How to save on travel to the USA

We have travelled to the USA a couple times.  On our most recent trip we made some considerable savings while booking our holiday.  Today I am going to share with you how to save on travel to the USA!

HOW TO SAVE MONEY TRAVELLING TO THE USA…

 

Research is the key to saving money when travelling. While these tips below relate to our holidays in the USA, the tips relate to any holiday and location!

 

If you are willing to put in the effort in the lead up to your holiday you can save a significant amount of money.

 

Spreadsheet. – I love a good spreadsheet! Prior to the holiday I developed a spreadsheet outlining each day, location, accommodation, proposed activity and total spend for the day. What I have seen is that once on holidays it is very easy to get carried away with spending.  Then you pay for it (literally!) when you arrive back home. This is not too say that you cannot enjoy and splurge (we certainly did!).  But this was all tracked and budgeted for prior to us leaving. This is a great way for you to understand how much money you need for the total holiday. But also with some prior planning as per the below tips you can save money along the way. You can then keep refining the spreadsheet closer to your holiday as you either pay off certain activities or find cheaper prices.  It also helps with the saving process along the way.  If you have a set figure it is easier to save.

 

Flights. – Check websites such as skyscanner. which allows you to check flight prices across a number of companies. You can set proposed flight details and be given alerts when the price changes. Our first trip to the USA our flights were just under $2,000 two years later we managed to secure flights for $1,000 at the same time of year and with the same company (Virgin Australia). You can usually find and book flights up to 12 months in advance so the key for us was to set up the alerts and pay for the flights as soon as you see the price that you like! We had booked many months in advance (booked in March for a December / January holiday) to secure the best deal. Another tip is that we found that our travel agent would complete all of the booking details. So once we found these flights, we sent the details through to the travel agent who did all of the booking process. We also saved money as we did not have to pay the booking fee and credit card fees that the airlines charge through the website!

 

Accommodation. – The key here is to identify locations and the amount of money you are willing to spend per night. We provided this information to our travel agent who provided recommendations but we would then search websites such as Hotels Combined and look at the various accommodation options, reviews and any extras that may be included. If we then happened to find accommodation we were interested in we would continue to check back to see if the price had dropped. If we found a good deal we would send through the details to our travel agent who would price match and again do all of the booking for us! We also found that a number of hotels included breakfast or had a little kitchenette so that you could prepare food. These little things save money!

 

Food and Beverage. – On our trip we hired a car and decided to drive across the USA from LA to Miami. As mentioned above, we found accommodation that included extras such as breakfast included. We also bought (from Walmart!) a cheap esky (chilly bin, cooler, depending on where you are from!). And bought some water, fruit and other cheap snacks to have in the car while we were driving. Each night we could fill the esky up with ice from the accommodation to keep the drinks or anything else that needed to be kept cold. If we did choose to find restaurants or eat out, we would have checked some reviews and have found places that had good food but at reasonable prices!

 

Activities / Things to do. – In the USA we found it easy to do and see some amazing attractions for little or no money. In New York for example the New York Pass is only $109 and enables you to see all of the key tourist attractions such as Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and MOMA, this is much cheaper than paying individually and in a lot of instances allows you to skip waiting lines. These are also available in a number of other locations and offer similar savings. We were also able to spend a number of other days of our holiday seeing free attractions. We spent a day walking the high line and looking at the shops surrounding areas, we spent a day in central park and enjoying all of the different scenery on offer. As well we walked the Brooklyn bridge and surrounds, the financial district, times square the list goes on. In Washington DC for example many days can be spent seeing all of the Smithsonian Institutes and monuments and memorials.

 

Money – Another area where you can significantly save is watching exchange rates . This is especially true if you know about your holiday well in advance.  If the exchange rate goes up, you can go and purchase some of that currency at that time. We found a good travel card, but also found that it was a good idea to take some cash as well.

I hope you got some great ideas in making some of the big plans for your trip to the USA!

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Saving money on holidays in the USA, flights, accommodation, cash, attractions and food.
Travelling to the USA, learn how to save money on all aspects of your travel and holiday.

How to get your Partner on board with a budget

Getting your partner on board with your budget or financial goals may seem impossible or unimportant but in reality the opposite is true.  I was the partner that wasn’t on board.  I regularly spent until I had nothing left.  How to get your partner on board with a budget or financial plan is actually a lot easier then you probably think.  I should know – I am now the driver of our budget.

How to persuade your partner to get on board with a financial plan and budget
How to persuade your partner that you need a budget
Identify why your partner is against a budget.

They may not think they will be able to do anything fun.  Or perhaps it’s they don’t want to be told what they should do with their money.  By knowing why your partner is hesitant to have a budget is the easiest way to break down the barrier and get them on board with having a budget.  Have the conversation and make them involved in building the budget so they can have their say!  You may also want to use treats.  After paying off the 3 credit cards, if you save up you can buy whatever car you want.  That in itself is a massive goal, but if that means they get a reward that might be all they need.  The rewards system  doesn’t need to be that big to work, a mini break paid in cash or an extra $50 spending money once the first 3 things are paid off etc.  All works wonder once you get the ball rolling, if your partner is like me then they will be so happy paying off their debt that they no longer want the ‘extras.’

Be prepared.

Have your statistics.  Using a graph projecting your current debt pay off date and how much sooner you could pay it off by adding extra money to your repayments.  You could use a site like like here. To make it easy and quick to show the benefits of paying off your loans or mortgage sooner.  Or how much a house repayment could be if you are saving for a house.  If you also come prepared with how much you could save if you no longer had a credit card/ car/furniture repayment.  Often those figures are impressive enough to put something else that truly matters – a family holiday, wedding etc.

