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Guest post: Budgeting for your bundle of joy: Tips for new mums and dads

Nappies, cots, prams, clothes – it’s incredible how much money you can end up spending when a new baby arrives.  As I’m part of the Sainsbury’s Bank Family Blogger Network I have a useful guest post today from Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank Blog, with top budgeting tips for new Mums and Dads.

A new baby brings big smiles, short sleeps, daily messes and endless cuddles. It also brings an entire new list of expenses. Parents spend an average of £1,786 in preparation for a newborn, according to a 2012 survey. When you add this to the other costs of living, the figures can seem overwhelming. 

While it’s natural to want the very best for your baby, many new parents admit to spending more than they can afford, reports the Money Advice Service. To ensure your wee newborn doesn’t have too big an impact on your wallet, consider the following tips:

Thinking ahead
Simply by considering your baby budget early, you’re already one step ahead. If money is tight and you’re worried about all the new costs, rest assured that nine months is a solid amount of time to get your ducklings in a row.

Break down your income and expected outgoings each month. Add up your recurring expenses, then deduct that from your monthly income. If that doesn’t leave you enough wriggle room, look for expenses you can cut out.

You can also check if you qualify for government-funded family benefits or look into whether taking out a personal loan would make sense for your financial situation.

The essentials
New babies are exciting, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the adorable clothes and cuddly toys. However, to keep costs down, focus on the essentials. The NHS provides a detailed list of must-have baby items, which includes:

  • Baby clothes (six all-in-ones, two cardigans, four vests, a shawl/blanket, wool hat, mittens, socks, sun hat)
  • Car seat
  • Cot/mattress/bedding
  • Pushchair/pram

Once you have these essentials, you can determine how much is left in your budget for additional items.

New, used and reusable
Second hand items will be less expensive than those you buy brand new. Friends and family members might be happy to give you their kids’ pre-loved toys, nursery furniture and ‘only-worn-twice’ clothes for free. However, certain items are best bought as new:

  • Second-hand child car seats are known to harbour hidden faults, and experts recommend that you only by them new. 
  • Buying your baby’s cot brand new may be the safest option. If you do go for a second-hand cot, ensure it meets British Safety Standards (BSEN716) and consider the additional safety checks recommended by the National Childbirth Trust. It is recommended that you always buy a new mattress.

Nappies are another major outgoing for parents of babies and toddlers. Opting for reusable cloth nappies over disposables can save you around £500 over two and a half years, according to Baby Centre. However, tumble-drying cloth nappies could actually cost you more than using disposables. Stick to air-drying for the best savings.

Worth the cost
It’s incredible how something so small can have such a big impact on your life. Those first few years are certainly a whirlwind of joy, stress, love and sleep deprivation. These highs and lows are what parenthood is all about and, with hundreds of thousands of new babies born in the UK each year, many of us believe it’s well worth it. Though the costs might seem overwhelming, budgeting for baby well in advance will save you money and stress later down the line.

These baby budgeting tips were provided on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog. The views expressed at the top of the page are the writer’s and don’t belong to Sainsbury’s Bank. This blog post only includes tips and information; it does not contain advice and should not be used as a foundation for any financial decisions. Sainsbury’s Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions of external authors and the content of external websites included within this post. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.

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