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Tuesday 15th October 2019

How to avoid the ‘Mamas & Papas Money Spell’…and still feel like a good mum

Expensive Baby
These are expensive - the baby, not the flowers (though flowers can also be expensive - that's for another post)

My daughter turned four last week, and I think it’s taken me until now to wean myself off the retailer’s ‘baby bundles’ nectar. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just the hormones (and then the giddy new mum feeling) that made me splurge; I’ve always been a seasoned shopper.

But somehow the minute I fell pregnant, the notion of a bargain was swiftly replaced by the thrill of a whole new shopping category. That and the fact that I was sucked right into the ‘spend over £50 on nine different occasions and get £20 off your 10th purchase’ trance.

Even typing that now makes me shudder. But at the time, in my sleep-deprived state, spending more than I needed to in order to get a tiny bit of money off a future purchase seemed entirely normal. And I fell right under The Money Spell.

My compulsive shopping ended up with many unnecessary items – high-chair-only toys anyone?

£40 for a baby seat (that basically celebrates your wee one being able to sit up) along with £14 for a teething toy giraffe easily constituted a quick shopping sprint during little missy’s morning nap. And meant I was on my way to the elusive £20 off – maybe another giraffe – at the end of the spending rainbow!

Our Emma with four-year-old Lottie
Our Emma with four-year-old Lottie

Besides the fact that my compulsive shopping ended up with many unnecessary items (high-chair only toys anyone?) along with many unused ones – travel blackout blinds I invariably forgot to pack – it also highlighted how easily blindsided I was by retailing magic. And black magic at that.

Don’t get me wrong, there were other high street brands out there I could and should have chosen from. Supermarkets, for example, should have been my friend. Tesco’s baby club is brilliant and brimming full of special offers and genuine baby bundles for mums. And I wish M&S’s shiny new Sparks Card had been around when my little princess first arrived. A proper loyalty card with regular rewards, bursting with weekly offers on clothes and food.

Nowadays, I still nurture my shopping gene. I just do it slightly differently; almost like my mum used to careful managing her ‘family allowance’ (Google it, peeps). I save up my Nectar points and use them on Sainsbury’s amazing Tu range for kids rather than splurging more cash to get to the measly money off.

And the result is genius – if I do say so myself – as Princess gets a full outfit (including dress and accessories), I have more money for coffee and cake and I don’t need to hide receipts from my husband anymore! Bonus.

Emma Evans is Founder of Wylie Communications Ltd.

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