Me and MadDad have managed to keep out of any real financial trouble while raising our two boys. I’m not saying it hasn’t been hard at times, but in the long run we’ve always kept a close eye on our finances and never done any spending where spending was not needed.
I’m often asked about how to raise children on a shoestring, but I don’t think it’s that difficult. While having a child is a huge drain on money, it’s been worth every penny as far as we are concerned. You can’t put a price on unconditional love.
My boys are now 6 and 7 years old, but I can remember my slight panic when we were preparing for Maxi. The Guardian reports that the cost of raising a child can be about £200,000, so you can guess that I was a little nervous. MadDad and I sat down and worked everything out, so we wouldn’t be hit by any financial troubles by the time we were parents.
If you’re thinking of having a child, my main advice would be to put aside money for the essentials. I’m talking nappies, bottles, sterilising equipment, clothes and some baby-friendly detergent.
Work out a budget for each of these every month, and stick to it. As baby gets bigger, you will need to expand that budget a little more, so keep tabs on it.
It’s probably not a good idea to cut corners when it comes to sterilising equipment, so don’t take the risk of cheap and nasty products. The same goes for baby-friendly detergent. As far as nappies go, you will find that supermarket own brands do the job just as well as expensive nappy brands. Don’t ever try to save a few pennies with really cheap nappies though, or run the risk of giving your little one a rash.
The bigger things
You’re going to need a pram or buggy, a cot and a car seat for one the little one gets a bit older.
You’d be surprised how often you can find prams and cots in charity shops or for sale second hand online. As long as they’re in good condition, there’s nothing wrong with getting another use out of them. A car seat is the only item that shouldn't be bought second hand unless you can guarantee they've never been in a car accident or accidentally dropped. You can still make savings even on new carseats by looking online at sites like Bambino Direct, who can offer generous discounts that you may not find on the high street.
Poor Mini often ends up with some of Maxi’s hand-me-downs. I am not going to pass up the opportunity to save some money! I usually help him customise the hand-me-downs with his own appliques and designs, so in the end he prefers them to what I could buy in a store.
If you’re planning more than one child, keep everything from the first time round!