Once you are pregnant, the cost of having a baby quickly adds up. Maternity clothes, doctors appointments, furniture for the nursery, the list goes on.
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The financial pressure continues
And it doesn’t stop there.
Once the baby comes, the financial pressure continues. In addition to all the practical items your growing baby needs, there’s also the endless supply of activities available: swimming lessons, baby yoga, music and dance classes, just to name a few. If you are not careful, this can quickly drain your bank account and result in a growing credit card debt.
Obviously, you want the best for your little bub, but how can you provide for her at a time when your household income is at its lowest?
Here are a few tips to help you stretch your cash flow that little bit further, without compromising on the fun.
1. Try before you buy
Enormous amounts of money have been spent by parents buying things their baby didn’t end up using. Why? Because babies are notoriously unpredictable. For example, some babies will only sleep in a carrier, others only in a pram (and some are even picky with which one!). Some love the car seat while others scream their little hearts out. Wherever possible, see if you can borrow some items from your friends or family first, and only buy once you know it will suit your (and your baby’s) needs.
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2. Don’t buy everything at once
In an effort to be prepared, the temptation will be to buy everything your little one is likely to need all at once, but there really isn’t any need to. In those first few months, you are all your precious little bub is going to need. I know we often say that babies cost a fortune but a lot of that comes down to the decisions we make as parents. The cot, the high chair, walker, playpen, and possibly even the nursery – these are all items that won’t be used for months. So don’t be afraid to take it one step at a time.
3. Buy second-hand
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you – babies grow out of things fast. The good news for you is that this means there are plenty of second-hand items in excellent condition up for grabs, at a small fraction of what they would have cost brand new. I know what you are thinking – this is your first precious little bub and like all first-time parents you want to spoil that little cherub rotten. But allow me to let you in on a little secret – no one but you will know how much you spent, or whether you bought that item new or second-hand. Best of all, this means you can put the savings towards other more important things, like making happy memories, instead.
4. Avoid the temptation to spend
Let me assure you: sleep deprivation does not make for sound decision making. I was blessed with two babies who were notorious cat-nappers, so staying out of the house for the better part of the day was my main strategy for staying sane in my sleep-deprived state. But, I quickly discovered that shopping malls posed a significant danger to my bank account, with too much temptation to give myself an energy boost of the retail therapy kind. Save yourself the money and instead take a look around your local neighbourhood for some free activities. Some suggestions are mother’s exercise groups, libraries and museums, as well as local community centres that often host children’s activities. Speaking of avoiding temptation, now is also a good time to unsubscribe from all those sales notification emails and avoid the 2am buyer’s remorse.
5. Shop around for a better deal on your bills
A simple way to boost your cash flow almost instantly is to do a full review of all of your current bills. You may be surprised at how quickly all the savings can add up. I recently did the same and found over $4,000 in savings just by negotiating a better deal on our home loan, energy and phone bills, as well as our insurances. In short – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Take this opportunity to also do a review of your bank statements to see if there are any regular direct debits you can get rid of – like that notorious gym membership you never get around to using.
6. Resist the urge to upsize
A new addition to the family is a common excuse reason to upgrade your car and move to a bigger place. The truth of the matter is that a baby really doesn’t need a fancy new SUV, nor do they require a four-bedroom house. The reality is that the bigger the space you have, the more money you will spend filling it with things you don’t need. So do your bank account and your sanity a favour and minimise the clutter, waiting until you are back at work (and the kids are older) before committing your cashflow towards a new car or bigger home.
Natasha Janssens is the author of Wonder Woman’s Guide To Money: The Busy Woman’s Guide to Money Management and Wealth Building and the founder of Woman With Cents, an online education platform to shift the way women feel about their finances forever Visit: Womenwith.com.au or Instagram @womenwithcents.