Increasing household expenses are unavoidable when there’s a new member of the family. But, there are ways to cut down. By Lisa Witepski
Having a baby is wonderful … and expensive. From now on, there’ll be new items to add to the shopping list, from nappies and wipes, to formula, dummy cases and steriliser. It all adds up quickly, but you can keep your budget on track with these clever hacks.
Start planning your finances long before your baby arrives, advises Mariette Tappan, financial advisor at Liberty. Decide ahead of time whether you want to take extra (possibly unpaid) maternity leave and if you’ll go back to work full-time, then work out a new budget that accommodates the potential loss of income.
Review your insurance and medical aid policies
These will need to be adjusted to suit your new family situation. These are grudge purchases, but they also make an enormous difference when you need them.
Be clever about nappies
Start stockpiling nappies well ahead of time, especially when you see them on sale. Also, remember to buy across a range of sizes. – Casey
When you’re buying nappies, plan strategically. I bought loads of nappies for newborns, just a few size twos (because your baby wears those for the least amount of time) and then lots of size threes. – Kerry
If you can, organise a nappy party for your husband – that will take the pressure off for a few months. – Lenore
Look into reusable nappies. Although there is an initial outlay, it can work out to be more cost effective than buying a fresh stack every week. Check out thenappyemporium.co.za for a range of brands. – Sarah
Breastfeed for as long as possible
It’s not always easy, but if you are able to, it works out to be far cheaper than buying formula. – Kylie
Look for cheaper alternatives
Forget the costly furniture from high profile brands and scout around at pine shops. The reality is that items like compactums are only used for about two years, so a simple pine table or chest of drawers – given a makeover with a trending paint technique – can do the same job – Kylie
Investigate gap cover
Remember to do so well ahead of time, as there is usually a waiting period before you can claim. The additional admin is well worth it, as most medical professionals’ charges exceed what your medical aid is willing to cover. – Aletta
Look for sale items
I’m very careful with shopping. I wait until the sales are on, then buy for the next season or size. – Chazya
Invest in double duty items
Stock up on 125ml Consol glass jars. They’re brilliant for storing breast milk and you’ll use them again to store food when your little one starts eating solids. Plus, they’ll come into service for crafts and other activities when the kids are older. They’re also inexpensive. – Natalie
Join all the loyalty programmes you can find
Loyalty programmes are a great money-saving tool. When you sign up as a new mom with DisChem, you receive an entire bag of goodies, plus a free nappy bag. Clicks gives you loads of points when you buy baby products (if you’ve registered your baby), so you end up getting cash back. – Natalie
Test products first
Before you splash out on the full sizes of expensive products, buy small containers so you can give them a try and make sure you like them. – Katya
You don’t need every baby gadget on the market
There are a whole lot of products available for every perceivable baby need, but the reality is that you don’t need very much. Why would you buy a bath thermometer when you can test the water with your elbow? Before you waste money on things you won’t use, ask your friends for a list of the essentials they use every day, and things they wouldn’t bother with. – Lisa
Stick to no-name brands
Don’t waste money on big brands. We gravitate towards these because we are most familiar with them, but a no-name brand nappy does the job just as well as a more expensive one. – Kerry
Don’t be tempted to buy too many newborn outfits for your little one
You’ll be given so may at your baby shower, and you end up using very few of them because newborns grow so quickly. – Janita
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.