When you’re expecting a brand-new addition to your family, you’ll understandably be over the moon. But before you give into your maternal urges to buy every cute baby item out there, hold your horses.
You might want to curb spending frivolously as your baby will outgrow his gear in no time. Don’t forget, too, that raising a child will cost you a big chunk of change! Of course, savvy mothers like mum of two Loo Po Li take a waste-not-want-not approach to spending, even when it comes to raising her kids.
That said, even the most disciplined parents will find it challenging to stick to one’s budget, especially since we want the want the best for our kids and array of choices available is too tempting.
Don’t worry, we have prepared nifity money-saving ideas, so that you can navigate your parenting journey without breaking the bank.
1. Don’t be anxious
You may think that it is necessary to splurge on a complete set of nursing gear, such as the breastfeeding equipment and nursing clothes. The truth is, you don’t really need the whole works, yet. Shop around for a basic set of breast pumps, while a couple of nursing bras should suffice as you will be spending most of your time at home in the first few weeks. Also, even if you do venture out, most malls have nursing rooms.
Join a community of mothers in your neighbourhood for support and with whom you can trade things with.
2. Embrace pre-loved items
You might think that bubba needs a completely new wardrobe, nursery gear and toys. Yet hand-me-down togs may be more suitable for baby’s sensitive skin. Shares mother-of-three Cassandra Yue, “I happily accepted pre-loved items from friends. When we needed to travel to temperate countries, I visited second-hand shops for winter clothing or borrowed from friends.”
3. Network with other mothers
Join a community of mothers in your neighbourhood for support and with whom you can trade things with ― this not only helps to save the earth, it keeps you connected socially. Loo, who is in a group of mothers who often visit the park near her condominium, has received used clothes as well as a double baby stroller from other mums. She uses the tandem buggy for her elder daughter and younger son when she needs to run errands. To buy big-ticket items such as a high chair, she even subscribes to newsletters to find out where free events such as flea markets or garage sales are taking place.
4. Rent online
Many baby items can be rented, including baby exercise equipment such as the exersaucer ― this apparatus is great for helping your bub to strengthen his back muscles in the early months, but takes up too much space after that. To keep your little one entertained, check out Rent That Toy, which offers various branded infant and educational toys that are a fraction of those sold at retail price.
5. Mother’s milk is best
Says Yue, “I breastfed all three of them for as long as they wanted.” For mothers who supplement their breastfeeding efforts with formula milk, ask your paediatrician or the clinic for milk samples. You can also look for discounts at department stores such as at CK, and even online supermarket deals and at Qoo10.
6. Buy cheaper diapers
Disposable diapers can add up to quite a pretty penny as most babies need quite a few diaper changes daily. It makes sense to buy diapers in bulk during a sale, or to alternate between a less expensive brand during the day and a premium brand at night. Yue bought cheaper diaper brands which worked just as well, and started toilet training her three children when they turned 2. For sustainability reasons, Loo used reusable cloth diapers.
It makes sense to buy diapers in bulk during a sale, or to alternate between a less expensive brand during the day and a premium brand at night
7. Ask for advice
When you shop for baby equipment, suss out the better deals with the store personnel. To help parents select big ticket items, sales staff at Motherswork will find out about the customers’ lifestyles and needs before recommending a particular brand or model, says its founder and CEO Sharon Wong. They will ask questions the parents like what features they are looking for, their main mode of transport, as well as the activities they would need the stroller for. For baby cots, Wong advises, “Do you know the size of the space you have at home? Would you want to use it for long term? Do you need to shift it often?”
8. Toys that bind
For playthings that last, buy toys that will keep junior occupied even as he grows older, points out Amy Lim, Mothercare’s training manager and nursery advisor. For instance, ELC toys can be played in many different ways and often at different stages, so that it provides added value over time.
Choose toys with multiple purposes, Wong suggests, “Go for toys that grow with your babies and could have more uses, such as Skip Hop play gyms, which have removable toys that can eventually be hung on strollers, so that it becomes a mobile toy or three-stage activity centre. Green Toys teach children about recycling.”
9. Tap on your creativity
Why not enjoy free fun? Create fun-filled activities to keep your mini-me occupied― download printables from various websites that feature fun themed pictures from cartoons. Instead of splurging on expensive toys, Loo made her own maracas by filling up containers with beans or rice. She also made her own cotton balls from a large roll, to clean her kids’ gums.
10. The happening library
Other than the park, the library is the other go-to destination for mothers like Loo and Yue. These are much more kids-friendly these days, with special areas or an entire floor dedicated to pre-schoolers, so that mums can park their strollers by the side and sit comfortably on lounge chairs to read to their little ones. They also offer a wide range of age-appropriate DVDs ― fab educational tools for your munchkin.
11. Shop during sale seasons
Time your shopping trip to coincide with sale seasons, such as the Great Singapore Sale from June to August where various retail outlets offer attractive discounts. For instance, Mothercare has deals that are as much as 75 per cent off, in addition to the 15 per cent storewide discount.
Yue says, “I stocked up on baby goods when department stores and supermarkets had sales. After I became a mum, I turned into a complete auntie and started paying attention to supermarket advertisements.”
Check out our buyer’s guides here.
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