How to make the most of your baby budget
Baby on the way, or one (or two!) in the family and you're astounded by the costs? You're not alone. Deciding where best to spend your baby budget can seem daunting. But, there are some great places that you might not have heard of that have helped me maximise our baby budget. I also put together: 10 Things to remember about buying baby stuff.
When I was pregnant, I was buying all the kinds of cute I could get my hands on, especially if it was on sale! I don't regret it too much as it was short-lived, it was still in budget, it was all part of the excitement of becoming a mum and I had saved hard so I would be able to do just that.
I am now back to being a very much more considered buyer for all things big and small - being on maternity leave will make you do that! I'm not really one for buying for buying's sake. That doesn't mean I'm not constantly window shopping, though! But, on the big things I have always and will always take my time and do my research. A lot of research!
I've popped a video review and some links to some posts below that will interest you.
I have dispensed with a lot of cheap and cheerful (which is often only cheerful a brief moment) and look to make the most of the budget I have with the best quality I can. That's the key. Look to maximise the funds you have available. And if you don't feel you have anything, don't sweat it. Your baby will be no less loved. And love is something you can't buy.
Here are 5 great places and schemes you may not have heard of, even if you've heard some of the names. They're all certainly worth a look and will definitely help you make the most of those precious pennies.
Have you heard of NCT ?
I've spoken with a lot of new parents and parents to be who haven't. So, if you haven't, they are the UK's largest charity, specifically for parents. We did the Signature ante/prenatal course through them, which you can find out more about here. To say we were apprehensive was an understatement, I had to bribe Big B with promises of endless chocolate cake to go! I thought it would be a great way to meet other mums off work at the same time as me and going through the same. I was right. Natch! We met some great families who have really helped get me through the good, bad, ugly and downright hilarious.
The course seemed a little pricey at first for something we weren't sure about but now in retrospect, it was worth every penny and more. There are concessions available if you fit certain criteria too.
There are loads of courses, events where you can meet and connect with other parents, help with breastfeeding etc, they can help with emotional support too. And a helpline, which is 0300 330 0700.
But, for the purposes of this post, they also do great offers and sales on new items via their shop and loads of events local to you selling nearly new items. We have the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 and though it was a gift from the grandparents, we chose it because we knew it would last and could be either handed down, or sold on for a good price too. Perhaps to buy the next baby wagon!
You don't have to be a genius to know that Mamas & Papas is one of our favourite baby brands. You'll find a few posts on them and on our YouTube channel. I'm all about the quality and finish and I love the quality of their stuff and the designs are just fab. But, they have also just launched Loved for Life and made me love them a little bit more. I haven't personally used it yet, as we have our pram but I will be keeping my eye on what's available for that next stage.
The Loved for Life range comes as 3 options: 1. As new 2. Loved and 3. Well loved. With either zero, light or moderate cosmetic wear and a 2, 1 year or 6 months guarantee. That means, dependant on the option, you make a saving of 25%, 35% or 50% off the original price.
You can check out more details here: About Loved for Life
Talking of pre-loved. This is a fairly new discovery for me. It's a website called Preloved, dedicated to passing on things that have been, well, preloved! A bit like Gumtree. So, you can find things in your local area that have been preloved. I signed up to their mailing list and have found that they have lots of stuff for free too. I believe in karma, so if I've found something for free, I'd list something for free, too. Of course, you don't have to. It's going free. Fill your boots!
This was one of the best and most useful things I did. It was exhausting in all the information we received. We spent an entire afternoon looking at prams. An afternoon! And though I tried to go for a more purse friendly option, the one that suited our needs best ended up being the Bugaboo Cameleon 3. We were lucky to have grandparents who footed the bill, but that made me no less cautious or initially sick at the price tag. Now, we've had it for over a year and given it a real going over, I think it was a great buy and it's served us so well.
The event itself is free and you get a goody bag, but places are limited. It really helped as not only did I feel we'd made fully considered decisions on what we got, we saved 10% off the pram and everything else we bought, like the Next2Me bed. 10% off is a lot and makes a difference. I shopped around offline and online and couldn't find better deals on those products at the time. The discount was valid for a couple of weeks afterwards so we didn't feel at all pressured to buy there and then. Although I did buy some bits (including a 4d scan that I thought I'd never do, but that I loved)! We learned about everything from feeding and breastfeeding equipment, first aid to car seats. In the end I bought our car seat at Mamas & Papas armed with a wealth of info and because they had the exclusive to the seat and colour way that we (I) wanted. But, the grandparents have gone back to Mothercare for theirs based on the great service we had.
Find an event here: Mothercare Expectant Parent Events.
They do exactly as they say. Even if the concept seems a little strange at first. Buying a sling or a baby carrier is a minefield of options and fits and styles and prices. I just thought I'd get one off the peg and away we go. I tried that and it ended up going back! I'm small. Yes, I'll admit that once. I am 5' 2" (and a half!). So, getting a well-fitted sling hasn't been easy. If they don't fit properly it's not good at all for you and can be dangerous for your baby. And then some of them feel like a two-man job to get on!
Here are some: safety tips for baby slings.
So, I strongly advise looking to see if you have a Sling Library near you. You can rent out a sling/carrier that you've picked with a highly knowledgeable sling expert, based on your individual needs and you can road test it before shelling out for your permanent one. Similarly, you could just rent one for when you need it. After renting ours for a few weeks I found the first one we tried wasn't for us when B got to an in-between growth stage. He didn't enjoy being swaddled but was too small for his legs to be able to come out of the sides. Bless!
You can obviously ask in-store staff, too. But, the option to road test and bring back and the range of options might be narrower depending on where you shop.
Sling Library List
Here is a fantastic Sling Library List. It's constantly being updated and also links meet ups and events.
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Kitty & B x
One of our videos is linked here:
Hopefully these tips help a little bit. Feel free to comment and ask any questions you have. And also, share with anyone who might find this useful by clicking the share icons below.
Do you have any other great places to share?