Family Finance

Baby on a budget

pigies

Here are some handy money-saving ideas for new mums and dads...

1Knowing babies grow fast (especially under sizes 2-4), avoid expensive and brand name baby clothes. Save money by purchasing clothes up to a year ahead in the off-season. If you want to splurge on some items then coats, hats and bathers are likely to fit for more than one season.

2Make your own baby food: mash up bananas, peas, cooked carrots or sweet potato in a blender.

3Instead of baby wipes, use dampened soft paper towels or tissues, and don't use 'for babies' laundry powder. If your baby has sensitive skin, use fragrance free and dye free soap powder/liquid.

4Borrow or shop online for infrequently used baby items like swings, bathtubs, tub rings, and bouncy seats. Check out eBay.com or Gumtree (WA only) for online listings.

5Consider simple, quiet and battery free toys that will entertain your child and will not over-stimulate them before bed-times. Or utilise things you already have like plastic water bottles filled with household items that make different noises. A crawling baby will enjoy exploring cardboard boxes, and plastic spoons and bowls. Some excellent sites to buy kids toys are Tradingpost.com, zilch.com and freecycle.com.au.

6Your local library will have a selection of quality kids' books, movies and CDs. Browse the parenting magazines in the library to find out what is available. If you can hook a laptop up to your TV (with an HDMI or VGA D-SUB cable), go online to watch recent kids' TV shows online www.freeview.com.au/catch-up. Other sites with free kids TV content are www.viewster.com and archive.org/details/movies.

General tips

1Research prices and product options online before major purchases. Search online for coupon codes for online stores. Simply search for "[store name] coupon". Ozbargain.com.au and buckscoop.com.au offer excellent Australia-wide tips on the best shopping deals. For computer goods, check prices on staticice.com.au. For broadband prices and choices, check out bc.whirlpool.net.au.

2Shop for holiday cards, decorations, and gift wrap as the season ends, and keep them for next year.

3Get cashback on online purchases using a site like PricePal.com.au, Buckscoop.com.au, cashbackclub.com.au, and Qwibble.com.au. Merchants pay these online referral companies to direct customers to them. The company then pays part of that back to you, the shopper. These cashback services are entirely free to sign up for and will generally pay you back every 90 days.

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