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May I ask about money?(21 Posts)
I'm sorry that this is such a rude question. I don't know many mums in real life who I can ask about this so I'm hoping for the honesty and forgiveness of strangers! DH earns a reasonable wage (nothing extravagant - public sector) and I usually do too, but am about to go on maternity leave so will obviously be taking a pretty big cut in income. Because this is our first child we're clueless about how much we'll be spending on a regular basis. We've bought/been given all the big things we think we'll need (somewhere to sleep etc!) so it's the more day to day expenses that we're not sure about. We budget fairly successfully for our own food/petrol/etc so I'm hoping that some realistic estimates will help us budget for 'baby expenses' too
Can I ask how much you spend weekly on nappies/wipes/other things I don't yet know I'll need? (We're planning disposables at the beginning, with a possible switch to reusables once we've got our heads round what we're doing!)
The other thing is 'activities' - I'm sure I'll be holed up with the baby for the first few weeks (months?) but once you get to the stage of being out and about, how much do you spend weekly on mum and baby groups/etc? I can't see this being very expensive, but I wonder if that's just because I don't really know what we'll be doing...e.g. I'm thinking about yoga, if I can find a class, but am guessing I'll have quite a bit of time to fill? Or maybe not?!
And finally, although I'm planning to breastfeed, as a just in case, if you formula feed how much you spend weekly on formula (and anything else that comes with it that I don't know about?!)?
Sorry again to ask such personal questions...any help/advice gratefully received!
My dd is now toddler so past the baby stage but I will try to help you a bit.
I think a tin of formula milk used to cost around £7.00
Nappies anything up to around £5.00 a pack
Baby wipes £2.00 a pack
But it depends which brands you choose to buy and which shops you go to.
If you go to parent and baby groups most of them are free.
I think you will only find time for you if you get a baby sitter or have family to look after baby. also prepare for not sleeping all night too.
I would suggest if you are completely in the dark about babies find a good book about them. there are lots of books out there
You don't need to do yoga - unless you've always been into it or want to try something new.
Baby activities - as far as I remember everyone just bails out at the last minute and doesn't turn up for all sorts of reasons. I wouldn't sign up for anything too expensive or you'll end up with a swimming "lesson" costing you £20 or something ridiculous. Church based mother & toddler groups are only £1-1.50 and you can drop in when you want.
Yes, I'll second the 8 nappies per day for the first few months. Aldi nappies are good. As for wipes, I've found the least caustic ones are actually the supermarket own brands. Not all of them mind but Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys (not the 18p ones though) are all good and much cheaper than brands. Nappy bags are really cheap.
I attended a couple of groups during my first maternity leave but I didn't really get much out of them so didn't during my second.
I find that the child benefit (£81 a month) generally covers all the nappies, wipes and formula that you need. A tub of formula would last about a week, so breastfeeding is much cheaper! Quite often you can get wipes and nappies in supermarket deals, or I find the asda nappies as good as the brand ones and a lot cheaper.
Now, activities. It depends on what you want to get out of it. I would rather do something more structured than a mum & baby group so signed up for baby sensory and monkey music. They're about £6 a session. And because I paid in advance I bloody well went! for me that was a bit of a lifesaver as it forced me out of the house. Which saved my sanity. I found baby sensory in particular good for giving me ideas of what to do
You don't need to pay for swimming classes, just go along to your local pools mother & baby/toddler sessions.
hope that helps!
OK, so if there are approx 24 nappies per pack you're looking at about £12 a week? And a pack of wipes a week? If I budget £20 a week for 'bum cleaning sundries' will that be ok!? I don't mean to sound like a numpty by the way, I know I can just look in the shops at how much stuff is, it's just not knowing how much of it we'll use that makes it problematic!
Thanks for all the advice so far
Interesting about the activities - I think something to force me out of the house will be useful, particularly towards the beginning as I'm a bit of a worrier. Yoga appeals because I do it anyway and I think there are groups you can take your baby to. What's baby sensory? Good tip about the swimming classes - will investigate mother and baby sessions; I'm already a member of the local pool and I know they have lots of classes, have never looked at them before though. (Mainly because they've all seemed SO energetic - am guessing mother and baby sessions will be a bit more relaxed!!)
