I’m 20 weeks along this week and so unless she decides to make an early appearance, I’ve hit the half way mark! Of course, in amongst all of the excitement, we have started to buy all the “baby stuff”. Let me tell you, this does not come cheap! But I think that Dan and I have been really good at keeping to our budget and buying really amazing pieces at reasonable prices without compromising on what we have been envisioning for our little girl.
I just want to point something out from the get go. Being on a budget does not mean that you need to buy the cheapest option or compromise on the quality. It simply means that you know what funds you have available and you don’t bankrupt yourself kitting out your nursery with both the necessities and nice-to-haves. Some peoples budgets are bigger than others, that’s cool, it’s just about not living above your means (which, in my opinion is how you should be spending or not spending in every aspect of your life). Anyway, enough about that, onto the list of how we managed to save a buckaroo or two so far.
- The first thing that we did, that I think really set us in good stead and put the boundaries firmly in place (and you need that when you’re surrounded by cute baby stuff) was that we sat down and actually worked out how much we had available to spend of this little pickle in my tummy. Now, we had been (and still are) saving, knowing that this was going to happen sooner or later. We had set up a specific investment account with our financial advisor, knowing that it wasn’t a long term account but that it would still collect a decent amount of interest on what we were depositing each month. Some people don’t have that type of cushion to fall back onto, you can then work out what you are able to afford to set aside from your monthly income each month to dedicate to baby.
- After we had decided how much we had to spend and were comfortable taking out of our investment for this initial set up phase (babies are an ongoing cost you know!) we decided how we wanted to split this money up. So for example, we decided that we wanted to purchase a really nice pram, this was very important to us as we are always on the go and we would be getting a lot of use out of this. Because we were going to spend a larger chunk of money on the pram, we decided that we were happy to buy our cot and compactum from a pine shop and do a bit of DIY (more on that later).
- I am a complete organisational freak – I have a list for everything. And so naturally, I made a list of every single thing that we would need. From a car seat to cotton wool. I paged through baby magazines, I googled, I asked friends, I made the most comprehensive baby list I could possibly make. This has made life so much easier. Once we purchase an item, if it’s a once off (like a cot mattress) we simply cross it off the list. Seeing the list grow shorter and shorter makes it a lot less overwhelming and it also stops us from buying stuff we don’t need or buying too many of one thing (although from what I hear, you can never have enough swaddling blankets). Just a tip – be very specific about what you want. So for example, we are buying the Pampers premium nappies and the Pampers sensitive wipes. At some point people will want to see your list, whether its a supportive relative or for your baby shower, this way they wont have to um and ah about which brand to get you.
- Shop around – you’ll be surprised at how prices differ. For example, the specific brand of bottles and dummies that we want to use are cheaper on Takealot than they are in Dischem or Baby City. I’ve been avoiding Cotton On Kids like the plague, just because it is more pricey but when I was in there this past week I found a pack of two beautiful muslin blankets for only R169, which is really good! I’m going back next week to get the grey set too. The other blanket in the picture is a swaddling blanket from Ackermans that I picked up for around R50.
- Start stockpiling! We did this from the minute we found out there was a baby in my belly. Each week when I go grocery shopping I buy something. I usually buy a big pack of nappies in the beginning of the month, and then the other three weeks I buy stuff like wipes and toiletries. A lot of people are hesitant about buying lots of nappies in case their baby doesn’t like a particular brand but I found out that Baby City will exchange any unopened bag of nappies, as long as they stock that brand. Problem solved.
- Don’t be afraid to go second hand. I knew which pram I wanted – a Bugaboo Chameleon. I can’t tell you what exactly sold me on this pram but I knew that this was the one I wanted (you can check out how amazeballs it is, over here). Unfortunately it isn’t readily available in South Africa, in fact, Kids Living in Greenpoint, Cape Town is the only store you can purchase them from as far as I know. I decided to check out the pricing, I could always get it shipped to Jozi. Well, after adding all the bits and pieces up (I didn’t know that there were SO many aspects to a pram), it worked out to be a R20 000 price tag. As much as I loved this pram, there was not a snowballs chance in hell that I was going to spend that. I was telling my cousin about this sad situation when she piped up and said, “Just go look on Gumtree you fool!”. Ew, I didn’t want someone elses hand me downs! After a few days though, I still couldn’t get the Bugaboo out of my mind and so I looked online. I was blown away, there was so much stuff available! I sifted through everything I wasn’t interested in for a few days until I saw someone advertise that they were selling the exact pram (down to the colours) that I was coveting. And for less than half of the price I would pay for it new! To cut a long story short, it was basically brand new, I think they had used it twice. We paid right then and there and it now sits in the nursery. From that point I was hooked on scouring the second hand sites, something I never thought I would do! We had seen a cot we really liked in Lotters Pine that we were going to white wash at home (they charge a ridiculous amount to do it themselves), I think it was about R2300. One day I saw someone selling their pine cot for something ridiculous like R600 – we went to go look (really not expecting it to be great at all), it needed one or two scews replaced but otherwise it was perfect. We handed over the cash and took it home. The lovely sellers even gave us their cot mattress and bumper! I just need to figure out how to disinfect those now… Second hand shopping isn’t for everyone, you need to sift through a fair amount of rubbish, but there are some absolute gems out there, you just need to be patient. I also need to mention that I was very picky and there are a lot of things that I will not buy second hand, I only bought things that were hardly used (the cot wasn’t used as that family decided to do co-sleeping in the end) and Dan and I really made sure that they were good quality.
- Oi, baby clothes are my weakness but wow, they can add up quickly! We have bought a few really nice things from Cotton On Kids and the likes for “special occasions” or my constant excuse, “This could be her going home outfit!” . She has about 10 of these now. But to be honest, I have been SO impressed with Pick n Pay clothing and Ackermans. Their selection is far bigger than Woolies and much more reasonably priced. I suppose more expensive retailers would have better quality but let’s be honest, babies grow out of their clothes so quickly and all they do is poop and mess on them so…. Oh, don’t forget to buy clothes in all the different sizes: newborn all the way to 18 months, or even 24 months!
Sho, this has turned out to be a long post! Part two will be up in a few weeks (hopefully before the new year) with some other tips and tricks. I hope that you enjoyed part one though!