Sure, it's super-exciting to start a family, but the accompanying financial strain may put a damper on your joy. Children aren't cheap, so it pays to get smart with your cash in order to set money aside for the fun stuff. Check out our top tips on balancing your budget and how to make every penny count.
Let’s start with how to save up when you’re pregnant…
Affordable antenatal classes
Enrol for classes in the hospital you've registered to deliver in and shave your costs. Weekday classes, which typically start at 6.30pm, are also cheaper. At KK Women's and Children's Hospital, nine antenatal sessions for couples cost $150 (weekday) and $180 (Saturday) for patients and $200 (weekday) and $230 (Saturday) for non-patients.
Look out for bargains
Don't let your ego stand in the way of a good deal. "Sign up for e-mail notifications from money-saving and voucher sites for cheap deals," advises Dan Plant, editor at www.moneysavingexpert.com, a website dedicated to helping you cut your budget. Check out voucher sites like Groupon and Deal.com.sg that offer countless savings, including on travel, food and spas — at up to 93 per cent off. Also keep an eye out for supermarket deals in your daily newspaper.
Avoid wasting food
In 2012, 6 tonnes of food were discarded, according to the National Environment Agency. This means that, on average, each person wasted some 116kg of it. Reduce wastage by shopping with a grocery list, so you don't overbuy, and freezing leftover food and defrosting it when needed.
Set a budget
This is the first step to managing your finances. Tools are available to help you set your spending limit by category (groceries, baby stuff, transport and so on), track your bank balances and stay on top of your bills. Here are the top three free apps that can help you save some moolah: TrackMySpend (available on Google Play Store and iTunes), Pocketbook Budget and Expense (available on Google Play Store and iTunes) and Best Budget Free — Control your Expense (available only on iTunes).
Rent a stroller
Strollers can be really expensive — the good ones can easily set you back about $1,500. Yes, you could go all eco-warrior mum and try surviving with just a sling, or you could get savvy. Suggests Salimah Hussain, 31, mum to Arif, 2, "Ask friends to chip in for a stroller for your baby shower." Or get friends with older kids to pass their used strollers to you. You can also rent one from Singapore Stroller Rental, or at The Baby Specialist.
Make your own coffee
instead of buying one every day on your way to work. A tall skinny decaf vanilla latte at Starbucks can cost about $7, but a 200g bottle of instant Nescafe Gold decaf coffee that costs $14.85 should see you through a few months. You do the math.
Do yoga at home
Buy a prenatal yoga DVD and practise at home, instead of signing up for costly classes at fitness centres. You'll also have the freedom to exercise when you feel like it, instead of having to drag your exhausted, pregnant body to class on a day you might want to relax. You'll find different types of prenatal yoga and Pilates DVDs at Amazon, or at major bookstores, such as Popular.
Looking for a new pregnancy book
Visit your neighbourhood library to borrow instead of buy. Better yet, ask around from girlfriends or colleagues who no longer need theirs.
Start your pregnancy health kick
Swap your daily chocolate bar and crisps for a banana and a handful of nuts — cheaper and healthier, too!
Invest in a belly band
Available at Maternity Exchange, belly bands are useful at every stage of your pregnancy. They hold up your unbuttoned skinny jeans in the first trimester, keep your too-loose maternity bottoms in place during your second term, prevent your belly from pushing your pants down in the third term and support your maternity jeans as your body shrinks, post-delivery So, you'll save from having to buy multiple pairs of trousers.
Stock your wardrobe wisely
Maternity clothes are expensive, especially since you'll only need them for a few months. So, borrow from friends or shop online at stores like Asos, which has great discounts on fashionable maternity wear, plus you'll enjoy free shipping! Or hold regular maternity swap parties with other mums-to-be — one woman's trash is another's treasure!