I agree with goinonabearhunt about child benefit as it comes in handy for nappies etc. My ds is 7 months old and started using Huggies and Pampers but they leaked so have been using Tesco's own brand and can honestly say they have never leaked. I'm now using size 4+ which costs £6.50 ish for pack of 44 so would be cheaper for younger babies. I'm using Aptimil which costs about £9 and lasts about a week. I would recommend Boots baby wipes. There's currently a deal, £1.85 for 2 packs but some Boots stores sell a four pack for £3.60 ish.
There's lots of vouchers for size 1+2 disposable nappies. The price then gets hiked hugely for size 3 and 4! So definitely worth moving to reusables and small ones are very cheap second hand.
About 8-10 a day for very small babies, probably 5-6 by 6 months, 3-4 by a year.
Until they start solid food, the poo isn't icky at all and you just need bits of cloth and water (cotton wool leaves fluff...) People do make their own wipe solution but I started buying wipes at 6 months - a multipack of 4x80 wipes is around £4 and lasts me about a month.
I'm not sure my breastfeeding was cheaper than formula in the first 6 months as I needed lots of Lansinoh, a variety of cushions (My Brest Friend was wonderful), and an electric pump, all bought when I got a bit hysterical, so from overpriced Mothercare, but then I had more difficulties than most! For the next year it certainly saved a fortune - up to a year I used about 3 cartons of formula a week so a couple quid.
Baby food is extortionate, so if you make your own - just mash cooked fruit/veg/squashes/banana/cottage cheese/avocado/baked beans/ etc, and try fromage frais, adult porridge oats, weetabix, bread sticks etc, you'll save loads over the equivalent in the baby aisle - just try to get low salt+sugar versions. Probably a couple quid extra a week from 6mo to a year, then somewhat more over the next 2 years as he got fussy and I bought more handy travel packs of stuff.
Activities - look at your library and SureStart centre and local church halls and GP for details of various baby groups - tend to be free or a couple quid max each week. Courses like swimming, yoga, baby signing etc can cost £100 or more for a course. Some activities like mum+pram exercise you can pay when you attend, so less expensive. Your hospital may do postnatal exercise classes involving yoga, which may need to be booked as soon as you've given birth.
Many people meet other mothers at baby clinics/weighing or local group and then arrange meetups at homes or in cafes, so entertainment is cheap.
I found I actually saved a lot of money while on maternity leave - no Travelcard needed, and after the first couple months of lots of preprepared food, I did lots of cooking from scratch and we didn't go out much. The expense started once I returned to work part-time and almost all of that went on nursery plus my tickets, new clothes, ready meals (as more tired), etc - but again still some savings being able to go out sometimes in the week, social life involving people coming to us, etc.
My tip is to hide from all advertising aimed at parents of small children - it's amazing how much crap they must manage to get someone to buy! Admittedly some of it is useful for some people in some situations, but do think hard before buying stuff...
I would say more than 1 pack of wipes per week, that doesn't seem alot? but often you can find them on offer for £1 or buy bulk so it will work out cheaper
Thanks so much for all these tips - lots of food for thought. First step will be to google a 'brest friend' - am intrigued! (Though this is why I end up spending too much money - curiosity!)
My DS is 1 this week and I can't completely remember how much he cost us at first.
Now, though, we do a monthly 'baby esentials' shop from ASDA which consists of:
4 tubs aptamil- £40 (was 6 tubs at the start)
2 jumbo boxes of papmers- £20
2 'multipack' boxes of wipes (12 packs in each!) £24
His food now he is 'weaned' (but still has formula too) comes to about £40pcm
I reckon we spend around £40 a month on clothes and toys. I take him to swimming classes which cost £35pcm and Gymboree which is about the same.
I work part time and spend on average £400pcm on his child minder- which you may not need to take into your considerations.
So all in all I think we spend about £200 on his essentials per month before child care, and it's £600 including childcare. We do spend other bits and bobs on him too, days out etc, and occasionally lay out for a piece of equipment like a bouncer or new cot sheets.
I'm not sure if that is really extravigant or not, we admittedly don't make any attempt to weave out own clothes out of lentils but it doesn't feel like we live in the lap of luxury either. We're both teachers so we're certainly not loaded.
Baby Sensory - I'm sure that there are also other similar ones.
mum and baby swimming is very relaxing! you just swish around the pool. It is a logistical challenge however, if you can take a baby swimming, you can take them anywhere - great confidence booster!
£20 a week on basics sounds fine. Though it does depend on individuals, my DP will use half a pack of wipes on one pooey nappy...
