One of the first things you should do after finding out you are pregnant is to set up a realistic budget of what you and your partner are prepared to spend in preparation for the baby. A cute outfit here and a little toy there all add up and, before you know it you will have spent a fortune on things you and the baby don’t actually need.
Here are 8 tips that will save you thousands of rands – guaranteed.
1. Don’t say no to hand-me-downs
When you are dreaming of the perfect nursery for your perfect baby you only want the best of the best. But let’s be real, if you end up with mountains of debt to pay off because you spent R50 000 (or more) on a room the baby doesn’t even sleep in, you WILL regret it. If your sisters, friends, people at your religious institution or colleagues pass on second-hand baby stuff, take it and thank them. Things like a baby monitor, play gym, baby bath and even clothes are expensive and you really don’t need brand-new ones, since you will only be using them for a few months anyway.
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2. Make use of Baby Exchange, Gumtree and second-hand groups on Facebook
You can take all the hand-me-downs you don’t like or want to Baby Exchange or sell them on second-hand baby groups on Facebook (there are loads of them – just search for one in your area) or sell them on Gumtree. This way you get a bit of extra spending money for things you actually need and want. You can also find gems on those groups that are as good as new!
3. Don’t buy the latest travel system
Prams and car seats are expensive, but luckily you can still get the brand you want and out of the box if you buy a model from a year or two ago – minus a couple of thousand rands! The best advice is to never try to keep up with the Joneses. People can get quite competitive about their baby gear, and hear this now: do NOT get involved in that, as it’s absolutely ridiculous!
4. Borrow from friends
If your friends and sisters have had babies recently, see what you can borrow from them. Your baby will grow SO fast, and before you know it you will be banging on their doors to return the musical swing chair, baby bath and bottle steriliser that are just taking up room in your home. And, of course, you’ll save thousands.
5. Make a list of the things you want and need
Soon friends and family will start asking you what you still need for the baby. The best advice is to have direct and specific answers, otherwise you will end up with Jolly Jumpers, walking rings and loads of other stuff you will never use. Grandparents usually don’t mind splurging on their soon-to-be grandchild, so be sure to mention something like the pram or the cot to them. 🙂
Also, be level-headed. It’s easy to fall for advertising trying to tell you your child will be disadvantaged in life if he doesn’t have this or that. Use your head and decide for yourself whether an expensive orthodontic dummy is worth it.
6. Stock up on nappies
Subscribe to the newsletters of leading supermarkets, baby stores, pharmacies and online retailers that stock baby products to get notified when there is a special offer on nappies (and other gear). Buy nappies in different sizes because your little one will grow fast!
Also ask your partner’s friends to host a nappy braai. This new tradition is becoming more and more popular and it’s the perfect way to get loads of nappies free! It’s basically a braai with all your partner’s friends one last time before the baby is born, and everyone brings one bag of nappies. Genius!
BONUS TIP: If you have too many nappies in a certain size and you haven’t opened the pack you can exchange it for a bigger size without a slip at Baby City.
7. Don’t buy it in the baby section
The minute something is labelled ‘baby’ the price seems to double. So buy similar stuff in other departments or shops. Tiny plastic containers for baby food are really expensive, but go to the plastic store around the corner and you get similar containers for a tenth of the price. Also, a nappy bag doesn’t have to have Winnie-the-Pooh branding on it. Buy a big handbag from a department store that will fit everything (and be more stylish too) for much less.
8. Go natural
Formula is extremely expensive and although breast-feeding comes with all kinds of challenges, it means you can feed your child free for the first six months of his life and save a ton of money. When he starts on solids you can also save by preparing his own food. It’s so cheap and easy – plus you skip all the added sugars and preservatives contained in ready-made food.