I’ll admit getting pregnant half way through the last year of my masters wasn’t exactly the plan. I had ideas of getting my foot in the door of the career I want and put all those hospitality and admin jobs behind me. But alas here we are and with those jobs come the dismal pay. I’ve been able to support myself pretty well during my masters but there was never much wiggle room with the money. So when the belly started growing and the shock of ‘you’re going to have a BABY’ wore off, the reality of things settled in, lists started being written and the panic of not being able to provide for the baby really scared the shit out of me.
So here are some pointers from my experience and hopefully this can help some of you if you find yourself a little strapped for cash or just want to cut the costs. At the end of the day, everything seems so important to get, but there are so many ways to avoid spending loads.
Because seriously you need to, you’re breathing for two now.
2: Buy books.
My saving grace. I bought books on pregnancy, being a mother, what to expect… you name it, I bought it. If books aren’t your thing, turn to the internet. Read blogs, websites, Emma’s Diary, NCT website, even the Pampers website, they’re all just waiting for you to find them. They gave me so much reassurance on not only what I needed but what I was feeling throughout the pregnancy.
3: Write a list of everything NECESSARY.
And this really means the necessities. I promise, you honestly don’t need that fancy looking pram for over a £1000. Or that super cute baby outfit for £30. If you’re not going to spend £30 on a dress for yourself, step away from the outfit that will only fit them for max three months (Primark/Asda are great for newborn bits!)
4: Second-hand is not as scary as it seems.
Seriously the HORROR stories some people come out with. We bought our cot (not realising we didn’t actually need it for the first 6 months) through the Facebook market for £20 from someone, apart from a couple of scratches and insisting on dousing it with anti-bac, it’s perfect! It’s a Mamas&Papas brand and priced at over £300! Mental!
Have a look online, so many people are constantly trying to give away barely used baby items, because guess what? The baby grows out of not only the clothes, but the Moses Basket and the swing pretty quick.
Darren also asked on his work forum if anyone had anything and a lovely lady offered to get us clothes from her Church donation centre, all the stuff she came back with were in mint condition (and whoever washed them had the nicest laundry detergent, but I digress…).
5: Be creative!
For storage for the little one, we got Darren’s old dresser from his mum’s which I jazzed up with sticky plastic I cut out birds and clouds from. But, babies come with a lot of stuff and the room we have is only small. So we found a fabric shoe holder with a hanger built in, from Primark to hold all of the muslins, bibs, socks, hats…etc.
6: On sale.
Now I must admit, some things really should be bought new. I had this thing about needing a brand new pram (or ‘travel system’ as the shop calls them… right…), because it needed to be durable and basically hold the baby every time I wanted to leave the house. We went to Mothercare and I nearly got sick at the prices, they ranged from £600-£1,000. HOW?! I’ll tell you how, because they can. We left, went to Mamas&Papas and found a lovely three-piece pram (inc. car seat) for £399. This was our most expensive purchase, BUT it was 50% off, we paid a refundable deposit and could pay back the rest in instalments, they were so flexible and lovely about it.
They do recommend getting your mattress new too, we went for this option but did buy it on sale. That being said, if someone you’re close to has one going and you feel you could trust them with your baby’s life and it doesn’t have too many questionable stains, it’s probably fine!
Nappies; shop around. Don’t just go with name-brands like Pampers and Huggies! We thought buying nappies in bulk from Costco would actually be cheaper, turns out, it wasn’t. Also I’ve been told that Pampers have a tendency to leak and the Lidl/Aldi branded nappies are fantastic.
Awh family, what would we do without them? This doesn’t necessarily mean blood-relations, my friends have been just as amazing with their generous gifts as my family have been.
You’re bringing a brand new little person into the world, your family are going to be so excited and want to help in any way they can. If you’re tight on cash, they’re probably aware of it and if they’re not eh… tell them? If they can’t offer you much they may have friends giving things away, you never know unless you ask and don’t be embarrassed to ask, baby stuff is pricey!
My mum’s friends, who I barely know, gave her a swing chair and baby bath for free so you’d be surprised. Sometimes they may feel they don’t want to be stepping on your toes when really all you want is for them to get involved and throw suggestions and stuff your way.
For instance, Darren’s mum surprised us one day with a little pile of clothes she had been secretly buying, including a Winnie-the-Pooh outfit which is already packed as the coming-home-from-hospital outfit.
Luckily for me, my brother had twins two years ago so my sister-in-law very kindly put a (HUGE) bag of clothes together for me that no longer fit the little munchkins.
I seriously underestimated the amount of gifts we would receive from family and friends. We went home to Dublin for a quick weekend when I was eight months pregnant, (don’t ask… at five months pregnant, it seemed like a great idea… and we had to get the ferry because I couldn’t fly).
My sister and two of my best friends organised a relaxed ‘baby shower’ for me, it was more of a gathering in a function room over a pub and less ‘baby shower-esque’ as that would have had me mortified. Being relatively young to have a child I didn’t think many of my friends would get me a gift, we’re not in our prime career time and earning loads, many of us saving our pennies and it just didn’t seem like something to expect. That being said, my friends stepped up their game big time. I was flummoxed with the amount of stuff we came home with, the car was jam-packed with gifts, from clothes, to teddies, a breast pump (!!!), clothes, play mats, a baby book, clothes, baby monitor and did I mention clothes? For a range of ages as well. I got a little emotional about it all when going through it actually – hormones, they get me every time!
So far we’ve managed to save over £1,000 and spent just under, which sounds like a lot but I promise you it can cost a lot more. It does take a little more work, doing the research into what’s safe to get second hand and chasing up people who are giving things away but it is so worth it in the end.
What we got second hand;
- Clothes, clothes, clothes
- Moses Basket
- Swing chair
- Baby monitor
- Baby bath
What we got on sale;
- Pram/car seat
- GroEgg (Room thermometer)
- Baby grooming kit
- Changing mat
- Baby bag
If you only take a few pointers from this post I’m happy!
On a final note, I do recommend you make a list because baby-brain is real and I know has hit me with a vengeance at times. Also being able to tick things off gives me a whole other sense of happiness – but that could just be my obsession with organisation.