Keeping an eye on the baby budget
At this time of year when Christmas carols are constantly played in every shop and on every radio station we are repeatedly told how Mary and Joseph managed to have baby Jesus in a draughty stable as there was no room at the inn. But how could this have happened? They were not organised and they certainly hadn’t spent a small fortune kitting out a nursery. Mary had not packed a delivery bag, Joseph hadn’t bought some sort of baby safety harness for the donkey and there was no friendly midwife on hand to offer wise words and a whiff of gas and air.
In this highly commercial age we live in it seems inconceivable that someone could have a child without spending a lot of money to prepare for it. A recent article suggested that most parents spend approx £1000 before their baby arrives and then a further £10,000 in the next year – a figure that I find hard to believe. The problem is that there is so much ‘essential’ equipment and cute accessories available to buy in the shops and when we are high on hormones and feeling nervous about caring for our new arrival we (or our credit cards) are very open to being exploited.
At the moment we are constantly reminded in the news that times are a hard and that everyone’s budget is a bit stretched with rising grocery bills and fuel prices and so it seems sensible to try to keep baby costs in control. Try to remember the essential pieces of equipment that you need when you bring your baby home – somewhere for your baby to sleep (preferably not a manger!), a car seat, some clothes in size newborn and 0-3 months, nappies and cotton wool. If you have these things then you have the essentials and think about leaving other purchases until after the baby’s born (frequently bought but not really used pieces of equipment include baby baths, hooded towels, top and tail bowls, cloth nappies and breast pumps – all of them might be useful but it would be better to wait until baby’s born to see if you do need them). Remember you are likely to be showered with baby gifts when your baby arrives (I remember receiving a gift from my husband’s work colleague’s mum who needless to say I’d never met!) and consider buying some things second hand as babies grow so quickly and clothes, toys and equipment can often be bought in near perfect conditions from ebay, gumtree or NCT nearly new sales.
Finally remind yourself that your baby will gain far more from your time and love than from any toy that you can buy and so don’t feel pressured in to spending.