Having a baby is an amazing experience, but it’s also one of the most expensive life changes that you’re likely to experience. If it’s your first child, and you have no hand-me-downs to offer, then you’re going to feel the impact on your bank account very quickly. A lot of parents with limit funding end up turning to personal loans from the likes of HappyPenguin to help them pay for bigger expenses like cribs and pushchairs.
Fortunately, we’ve got some tips for new parents that will help you to avoid the stress of dealing with finances when your new bundle of joy arrives. The following advice will help you to keep your costs low and your spirits high.
1. Join the Right Groups
Joining pre-natal groups isn’t just a great way to get an education when you’re expecting, it’s also a fantastic investment in the future. When you join a local NCT, you may need to pay an initial cost, but you’ll make that money back in the form of cheap coffee, trips out, play dates, and even available babysitters. The more friends you make, the more support you’re going to have.
While you’re at it, think about joining groups on Facebook to find other parents too. Social media isn’t just a place to share pictures of your kids anymore; it’s also an excellent place to seek out help and discounts when you need them most.
2. Don’t Over-Spend on Toys
As much as you might want to spend a fortune on your new child and spoil them with everything under the sun, it’s important not to go over the top with those luxury extra expenses. Remember that when you have your baby shower, or even when you first introduce your child to your friends and family, you’ll be surprised by the number of gifts you get that end up being cuddly toys and games.
Additionally, babies don’t actually need a lot of expensive toys to stay entertained. A bit of brightly coloured wrapping paper is likely to be more exciting for your tyke than the gift itself. Have a look for cheap items to give your child some fun instead.
3. Sell All the Things You Don’t Need
Speaking of all the extra gifts you’re probably going to get from your social circle when you have your baby, the chances are that you aren’t going to need absolutely everything you receive from other people. It’s more likely that you’re going to be overwhelmed by clutter that you just can’t get rid of. Fortunately, you can keep that stress to a minimum by re-gifting or selling the items you don’t need.
Remember, don’t throw the original boxes of anything you get away. If you do decide to sell an item later, having the box will help to keep the value high. Additionally, if you’ve got any spare time, you could consider learning how to make things and sell those too. People will pay a lot for a hand-made toy or blanket these days.
4. Check for Benefit Options
Remember that as a parent in the UK, you may have help available to you from the government – if you’re willing to look for it. With that in mind, it’s important to check that you’re actually receiving all of the benefits that you’re entitled to. When you’re pregnant, start by making sure that you’re getting the right amount of maternity allowance.
Sometimes, you will be able to get free dental treatment and NHS prescriptions when you’re expecting a new baby too – so keep that in mind. Talk to your local citizen’s advice bureau about whether you can claim child benefit or child tax credit.
5. Make the Most of Freebies
Freebies come in all shapes and sizes when you’re expecting a new child. A lot of retailers, including Tesco and Boots, come with parenting clubs that allow you to sign up for a chance to get free stuff while you’re waiting for your due date – and for a little while after too. There are also companies online that will give you free items if you’re willing to fill out quizzes and surveys.
Additionally, don’t forget to look for other kinds of freebies too. For instance, friends and family members can act as a free source of babysitting and childcare when you need some extra help to get you back to work. Some of your friends will be willing to donate hand-me-downs to your new child too.