Aside from the necessities of course, having a baby will cost as much as you decide it to! You could choose the designer pram, nappy bag and the top of the line childcare but that ultimately depends on your priorities and how you define the ‘very best’.
There is no denying that having a baby is a long-term investment but there are definitely ways to be wise in your everyday spending. Here are some of our favourite pocket-saving tips:
Understand your health insurance and anticipate costs
Before we our tips for saving, it is important to understand the upfront costs associated with having a baby. This will of course depend on if you decide to go public or private and what type of medical insurance you have.
The medical costs of having a baby usually include:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Ultrasounds and special medical tests
- Birthing classes
If you have decided to birth your baby in a public hospital or birthing centre as a public patient, all the basic costs are covered by Medicare. Medicare will also cover medical expenses such as routine ultrasounds, however some expenses such as 3D scans, are not covered.
If you use a private hospital with your own obstetrician, Medicare will only cover some of the costs. If you have private health insurance, call your fund to see what medical expenses they will cover and the evidence you’ll need to provide when you lodge a claim.
Your Baby’s Arrival
Don’t go overboard on nursing wear
If you are anything like me, you will end up spending most of your time indoors during those first couple of weeks. Buy a few essentials, but definitely hold off on purchasing a full wardrobe of nursing wear until you see how your feeding is established. You will quickly realise what you do/don’t need once your baby arrives and can always go shopping for more when needed. Your cup size and chest will also change throughout the different stages of pregnancy and post baby.
Don’t buy baby clothes too far in advance
This is key. For a lot of new mamas, it’s an absolute treat to prepare and spoil their little one with an abundance of clothing. Although this is partly due to the excitement, be sure to limit yourself to a few special items rather than an entire new range of clothing – three seasons ahead of time!
You won’t know the exact size of your baby until they arrive plus newborns can have sudden growth spurts. Buying too many outfits in advance will run the risk of not having the correct seasonal clothing in an appropriate size.
Despite the temptation, you can spend unnecessary amounts on baby footwear – when they actually learn to walk much better with bare feet. Stick to baby booties to keep them warm when outside, and let them roam bare foot indoors.
Choosing unisex styles when your babe is little is a good way to ensure hand-me-downs if you’re planning on expanding the tribe. And remember, take advantage of sales!
Look for furniture that lasts
There are so many beautifully designed convertible cots on the market. These will ensure you have your baby covered well up into their toddler years, and are also saving your pennies at the same time. Don’t tempt yourself into buying decorative pillows for your little one’s cot – they’re very cute, but they’re also a SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) hazard, so will have to be removed at nap time anyway.
Like with furniture, items such as a car seat or stroller that grow with your baby will prove invaluable in the long run. You might be surprised how often you find yourself buying things that are poorly made – investing in quality will mean your baby goods can be handed down from you to others, just like others have helped you.
Buy in bulk
A dreaded trip to Costco can save you a fortune in the long run. Try to plan your trip, save a little extra energy for some quality shopping time with partner or friend, and buy the 224 pack of nappies. Trust us, it’s worth it!
Can you trust second hand items?
For certain products, yes! Often the best second-hand goods come from close friends and family. If you have a friend whose baby has outgrown their bassinet, this is the perfect second hand item (as long as you purchase a new mattress). Your baby will only need a bassinet for a short time, so borrowing will mean that you aren’t coughing up a large amount for products that will only be used for the first 5-6 months.
Although second hand options are great, many products for babies are subject to mandatory safety standards.
Here is a list of common second hand items that must comply to safety standards:
- Prams and strollers
- Cots and portable cots
- Baby dummies
- Household cots
- Baby bath aids
You can view the full list at the ACCC.
Forget the fancy toys
Your baby will be content with crafty toys – or even spoons, pans and cardboard boxes for that matter. DIY projects take time, but they will save on your budget.
If you’re not the creative type, finding community classes is a great way to stimulate your baby and often not a huge expense. Visit your local library, or Kiindred Events for some interactive fun.
If you have other mama friends, you could even organise to swap toy libraries. Your baby will love the variety of toys they play with when they rotate every couple of weeks!
In the early months, calling on partners, relatives or friends are a great option if you’re lucky enough to have this support.
If this isn’t an option for you, contact several child care centres or family day cares to compare costs and facilities. You can always check with your local council for ideas.
For some people, a nanny is a viable option. The Department of Human Services can assess if you are entitled to Government assistance for in-home child care.
Keep track of your budget
Lastly, making a budget and keeping track of your spending (albeit a drag in the beginning) is a really helpful way to understand where your higher costs lie. If you’re aware of your spending, you’re more likely to save where possible.
Source: Asic Moneysmart Financial Guide
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