I think most people who know me well would testify to the fact that I’m not really a frugal kind of girl. Before becoming pregnant, I would merrily swan off on mini breaks with the girls at the drop of a hat, I was always pretty carefree when it was my round, I flounced off for fancy lunches on a regular basis and I cheerfully spent a hefty percentage of my monthly salary in Topshop.
I’m not really sure what happened to me when I became pregnant but I suddenly became very…careful with money! I was convinced from the off that I wanted to take a full year off work with my baby, so I set out to save as much money as possible during my pregnancy so I could be sure to have enough cash to enjoy my maternity leave to the absolute fullest. This part was quite easy though really as I could not BELIEVE how much money I had left over when I wasn’t throwing dosh around on clothes, wine, fags (sorry) and nights out.
The second thing was, I discovered the world of mothers on social media and it blew my mind! In my hometown, we have a very successful and popular mummy group on Facebook which, as well as providing a sounding board for mummy rants, advice, general support and hugs, it has a buy/sell section. I don’t want to sound like a mean mummy here, but I’m well aware of the fact that babies go through clothes, toys and pretty much everything else faster than Lewis Hamilton with a rocket up his arse, so I decided to take advantage of some bargains.
Firstly, I asked my veteran mummy friends for some advice on what I actually NEEDED to buy brand new, and purchased accordingly. These are the things I have actually bought, from actual shops.
1. A Baby Jogger City Mini GT buggy
2. A Maxi Cosi car seat that was compatible with the buggy
3. Mattresses for Moses Basket and Cot
4. A changing mat
5. Some Tommee Tippee bottles (that have never been used!)
6. A lovely changing bag (this was actually a gift!)
Pretty much EVERYTHING ELSE I have bought has been second hand. Ok, ok, I occasionally get iPad happy when breastfeeding and buy cute (mainly stripy) things from M&S, Zara or Baby Gap, and my other half sticks a few packs of vests and sleepsuits into the trolley when he does his usual pilgrimage to Asda during baby events (great savings to be made on nappies/wipes etc) but apart from that I honestly get all of my baby things from my local Mummy facebook group!
So far, I have managed to snaffle amazing bargains such as…
– A complete Mamas & Papas bedroom set (crib/chest of drawers/wardrobe all in vintage pine) for £100
– A John Lewis Moses Basket for £15
– A Fisherprice jumperoo that had barely been used for £35
– An immaculate V-Tech baby walker for £5
– Various baby sleeping bags of varying size and tog for £5 each
– Most of the fabulous “That’s Not My…” Usbourne books for 50p each
– Mamas & Papas “Millie & Boris” nursery set – curtains, duvet, mobile, picture etc for £80
– Clothes, so so many baby clothes, for fractions of the original prices
I’m also very lucky that I’m more or less the last girl in my immediate friendship group to have a baby, so I’ve been fortunate enough to get given lots of lovely baby clothes too, and I’ve borrowed things like Isofix car systems that would otherwise have been gathering dust in the loft.
I must admit, I’ve been pretty shocked on occasion when I see how much some baby stores charge for certain items. I remember seeing a microwave steriliser in one of the big baby stores for £26. Being a newly frugal mummy lady, I did a quick Google search and found the same one from Amazon for £8. It almost reminded me of getting married, where suddenly everyday items have a few zeros added to the price. Pretty annoying.
I absolutely and completely understand if any new or expecting mums fancy buying everything brand new – it’s what makes you happy at the end of the day – but for me, I’ve really REALLY enjoyed seeing just how much I could save by using social media buy/sell sites, eBay and generally shopping around. I’d estimate that I’ve saved THOUSANDS of pounds this way. Thousands.
Here are my top tips for frugal mummy-ing:
– Be very accepting of people giving you maternity clothes and baby clothes. These things have usually been worn just handfuls of times, and can easily be washed and ironed back to nearly newness. And I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all my amazing friends who have chucked stuff my way. I shall pass it forward!
– Always check with your veteran mummy mates before you buy things like stairgates, Isofix bases, bumbos etc – these things are usually kept in lofts between babies and can easily be borrowed and given back in the same condition.
– Join your local facebook mummy groups. People love to sell baby clothes and toys and they are usually always in immaculate condition (or it is stated if they’re not). Things like baby walkers tend to do the rounds but hey, take advantage and pass it on when you’re finished! It’s so much more eco-friendly this way, too 🙂
– Stock up on boxes of nappies and wipes during big supermarket baby events or even look at using regular delivery options on Amazon and the like. If you buy in bulk, you’ll save more.
– Books! If you have a baby bookworm like mine, find out what they like and buy bundles on eBay.
– Sell your stuff afterwards – it will pay for your mat leave lattes and cakes and will go some way to stopping your house looking like a small branch of Mothercare that’s been ransacked by lunatics.
It’s great fun, and it’s almost like going back in time to how our grandmas would have approached parenting. Helping each other out and spreading the love. And I, for one, think that Martin Lewis would be VERY proud of me!
What is your best money-saving mummy tip?