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Deal-Hunter Reveals 15 Ways For New Parents To Save £1000s

DebsGC
November 4, 2021, 12:00 PM
  • Consumer expert Tom Church has just had his first baby
  • Tom has already saved hundreds thanks to buying second-hand on Facebook Marketplace, reusable nappies, and ebay bargains
  • Tom recommends 15 tips including buying in bulk, shopping second-hand and being organised

Having a baby is a wonderful time that brings joy, laughter and sleepless nights - but it’s a seriously expensive endeavour too.

From splurging on nappies to saving up for childcare, babies have an adorable way of draining our bank balances.

Tom Church, Co-Founder of money saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, has just had his first baby - and has 15 money-saving tips up his sleeve to help other parents save money on their parenting adventure.

Be organised and ignore Instagram

Instagram seems to know as soon as there’s a baby on the way, and it can be tempting to splurge on all the fanciest gadgets, prams and car seats you start to see. There is a dizzying list of products on the market, each with their own wonderful-sounding promises, such as helping your baby sleep longer (the dream for new parents).

But don’t get carried away with spending on all the Instagram adverts. Make a list of what you actually need, such as a pram, car seat, cot and steriliser. A strict list will help you avoid impulse buys and will allow you to do the research to find the best deals out there.

A lot of items aren’t actually necessary: for example, a changing bag is basically just a bag with a changing mat, so use a normal bag and buy a changing mat separately.

Don’t buy too many baby clothes before you have the baby, either: you’ll likely be gifted lots of clothes, and they grow out of them so fast that it’s a shame to have unworn clothes going into storage.

Buy second-hand

While experts recommend you should buy certain things brand new for safety reasons, such as car seats and mattresses, there are so many things you can buy second-hand which are as good as new.

Prams which would have cost over £1,000 new can go for as little as £50 on Facebook Marketplace, ebay or Gumtree, while instead of spending hundreds on clothes for your baby’s first year, you can buy bundles of clothes appropriate for their age on these selling sites.

For example, I got a Chicco Next 2 Me Bedside Cribs for £50 on Facebook Marketplace when it costs £199 brand new from John Lewis.

I found a Chicco Trio Travel system on Facebook Marketplace for £60. It normally costs £294.95 at Online4Baby, and it was in perfect condition. That's probably been the biggest single saving, and may end up being free when I sell it again in the future!

Don’t forget to check Freecycle too, for items that may be free of charge for a quick collection.

Set deal alerts for shopping

Being organised can pay dividends when it comes to buying baby gear. If you know what you need, start looking for it now. Saving searches on ebay such as “unwanted gift baby”, “UV steriliser new in box” or “ex display pram” can yield excellent results that can save you a fortune.

Online tools will allow you to buy products you want when they’re cheapest rather than impulse purchasing. You can use CamelCamelCamel to receive alerts when the prices of products you like drop, PriceSpy, which compares product prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal, or Keepa, which will email you if a product you like drops in price.

Use Amazon Baby Wish Lists

Amazon is a great tool at new parents’ disposal. Start curating a Baby Wish List early on: you can save up to 20% off all your items if you spend a certain amount on baby products at Amazon.

The Wish List is great for people who want to buy you gifts: they can buy you something you actually need on the list, rather than spending money on something you already have or don’t like.

Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature is also great for buying baby products in bulk, such as nappies, wipes or formula. This gives you up to 15% off.

There’s also the Amazon discount finder to help you discover reduced prices on the site.

Make use of Government benefits

Parenthood is expensive, there’s no denying it - but luckily, you can get a helping hand from the government.

Did you know that if you’re pregnant, and for a year after your baby is born, you’re entitled to free NHS dental care and prescriptions?

There’s more help available depending on your income, such as child benefit, the Sure Start Maternity Grant or Healthy Start vouchers.

Make sure you’ve also sorted out your maternity or paternity pay entitlement well in advance, too, as you never know if your baby will make a surprise early appearance.

Reusable Nappies

If you’re an eco-conscious parent, good news: there’s no need to drown in mountains of non-biodegradable packaging and single-use plastic.

Consider using reusable nappies, which aren’t just better for the environment, but will help you save an estimated £1475 over the average of two and a half years before your child is potty trained.

If the upfront cost of buying the reusable nappies sounds pricey, you can often get free sample starter kits from your local authority, and there are also free or discounted nappies on websites such as Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace.

Don’t forget that if you have more kids, you can reuse these nappies again and again, saving you a fortune in the long run!

I began with disposable nappies, but have started to invest in some reusable pairs. The savings will be huge.

