Having a baby nowadays is an expensive business – there’s so much kit and equipment available that it’s mind boggling. Sussing out what you’ll need and what you can do without may seem like real hard work and when you see the prices of some of the baby equipment, you can be forgiven for thinking you’ll need a second mortgage to buy what your baby will need.
Well, women have been having babies throughout history and, until recent years, most new parents made do and managed with equipment passed on to them by family and friends. There are so many expenses involved with having a baby, that any savings you can make will surely be welcome. If you don’t mind buying pre-owned equipment for your baby, there are plenty of ways of getting hold of really good kit at a fraction of the price that you would pay for it new.
Check out the Mother and Toddler groups in your area – they’re usually self-funded and often hold “Nearly New Sales” of baby/toddler clothes and equipment to raise money. Most of the stuff at these sales will have had very little use - babies grow so quickly during the first couple of years that there’s no way that the items will be worn out. Clothes, blankets, bedding, etc – you can buy absolutely gorgeous items that would normally rack up a huge bill on the high street.
Larger equipment, such as prams, strollers, cots, chairs, can often be found online. Try eBay or Gumtree to start with – you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you can buy all this gear at a fraction of the price it was new. If you don’t absolutely need to have this year’s designer gear, you can kit out yourself and your baby with top of the range equipment at bargain basement prices. After all, your baby won’t know or care if the stroller they travel around in is top of the range in this year’s “must have” colors – your baby just needs to be warm and comfortable on your travels. Likewise with furniture – it needs to be safe, comfortable and fit for purpose.
If this is your first baby and you intend to add to your family again, then make sure that the equipment you buy is of good quality and flexible (such as a cot that converts into a first bed) so that it can be passed down from child to child. This way you’ll get years of service from items and some will probably become family heirlooms, passed on from generation to generation. Look for equipment that serves a dual purpose (a mesh travel cot will double as a playpen and vice versa) so that you get more bang for your buck.
Having a first baby can be stressful enough without having to worry about how to afford all the stuff your baby needs. Try to think outside the box and come up with solutions that are imaginative, such as:
- You don’t particularly need a baby bath at first – a large washing up bowl will do just as well and it’s more compact and easier to use than a baby bath, especially during the first couple of months.
- You don’t need to spend a fortune on a baby travel bag – any great looking waterproof tote bag will do. You can buy bag organisers to divide the inside of the bag into compartments and plastic zip up makeup bags from your local pharmacy will keep all the bits and bobs neatly stashed away.
- Arrange an evening with other young parents to swap equipment that you no longer use – this is a great way of socialising with others like you, getting rid of stuff you no longer use and getting hold of what you do need.
As your baby gets a little older, divide all his/her toys into two or three loads and rotate them every six weeks or so. This will make it feel like your little one has a whole load of new toys on a regular basis. The toys won’t become so familiar that he/she loses interest in them. Your child will go through regular stages of development, meaning that the toys should gain in play value every so often. Make sure that you regularly wash all toys and equipment – this makes it much easier to sell or pass on when you no longer need it.
Having a baby doesn’t need to mean that you’ll never have any spare money again – if you box clever, you can afford the equipment you need without having to break the bank.
This was a post from Debbie on behalf of World First Currency Exchange - check them out for massive currency exchange savings.