Today’s pregnant woman spends £1786 on her baby – we show you how to save half
Who knew the financial demands of having a baby kicked in so early? Even as your pregnancy test turns positive, your bank balance seems to feel the effect, whether you’re investing in prenatal vitamins or browsing in Baby Gap. And the stats bear this out – two thirds of expectant parents turn to credit cards, while a quarter have financial problems after the birth. Stick with us, though, and you’ll stay on top of your cash when baby makes her entrance.
Work out your maternity leave income
Your maternity leave income will affect your approach to pregnancy spending. If you’re an employee, ask your HR department about your company’s maternity policy.
You’ll be entitled to weeks (or even months) at full pay before moving to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). This is equal to 90% of your average weekly earnings before tax for the first six weeks. For the remaining 33 weeks, it’s £136.78 or 90% of your earnings if that’s less.
'Your maternity leave income will affect your approach to pregnancy spending'
If you’re self-employed, you may qualify for Maternity Allowance (£136.78 a week for 39 weeks). ‘On gov.uk, you can find out about everything you’re eligible for,’ says Jane Symonds, from the Money Advice Service.
‘Even cutting back on just one or two regular daily spends, such as snacks, hot drinks or a takeaway, can save a surprising amount – it’s likely to be at least £5 a week,’ says Jane.
£5 x 40 weeks = £200 saved
Find the best pregnancy freebies
You may not feel like joining schemes that threaten to overload you with emails, but baby clubs do offer a constant flow of coupons to spend on maternity and baby products – you might even receive free gifts and samples just for signing up.
‘By joining everything from Sainsbury’s Little Ones to Toys R Us’ Mother And Baby Club, you can save around £50 per month once your newborn arrives and around half that during pregnancy,’ says Nick Hadfield, who runs babyfreebie.co.uk. ‘You can usually edit your settings, so you only receive one weekly email, and this will come with lots of money-saving opportunities.’
Look out for regular baby events at high-street and online retailers, such as Tesco, Asda and Kiddicare. ‘They often slash the cost of everyday essentials and big-ticket items by as much as 50%,’ says Nick. ‘Flash sale sites like savvymummys.co.uk and zulily.co.uk also have great deals.’
£25 X 9 Months = £225 Saved
Make the most of the NHS
Pregnancy will bring you into closer contact with the NHS than perhaps ever before. Not only are you eligible for free prescriptions and dental treatment while you’re pregnant (saving you at least £40 in check-ups), you also get it for 12 months after the birth. And, when you reach your second trimester, your midwife can book you in for free antenatal classes at your local hospital.
Yes, they’re more basic than private classes (which start from £110 for a 12-hour course), but they’ll certainly help you understand your pain-relief options for the birth and there’ll be a chance to visit the labour and postnatal wards, too.
Check if you’re eligible for Healthy Start vouchers (healthystart.nhs.uk). If you’re receiving certain benefits, such as income support or child tax credit, or you’re under 18, you can get vouchers for milk, infant formula, vitamins, fruit and vegetables. Ask your GP for the forms.
£110 + £40 = £150 saved
Don’t buy too much for your baby
However gorgeous that pack of onesies, your newborn will grow out of clothes fast, so don’t go mad. ‘Bundles of second-hand clothes from eBay or NCT Nearly New sales (nct.org.uk) are worth looking at – they’re often in great condition and more than half the price of new equivalents,’ says Sarah Willingham, mum of four and founder of letssavesomemoney.com.
'Bundles of second-hand clothes from eBay are usually in great condition'
‘If you want to buy new, supermarkets offer the best value for basics – as little as £1 for a pack of vests. The average mum spends £326 on baby clothes, I spent half of that in my first pregnancy. And, as I got more clued-up, this figure decreased with each baby.’
Have a clear out. To make space and help raise funds for those baby Uggs, sell your unwanted stuff on eBay or the local car boot sale.
£326 divided by 2 = £163 saved
Slim down your maternity wardrobe
Women spend an average of £478 on outfits they’re only going to wear for a matter of months. A bump band (£10 for two, mothercare.com) covers the waistband of trousers, so you can wear your pre-pregnancy skinnies a bit longer. When that no longer works, the essentials you’re likely to need are leggings, maternity jeans, two tops, two vest tops and a couple of non-wired bras.
‘You can get the lot for around £120 in high-street stores and supermarkets,’ says Sarah Lafarge, M&B shopping editor. There’s also a good market for nearly-new maternity clothes online. Check out sites like maternityexchange.co.uk.
Ask existing mum friends if they have any maternity clothes they don’t need – most will be only too happy to clear out the plus size gear from their wardrobe. (Unless they’re still wearing it, of course – those comfy elasticated waists can be addictive…)
£478 - £120 = £358 saved
Be a smart shopper
The truth is, your baby will only need a few things for the first couple of months. ‘You’ll want a cot and a car seat, but even a pram isn’t always necessary if you’re happy with a sling,’ says Jacque Gerrard, from the Royal College of Midwives.
You’ll save over £100 if you avoid buying non-essentials, such as excessive gadgets and fancy bedding. Also, there are items, such as a Moses basket and steriliser, that you won’t need forever, so hire them from thebabyloft.co.uk, saving around £50.
‘When buying online, always use a “shopbot”, which scours the market looking for the best price,’ says Sarah. ‘Pricerunner.co.uk is a great one.’ And, when you do get new, buy through cashback sites like quidco.com. They put a cash percentage of your shopping into an account that you can withdraw or spend online later.
£100 + £50 = £150 saved
GRAND TOTAL SAVED = £1096