We’ve all heard the numbers: babies and kids cost a lot over the years. But savvy parents can find thousands of dollars worth of savings and avoid the most common mistakes first-time parents make when it comes to spending on a new baby.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with money and personal finance guru Sandra Hanna, CEO of Smart Cookies. Sandra and the other original Smart Cookies have been featured on Oprah and The Today Show, and have published the book The Smart Cookies’ Guide to Making More Dough in both Canadian and U.S. versions.
Since starting a family, Sandra’s been adding financial advice for parents to the mix. Here are her top tips for saving more dough as a new parent!
1. Limit the baby gear.
You want the best for your child and baby stores and websites can convince you that you need everything under the sun—and the best (read: most expensive) of everything, too!
Think more about what you want to experience with your baby in the first year rather than the stuff you want to have. You may, in fact, want to splurge on a heavy-duty stroller because it’s your primary mode of transport and those all-terrain wheels will get plenty of use in the winter weather. But the $1,000 designer crib with matching sheet set probably won’t contribute to the time you spend with your babe.
Be honest with yourself about what’s important to you. And if you really want something that is a bit of a luxury? Register for it and suggest a group chip in to buy it.
2. Set up life insurance, disability insurance, and a will.
Ideally, says Sandra Hanna, “Do it before baby comes, because you won’t have time after!”
Keep it simple: a term policy that covers four times your annual salary should be sufficient for a young, healthy couple. Don’t forget about disability insurance: there’s a higher likelihood of needing this than life insurance. Your HR department at work is a good place to start.
3. Look into all child-care options.
Many parents dismiss a nanny as a luxury they can’t afford, but be sure do the math before you rule it out. Sometimes a nanny is actually cost-effective when you factor in number of children, cost of gas to and from daycare, and missing work due to children’s illnesses.
Some families opt for a nanny share between two families, which can lower the cost. Co-op daycares, where parents help out occasionally, can also be a cheaper alternative than traditional daycares.
4. Buy used.
You may think you’ll sacrifice the quality, but you can get high-quality stuff online. Craigslist, Kijii, and Facebook groups are all great places to look. Look in high-end neighbourhoods where parents are likely to be disposing of quality goods.
5. Shop around for deals, coupons, and promos.
Before you buy anything, do a price comparison on sites like Shopbot.ca, but also be aware for coupons and promo codes that can save you even more.
Look for these on sites like Retailmenot.ca. You can get immediate savings as a first-time buyer by joining a mailing list or creating a membership. And don’t forget about your air miles!
PHOTO: THOMAS HELLBERG
READ MORE LIKE THIS:
How to find the best sales and coupons on baby gear for savvy new parents.
Save on baby clothes (and gear) with these stylish second-hand children’s clothing stores and websites we love.
Save like it’s the end of summer at any time of year with these 8 smart tips for family savings!
Shopping in Toronto? Browse the kids’ clothing/children’s-wear section in our Toronto & GTA parent resource directory.
Sign up for our newsletters to get parenting and family fun articles delivered to you!