only better for the planet but they can be loads cheaper too.
In fact, according to Tom, swapping disposable for re-usable will help you save an estimated £1475 over the average of two and a half years before your child is potty trained.
The upfront cost will always be more but over time you'll save loads more.
Tom suggests starting with a free sample starter kit or buying them second hand.
Don’t forget that if you have more kids, you can reuse these nappies again and again, saving you a fortune in the long run!
7. Don’t splurge on toys
It often happens that a child is more interested in a toy's packaging than the toy itself, so don't waste money on buying new, fancy toys.
Instead, offer your child a wooden spoon, a cardboard box and some Tupperwares – you’ll soon see how much fun they can have with totally free toys.
8.Use cashback websites
When you do have to buy some new items for your baby – or gifts for friends’ babies – don’t forget to always go via a cashback site first.
You can get as much as 25% back on your shopping, and it’s super easy to convert this into vouchers to buy yet more baby stuff.
9.Sign up to newsletters for freebies
Signing up to newsletters is a sure-fire way to get roped into buying things you don't need.
But newsletters for baby clothing stores and supermarkets which alert you to discounts and deals will work in your favour now.
Certain clubs will even benefit you extra as a parent.
For example, the Boots Parenting Club gives you free gifts at different stages of your baby’s development, and gives you extra Advantage points for money you spend.
10. Sell your items when you’re done
In the same way you buy second-hand, other people will be looking to do that same – so try selling off items when you're done with them.
Facebook Marketplace, ebay or Shpock, are good places to start and things like their Moses basket, snowsuit or Jumperoo will otherwise be collecting dust.
11. Use money-saving apps to help you on a budget
Apps such as Latest Deals, the Black Friday app or the Supermarket Price Comparison app can help you to find the best deals when buying one-off products and also when buying in bulk.
You can currently get baby wipes in bulk from Amazon, with a good deal being 18 packs for £11.75.
According to Tom, cotton wool balls are even cheaper. You can use the Supermarket Price Comparison app to find the cheapest price, which at the moment is ASDA’s Little Angels 200 Cotton Wool Balls for £1.85.
Bum Deal is a specific baby comparison website to help you compare the price of nappies or wipes.
12. Join free baby classes
Many parents dismiss the idea of baby classes because of the added expense.
But Tom says many offer free trials to help you decide if they’re right for your little one.
There are countless options out there, from music classes to swimming classes, so try searching ‘baby class free trial’ with your postcode to see what's available.
You can also sign up to local Facebook parenting groups to hear about more opportunities.
13. Ask family or friends for help
Childcare is very expensive, but if you have friends and family who can help it's certainly keep costs down.
Instead of asking for gifts from them, have them offer a couple of hours of their time instead which you can use to shower, sleep or have some 'me time'.
Mums can also try pumping milk into a bottle and allowing a family member to feed them.
If you have family with older kids, ask them if they have anything lying around that they don’t need any more: from old toys to snowsuits, chances are they’ll be happy for their items to be reused rather than sitting in storage.
14. Batch cook in advance
Nursing a newborn is hard enough so Tom suggests batch cooking meals in advance.
Of course these meals won't last forever but if you're organised enough you can certainly prep a month of two worth of meals.
This also means less money spent on takeaway on nights you can't be bothered cooking.
Tom said: "I do most of the cooking at home and have found batch cooking – cooking in bulk and in advance – to be very helpful. The Facebook Group Cheap Supermarket Cooking has lots of people sharing recipe ideas on a budget.
"One of my favourite recipes is pork chop steaks with sweet potato fries and broccoli. Pork chops are way cheaper than beef steaks – you can get a pack of four for less than one beef steak – and then a couple of sweet potatoes and broccoli. For the sauce I use Colman’s Pepper Sauce which is 65p."
15. Make use of Government benefits
A great way to get extra help is to make use of Government benefits, Tom said, saying pregnant women and new mums can get free NHS dental care and prescriptions.
Visit the NHS website to see your maternity and paternity entitlements, and get on to it early in case baby comes sooner than expected.
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