How to afford a baby?

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Having a Baby on a Budget

How to afford a baby? Babies don’t have to be expensive. Yes there are some things that simply have to be bought but the majority of “essential” baby equipment on the market today is not in fact essential. You might find yourself wondering  ‘should I buy new or used?’ ‘Is it worth it to buy preloved?’ Listen there are pros and cons to both sides. I’ve bought both new and used in my time as a mother. It comes down to a number of  things such as value for money and defining your priorities. A safe but convenient car seat might be your non-negotiable or maybe its a pram that makes getting out for walks easier. What ever your priority is that’s where the bulk of your money is likely to be spent. To offset that cost maybe looking at second hand items for your other needs is on the cards.

What Did We Buy New And What Did We Buy Used?

When my first born came on the scene we didn’t how we would afford a baby but I went wild and bought everything I could possibly need and more. We had the carseat, bottles, buggy, cot, changing bag, changing mat, play mat etc. In our excitement we had it all set up before he was even born and I won’t lie it was a wonderful feeling. I felt like we were adulting at its finest. Then my first squish arrived and I realised buying stuff didn’t make me an adult.

When the second squish made his grand entrance I had mellowed somewhat. I knew I didn’t need half so much and didn’t rush to buy anything except the carseat and a baby carrier. Of course it goes without saying I bought a ridiculous amount of stuff as well as these two things but the car seat and the carrier were my priorities this time around.

The eldest had everything new. However as we were deep in the recession and broke beyond anyone’s worst nightmares we did accept and use second hand clothes. (We did this with both our boys btw.) The youngest had a lot of hand-me-downs from his brother and a mixture of new and used odds and ends. 

The pros of using preloved?

Clothes are one of those things that there is no downsides at all to using pre-owned. How often do you remember wearing any item of clothing until its completely worn out? Very rarely I’d imagine. So thinking about it the pros for clothing are..

They have plenty of wear left in them.

They cost a fraction of the price and often times can be gotten for free. This really helps when you are figuring out how to afford a baby!

Better for the environment with less going to landfill.

What are the cons?

When you think about it those same pros can be applied to everything we buy second hand or preloved. So where does that leave us with cons? Lets take a buggy for example, so you’ve found a great bargain and its in fantastic shape. It needs nothing more than a wipe down. A few months later you get a flat tyre after a big walk in the park. It’s no big deal, it’s only an inner tube. Off to google you go to find a replacement inner tube only to discover that model is no longer in production and as a result finding the inner tube you need has gone from being a cake walk to a pain in the neck. All of that to say that any replacement parts you need as time goes on may be difficult to source.

Another con of buying used is there is usually no manufacturers guarantee because the item is generally older than the guarantee allows for. For this example we will look at a high chair and again you’ve found a bargain in great condition. Time passes and you notice some damage to the straps, if the highchair was still under guarantee you could contact the manufacturer about replacement straps however because the guarantee has expired you need to source the replacement straps and pay for not only the straps but any shipping costs too.

When you buy new you’re assured the quality you pay for but it comes at an environmental and financial cost. When you buy preloved you take a gamble on quality and there’s no knowing how long it will last but its better for your pocket (in some cases) and the environment.

So what would I do differently?

I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to look for quality items that last. This doesn’t always mean new or even expensive. I would set myself a budget and I would shop within that budget for the very best quality I could afford. Even better if you know a friend or relative who would like to pass things down to you! Make a list of things that are truly needed and stick to it. There are cute things to be bought everywhere but you neither need them nor have the space to store everything you come across. It is surprising how little a baby actually needs. Try not to buy too many gizmos and gadgets before you need them. You might find you never need them or can get by without them

There you have it, how to afford a baby. Prioritise the expenses that can’t be avoided and what you consider essential. Anything else is just frosting on top of the cake. 

Download baby planning list

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