Money saving tips for new parents
Having a baby is a bit like having a wedding – when saying the ‘W’ word to a florist or cake decorator seems to cause a 300% inflation in the price – suddenly, all those ‘basics’ that you used to see for mere pennies in the supermarket or pound shop get rebranded and sold to you as parenting must-haves for several times their original price!
My advice on money saving tips for new parents is to ask yourself whether you really need what you are about to buy, and to think outside the “baby essentials” box to see if there is a ‘non-baby’ version that does the same job at a much lower price.
* Newborns don’t need many toiletries – clean water and cotton wool are recommended by health visitors for cleaning and bathing and are in my experience are perfectly adequate until you start weaning, when things do get a bit messier! Top tip from me: use cotton wool pads from the cosmetics aisle (again, own-brand basic version is fine) soaked in luke-warm water for gentle cleansing that costs pennies. For the changing bag, fill a sports bottle with water that will be ready and waiting at room temperature for nappy changes on the go.
* When you are ready for baby wipes (invaluable for cleaning house, clothes and car, as well as the children!) give the own-brand versions a go – they are a fraction of the price as the brand names, and do just as good a job. Of course, to protect the environment, use flannels or other types of reusable cleaning cloths wherever possible.
* Unless your baby has a skin condition that requires specialist products, expensive brand-name baby shampoos and body washes are no better than the supermarket brand, eye-friendly head-to-toe bubbles that come in one space-saving bottle at a fraction of the price.
* You don’t need a nappy wrapper. They are expensive to buy and to refill, and they don’t really wrap the nappies any smaller than you can do with your own two hands. Just tie them up in a cheap, own-brand nappy sack (a few pence for a hundred, also double as dog-poop bags if needed!) and drop it straight in the outside bin if you are worried about the smell. You’ve just saved yourself the price of a nice meal out!
* When it comes to weaning, a plastic bowl that costs £3 for one from the weaning section is likely to be no different from a plastic bowl that costs £1 for a pack of 4 in the picnic section. Same goes for plates, cups and plastic cutlery.
* A branded food blender from your favourite baby-food guru’s own range will set you back around three times as much as a basic own-brand one from the kitchen aisle. Same goes for ice-cube trays and plastic tubs with lids – buy kitchen basics from the pound shop instead!
* Plastic baby spoons with soft tips for delicate mouths are an essential part of your weaning kit, but those that are ergonomically bent to avoid straining your wrist as you feed are not! Use a normal-shaped spoon instead (you’ve been doing it all your life with no adverse effects) and spend the money you save on some exotic fruit and veg for your little one to try out, instead!
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