If you’re expecting a baby, you’ve probably read sweeping statements such as “babies needn’t cost the earth” or “newborns don’t need anything other than love and milk and nappies”.
I’m calling bullshit.
Babies do need things. And for your own sanity, you’ll be wanting to buy those extras to make life with a newborn easier. And those things? They add up. And it can be financially painful, at a time when incomes are usually drastically reduced due to maternity pay.
Loyalty Schemes / Discount Clubs
Join them. Join them all. If you hate marketing spam, set up a separate email address which you only use for online shopping. My favourites include Boots Parenting Club, Toys R Us Gold Card and IKEA Family Card.
Know Product Value
Always make sure you’re getting a good deal. Do your research on prices, so you have a rough idea of how much something is ‘worth’ before you buy — you can track prices on Amazon using websites such as camelcamelcamel, and create a budget list. This doesn’t have to be fancy, just a note of the items you want to buy and a ballpark cost. When you find an item on offer, you’ll be able to instantly check whether you should snap it up or not. I use Google Docs, so I can access it via the app on my phone – but a notebook (digital or traditional) would work just as well.
In a similar vein, always search for a voucher code before making a purchase online. If you can’t find a valid code but there are plenty of expired codes available, it might be worth delaying your purchase until a code pops up — assuming that it isn’t urgent, of course.
This depends on how much space you have, but bulk buying purchases such as nappies and wipes can save a fortune — especially if you can stack special offers with bonus points events. Don’t go too crazy on the early sizes until you know how quickly your little one grows, but once you get to nappy size 3/4/5 you’re safe in the knowledge that they’ll be in them for a while. Boots regularly run bonus points events where you get £10 in points for every £60 spent online… a £60 spend on nappies and wipes could get you £16 back in reward points. With Boots you can also claim…
Cash back websites track your purchases with associated retailers, and give you a set rate of cash back (having deducted VAT) on the amount you spend. Before making any purchase online, always check to see whether the retailer is part of a cash back scheme; since you’re making the purchase anyway, cash back websites are essentially giving you free money. There are often ‘bonus’ events with double cash back offers, increased % deals or lump sums (mostly for purchases such as car or house insurance).
Outlet stores are a fantastic way of nabbing the brands you love (and more importantly, trust) at a savvy discount. Since Small Human came along, TKMaxx has become my go-to place for discounted Grobags, books and branded shoes. They’re also great for buying gifts — you can snap up some ‘luxury’ new baby gifts and toys at a decent price. Of course, double check the price before you purchase — toys in particular can be just as cheap (or cheaper) elsewhere.
It’s an obvious one; buying second-hand baby stuff will save you money. From eBay to NCT sales to Facebook Marketplace… there’s plenty of opportunities to pick up quality (often barely-worn) baby goods second hand. As with everything, make sure you know the value of your purchases — picking up a Primark top for a fiver isn’t as good a deal as picking up a Boden one. These are also a good opportunity to judge the quality and resell value of your baby buys; whether it’s worth spending that little bit extra for something that a) might get worn again by future children and b) you know won’t depreciate as much if you are planning to resell. I once saw an extremely well-worn Joules set go for £7. Madness.
What do you do to save money on baby-related purchases?