I’m currently on maternity leave and have been trying to find novel ways of saving cash while off with my kids.
Every woman is entitled to take it a full year off work but, as I know only too well, to take the full year and be financially supported is a real luxury.
To make the journey through new motherhood I hope these tips may help you save cash in order to get through a few extra weeks/months and have the same experience as me:
1. When you have baby number one you get tons of clothes and presents. If you want things you can’t afford ask others or make a ‘wish list’ and see what you get given. You’ll be surprised at the sheer amount people give you. So don’t buy early because you could have things that go unused.
2. You don’t need to buy everything new. I found lots of great clothes and baby bits on eBay and at car boot sales. The baby won’t notice if it’s slightly used or brand new. They grow out of things so quickly, buying new can be an expensive waste.
3. Swishing or Swapping is the new thing to do. Items don’t need to be new and there are loads of people out there willing to swap you just need to ask! Try Facebook local pages Gumtree and Vinted and you will be surprised at what you can get.
4. Friends! You can always borrow things you won’t need for long if you give them back. Obviously some wear-and-tear is to be expected and if it does get broken or damaged, it’s worth telling your friends and agreeing to replace anything, if required. Items such as Moses Baskets and Baby Baths are ideal for this. As are Walkers and Activity Tables that are big and more hassle to store somewhere after you have the first baby in time for the second. Toys and books are great swaps and your child gets fresh items regularly if you find a group to swap with (antenatal/toddler class mates are ideal as your kids are all around the same age as your child)
5. Prams and cots. These are big items and expensive but there are tonnes of great second hand deals out there. I needed a double buggy when I had my second child and got a bargain via Gumtree for £10. I sold my single travel system and had extra money for other bits and pieces and had a buggy for both my children (win win!).
6. When you no longer need items, selling at car boot sales or online is ideal as it’s cash that is quick and easy to make. I’ve done three car boot sales this year and made £200 so it’s well worth it if you have lots of things, a car and a spare few hours on a Sunday morning. They are fun to do and older kids love selling their own items for money to buy new things (just make sure you don’t shop too much while there and come home with more than you took to sell in the first place).
7. Buying in the sales is great. I buy lots of clothes in bigger sizes for the following year. To do this you do need storage space and doing this at the end of the seasons gets the best deals. Just don’t forget you bought them and remember what you did with them!
8. Buy Christmas presents throughout the year when the sales are on. These are also stored so by December I have a stash (this also covers you for relatives’ gifts too) I keep a list and cross people off when I have bought the present. This list is best kept in a phone, diary or address book for ease of access as and when you buy.
9. Still on Christmas (I know it’s only August!), asking for items the children need is handy as when they are young they don’t generally have the capacity to ask for things. If they need something specific and a little expensive ask the grandparents/relatives to help out. It’s not cheeky it’s sensible and practical.
10. Finally, enjoy the time you have off with your little ones as it goes far too quickly. They don’t stay little for long so appreciate every second. They are not going to remember the things you bought them or didn’t buy but the time you spent with them is precious and you won’t regret it.