Bringing up baby without breaking the bank

How do you raise a child while also counting your dollars and cents? Here are some tips to get you started.

From the moment you decide to have a baby or fall pregnant, the expenses start. Visits to the doctor, prenatal vitamins, hospital stays, pregnancy clothes and time off work can all impact the family budget. And this is only the beginning of the journey! Not that we mind spending money on our little bundle of joy, but the truth is that it can be very expensive having a child. 
How expensive? According to market-research company IBIS World, throughout 2013-14 Aussie parents were expected to spend over $11.3 billion on nappies, clothing, food, furniture, toys and childcare for their little ones – all before the age of four. Breaking this down further, this is an average of $3037 per child every year, throw in childcare and this cost rises to about $7098 per child a year. 

To lessen the blow to your wallet, here are some tips on bringing up baby without breaking the bank.

Embrace secondhand clothes

Don’t shy away from accepting hand-me-downs from friends, family and neighbours. Often the baby clothes still have tags on them as babies grow quickly.  
Baby with teddy bear

Make a wish list

As soon as people know you are pregnant, they will shower you with gifts and advice! If you’re having a baby shower, why not make a wish list? This way your friends and family know what to buy and you end up with things you need. 

Borrow 

Children get bored very quickly with their toys, so consider renting or borrowing some. Check out your local council, community organisation or library. 

Get online

Trawl through the internet for bargains – just make sure any product you purchase meets Australian safety requirements. 

I must have everything new

If you prefer to have only new items for your baby, think twice before purchasing top-end products. 

Consumer-advocacy group CHOICE ran two comparison tests comprising of 10 baby items found in most homes. The items included a pram, cot, high chair and change table.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the test found that paying for expensive baby accessories does not necessarily mean better results.

Also think of the money you could save and how you could put it better use. For example, you could deposit the savings into a bank account for your baby. Or, once you are back working, towards childcare.

Although it’s tempting to spend up big, with a bit of time and research you can get the accessories you need – without blowing your budget.
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