Some of these tips relate only to those in Australia but overall, these tips can work worldwide.
Bringing up two children on benefits has been hard but can be managed. Check out www.ebay.com.au for second-hand baby stuff and ask family and friends for help if you need it… as long as you have their support and love, you will be fine.
Ignore lists prepared by certain baby goods companies!
Ask friends to buy toys rather than clothes. People will buy you (or give you second hand) most clothes you will need –get stuff as you go along. Buy one plastic bib rather than a mountain of cloth ones that you have to wash. Only use baby wipes when you’re out and about, you can use plain water at home.
Go to your local Centrelink to find out what benefits you are entitled to. Try breastfeeding, it costs nothing and formula is very expensive. Baby equipment is very expensive too, so try to buy second-hand. Once the baby comes the way you spend your money will change. You will find that you are saving money by not going out, not drinking/smoking, and not buying so many treats for yourself.
Take advantage of all the free samples and vouchers you get in your Bounty bag (for a start!) Work out a budget and stick to it. You will have to make some lifestyle changes, but we don’t miss our Friday night takeaway. Even things like
shopping around for a new mortgage and changing our gas and electric supplier saves some money. It may be a bit of an adjustment at first but it is amazing how quckly you will adapt.
Don’t be afraid to ask your midwife and/or early childhood nurse for help, they meet lots of mums who are only too glad to give up unwanted items.
The best advice would be to go and see a budget advisor… you will be surprised how easily your money will spread around the debts with a little careful planning – they even make sure you have some “sanity” money to spend on whatever you want!
The Family Tax Benefit money comes in so handy. Try to leave it in the bank until your child needs something, such as new clothes and new shoes. Then you will have two or three months’ worth of benefit so that you can go and kit them out.”
Stop using disposable nappies and buy cloth nappies instead. Also buy a most brilliant book on cooking using basic foods and making things from scratch called The Destitute Gourmet. It’s amazing how every bit helps!
Babies don’t need all the things that the catalogues try to tell us that they do. Most of all they need as much love as you can give. Many children have lots of material things but don’t get the love and attention which is more important. Keep
trying to look at it that way. The baby doesn’t care if it sleeps in a drawer at first, as long as its mum gives it lots of cuddles.
After the first few months or even a year you may be ready to do some part time work yourself. You can strap your baby to you in a baby sling whilst delivering leaflets to mailboxes! Fresh air and exercise, a bit of extra money and doing something positive about the situation!!
You could start a “baby things” exchange – ask at your ante-natal clinic if they’ll let you place a notice on their board, asking for any unwanted bits and bobs.
Write a list of essentials (include things for 6 month and 1 year olds as people are too likely to buy the smallest and cutest outfits), and pass it around friends and family so they can tick off what they’ll buy – better that they buy gifts you need, rather than what you don’t. After all, people have a wedding gift list – why not baby gift lists!?
Stocking up while pregnant eased the financial burden, just popping a bottle of baby bath and some nappy sacks in the shopping trolley each week really helped spread the load. Keep your eye open for special deals on baby wipes,
most places do ‘buy one get one free’ offers. Try not to worry about money, when you have a baby you will quite happily live on beans on toast for the next 12 months if it means you can provide better for your baby. You will be so in awe of your child that you will wonder why you worried at all. Somehow things will come together.
Supermarkets have some really good quality cheap children’s clothes and their own brand nappies aren’t bad either. Don’t waste money when your child will grow out of clothes faster than they can wear them out.
Read Alvin Hall’s Book, “Your money or your life” – no matter what your income is it really helps.