When it comes to saving money when starting a family, it really takes a village. No matter where you are on the income scale, there are some golden hacks that can help households squeeze the most out of their everyday purchases. When communities come together to swap advice and baby gear, everybody wins.
At the start, the biggest expense for a young family is furniture. Babies grow out of their furniture so quickly that there’s really no point in splurging on decor. Ask around to see who might have spare furniture to loan or sell cheaply in your community or on social media marketplaces. Or use an online site like Baby Swap or Shop to stock up or swap your gently-used baby goods. This goes for clothing, toys, books, accessories and most other baby care items.
In fact, the cost of clothing, nappies and toys might be the biggest long-term strain on the family budget. Many new families get a whole bunch of newborn clothing at the start and are left to scramble once the growth spurts kick in. It’s better to shop for slightly bigger sizes that your child can grow into. You can also save a lot of money by shopping clearance a whole year in advance. It may seem crazy but kids grow fast and when summer rolls around, you’ll be glad to have a full stash of gear on hand.
New parents tend to shop online and usually well past midnight, particularly if their little one is nursing or wakes up often. If you’re tempted to splurge on a special item, it’s helpful to save it to your basket and come back a few days later to see if its midnight allure hasn’t dwindled by daylight. While it’s charming to have a few statement pieces for your child to wear on special occasions, it’s easiest on kids and parents to invest in durable, comfortable, gender-neutral pieces that can be easily mix-and-matched, washed and eventually passed down to a sibling or swapped. There are certain items, such as shoes, that ought to be purchased new as they are often moulded to the wearer’s foot after some time.
When it comes to nappies and most other baby goods, the best way to save is to buy in bulk. Many shops, including Amazon, offer discounts on big purchases of single items. Same goes for groceries. While it may seem convenient to buy baby food in jars, it’s much cheaper to buy a bunch of veggies and protein at the shop, cook up a stew, mash it up and store in reusable containers in the fridge or freezer. For family meals, planning around meal deals and sales can save a lot of money. Loyalty programmes and handy cash back apps help you use your shopping to earn points or cash - such as the ZIPZERO app which lets you earn cash to pay your monthly bills just by doing your everyday shopping.
When your baby starts getting bigger and more curious about the world, it’s tempting to fork out cash for some fancy activities. It’s more fun and affordable to set up a regular playgroup with other parents in your neighbourhood and let the little ones socialise, sing songs and play together in a close-knit group.
Whether you’re preparing for a new addition or wondering how you can help another family in your community make ends meet, the best way to save money is to pool your resources and spread the savings around.