This post is brought to you by guest blogger Wendy Anderson who gives us practical money-saving tips for first-time parents. Through the years, I often sympathize with friends or family who complain about how even more challenging it is to save money once you have kids with the added cost of child supplies, child care and other associated costs. This is clearly not the case for everybody though, as Wendy informs me that she managed money better once she became a mom! So I guess being a parent is no excuse to be bad about money!
Easy and Actionable Money Saving Tips for Expectant Parents
It’s been a while since I moved to the Philippines and had Cleo. I still remember the excitement and trepidation I felt when she came. Luckily, despite not having a husband, my mom flew across the ocean to help me during those first few months. With her came boxes of my old things, even my old crib! She also stopped me from making financially stupid decisions from all my excitement and nervousness. Lessons every expectant parents should really know themselves.
I know it’s incredibly exciting to go clothes shopping for a baby, especially with all the new fashionable pieces designers have come up with recently. Seeing celebrities post photos of their babies on Facebook and Instagram makes us want to dress up our own kids in a similar fashion. God knows I’ve been tempted. However, as cute as it may look, this is one of the biggest mistake expectant parents make: Buying too many baby clothes.
Babies grow at an incredibly fast rate and it’s likely that after six months that super cute princess dress won’t fit your princess any longer.
Instead, bust out that box of old baby clothes from the storage and go through them to see if anything can be reused. It’s likely, because of their quick growth rate, that you have a couple of pajamas, shirts, shorts and whatnots still in good condition from your last kid.
It doesn’t really matter what color the clothes are either; girls can wear blue, and boys can wear pink. As long as they’re clean and comfortable the tiny people wearing them won’t care, so why should you?
Cribs can also go for a few thousands on the market, so hopefully you kept yours in the storage. However, triple-check the stability and don’t forget to replace the crib mattress!
In the Philippines (where I had Cleo), many families in the province use these washable cloth diapers they call lampin. These things get passed down from child to child in a country with a birthrate of approximately three children per woman. If you have the time and patience to do some extra laundry, you might want to consider using something similar as opposed to disposable diapers. Not only will you save money, it even helps the environment.
If you’re a first-time parent like I am, then try asking your own parents for your old stuff, or your siblings if they have kids. Just make sure that they’re not planning on having more little ones in the future.
Ditch the ‘baby’ stuff
I have a confession-I didn’t know what a nursing bra was until after Cleo stopped breastfeeding. But you know what? I survived.
Frankly, there are a lot of items in the market that are supposedly made specifically for babies like baby soap, baby shampoo, and as mentioned above, especially made nursing bras. While some of them might be useful, especially for babies’ sensitive skin, a lot of them are just there just to take money out of your hands.
You don’t need a diaper bag to carry around your kid’s stuff, a large purse will do. No need for special baby detergent, just look for anything that says no perfume or dyes. Don’t bother with that brand-new maternity dress when a loose top or a friend’s hand-me-down works just as well. An expensive nursing bra pretty much works the same way as a front snap wireless bra too. Baby pillows look cute, but they may lead to SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
A lot of new parents buy a lot of stuff because they want to be prepared. Unfortunately, plenty of the things they buy end up thrown to the side and forgotten. Do some research, speak to your parents and friends, and make a list of the necessary things a baby needs. It’ll help save you time and effort looking for these things, and money which you can invest in more essential matters.
Don’t bother buying shoes either, babies don’t walk!
Buy in bulk (when it’s right)
Babies are fussy creatures and even at such a young age they already have preferences for certain things. So before buying a bulk amount of bottles, diapers, and baby formula, purchase ‘trial’ packs first or ask for free samples to see if your baby likes them.
When you find out what works, then it’s time to go crazy (I’m kidding, don’t).
Set up an emergency fund
“But Wendy!” you say, “You said these tips are easy!”
No doubt you’re already shaking your head at me, but just give me chance to share some examples.
The Christmas season is here and you might be expecting a bonus on the horizon. With this sudden influx of money, why not consider shelving half for your emergency fund? After all, this is extra money outside your usual budget, one half should be enough to enjoy the holidays with.
You can also wait patiently for sales before buying any non-essentials. I’m not sure about you guys but I always get a sense of accomplishment when I buy things on sale (Yay for P700 Lee Cooper jeans!).
Usually, online stores have frequent sales every month on payday, holidays, or special days like 11/11 or 12/12, while large brick and mortar stores like SM have sales every 3-4 months. Check out the original price of whatever item you want to buy and put the amount you save after getting it on sale in your emergency fund. This way, you get your item and you get your savings.
Cut back on things that don’t add to your quality of life. Do you really need that 2019 Starbucks planner or will it just end up gathering dust on a bookshelf? A lot of times you want things now but end up regretting buying them in the future. Aside from waiting for sales, it might be a good idea to wait a few days before purchasing any non-essentials to give you time to think if spending money on that item is really, really worth it.
When you socialize, think of ways to avoid spending money. You can invite friends to a movie night at home, attend free events, or share group meals in a restaurant to cut down on the costs. There are a lot of ways to enjoy life without being extravagant.
An emergency fund not only gives you peace of mind but it also keeps you from incurring any debts when something happens. So really, I see no reason not to start one now (if you haven’t already).
There are a bunch of other stuff I do to save money for my Cleo, but these are just a few I started with leading up to her birth. These tips are all super easy and barely require any work and yet they have helped me so much in those first few months. All the money I saved was put to better use and the peace of mind I gained from that helped me calm down from my initial panic as a new parent. I don’t think I’ll ever stop low-key worrying about my baby, but every little bit of aid (whether financial or otherwise) helps control my worry to manageable levels.
What can I say? I’m a mom, I can’t help it.
I hope these tips are of some use to any expectant parents out there. It’s hard enough to be a parent, but it’s even harder to be a good one. If you have some of your own tips, please comment below. As I said before, every little bit helps and I hope I helped you guys as well.
To being good parents,
Wendy Anderson is the writer and owner of wendywunders.wordpress.com. She is a freelance writer, financial literacy advocate, and devoted mother to Cleo Anderson. You can check out her website at wendywunders.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter at @WendyWunders.