Six thousand pounds. That’s how much a baby costs in their first year if new research by insurance company LV is to be believed, and I don’t know about you but that sounds like an awful lot of money.
Planning for a new baby – both financially and emotionally – can be daunting, but what happens if you find yourself unexpectedly expecting?
As regular readers will know I’m delighted to be expecting baby number four, but the truth is our new arrival wasn’t planned and there’s no getting away from the fact there are going to be financial implications as a result.
So, what steps can you take to cope financially if you find yourself unexpectedly expecting? In this collaborative post here are 5 ways we’re preparing for our impending arrival without breaking the bank.
5 ways to cope financially when you’re unexpectedly expecting
1. Switch household service providers
If you’ve got regular direct debits going out of your bank account the chances are you can save money simply by switching to a different provider. I recently went through all our monthly outgoings to see where we could save money, and managed to cut our car insurance by more than £20 a month just by switching insurance companies through GoCompare. The saving is equivalent to the cost of more than a months’ worth of nappies!
2. Consider taking out a loan
Small loans are a great way to help cope with an unexpected cost, and we’ve gone down this route in the past to help cover my maternity leave. Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal, and make sure you can afford the repayments and aren’t overcommitting to an additional outgoing that you’ll later regret.
3. Meal plan
We always do a weekly online shop but what I haven’t been so good at – until recently – is meal planning for the whole week, meaning we end up doing ‘top up’ shops, often in the evening at the likes of Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local which are more expensive than the bigger supermarkets. By meal planning properly – i.e. making a list and buying for seven different meals and sticking to it – I reckon we’ve shaved about £25 a week off our weekly food bill – that’s £100 a month, or £1,200 a year!
4. Have a good clear out
They say one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, and we’re putting the saying to the test with our very first car boot sale. We’re clearing out all the outgrown toys, unwanted kit and unused household equipment from our flat and garage and all the money raised will be put towards what we really need for the new baby – watch this space!
5. Don’t be sucked into buying unnecessary baby gear
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt after having three babies it’s that there’s so much you simply don’t need. From scratch mittens that don’t stay on and baby nail clippers you can’t use for fear of cutting their fingers off to larger items like baby baths (a simple seat will do) and five different tog types of sleeping bag. It might be tempting to go mad, but sticking to the basics can really pay off financially. And after all, they don’t know whether they’ve got one sleeping bag, or five!
Do you have any top tips for coping with family life from a financial point of view? If you have any words of wisdom I’d love to hear them!
This is a collaborative post.