When choosing to start a family, a big factor these days is the cost. The concern is that children are expensive to have, and this often forces parents to stop after one or two children when they would have ideally preferred a larger family. Some people are so convinced of the expense that they forgo children altogether. Of course, adding another person to your home is never going to be entirely cost free, but there are a multitude of ways to have children without sending yourself in to bankruptcy.
How to have children cheaply!
- Breastfeed. Not only will it be better for the health of both you and your baby, it will make a serious saving. Although there are ways you can spend your money if you are desperate to, with fancy nursing covers, pillows and nursing chairs, the reality is that apart from an initial tube of lanolin cream (which you might not even need) breastfeeding is totally free if you want it to be. I did a bit of research on artificial milk and found that a tin of newborn formula would cost in the realms of £13 and last no more than a week!
- Go nappy free. “What!?!” I hear you cry. But before you dismiss me as a crazy hippy, hear me out. The practice of elimination communication is a simple matter of following your babies cues and helping them go to toilet in an appropriate place when they need to. You may think that it is impossible to tell when a baby is in need of eliminating, however, in the same way you quickly learn to distinguish their signs of hunger or tiredness, when you look out for them, you will soon be able to spot the subtle (and not so subtle) signs of needing to eliminate. Having a “diaper free baby” will save you between £800 and £1400 in disposable nappy costs.
- If nappy free seems a bit too extreme, a great alternative to disposable nappies is cloth nappies. These cost more initially as you will need to purchase enough to last a few days if you don’t want to be running the washing machine daily, however, they can be picked up in excellent condition second hand and have a fantastic resale value if they are looked after. Cloth nappies have huge benefits for your baby, for the environment and for your purse!
- One of the things that can send a new parent in to a panic is hearing about the latest must have toy or accessory. When I was a new mum, this was Sophie the giraffe. At a cost of between £10 and £20 and being extremely tight on money, I couldn’t justify the spend. I was the only mum in my post natal group not to rush out and buy a Sophie, and despite this, my son survived. Not only survived, but thrived! Babies don’t need things, they need you. They are just as happy chewing on your finger or a wooden spoon, as an expensive hand painted chewy toy. I’m sure Sophie is great, but you don’t NEED one. Stop competing with the other mothers, and trying to keep up with the fashionable purchases and you will save a lot of money, not just in the baby days, but throughout their whole childhood.
- Instead of spending a fortune on a travel system, consider purchasing a sling or two instead. The benefits of slings go far further than cost. Wearing your baby close to your body enables you to meet their needs without them needing to cry, which would cause their stress levels to rise and hinder their development. Other benefits include – but are not limited to – breast milk stimulation, production of oxytocin warding off postnatal depression, regulating your baby’s temperature, increased bonding as well as the opportunity for your baby to watch you as you go about your daily activities, learning about the real world and how to interact with others.
- Avoid expensive theme parks and holidays, and instead plan simple family time. A picnic, family hike, back to basics camping trip or cheap backpacking trip will give you memories which you will treasure for a lifetime and cost far less than an all inclusive holiday to an expensive resort, or a day out at Alton towers.
- Bring your own lunch and snacks. When you are going out for the day, nothing adds up more than the cost of food and drink. Make your own and not only will you save money, but you will be sure of what you are eating and avoid the negative health issues associated with processed foods. It may take a few more minutes in the morning but it will halve your families food costs.
- Buy everything second hand! With the exception of car seats, there is not much you cant buy used. From clothes to books, the charity shop and ebay are your friend! Even better, get it free. Scour freecycle and let friends and family with older children know you would appreciate any hand me downs they are finished with.
- Save money on baby food by not bothering with it. Simple foods such as fruit and vegetables make the best first foods for your baby and as they get older, they can simply join in with the family meals. Baby led weaning is a great way for a child to learn to regulate their own eating and recognise their body’s signals for when they are hungry and when they are full. Let your child stop eating when they want and don’t insist on a clean plate. Serve small portions and offer seconds if they want it, so as not to waste food.
- Get fit and save money by leaving the car at home as much as possible and walking locally. This is beneficial to the environment, you will save on petrol money and your child will learn road safety. As they learn to walk their bodies will adapt to walking further and further, keeping them fit and healthy.
- Don’t buy many toys. Children are happiest with simple open ended play things. There is nothing better than a stick, a few pots and pans, containers, boxes and wooden spoons. Nature makes its own toys in the form of shells, pine cones, conkers and insects to watch and follow. Don’t worry that you cant afford the latest interactive learning toy. Your child will get so much more out of reading a book with you and taking a walk through the woods.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need from family. Christmas and birthday presents can be a donation towards a family holiday, a pair of new shoes or my favourite, ask for a memory. Get family members to organise a day out with you all or (if your little ones are comfortable spending a few hours away from you) something fun for them to do together while you get some rest at home. It could be a trip to the zoo or aquarium, or something as simple as a picnic at the park.
Has cost been a factor in your family planning? What are your own top tips for other frugal families? If you enjoyed this article, please click the share button below, thank you!
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