You look at the plastic stick. Take stock. Look again. Check once more. Definitely. A baby is on its way.
Congratulations! Life is about to start getting real for you.
Soak in this moment. Think about all the joy that a baby will bring.
And then…boom! You think about the financial impact.
Ok, that isn’t exactly what happened with me. The euphoria lasted a good few days before I thought about money. But as it’s been a year since our first scan, and therefore the first time we saw our little baby on the screen, I thought it was a good idea to write down some tips that I picked up since my son came along.
It’s true. Becoming a parent is daunting in so many different ways.
Various thoughts tumbled through my head: will I be a good father? Will I find the time to spend with my child? How will I pay for him/her?
Luckily, we are in a position where my wife can take a year off of work (yes, I’m jealous!). But we had to crunch the numbers first and work out where we could cut back.
Make no mistake, finances are important, but in my mind are secondary to raising a child. Clearly love is more important. However, this being a personal finance website, I can’t get all hippy with you. Yet….
Throughout the first six months of his life, here are some things that I’ve learnt. I’m sure that everything might not apply to all new parents, but it’s a summary of how we’ve managed to lessen any financial impact:
I was surprised by the amount of stuff people lent us/gave us when they found out we were having a baby. Friends and family whose children were a little older were happy to part with some of their belongings.
Here’s a quick list of the things I can remember that people passed on to us:
-maternity clothing (for my wife, not needed for me!)
-car seat (from our best friend. Be very careful about this one!)
-a baby bath
-a breast-feeding chair
If we bought all of this new, we would probably have been a several thousand pounds down.
Don’t buy many clothes for the first few months
Everyone will want to buy your baby clothing. Our little one unfortunately didn’t even get a chance to wear everything he was bought.
Aside from plain vests and sleep suits, we didn’t really need to buy anything.
Buy things using cashback sites/cards
This is a no-brainer and something you should be doing anyway.
Only use it for essential purchases and sit back as each registered transaction earns you money.
Over the past year, my wife and I have claimed over £200 from TopCashback.
We didn’t really do this, although I wish we had. My wife was sceptical about the condition of things. Knowing more than to argue with a pregnant lady, I went along with her. But friends of ours bought everything on Facebook and eBay.
I can only dream about how much money they would’ve saved
Try to breastfeed
This isn’t right for everyone, and I know some people aren’t able to breastfeed. This is our experience, so if you’re unable to or don’t want to, that’s fine.
But from a financial perspective, feeding our baby natures goodness saved so much money for us. And it’s convenient, too.
Going through my numbers, putting aside the bills I’m paying now my wife isn’t at work, there isn’t really much of a difference in my savings rate.
It turns out that having a baby doesn’t need to be that expensive. Although when they get older, it might well be…
If you’re anything like me, your finances will adjust. You’ll eat out and meet up with friends less, but you’ll enjoy spending quality (free!) time with your bundle of fun.
If anything, having a baby has motivated me more to become financially independent. I want to spend my time with my family; not in an office cubicle.
I wouldn’t change anything. There’s probably never a perfect time financially to have children. You have to adapt.
We’re humans. And that’s what we do best.
Follow me on Twitter @swearingmoney
***The information contained herein does not constitute financial or other professional advice and is general in nature.
This post contains affiliate links.