Having children is an expensive business! Raising a child to the age of 18 will cost around $245,000 (USD) according to stats released by the US Department of Agriculture. In NZ dollars that’s around $335,000 – enough to pay off the mortgage!
As someone who has just navigated the mine-field that is having your first child, here are my top five picks of things I will not be bothering to spend my money on if we have another child.
- Expensive baby clothes
Expensive baby clothes are a waste of money for several reasons:
– Babies are messy eaters, drinkers and poopers. They go through A LOT of clothes in a day.
– A lot of expensive clothes are fiddly and impractical and clearly not designed by someone who is having to put a child in and out of these clothes on a regular basis.
– Babies grow very fast. They will likely fit them properly for all of about 4 weeks before they grow out of them.
Next time I’ll get one or two ‘good’ outfits to dress them in when parading them around in front of friends, family or photo-shoots but the rest of the time they’ll be wearing second-hand, hand-me-downs or cheap and cheerful clothes that they can be comfortable in.
- Name brand (disposable) nappies
Sometimes you pay for what you get, sometimes you don’t. Rather than going for the most expensive nappies straight away I’ll try all of the different types first to see what suits my baby best. Expensive doesn’t always mean the best, likewise cheap doesn’t always mean nasty. As it happens, the most expensive disposable nappies on the market my child constantly leaks out of.
- Expensive or gadget-y toys
Infants don’t need flash toys or gadgets as it turns out. My husband, who is a bit of a gadget freak, bought all manner of toys and gadgets for our child, but the thing that got the most use was a simple and not very expensive set of plastic rings. Lesson learned.
- Everything New
Babies need a lot of stuff. In typical first parent fashion we rushed out and purchased new all the things we thought we would need for our impending bundle of joy, without having a clue what we would actually need. Several items we purchased are still new, two years on, as we never even used them. If I was to do it again I would purchase far more items second hand (babies only use them for such a short time that they are often in really good condition), and I wouldn’t rush out and buy everything straight away. I would wait to see what things we actually needed vs what we thought we would need.
- Infant car seat
We purchased an infant car seat (capsule) online to bring our bundle of joy home in. It was impossible to install in my car, even my mother who is a qualified to install car seats could not work it out. As we had purchased it online we could not go to the shop and ask them to fit it for us. So in a mad rush we went out and hired one, which as it turned out was relatively cheap (compared to purchasing one) and it had handy features like a clip in base which our other one did not have. Again, babies grow so fast they are only in the capsules for 6-8 months so you’re far better off investing in their next car seat which could last them for 5 years (rather than 5 months).
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