Definitely second the Children's Centre idea. Ours runs baby massage courses, and follows on with a baby signing course too - you have to book a place on both courses, the baby signing one costs £20 (ish) for a 6 week course as they give you a book and CD to follow. They also run various meet a mum type groups.
Most church halls seem to have a baby group one day a week, you just need to find out when & where - most are fairly friendly IME. If by any chance you attend a church, try theirs first as you'll likely know a few people, and talking to them will get you the names of some others to try locally.
Re costs, we are mostly cloth with an overnight disposable, so a pack of 50-ish disp nappies lasts us about 6 or 7 weeks. For cloth I like Tots Bots nappies with Motherease Airflow wraps over the top, ours were all pre-loved when we got them, 18 nappies in size 1 (up to 7 months ish) and the same in size 2 (last until potty training for most), total cost about £200. We use fleece liners made from a cheap (£4) fleece blanket that I cut up, but you can buy flushable liners for about £4 a pack (work on 1 pack per 6 -8 weeks).
Wipes - as PP said you can easily make your own, I've not bothered and just use Tesco fragrance free wipes, buy in bulk when they're on offer and you can usually get them for less than £1 a pack. I have a pack in the changing bag, a pack on the changing table and a pack in the car at all times! (They also get crayon off wallpaper...) I get through about 3 packs a month.
Food - I mostly BF but did use some formula. Ours was prescribed, but once off that we switched to Aptamil which is about £9 a tub, which if full time FF would last you about a week. There's no nutritional need to go onto stage 3/follow on milk if you don't want to, get whichever is cheapest. Once weaning, we did baby-led weaning so no jars/purees etc just whatever we were eating that was suitable - no real added expense to start with.
Clothes - check out any local NCT sales/car boot sales/freecycle too. Loads of people get rid of baby clothes through there. If anyone offers you hand-me-downs, accept with a smile - you can always sort and chuck out/donate any that aren't suitable.
Oh and finally, don't be surprised if it takes about 2 hours to leave the house, the first time you try it on your own it does get quicker/easier as you get more practise!
Thanks so much for all the tips and advice everyone - am going to print this thread!
Re nappies, defniitely get yourself to Aldi or Lidl they are much cheaper and dont smell funny like Pampers do, their wipes area also better I think. We only use disposables at night or when away, the rest of the time we use re-useables and cut up old flannels & water for wipes.
We did Gymborree which was iirc £25ish a month, but we hardly missed any (you can go to make up sessions if you cant do your usual one) and despite my best intentions I never did go to any of the £1 baby groups around. I am quite shy so something focussed was better for me than just the sitting in the church hall not knowing what to say to anyone kind of group, so I guess what you do for activities depends on the type of person you are.
Something I learnt with my two DDs is not to be snobby about brand name nappies. There are people who will tell you that their little one can only wear huggies or pampers, but have a dabble with your favourite supermarket own brand too, if you are using disposables. Children are all shapes and sizes and nappies are cut differently depending on brand. Some will fit and suit better than others.
Search around for baby groups, but I would recommend thinking if you can about where your child will be going to school and looking in that area. My DD1 had lots of friends whose Mums I met at antenatal group. They all ended up at different schools and we lost track. My DD2 started todler group when DD1 was in school so I went to the local one. Lots of her baby friends ended up in school with her and I made friends too that I still see at the school gates. Cost was about a £1 three times a week.
The local health centre ran a baby group that the antenatal group of Mums went to. It was great. 50p = cuppa and a chat. We could even get the babies weighed and buy our milk at clinic prices too.
I found a local pool with a good shallow pool and warm water and went there weekly... was something ridiculous like £1 for me AND the baby to swim as long as we went on the right day at the right time.
I've only ever bought nappies and wipes when they are on special offer. I keep an eye out at all the supermarkets then pounce! It means I've usually got loads stockpiled, and occasionally I end up with some left over that are too small, but I gave them to friends or swapped them so it's never been a problem.
I'm not too fussy about brands though.
I met lots of mums at my local childrens's centre, and we spent a fair amount in coffee shops at first, but then we started to meet at people's houses to save money.
Disposable wipes normally cost £200-£250 a year per child from what I've read. I use Wilko's right price flannels (cut & hemmed into quarters, but you could use whole ones) which were 5 for 75p or something like that, and wash with just water.
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