Budgeting for your baby
12 September 2011
Posted by Liz Godden
OK, budgeting isn't everyone's idea of fun but trust us, it's a great way to get perspective and take control. But it isn't as difficult as it sounds and is definitely worthwhile. And once you've created one, sticking to a budget is a sensible way of helping to manage your family's finances.
Work out your spending patterns. Take stock of your present financial situation by thinking about what you spend your money on now. Start a spending diary and write down everything that you spend over a four week period. It's a good idea to go through your bank statements so that you can make a note of all your direct debits and standing orders. As well as including your mortgage/rent and household bills, don't forget to include all the little things such as travel to and from work, lunch at work, magazines etc. It's surprising how it all adds up!
Your spending patterns may change once you finish work and go on maternity leave, and you may find that you can save money simply because you're no longer going to work. You're likely to spend less on travel, coffee in the morning, lunches out, etc.
Buying all the gear!
You don't have to buy everything new, babies grow out of things so fast - for some amazing bargains try your local NCT Nearly New sale.
Of course, you'll have to consider buying equipment and other everyday items for your baby such as clothes, nappies, etc. all of which add up. But, if you have friends and relatives with slightly older children, they might be able to give you some equipment and clothes they no longer use. Plus there are some great bargains to be found online and you can even consider buying second hand through auction sites and at mums groups sales.
Remember, you don't always need everything before your baby arrives, if you have the basics, take some time to see how this new little person fits into your home. Then you can work out what extra gear and gadgets will make your family's lives easier.
Take a look at our list below to see which essential items we think you might need.
|Moses basket or cot
||A cotbed with removable sides which turns into a toddler bed at age 3/4yrs can be a great longer term option.|
|Bedding inc sheets and blankets
||Or a sleeping bag, babies wriggle a lot, so sleeping bags can help keep them cosy all night. |
|A baby bath
||Save space and money with a baby sponge or a baby bath sling to use in your own bath.|
|A high chair
||You won't need this straight away so you could wait and shop around or ask for pressies of gift vouchers after the birth|
|ON THE MOVE
|Pram or buggy
||You can get a buggy that fully reclines which will be suitable straight from birth.|
||Complete travel systems have an integrated car seat that fits straight into the car. Ideal for moving sleeping babies!|
|Cosy toes / buggy blanket
||For getting out and about in all weather|
||Any bag will do as long as it's big enough for nappies, wipes, bottles (if needed) and spare clothes for those little accidents!|
||A newborn may need their nappy changing up to 10 times a day|
|Baby wipes & muslin squares
||You'll probably need more than you think, there's a lot of dribbling going on!|
|Nappy rash cream
||You'd be sore if you were sat in a nappy all day!|
||Handy for those on-the-run changes, not all public toilets are properly equipped, so a mat is a must|
||You'll be surprised at how many you can get through in a day so double up|
|Tops / bottoms / jumpers
||Beware how quickly they grow in the first year, so don't over stock as they'll be in a new size every three months|
|Warm clothes: hats / socks / blankets
||Babies can't regulate their own heat so layers are important|
|If you're bottle feeding
|Bottles / bottle brush / steriliser or tablets
||Sterilising tablets are a great way to sterilise bottles if you're away on holiday or for the weekend, dissolve them in any plastic container|
|If you're breast feeding
||Much more comfortable and great for discrete feeding on the go.|
||Essential to keep an eye on their health as babies and toddlers get lots of coughs and colds. |
||Peace of mind when they're asleep so you can grab some important 'you' time.|
|Toys (inc buggy and bathing)
||Don't over stock, you may get lots as presents after the birth|
Start your own budget with our calculator
Our baby budgeting calculator is a good place to start planning out your budgets for both before and after your baby is born. When you've completed your budgets, you can email them to yourself and keep them handy. Start budgeting now...