Babies do change everything. When you discover that you’re expecting your first bundle of joy, the chances are that you’ll feel a combination of excitement, and anxiety. On the one hand, you’re thrilled that you get to share your life with someone that you’ll love more than anything in this world. On the other side of things, however, you’ll know that your baby is going to cost a lot of money to support over the years.
The best way to make sure that you’re fully prepared for your new life is to adjust your budget as quickly as possible. The quicker you start watching the pennies, the better off you’ll be when the baby arrives. Consumer finance sites like Readies.co.uk have a wealth of information on budgeting should you find making ends meet a challenge.
1. Practice Living Off One Income
One of the most expensive parts of looking after a baby is paying for childcare. It’s so expensive to have someone else look after your child each day, that you might decide you’d be better off having one parent stay at home to manage the task themselves.
Look into your budget and the available childcare options in your area, then think about what’s best for you. If you decide that one of you will become a stay-at-home parent, it pays start practicing living on one income as early as possible. Not only will this give you a feel for what you can expect in terms of cash-flow, but it will also give you some savings to use when the baby comes.
2. Make the Most of the Baby Shower
If your friends and family insist on throwing you a baby shower, then the best thing you can do is let them know exactly what you need. While it can feel cheeky to tell your loved ones that you’d rather have a bottle sanitiser than an extra teddy, you’ll thank yourself for it in the long-term.
If your friends and family really want to help out, they won’t mind looking at your list for items that suit their budget, instead of coming up with presents on their own. This way, you can reduce the number of unnecessary gifts you get and save yourself some cash on the initial expenses of having a child.
3. Look for Second-Hand Savings
There’s a good chance that you know someone in your family or circle of friends that has had a baby in the last couple of years. If so, that person may have a crib or pushchair that they no longer need, just sitting in their attic. All you need to do is give the item a wash over, and it will be ready for you to use – practically good as new.
Remember, most parents only use the pushchair for a couple of years anyway, so you might as well make use of a second-hand option if you can. This can save you literally thousands of pounds on buying a brand-new model if you don’t know how anyone who you can “borrow” from, try checking out local charity shops.
4. Skip the Unnecessary Purchases
As you start to shop around as an expectant parent, you’ll begin to notice just how many things you can buy for your baby, from bottle warmers to baby shoes. While some of these items can make your life a little easier, it’s worth making sure that you buy the things that you absolutely need before you start worrying about the added extras. You can always warm bottles yourself the old-fashioned way if a bottle-warmer seems too expensive.
One thing that’s worth doing without is baby shoes, or designer baby grows. Your child will grow out of these items so fast that they’ll barely have a chance to wear them before you are putting them up on eBay. A cute outfit isn’t worth the pictures you can put on Facebook if it means that you’re going to struggle to pay your bills one month.
5. Start Planning and Saving ASAP
Finally, as soon as you discover you’re pregnant, or even when you start trying for a child, it’s worth making sure that you’ve taken every opportunity to plan for both your future and the future of the baby. Look into savings accounts that you can set up for your child and ask your friends and family to contribute money during the early birthdays and Christmases instead of spending on big toys that your child won’t miss.
Remember to take some time to look at your budget and see whether you can find any extra cash to put aside into a savings account for your child to help with things like educational costs down the line too. The quicker you start saving, the better.