Having children gives you a myriad of rewards that we all get to brag about. However, what’s not often spoken about is the costs surrounding raising children. When you have a child, costs can sky-rocket if you are not careful. However, there are ways you can budget and save when you have a baby or toddler.
Write your budget down
One of the biggest personal finance mistakes people make is not knowing exactly where their money is going. One takeaway coffee here, another quick grocery shop there, and our budget goes out the window. Try this exercise. Carry a notebook with you wherever you go. For one week, write down absolutely everything you spend money on. From in-store shopping to online shopping. Once you have done that, you can take a realistic look at where your money is going when it comes to the small things. Is there anything on that list you don’t have to have? Then cut it out. Add these expenditures to your usual monthly debts and expenses, and you will have a great starting point to start your saving journey.
Make budgeting a team effort
Budgeting with your partner is essential. When you are sharing the costs of a child and a home, knowing who spends money on what is very important. Sit down with your partner and have an open discussion about where money is coming in and going out. Make decisions on who is paying for certain expenses, and stick to that.
Savings should be an expense
You should have a ‘savings’ section under your expenses. No matter how small the amount, savings should not come at the end of your budget with the thought process of ‘I will save what is leftover.’ You should try and save before you spend any money. Whether it is to a savings pocket, an investment fund, or a short-term endowment policy – make putting a little money aside a priority.
Cut back on expenses
Once you know where your money is going, it is much easier to start cutting back on certain things. Amazed at how much money you spend on takeaways? You probably didn’t know the extent of that amount until you had it written in front of you. Go through your expenses, set aside a reasonable amount for spoils, and cut back on the rest.
Baby saving tips
Buy in bulk – keep a lookout for any specials on baby products and groceries, and buy these in bulk. Remember to consider that your baby is growing and may need a new size nappy or different aged formula in the near future. Significant bulk purchases for savings are nappies, wet wipes, toiletries, unperishable food, and cleaning products.
Make your own food – we know this is time-consuming, but bulk-making your own baby/toddler food and freezing it into portions is a fantastic money saver. Try to stick to one-pot meals that are filled with nutrients and label your freezing containers with the content and date. Google affordable meal recipes, and you will be surprised by the number of affordable meals out there.
Clinic vaccinations – When vaccinating your child, take the extra time to go to your local government clinic for them. The wait may be longer, but the cost-saving is worth it. If you would like to get the vaccinations that are only available privately, then book with a private clinic for just those.
Second-hand goods – It’s easy to get swept up in the mania of baby products and goods. And there may be a part of you that wants to ‘keep up with the Jones’. But we are here to tell you that your baby won’t notice whether their pram or cot is brand new or second-hand. Decide what you are willing to have second hand, then search the web and Facebook marketplace for the best deals you can find. Please just make sure that you do not pay upfront for items that you haven’t seen!
Sell it – If you are not planning on having another child in the near future, as soon as your baby outgrows something – sell it!
Toptots Early Learning SA