1. Use cloth nappies — you’ll save up to $2,100 over two years, compared to disposable diapers. Try the modern types of cloth nappies like Bambino Mio Cotton Nappy System (fold the nappy, add a biodegradable liner, place the nappy cover on then put it on baby). An added benefit — babies in cotton nappies tend to potty train earlier. Plus it’s good for the environment! Get the nappy set from Mothers Work, Kiddy Palace, Baby’s Hyperstore and www.bloomandgrowdirect.com.
2. Unplug your TV and other electrical items at night. Some equipment use as much electricity when left on standby as they do when switched on. If necessary, use a radio to put background music on (yes, it’s “old-fashioned” but how much attention are you paying to the picture, right?).
3. Breastfeed. It’s the best food for your baby, it’s always available…and it doesn’t cost you a cent!
4. Save water: Turn off the shower when you soap and do laundry only with full loads in your washing machine.
5. Instead of buying overpriced veggie purées at $2 a pop, steam up a carrot or broccoli or apples for less than 20 cents per item and blend. Simple!
6. Use Skype to talk to family and friends overseas, or use the new WhatsApp video app (if your phone plan includes unlimited data). Explore non-chargeable ways of communicating.
7. Set the computer to “sleep” automatically after 5 seconds’ idle time, instead of using a screensaver — it will help you save when you’re inevitably interrupted by baby’s yells.
8. In most Singaporean households, the air-conditioner and refrigerator use the most electricity. Think about using a fan instead of the air-con, and don’t open the refrigerator at random — plan when you want to cook and don’t just hang out, looking into the fridge for “inspiration”. If necessary, get a whiteboard and list what’s in the fridge (and cross out portions as you use them).
9. If you’re weaning junior, blend a portion of every meal you make. It’ll help him get used to a range of tastes and you’ll save on buying jars or having to cook separate baby nosh. Of course, don’t put in sambal or chilli.
10. Forget special cleaning products, use wetted old newspaper to clean mirrors and windows- it’s free and works a treat!
11. “Hand-me-down” clothes and toys work just as well: Trust us, baby won’t know the differenc. You’ve surely made mum-friends, use that network, ask around for hand-me-downs — and when your baby grows out of them, pass your baby things on! Plus it saves the world…
12. Mend socks, tack up fallen hems, fix tears and re-heel shoes to get more mileage from your wardrobe and ease the strain on your purse. Can’t sew? YouTube it. Or get fabric glue from Spotlight.
13. Immunise your baby at the polyclinic, rather than at a GP or paediatric clinic. Polyclinics offer free compulsory National Childhood Immunisation Programme vaccinations - which cover the nine major infectious diseases like diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.
14. Invest in rechargeable batteries to power up those electronic playthings.
15. Want to make cheap rattles? Put a handful of red beans and mung beans into a plastic bottle and tape up the cap. Want to make a moving-colour toy? Put a few drops of food colouring into some water, fill half the bottle then top it up with cooking/baby oil. Seal the cap (extra carefully, use glue).