Borrow pre-loved clothes

Your baby can seem to outgrow their clothes in the blink of an eye, which makes spending a fortune on new clothes every couple of months even more painful.

Thankfully, there are a whole load of websites where you can borrow, swap or buy pre-loved baby clothes from premium brands.

This means that rather than cluttering up your baby’s wardrobe or draining your bank balance every time they have a growth spurt, you’ll only have what you need - and once your baby outgrows their clothes, you can simply swap them for some bigger items.

When I began asking friends with kids if they had any clothes now outgrown, I was flooded with free hand-me-downs. I probably received about £300 worth of free baby clothes. Don’t be afraid to ask friends to spread the word.

Use cashback websites

When you do have to buy some new items for your baby - or gifts for friends’ babies - don’t forget to always go via a cashback site first.

You can get as much as 25% back on your shopping, and it’s super easy to convert this into vouchers to buy yet more baby stuff.

Sign up to newsletters for freebies

If you’ve been procrastinating when it comes to signing up to clubs and newsletters, now’s the time to do it.

Newsletters to baby clothing stores, supermarkets or will alert you to discounts and deals, which will pay dividends for years to come: you’ll be buying school uniforms and Halloween costumes for a long time.

Certain clubs will even benefit you extra as a parent: for example, the Boots Parenting Club gives you free gifts at different stages of your baby’s development, and gives you extra Advantage points for money you spend.

Don’t splurge on toys

A lot of toy companies will promise that their products will boost your child’s development, get them speaking earlier, help them to walk and so on. And while this may be true, chances are your child will be more interested in the box they came in than in the actual toy itself.

So don’t feel pressured to spend lots of money on toys that will likely be played with a couple of times and then forgotten about.

Instead, offer your child a wooden spoon, a cardboard box and some Tupperwares - you’ll soon see how much fun they can have with totally free toys.

Ask family or friends for help

Paying for childcare is seriously expensive, so when people ask you what you need, instead of asking for gifts, take them up on a couple of hours of babysitting so you can catch up on sleep or have a shower.

If possible, you can express breast milk into a bottle and allow a family member to feed your little one. This can be a great bonding experience for them.

If you have family with older kids, ask them if they have anything lying around that they don’t need any more: from old toys to snowsuits, chances are they’ll be happy for their items to be reused rather than sitting in storage.

Batch cook in advance

Coming back from the hospital bleary-eyed and in pain, with a crying newborn is hard enough, but having to then do everyday tasks such as making dinner can seem impossible.

Instead, make sure to batch cook before the baby arrives, so you’ll hopefully have a freezer full of meals ready to go.

This will stop you ordering expensive takeaways on a whim to avoid having to cook.

I do most of the cooking at home and have found batch cooking - cooking in bulk and in advance - to be very helpful. The Facebook Group Cheap Supermarket Cooking has lots of people sharing recipe ideas on a budget.

One of my favourite recipes is pork chop steaks with sweet potato fries and broccoli. Pork chops are way cheaper than beef steaks - you can get a pack of four for less than one beef steak - and then a couple of sweet potatoes and broccoli. For the sauce I use Colman’s Pepper Sauce which is 65p.

Use money-saving apps to help you on a budget

Apps such as Latest Deals, the Black Friday app or the Supermarket Price Comparison app can help you to find the best deals when buying one-off products and also when buying in bulk.

You can currently get baby wipes in bulk from Amazon, with a good deal being 18 packs for £11.75. Cotton wool balls are even cheaper. You can use the Supermarket Price Comparison app to find the cheapest price, which at the moment is ASDA’s Little Angels 200 Cotton Wool Balls for £1.85.

Bum Deal is a specific baby comparison website to help you compare the price of nappies or wipes.

Join free baby classes

Baby classes can seem like an unnecessary expense when playgrounds or friends’ houses are free, but many baby classes offer free trials to help you decide if they’re right for your little one.

There are countless options out there, from music classes to swimming classes.

Do an online search for ‘baby class free trial’ with your postcode, and also sign up to local Facebook parenting groups to hear about more opportunities.

Sell your items when you’re done

Just as you bought your baby stuff reduced on Facebook Marketplace, ebay or Shpock, don’t forget to do the same once you’re finished.

Babies grow out of things surprisingly quickly, so when they’re now too big for their Moses basket, snowsuit or Jumperoo, snap some pictures and list them so they’re not collecting dust in your home.

The cot and pram I bought second-hand may well end up being free when I sell them on.

If you decide to have more kids in the future, you can always buy second-hand once again.

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