A guest post by Mellow Mummy.
Preparing for the arrival of a baby can, if you don't keep tabs on your spending, become a very expensive exercise. Having been through it all before (and currently buying for baby number two), I have a number of money-saving tips to share.
Choose a Lightweight Buggy
Almost every parent I know has owned more than one pushchair. Many people choose to buy a travel system as their first buggy or pram because it offers a choice of directions for the seat, or a pram mode, or because it can support a car seat. As your child grows each of these things becomes less important to you and what you look for in a buggy changes – you want something that is easy to use, comfortable and (in many cases), light and compact. When you choose your first buggy think hard about what features you REALLY need. There are several good brands of umbrella pushchair that are suitable from birth and which avoid you having to spend money on an expensive travel system. Check out the very smart Maclaren Techno XLR (around £265) or the incredibly good value OBaby Atlas (around £45).
Keep it Simple
The moral of the pushchair story is that you CAN afford big brand baby products if you limit the features that you are looking for. Other areas where keeping it simple can greatly extend your baby-budget are:-
- Baby Monitors
As an example, the Lindam Clarity audio monitor is available at some retailers for about £40 but if you choose their top of the range digital video monitor this will cost you between £100 and £130 dependent on retailer.
- Sterilising Equipment
If you are bottle-feeding then an electric steriliser may seem quite appealing to deal with the large volume of bottles and teats, but have you considered a microwave or cold-water steriliser as a cheaper option? We used a microwave steriliser as we moved from breast to bottle; it was extremely convenient for us in terms of time and maintenance. It also proved considerably cheaper than investing in a self-contained steam-steriliser.
- Nappy Wrappers
If you are planning to use disposable nappies many people opt for a nappy wrapper. While the bins themselves can normally be found on good special offers, the replacement wrappers add a regular cost for which you didn't necessarily budget. A similar effect can be achieved with a cheap dustbin with a tight-fitting lid that is emptied frequently.
We used reusable nappies for the first 18 months and have used disposable nappies (out of necessity) for the past year. I can honestly tell you that the move to disposable nappies had been a huge financial burden and I couldn't wait to get my daughter out of nappies as quickly as possible. Reusable nappies seem like a large financial investment when you first buy the nappies, covers, buckets and sanitiser but your investment quickly delivers a return.