Budgeting for your new baby

When you’re expecting a baby, money can be a worry. Your income may be about to go down. And there are all kinds of new costs you’ll need to afford. 

Let’s face it: babies can be expensive. But there are ways to save money – and your little one needn’t go without

1. Maximise your income

Before you do anything else, make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to. 

Maternity pay: The type you can claim depends on your income and employment status. You may get more from your employer too. Find out from your HR department. 

Child benefit: Everyone can claim this – to see what you’re entitled to, click here. You’ll be given a form with your Bounty Pack in hospital. Fill it in as soon as you can, as they won’t backdate the payment. 

2. Buy nappies in bulk, or get reusable ones

There are always deals on bulk-buys. But a growth spurt can mean you end up with a pile of too-small nappies. Get some you need now and the next size up too – they’ll always come in handy.

Reusable cloth nappies are also an affordable (and eco friendly) alternative to normal nappies. You’ll save a fortune, and you’ll be saving the planet.

With all these practical tips, you should be able to focus on your baby and not your budget.

3. Sign up for freebies

Store loyalty schemes reward you for your spending. They’ll know you’re a new parent from all the nappies and wipes you buy, so you’ll get useful money-off coupons too. Boots Advantage Card is particularly generous. Sign up now with Bounty too, as you’ll get free samples even before the child is born. 

4. Shop around for unwanted equipment and baby clothes

Ask parents you know if they can give, or lend, you things their own kids have outgrown. 

When it comes to a new baby, it’s normal to ask for cast-offs. Other parents are usually only too glad to help. And, to be honest, will be thanking you for freeing up their storage space. Newborns grow out of clothes so fast too, much of it will have hardly been worn. Don’t forget to pass on your used items when you’re done – just make sure you’re not going to need them for another baby!

Before you fork out for a new buggy, cot, highchair, moses basket or stairgate look for one online. Freegle and Freecycle are online communities dedicated to putting unwanted items to good use in the local area – perfect for finding that affordable pushchair.

Warning: Don’t buy a second-hand car seat as you need to be certain it’s never been in an accident.

5. Ask for vouchers instead of gifts

If you’re expecting a lot of gifts, ask for vouchers instead. That way, you can spend the money on things you know you’ll need – which will be a lot more useful in the long run than five teddy bears.

People love to give newborn baby clothes as gifts. Leave labels on until you use them. You’ll find some outfits are never worn, and if you sell them or give them to a charity shop, they’ll sell for a higher price. The same goes for any big-ticket items – keep the boxes and instructions if you can.

6. Ask other parents and read reviews

Before you write your baby shopping list, ask other parents what they really needed and what just sat in a box unused. There’s a dizzying choice of “essential” baby stuff that you can happily do without. And read consumer reviews, so you can be sure you’re making the best budget choice.

7. Use the Baby Costs Calculator

The Money Advice Service have put together a calculator to work out how much having a baby could cost in the first year. Try it out: