Babies on a budget

       

Emma Jones

Having a baby can be a great source of joy. Not only is it a new addition to your family, but it's also a new budget consideration to include in your financial commitments. When thinking of a new baby, you're probably thinking about food, nappies, clothes, toys and other items that will make raising your baby smooth sailing. Although there is no way to eliminate all the expenses that come along with looking after a little human, you can keep them to a minimum and avoid payday loans, if you learn to be financially savvy. Being financially savvy when it comes to babies means cutting costs and saving where you can as it's a long road ahead. We've got some tips on how you can make this happen and it starts with putting yourself on a budget.

Put yourself on a budget

It is so easy to get carried away when it comes to spending on kids. Whether you're expecting or already have a baby on board, you may feel the urge to want to give your baby the very best of everything. Although this is arguably the natural desire of every parent, it may not be realistic or financially sustainable. In order to not go overboard and end up needing payday loans to cover the rest of your bills every month, you should draw up a budget. This will require you to look at the current state of your finances and decide how much you are going to allocate to looking after your child. Your next job after picking a realistic amount you can spend every month is creating a list of expenses. List every possible item you think you'll need including one-off buys and recurring expenses. The below suggestions will then hopefully help you identify areas where you can cut costs.

Make your own food

One of the top expenses on your baby list is food. For the first few months, you'll most likely be only buying milk if you aren't exclusively breastfeeding. A few months later when you decide your little one is ready to eat solids, you may want to consider what kind of food you want to give them. Buying baby food can be just as expensive as buying formula. You could consider making the food yourself at home using fresh food items. Try and look up the best food items your baby needs for the stage that they're at as well as meal ideas they'll enjoy. Not only will it be organic, but you'll also know exactly what your baby is eating which should bring you satisfaction.


Baby toys that are cheap but effective

Make use of charity shops

Sometimes buying things second-hand can seem taboo. This could be because second-hand items are often assumed to be old and tattered because they've been used before. The good news is that many used items are actually kept in good condition. You should, therefore, consider buying used items for your new baby. This could include things such as a crib, Moses basket, bouncer, toys or clothes. If you aren't comfortable getting them at charity shops as you're not sure who the former owners were, get them from friends and family. They may have items that their children barely used and are happy to lend or give away. Don't be shy to ask as you could potentially save a huge amount by doing so.

Top 7 baby items

  • Moses basket
  • Changing table
  • Muslin
  • Baby sleeping bags
  • Baby bath towel
  • Baby carrier
  • Sleep monitor

Make use of vouchers and coupons

The power of voucher shopping is sometimes underestimated. Baby brands often run campaigns which include discounts and bargains you can benefit from. Try and scout for online coupons as well as offers in magazines and newspapers. They may offer buy one get one free deals on nappies, milk or other vital items you need. This will save you money over a period time, particularly on those recurring expenses that you find yourself needing payday loans to cover.



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Entertain for less

Entertainment is a significant part of bringing up a child. It can also be a little stressful thinking of activities to keep them entertained and finding the money to finance these activities. To save money, think outside the box when it comes to keeping them engaged. Choose arts and crafts activities that can be carried out using items in the house. Also, try making use of your friends with kids and organise play dates. You could consider free museums, galleries, and the library as well seeing as they tend to have free programmes and regular activities for children.

Cut down

Reduce or eliminate your spending patterns to save cash for emergencies. If you take a look at your expenses, you might realise there are things you could do without. When drawing up your budget as mentioned earlier, be realistic about where you can cut down. It might mean less fast food and more home-cooked meals. It could also mean buying fewer clothes and cutting down on your energy usage. If you aren't sure where to cut down perhaps think about visiting the gym less and joining a work-out group, community sport or doing indoor workouts. Whatever the case, make it your mission to scale down and save in all areas. Babies come with many unforeseen expenses so try and have money for rainy days.


Reuse and upcycle old items

Look for financial assistance

Looking for financial assistance when having a baby is of vital importance. Being a new parent is extremely time consuming and can also be rather tiring. It is, therefore, no surprise that working might be out of the question for the first few weeks or months. The government is well aware of this and therefore has made several provisions to help boost the household income of those who may not be earning much after having a child. Aid could come in the form of:

You may be entitled to child benefit for the most part unless you or your partner are earning over £50,000 annually. In this case, a portion if not all of your benefits are taken back. As of 2017, child benefit should be £20.70 every week if you have one child, but more if you have additional children. This amount could change with time so be sure to check the current amount.

While you're pregnant and a year after you give birth to your child, you are entitled to free dental care. You'll need to get a maternity exemption certificate which you can get by speaking to your GP. This should exempt you from paying for most check-ups and treatments, however, there are some you may have to pay for so verify with your dentist first. Maternity exemption cards can also get you free prescriptions in many circumstances.

You should be entitled to a weekly payment from your employer if you're earning around £109 weekly before tax and you've been working at your place of employment for at least 26 weeks consecutively by the end of the 15th week before your due date. If you don't happen to qualify for statutory maternity pay, you may be eligible for a maternity allowance if you're self-employed, changed jobs while pregnant or recently stopped working.

There are maternity grants available for women who are having their first child. In order to get the grant, you've got to be getting certain benefits already. The sum of the grant is around £500 and it can be claimed up to three months after the baby is born. It is ultimately given to help you buy things the baby will need in the long-run.

For those who are low-income earners, the government may offer to help pay your rent depending on your circumstances. Why not see if you're eligible? The amount of benefit you get also depends on the borough you live in and what their allowance is. Pop over to your local borough website to find out how they may be able to help you. It should relieve you of a reasonable amount of stress as well as help you stay within your budget.

You would have to do a little research to find out which of these benefits you would be eligible for, however, it is worth checking. The assistance could go a long way in helping you buy the items you need to take care of your baby and stay on top of your bills as well.

Partner with other parents

Nobody understands the challenges of a parent like another parent. Try teaming up with other parents to share ideas, resources, time and items. You can babysit for one another on nights where you want to go out and let your hair down for instance. You could also do toy swaps so that your kids get to play with different toys for a while. If you have two or three parents you're doing this with, it should keep your kids fairly busy. This in particular beats buying new toys as most kids have short attention spans for them anyway.

Conclusion

Raising a child is a great responsibility which also has a great reward. It may require a financial sacrifice, but it doesn't have to be crippling if you budget. Asking for help, looking for cheaper alternatives to baby items, looking for financial assistance and doing as much DIY as possible will help you cut costs. Hopefully, the tips in this guide will minimise the number of payday loans you have to take out. Parenting is stressful enough as it is so the more extra cash you have, the less stressed you'll be and the more you can focus on the fun of parenting.

Get in touch on any of our social media pages and let us know any of your hints and tips. For further reading on raising babies and toddlers, head over to this site.

If money gets tight you may want to consider credit however there are payday loan alternatives.