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Finding out you’re having a baby is such an exciting, daunting and scary thing all at the same time.
It’s even more daunting when you realise you have to prepare for this baby on a budget.
Once the realisation finally sinks in and the shock is over, get a head start and put your finances in order!
The cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 in the UK is estimated at a massive £230,000 and rising. Of which a staggering £11,000 of this is spent in the first year alone – per the Daily Telegraph.
But do not panic! It is possible to raise your child on a low budget. You just have to know ways to minimise costs by being disciplined in how you handle your finances.
To succeed at preparing for a baby and parenting on a budget, many financial aspects must be reviewed and changed.
Budgeting is imperative. You need to know exactly how much money comes in from ALL your income streams and how of that goes out. This means tallying all the expenditures from Bills to eating out.
Make your life easier by drawing up a spreadsheet categorising the monthly outgoing into essential and non-essential categories.
You can find out how to successfully create a budget from my How to Star Budgeting on a Low Income. Once the non-essential expenditures have been identified, it will be a lot easier for you to start cutting back on things that you really do not need.
Get into the habit of monitoring your daily, weekly and monthly spending. There are a lot of free budgeting planners available through Google searches. Or you simply buy a notebook or even a diary. Include everything that you have spent money on – yes this means all the cups of coffees and things bought with “loose change”.
The reason for this is simply to fulfil the very famous saying – look after your pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. It’s the little spends that tend to add up. Once you take control of how you spend your loose change, it will be easier to discipline yourself on the big bucks expenditures.
Maximise Your Income Streams
In the UK, expecting mothers can get various forms of help from the government. Be sure to take every advantage of these grants available to you as you will save a lot of money. These forms include:
This grant is available to pregnant women who are expecting their first child. To qualify, the baby should be the only infant in the household.
The are food vouchers that are available to mothers and are there to help them pay
This grand is available to pregnant women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months get.
You can get free medical NHS prescriptions once you have applied for and acquired a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx). Applications for a MatEx are authorised by your midwife
It’s also vital to start thinking about what your main income stream will be once you start your maternity leave. Check your employment status and work out your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) eligibility from your employer. If you’re not eligible SMP and depending on your employment history, you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance (MA) from the government currently stands at £139.58 per week or 90% of your average weekly pay, whichever is less and can be received up to 39 weeks. Once the Baby has arrived. You may also be entitled to receiving Child Tax Credit.
Smart Shopping For Baby
Once you’ve outlined your budget and you know exactly how much you have left to spend on the baby’s shopping, make a shopping list.
Avoid overspending at all costs. Trust me this is easily done but can be just as easily avoided if you learn to separate the necessities from luxuries.
buy items a little at a time. plan your shopping list and buy things in order of importance. Don’t try to buy everything at once!
Trust me, the baby will not need everything at once. Remember, some things can be purchased once the baby has actually arrived.
Depending on the season and time of year your pregnancy falls on, you might be able to take advantage of sales.
Draw up a list of the things needed for both you and baby. These are the bare necessities. When it comes to clothes, try not to buy ‘going out/church’ outfits outright. Instead, concentrate on the essentials like baby grows, sleepsuits, hats, scratch mittens, socks, blankets muslin cloths and bibs.
These need not be expensive and can be bought at value prices. after all, these are items which will be worn at home when the baby is doing nothing. Again, like everything else, cute ‘outing’ outfits can be bought once the baby is here.
Don’t forget, babies grow so quickly. If you buy too much, you run the risk of hardly putting your baby in most of the outfits you purchased. Resulting in..well a total waste of money!
Always plan when shopping for clothes. Especially when it comes to sales, the best time to buy clothes at the end of season sales, just remember to get the size your child will be when the clothes are back in season.
If you can, buy clothes that are a couple of sizes up so your child can wear them for longer.
Buying Things Second hand
I know some people can be a bit hesitant when it comes to buying second-hand baby products, especially clothes.I made this very mistake with my first baby.
I made this very mistake with my first baby. My main priority was getting everything brand new.
I couldn’t imagine my baby wearing clothes that another baby had worn. But here’s the thing that I learned with my second baby.You can easily buy new ‘second hand’ clothes.There are so many parents that fall into the trap of over-buying that they have left over clothes that their baby didn’t even wear. brand new clothes! or they got duplicate products and want to tell one.
You can easily buy new ‘second hand’ clothes.There are so many parents that fall into the trap of over-buying that they have left over clothes that their baby didn’t even wear. brand new clothes! or they got duplicate products and want to tell one.
There are so many parents that fall into the trap of over-buying that they have left over clothes that their baby didn’t even wear. brand new clothes! or they got duplicate products.
Don’t be afraid to ask for hand-me-downs from family and friends
Ok! So, if you’re still not convinced of getting baby clothes from complete strangers online, another possibility is to ask family and friends who’ve had babies. Most people don’t throw things away and keep them to collect dust while waiting for the next baby to arrive – yes I’m guilty of that too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for anything they have that might be of use to you. Popular products include Moses Baskets, car seats, Prams, Cot/Cot bed and toys. Whatever you do, don’t just take things just for the sake of taking it. Especially if you know you’re not going to use it because then you’re robbing someone else who really does need it.
If you’re not brave enough to ask friends and family outright for things, then ask orhint and
Take Advantage of a Baby shower.
Baby Showers are becoming ever the more popular these days! And I’m not surprised. If planned well, Bay showers can be a fantastic way to get baby goodies. Mostly Diapers and wipes, not forgetting onesies and sleepsuits.
If planned well, Bay showers can be a fantastic way to get baby goodies. Mostly Diapers and wipes, not forgetting onesies and sleepsuits.
So if someone offers to throw you a baby shower, please don’t say NO.
Plan, Plan and Plan!
I cannot stress this enough. you need to plan, note down items and cross them off when purchased.
Leave the big expensive items like cot bed, changing table till last and strollers. For reasons mentioned above, you might find a bargain in sales.
I would recommend on buying a stroller/pram first before buying the car seat. Simply because some strollers come with car seats as part of the package and some strollers will only take certain car seats.
So do your research, shop around before committing to a particular stroller.
some of the places to check for items like Cot beds, Car Seats, Highchairs e.t.c are supermarket websites. They usually have a couple of vendors that have the same products at cheaper prices.
Above all, remember that there will be friends and relatives whoa re likely to buy some gifts for the baby!
The best thing about preparing for a baby is that the baby does not arrive the day after you find out you’re pregnant. You have a good eight – ten months to prepare and await the arrival.
Have you got any other tips on how to prepare for a baby on a budget? please share in the comment section. I would love to hear your thoughts.
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