Finding out you are pregnant can be such an exciting time. Once you see that positive test, you start thinking about the future and all of the hopes and dreams you have for your baby. However it can also be daunting too! From buying everything your baby will need to adjusting to maternity pay, it can feel overwhelming and a bit stressful.
This is the first of two posts all about how we budgeted during pregnancy and during maternity leave (the second post will be up next week!). I hope it helps you to feel less worried about your finances and more prepared to meet your new arrival.
START SAVING STRAIGHT AWAY
The biggest tip I have, and the one that has enabled me to stay off for a year, is to save money as soon as possible. A month or so after we found out I was pregnant, we started putting my salary (less mortgage/bills) into savings. We continued this throughout my pregnancy which enabled us to buy a bigger second-hand car and to pay me ‘maternity pay’ once mine had ended. We also used this to top up our monthly income during maternity leave and to pay for larger expenses such as car insurance.
As well as creating a cushion for us, it was good practise to live on one salary before my maternity leave began. If we are lucky enough to have a second, I will definitely do the same.
Before I found out I was pregnant, I was a bit worried about buying baby items second-hand. There are some items you should not buy including cot mattresses, car seats etc- more info here. However, it is worth making a list of items you are happy to buy preloved. We started to keep an eye out for those items from around four months pregnant and it saved us a lot of money.
Some of our best finds included a barely used Ergo 360 Carrier for £40 instead of £140 and an unused Sleepyhead for £50 instead of £120. My favourite sites for finding second-hand bargains are Gumtree, Local Facebook selling groups and NCT Nearly New Sales.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Everyone gets very excited about the prospect of a new baby and you are likely to have family and even friends who want to buy something for your new arrival. Don’t be afraid to share which specific items are on your list if asked. Family members contributed towards our SnuzPod (amazing!) and a few other items too. Bigger items can get expensive and in my experience, people are always keen to contribute towards things they know you will use and love.
I think every new parent makes this mistake! I got so caught up in the excitement of tiny clothes that Freddie ended up with far too much. In the early months, clothing changes are a very regular occurrence so having multiples is a good idea. However, once your baby hits three months and beyond it is a good idea to scale back the amount of clothing items you think you will need! Freddie hasn’t worn even half of the plain white vests I bought him for his 3-6 and 6-9 month wardrobe and I wish I had started off with far less. Ditto with baby t-shirts- Freddie has only recently started wearing them as previously it was easier to just pop on a bodysuit.
The same rule applies for equipment. There are so many different bouncers, swings, highchairs and toys on the market and it can be really tempting. The thing is, until your baby arrives you won’t know what their preferences are so it’s best to buy those things after your baby is born. For instance, I wasted a lot of money on a simple swing and Freddie hated it. He didn’t enjoy the backwards/forwards motion and it was essentially unused.
I hope these tips were useful to you if you are currently pregnant or planning to be. It is so easy to get caught up in the hype of new baby products and cute clothes but the reality is, babies need very little. Try not to spend more than you can afford and if possible, for some of the bigger equipment purchases like swings and highchairs, wait a little while. You may even pick up a second-hand bargain that way too.
Don’t forget to check back next week for my tips for saving money whilst on maternity leave!
Thanks for reading,
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