There are lots of conflicting words to describe the experience of bringing a child into the world.
Joy; euphoria; delight. Yes, of course…but they’re the ones everyone talks about.
What about fear; self-doubt; anxiety?
The struggle is real.
You worry about everything. Your ability to do the job; to cope with the lack of sleep and still function as an adult. And, of course, you worry about money. It’s only natural.
In this article, we’ll draw on personal experience to walk you through our 10 essential money tips for those adjusting (or about to adjust) to the heavy title of ‘mum’ or ‘dad.’
10 Money Tips for First-Time Parents
1. Make a budget
First things first; you need to have an overview of what’s coming in, and what’s coming out. Both these numbers are almost guaranteed to change, but at least you’ll be able to plan accordingly.
Of course, a budget isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if you don’t stick to it – this guide to budgeting is essential reading with some amazing tips and pieces of advice.
2. Trial run during pregnancy
Unlike some other financial changes you can face in life, parenthood at least comes with a warning! The time period when you’re expecting is a great time to start cutting your cloth according to your new circumstances.
Get an idea of how much you’ll be living on, and start living on it now. It’ll give you an idea of whether it’s possible and how easy or difficult you actually find it.
3. Be ready for the changes
Ok, we hinted at it above; but you don’t want to get caught off-guard by changes to your income. Most of us know that there’s some sort of logic, like – you get 90% of your income for so long and then it goes down to something else. Maybe. It’s important to get specific. How much will you be bringing in?
4. Neutral baby clothes
Any parent will probably tell you that there’s apparently no limit to the number of plain white vests and babygrows a baby can wear in any given 24 hour period.
And, if you’re thinking of having kids again in the future – you’ll put yourself in the best possible position by buying gender neutral. Put simply, babies really don’t mind what they’re wearing as long as it’s comfy and warm. So, if your budget’s tight, ditch the fashion statements and go for unisex.
5. Amazon Baby wish list
This one is a must. An Amazon baby wish list lets your friends know what to buy you, avoiding duplicates and making sure you get what you really need – not lego.
6. Go easy on the gifts
There’s no doubting that first birthdays and first holidays are a special time, and it can be tempting to splash the cash on gifts.
The blunt truth is that your little one will probably be more interested in playing with the packaging and gift wrap than the actual gift itself! Babies have no concept of money; they just care about toys that are fun and stimulate them.
If skimping on gifting tugs at your conscience, just write a mental I.O.U. to your little one and promise them that you’ll make up for it when they’re old enough to appreciate it!
There are lots of freebies available to expectant parents. It sounds cynical, but a lot of the big baby brands are keen to get you used to using their products early, as they know that your business is incredibly valuable to them for a number of years. With that said – take advantage of all the free stuff you possibly can. Giveaways, coupons, competitions, take all you can get. There’s no shame in being frugal. Keep up to date with what’s on offer at latestfreestuff.co.uk, the site is updated daily and gives you the round up of the day’s freebies and discount vouchers. Sign up to their mailing list and they’ll even send you a freebies newsletter straight to your inbox. Some baby specific freebies are listed under point number 6 here.
8. Ditch the unnecessary subscriptions and renegotiate where possible
Once you’ve built out your budget, it’s about identifying opportunities to make it leaner. Start with the unnecessary subscriptions – are you really going to hit the gym 3 times a week? Are you going to have time to read that magazine you subscribe to?
The golden questions are:
- Do I need it?
- Can I get it cheaper?
Similarly, a lot of businesses will make you very good offers to stay with them rather than losing your business. Where you have subscription services like satellite TV subscriptions – give them a call and let them know you’re struggling to afford it. They’ll likely offer you a discount to stay, at least for a few months. The only thing is – in order to get the best deals, you should absolutely be prepared to actually leave!
And, of course, don’t forget to use price comparison sites like Compare the Market to make sure you get the best possible price for energy bills, insurance policies and the like. This is an incredibly easy step to take, and one that an astonishing number of people – for whatever reason – don’t bother with.
9. Avoid unnecessary purchases
New parents face a lot of pressure to buy all the bells and whistles for their little one. A lot of it just isn’t necessary, but you don’t know that until it’s too late. If you’re after specifics, MoneySavingExpert cites nappy bins, play mats, door bouncers and posh changing bags as particular examples of things to avoid.
10. Reusable nappies
Don’t dismiss this one out of hand, however yucky it sounds!
Cloth nappies have come a long way over the past 10 years or so. They’re easy to wash and reuse, they can save you a fortune – and, if you’d like to save the planet on top of all that, you can rest assured that they’re much more eco-friendly than disposables.
If reusables are completely off the menu for you, check out BumDeal for the best deals on nappies across a variety of leading UK retailers.
So, there you have it; 10 quickfire tips to help you manage the financial upheaval of becoming a parent. Giving yourself a little more breathing room money wise might not solve all the growing pains of parenthood – but at least it’s one less thing to worry about, freeing you up to enjoy the experience to the full.
Need more money saving tips? To help new parents, we’ve put together a list of online shopping hacks for saving money. Check our post 10 helpful online shopping hacks for saving money.
You can also use Lifecake’s baby photo app to store and share your favourite moments of your little ones.