Every new parent will agree that having a baby is an expensive business. But what could you do to save your pennies?
Transforming the spare room into a beautiful nursery space, getting all the essentials your baby is going to need, and converting your car into baby-safe territory is just the beginning.
And once your newborn arrives, there'll be even more pressure on your purse. So how can expectant and new parents save money when they have a baby?
1. Alternatives to formulas and baby food
Alexandra Julian from Green People says: “When it comes to nourishing baby, the best money-saving tip for new mums is to breastfeed, as it’s good for mum, good for baby and very cost effective!”
Once your baby moves from an all-milk diet, avoid buying expensive pre-made jarred foods where possible and give homemade foods a go.
Make up a batch of mashed or pureed meals and freeze up to three months. You’ll know exactly what’s in them and you can also get your baby used to family meals early on.
Make it a priority to buy organically grown celery, strawberries, apples, blueberries, peaches, nectarines and potatoes as they’re low in pesticide counts.
2. Get all the freebies
Yummyblogger’s tip is: “Get all the freebies you can.
"We got a free changing bag from the Boots parenting club, a free baby towel, and free samples from Bounty packs and free baby books from our local library!”
There are lots of money-saving websites for parents out there so you might as well give them a go and see what free samples and gifts you get.
3. Child tax credits
You might be able to get child tax credit but it'll depend on your household income and the number of children you have. The table below shows gives a rough estimate if you’re eligible.
You can fill in the GOV.UK tax questionnaire to check if you qualify or call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0345 300 3900.
|Number of children
||Annual household income limit 2015/2016
|Two or more
4. Make the most of child benefits
You’ll be eligible to receive child benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 or under 20 if in education or training.
If you or your partner earn over £50,000 per year, you might have to pay a tax charge on top of it.
The table below will give you an idea of what the weekly rate is. For more information, check if you’re eligible or download a claim form from the GOV.UK website.
|Number of children
|Child benefit for first child
|Child benefit for other children
5. Consider nanny sharing
If you’re put off by the cost of having a nanny or by the lack of social contact your child would have, then sharing a child-minder with another family or two is worth considering.
You can find a "share a nanny" through local noticeboards, nanny websites, or specialist sites such as nannyshare, which offer a service for local families who want to split the cost.
6. Make the most of childcare vouchers
Childcare vouchers, provided by many employers, can be used as full or part payment for child-minders, nurseries and out-of-school clubs.
The voucher scheme lets working parents get up to £1,000 a year paid direct from their pre-tax salary, and both parents can claim.
From 2017, new parents won’t be able to register for the voucher scheme. If you’re already registered, you can continue to use it as long as your employer runs the scheme.
A new Tax-Free Childcare scheme will launch, where families will be eligible to get 20% of their annual childcare costs paid, which could be up to £2,000 per child.
7. Ask yourself “do we need this?”
Do your research into products and ask yourself if you really need them or consider an alternative instead.
For example, don’t worry if you can’t afford an expensive changing table – a changing mat will usually fit on standard chest of drawers, or you could use it on the floor or bed.
8. Re-using baby clothes
When your baby quickly outgrows the lovely clothes you bought, you’ll soon generate a pile of barely used baby clothes that are perfectly fine to be used by another family.
Try the NCT's Nearly New sales, where you can get your hands on clothes that are just the right size for your little one. You can sell old clothes through them too.