Babies are adorable, sleep-depriving, poonami producing, bundles of joy. But they can also be huge strains on your bank account! From nappies to clothes to toys to strollers, the list of things you need for your new baby can be incredibly long (and expensive!)
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As a parent of two little ones myself (that’s my little boy pictured there), I wanted to share ten easy ways we managed to save a small fortune on baby supplies, in the hope that it will save you from making the same costly mistakes as most first- time parents!
#1. Embrace Secondhand
While there may be some shame in the parenting community about buying baby supplies secondhand, the truth is that only you know how much you spent, and you can often find great secondhand items for a fraction of the cost! Babies outgrow things quickly, which means that Facebook Marketplace, Salvos, Vinnies and Gumtree are all full of gently used (and way cheaper!) baby supplies.
#2. Choose Nappies Wisely
Nappies are a nonnegotiable with a young baby, but there is a smart way to go about purchasing them. Many parents recommend using cloth nappies over disposable ones; they cost more upfront, but they’re often worth it in the long run. If on the other hand you prefer the convenience of disposable nappies, you will find you get best value by purchasing the cheaper nappies (for example, from Aldi) for day time use when your baby is being changed often, and invest in higher quality brands (like Huggies) for overnight when you need them to last longer.
#3. Consider Breastfeeding
This is by no means a moral or political suggestion; it is merely a financial one. Whichever decision you make for yourself, your child, and your body is absolutely the right one, but if finances are a concern for you, it’s important to note that breastfeeding is cheaper than formula feeding. If you’d like to explore breastfeeding and pumping, the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) has free support and advice on their website.
#4. Hire a Pump
If you decide to breastfeed, consider hiring a pump instead of buying one. Members of the Australian Breastfeeding Association can hire a pump for as low as $15 per week, and their hiring process includes support and consultation from a trained volunteer. Non-members can also hire a pump from the ABA, but they will pay twice as much as members.
#5. Ask for Samples
So much of raising babies is a case of trial and error to see what they like best, and formula is no exception. If you are able to get your hands on formula samples (from your hospital or pharmacy) it will allow your baby to try different brands to see which one agrees with them, without costing you a lot in the process.
#6. Avoid Shopping on Maternity Leave
Shopping centers and online shopping can be a new mother’s worst enemy, as sleep deprivation provides the perfect opportunity for retail therapy! Have a book or TV show on hand for late-night feeds instead of turning to your Amazon account.
#7. Try Before You Buy
Babies are fickle creatures, and not every baby will like the same thing. If a friend or family member of yours has the same baby items as you’re thinking of buying, see if you can borrow them to try with your own child before forking out the cash. It’s much better to use a borrowed carrier or pram and learn that your baby doesn’t like it than to purchase one of your own only to learn that same lesson!
#8. Don’t Buy It At All
The Buy Nothing project was founded in 2013, and now it’s a network of groups all over the world that run on a gift economy. This means that you give something away for free and get something for free in return! These groups are perfect places to find gently used baby supplies, and you can find a group near you on the Buy Nothing project’s website.
#9. Hire a Capsule
Capsules are something that your child will grow out of quickly, so instead of purchasing your own, consider hiring one for the first six months of your baby’s life. Kidsafe, an organization based out of Queensland, actually offers a free six-month capsule hire for a refundable $60 deposit as part of their Bringing Baby Home Safely campaign.
#10. Use a Toy Library
Just like you can borrow and return books from your local library, you can do the same with toys at one of 280 toy libraries across Australia. You’ll have access to high-quality toys that cater to different stages of development, as well as community and support from other parents, all for a small annual membership fee. You can find a toy library near you on Toy Libraries Australia’s website.
Last but not least, resist the urge to upsize (be that your home, your car or your baby announcement). Just because your friends bought the latest SUV does not mean that you have to.
Remember : choosing to save on your baby budget does not make you a bad parent.
Your baby won’t know the difference, and your bank account, sanity and relationships will be all the better for it!