Along with the joy that a new baby brings, also comes the new expenses. Most new parents are surprised to learn of the costs of raising a baby. According to Australian Institute of Family Studies the cost of raising a first child is $3000-$13000 in the first year alone! Courtney Chambers from Money Maven shares how you can reduce the cost of the early years and make the entire process of preparing for your newborn as enjoyable as possible.
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Here are The Money Mavens Top 5 Tips for thrifty mums to be:
1. Don’t Buy the Big Items New
The biggest expenses when you’re expecting are going to be the cots, strollers, changing tables and the bigger furniture items, but the good news is it is very easy to find these items in near new condition- second hand. We suggest you look on sites such as eBay and Gumtree as well as local community boards for incredible bargains. You will be surprised at what you find and the savings that come with it. Remember- your newborn isn’t going to care about where their stroller came from, as long as they comply with the Australian safety standards. With a bit of second hand know how and research you can save up to 90 per cent on most of your purchases. But how much should you pay? As a rule of thumb we suggest you should aim to pay no more than a third of the full price. Items you will want to avoid buying second hand include: strollers that do not comply with current Australian standards or that do not include a warning label, tether strap and parking break, hand knitted toys, mattresses or breast pumps.
Whilst this is ultimately a personal choice and a touchy subject it is the more economic alternative. If you are able to breastfeed, you could save $15-$30 per week on formula costs, that’s $780-$1560 a year. With the World Health Organisation recommending exclusive breast feeding for 6 months before complementary foods are introduced and continuing breast feeding up to 2 years of age, that’s a potential saving of $1560-$3120, money that could be used wisely elsewhere.
3. Borrow as much as you can from Friends and Family
Help your friends clear out the clutter! You would be surprised how many of your friends and family who have had babies in the past held on to plenty of items that they’re now ready to let go of. It’s definitely worth asking, you can always return the items once your child has outgrown them if they are of sentimental value.
4. Shop Online for Designer Bargains
Whilst it is very tempting to want to buy your new bub every adorable clothing item you spot, you don’t have to pay full retail. Every seasoned mum will tell you that babies have a habit of not wearing any of the cute designer outfits they are given and spend the first 6 months in terry towelling wonder suits! If designer decadence is more your style, you can often get good condition gently worn baby clothes online or join any one of the group buying sites such as Ozsale for fantastic deals on designer baby’s clothes for a fraction of the retail price. We also love www.kidspot.com.au, www.babybuds.com.au . With everything from toys, clothing and some special gifts for mum it pays to do some research online before you buy elsewhere.
5. The Nursery- DIY Make Over
The blue lines on a pregnancy test are often enough to send some new mum’s into extreme makeover home edition frenzy. Here, the Money Maven suggests a bit of good old fashion elbow grease. Put the emphasis on creating a safe, comfortable and relaxing environment and for the elements of fun, head to the markets and Bunnings! Paint is inexpensive and can be updated in a day. Pick an easy but fresh neutral colour and add personal accents. Instead of making everything a feature, try selecting a few key pieces that will be the central focus of the room and will blend easily into design styles in the future. A fabulous poster framed can completely transform a room and be updated every few years. Black and white pictures of family in simple Ikea frames are beautiful and chic. Recyle an old set of drawers with a bit of DIY. Strip back the old varnish and paint, and go ‘shabby chic’ with milk paint for instant character to a child’s room. Replace a standard light fixture with a chandelier picked up from the markets for a touch of glamour. Spend the big bucks on items that can last them a lifetime and usually these can be purchased after they have moved out of the cot. Removable stickers can theme a babie’s room for under $100!
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