New mums everywhere want the very best for their children, but embarking upon maternity leave, and the dramatic drop in income that goes with it, is a scary prospect.
With 11 weeks left at work, I’m keen to make my current finances stretch as far as they can, saving as much as possible to cover the cost of the mortgage and bills, whilst I’m not earning.
The shops are filled with “must have” items that cost an arm and a leg and, it seems that, just as with the word “wedding”, if you put “baby” or “nursery” in front of an item, the price automatically doubles…
My favourite places to shop at the moment are eBay, Charity Shops and Car Boot Sales, where you can pick up some amazing preloved bargains for a fraction of their retail price. I bought a John Lewis Wardrobe for the nursery last weekend for just over £100 – RRP £1,100, and a Mamas & Papas ‘travelling system’ for just £65 – RRP £999. Charity Shops in affluent areas are a fantastic source of nearly new toys and clothes, and the NCT also regularly holds its own sales where, for an entry fee of just a few pounds, you can browse and bargain hunt to your heart’s content.
There are, of course, certain things that should be bought new – cot mattresses and car seats for example – and always try to buy any items from smoke and pet-free homes. But, if you’re discerning about what you buy and stick to a list (as even bargain budgets can have a tendency to spiral out of control), then there really are huge savings to be had.
And, at the end of the day, as long as it’s clean and in good condition, your baby will never know the difference… but your bank manager will.