Having a baby is such an amazing and special thing, but after the excitement of finding out you are expecting, the worry of money sets in.
Now I am a stay at home mum with a 15 month old and another little one on the way, we are living off one salary which means money is a bit tight. Here is how we have been preparing for the extra costs.
1. Create A Household Budget Spreadsheet - We have had a spreadsheet for a good few years and have recently started a new one. By working out our outgoings compared to how much we have got coming in, we can see whether we are in the red or green each month. If we are in the red then we look at what caused it and whether there is anywhere that we could cut costs.
2. Child Tax Credit/Benefit - Getting child tax credit (if you are eligible) for each child under 16 is a real help to cover those costs for nappies, milk, wipes etc. You are paid into your bank account every week or every 4 weeks, so make sure this gets added to your spreadsheet.
3. Buy Neutral Clothes - Knowing the gender of your baby beforehand can lead to a lot of gender specific clothing buys. If you were to buy the majority or even 50% of the clothing in neutral colours, then if you had another baby you can use these for them as well, whatever their gender. I recently went out into the sales and bought a couple of things in neutral colours, just in case the hospital got the sex wrong, and in case we had a 3rd child in the future.
4. Second Hand - Buying second hand clothing and toys could save you a lot of money. I make sure when I'm in town to head into the charity shops to see if there is a bargain to be had. 9 times out of 10 there usually is, and they always look like they have never been worn. My second child will have second hand clothing and toys because we are having another girl. We practically have everything already, much to the dismay of relatives who are eager to buy things.
5. Sign Up To Baby Clubs - By simply signing up to baby clubs and product sites you will often get sent offers or vouchers to use. It is then up to you whether you want to use these or not.
6. Supermarket Downshift Challenge - There are a lot of branded products in supermarkets that if you took the time and compared them with an own brand or a value one, you might not be able to tell the difference. We often buy value or supermarket own brand because we find that they are just the same. If we don't like something then we will shift up and see if that is better. You can see how much our shopping bill is each week along with meal plans here.
With everything in place, I feel very prepared for this year and by following all the things above, I have one less thing to worry about.