Having a baby on a budget

The New Baby Budget Guide

Everybody knows that welcoming a baby into your family isn’t cheap. If you’d like to reduce the total expense involved, try these five handy tips.

1) Get The State Aid You’re Entitled To

Low-income families with their first baby on the way can take advantage of the Sure Start maternity grant. This non-repayable £500 grant is only available for your first child or for multiple births. Eligibility hinges on either you or your partner already collecting certain state benefits. Examples include income support and Job seekers allowance. The Sure Start grant can be claimed 11 weeks prior to your expected due date or up to three months after the birth, but the grants cannot be backdated. You’ll need to complete an SF100 form (available at Job centre Plus) to claim the grant. The form needs to be signed by a health professional like a doctor or a midwife. Completed forms can be returned to the Jobcentre or sent to the proper Freepost address. Sure Start grants do not require repayment, and they don’t affect other state benefits.

2) Seek Charity Assistance

If your income is limited and you’re expecting a baby, talk to your doctor or midwife about local charities for expectant mothers. Many small charities use donations and funding to supply baby essentials to new parents in the UK. These charities typically operate along the same lines as a food bank, collecting material donations and delivering them to those who need them. Sample charities include Baby Basics in Sheffield and Northampton, Little Bundles in Cambridge, and First Days in Wokingham. Similar programs are also appearing through some branches of the National Childbirth Trust.

3) Use Your Social Circle And Take Advantage Of Freebies

Because babies grow up quickly, most parents end up with a lot of material that is no longer useful to them. Any parents you know through your social or family connections may be able to provide you with free hand-me-downs. Get online and let your social networks know you’re looking for baby gear. You should also sign up for Freecycle/Freegle groups and look out for local baby-related freebies and free samples.

4) Don’t Be Afraid To Buy Used

You can find plenty of affordable-priced baby kit including clothes, toys, and necessities at a range of second-hand stores. Car boot sales are another fertile ground for sourcing lightly-used gear. Check with your local NCT branch; they often help parents trade and sell used clothes and essentials for children under the age of five. Locating even one good store can set you up with a whole world of useful gear at unbeatable bargain prices. Remember that you can find deep discounts on second hand items online, too. Try online auction sites like eBay and gumtree.com. The latter site featured over 100,000 second hand items for sale in the “Baby & Kids Stuff” category last week.

5) Make The Most Of Promotional Discounts

Start sharpening up your coupon-clipping scissors. Sign yourself up for baby clubs at stores like Tesco’s and Boot’s to get deep discounts on the baby-related purchases you’ll be making in the future. When it comes to high street shopping, you may find that Poundland’s baby section is an excellent place to find great deals on baby gear.

*This post was sponsored by freestuff baby*