THE money in our bank accounts seem to grow wings the moment children come into the picture. We get so caught up in the list of things that the Internet, friends, generic baby registries and TV shows tell us that we need for our children in the first year of their lives that many of us bury ourselves deep in debt trying to make it happen. As some parents would have learned a little too late, many of the supplies, gears, and supplies that are labelled as 'must-haves' were either seldom used or never at all.
To reduce the chances of parents, especially new ones, becoming overwhelmed by the thought of going over their budget, All Woman has shared a list of tips on how to save big while still fulfilling your baby's wants and needs.
Use public clinics
The convenience of going right in an out of the paediatrician's office for vaccines is quite tempting. But going this route when all the vaccines recommended by the Ministry of Health are offered by your local clinics for free is a waste of money.
TIP: If you are worried about the crowds, then what you can do is try a facility with an evening clinic. The traffic of people is usually less, which means you will get through much sooner.
Buy in bulk
By the time our little ones are three months, they would be warming up to the outside world, developing a pattern, showing preferences, etc. Now is a much safer time to buy supplies in bulk to save.
TIP: Unless you will buy them in a time frame in which you can return the items or get them exchanged, then don't buy too many products such as formula, diapers and wipes because your child may have an allergic reaction to a certain brand of diaper or wipes, for example. Also, he/she may have a sensitive gut or may be lactose intolerant and you would need to restock these supplies.
If you can breastfeed, do that instead of supplementing with formula since formula can be expensive. If you need to go back to work, then you can continue to breastfeed at night if the baby doesn't wean him/herself. To maintain your supply when you go back to work, express your breast milk if your workplace has a clean, safe facility where you can pump, to keep up your milk supply up for as long as possible.
Don't buy a tonne of baby clothes
Don't buy a lot of baby clothes — especially in newborn sizes. Babies grow really fast and will outgrow many of their pieces before they get the chance to wear them. Another point to consider when getting baby clothes is that getting expensive clothes is a waste. A baby's first year is really messy and you will encounter plenty of stains. So unless you don't mind throwing away a tonne of money on one-time worn baby-stained clothes, buying expensive clothes would be a waste. On the matter of shoes, until your baby is walking, shoes are also unnecessary. Socks are just fine.
Watch those toys
With so many toys being touted as most ideal for a baby's brain development, wanting the best for our children can cause us to go overboard. However, children need very few toys in their first year of life. When buying toys go for bright colours, rattles and chewable ones with sensory features, and to round things off, throw in a music toy, too, preferably something with soothing notes.
Invest in convertibles
As much as we love to convince ourselves that we need certain products and gears simply because they are on the list of must-haves on our favourite baby site, many are not necessary. A changing table, for example, only takes up space because oftentimes it is not used all. Go for convertible furniture such as a convertible crib and car seat; that way you will save a lot of money and space.
Make your own baby food
As your baby starts showing interest in food, you will tend to buy products like apple sauce, purees and porridges. Outside of plain throwing away money on these often pricey goods, these are not the safest option. Making your own baby food will guarantee adequate nutrition for your child, you will be able to choose the foods you want, you can explore your baby's taste with the natural fruits and vegetables to see what they like, and only this way you can be sure that there are no harmful chemicals inside.
Go the reusable route
Bulk diapers will help you to save but an even more cost-effective diaper solution would be cloth diapers, or you can use cloth wipes instead of packaged wipes. For yourself, you could consider reusable breast pads, for example.
Lean on family and friends to help with baby care
Most mothers don't get to bond with their newborns for more than twelve weeks. This means that they often have to source caregivers for their children. This can be quite expensive. Instead of running off to find a daycare first, check with family and close friends to see how much support they can lend. This kind of help doesn't usually come at a cost and so at least you would be able to save some money.
Don't lavish on that first birthday party
Lavish birthday parties are becoming a more common way for parents to mark their child's one-year milestone. But the child will not remember anything. The child will appreciate home-made cake or an outing to their favourite place as much as they would a party.