I was personally shown a graph that my now husband had prepared of our debts (mainly my debt before we met).  That graph set me in motion to get another job and pay off A LOT of my debt within the following year.  You can read about that here.

Set Goals.

By setting your goals together you know exactly what you are working towards and what you want to achieve.  If it is something you both want – then it will keep you inspired and on track.  If one of you stray the other can put you back on track.  But only if its something you both want to achieve.

Review.

Set a review date – say 8 or 12 weeks.  If the budget isn’t working its an opportunity to adjust and make changes – not a time to give up.  The aim is that it is working.  This is enough time for you to show your partner how far you have come and the benefits of staying on track with your budget and plan.

Good luck! I hope that this works for you and inspired your partner to start looking after your financial future.  Please let me know how you go with getting your partner on board with a budget!

love budget mum

No Spend September

Why should you have a NO spend September?  Why not?  What do you have to lose?  Having a no spend month is a great way to introduce your family into frugal living and making do with what you already own.  September is also a great time to set up your family for summer time expenses which seem never ending – swimming lessons, Christmas, Vacation Care, holidays, school fees, new uniforms, I could go on and on.

NO Spend September
why September is the perfect time to have a No Spend budget Month

Why should you do this now?  Having a no spend month at anytime is awesome (you can read more here), but in September is a great time to start savings for Christmas, Summer and the New Year.

Christmas is expensive and part of becoming frugal is being prepared for future expenses and NOT making more debt for yourself.  Christmas expenses such as presents, parties, bring a plate, lunch and dinner really add up.  But even without children the expenses can spiral out of control and for most Australians the Credit Card gets a work out.  But by have a no-spend September you can save the money and put it towards Christmas so you can start preparing and buying items now.

Maybe you don’t celebrate Christmas, No Spend September is still for you. After Christmas the expenses don’t stop and that is why so many families debt escalates – the beginning of a school year is always an expensive time of year of families.  Books, uniforms and excursions all add up  – so wouldn’t it be nice if you already had the money saved from No Spend September?

School holidays is also another great reason why September is a great time to have a no spend month.  The Christmas school holidays in Australia are at least 6 weeks long depending on your school.  Extra money is always handy for activities either at home or outside (check out some cheap ideas here), or vacation care fees, presents for the ever obliging grandparents that help out etc! A no spend month, ensures a great summer holiday for everyone!

Not sure where to start but want to join in the front of No Spend September?  All you need to do is not spend any money – it’s that easy!  You can set the rules – I always buy essential groceries and medical.  But try to keep other spending to a minimum eg – no clothes or house decor and no takeaway! It’s a flexible as you want it to be – but if you fall off the wagon, please don’t give up.  Dust yourself off and jump back on!  We are only human – to join in the fun follow me on instagram.  If you have any other great reasons why September is the perfect reason for No Spend September please leave them below!

Budget Mum Blog

Budget series 1 – developing your budget

I believe having a budget is a great thing! You know that you have the money to pay your bills, no stress & no hassle!  That is if you have a budget that is working for you and your family.  This is a guide or helping hand on how I set up our budget and how to make it work for you and your families needs! No matter where you are in your financial journey a budget can help.

budget series - step 1 developing your prefect budget
Developing your perfect budget
  1. Set you financial goals.  By the end of this year… In 5 years time… When I retire… make them clear and start a plan to make them happen!  Your first goal should be getting out of debt – that should be everyones first goal. Make your goal known and put them in a place you will see them.  If that means it is a mood board of the house you want to buy in your study great, or it may be a picture as you phone screen saver.  Make it visible for you so you aren’t tempted to stray.
  2. Make a list of every single expense. Everything that you spend money on, insurance, gym memberships, everything.  Have a look at this list and alter it to your exact needs. 
  3. In three different colour high lighters highlight your essentials, items that could be lowered and non-essentials in another colour. You need to be ruthless.  Needs and wants are very different things and if you are starting from scratch you need to know the difference for the benefit of having a budget that works.
  4. Having a budget that works is based on having more money at the end of the month than month left after the money.  So you need to start putting together what your essentials are what you can live without.
  5. Start adding up or dividing your expenses into weekly/monthly amounts depending on your pay cycle.  That way you can look at how much you need to save for each expense per pay cycle – so nothing sneaks up on you. Eg if your car insurance is $1500 a year you need to put away $30 per week or $125 per month depending on your pay cycle.
  6. Start putting your budget together.  Start with the essentials.  With your left overs start with items that you could lower.  A good budget is realistic to ensure you stay on track.  Sometimes you may need to be very strict to get on top on things – be honest with yourself and you partner if this is the case. Short term pain is long term gain.
  7. Include some amount of savings.  Even if it is $5 or $10.  This is to form your emergency fund.  An emergency fund is what helps you get yourself out of trouble in the case of an emergency!  Your car breaks down, you have a broken water pipe… life happens! But having an emergency fund stops you from borrowing money or putting it on a credit card. You need to stop building anymore debt! Once you have a full emergency fund (say $2000) you can swap this money to a savings account to start a proper savings account.
  8. Tweaking, your essentials and non-essentials all need to be added in.  Making sure that you have money at the end of the week/month to save.  budgeting can be tricky but it can be liberating knowing that you have enough to pay your bills from month to month is a great feeling.
  9. Cutting back these articles may help you start saving money on the items that need to be cut back on

saving money on groceries before you get to the store

1 trick to save $900 on groceries

saving on hair and beauty

save $1000 in one afternoon

8 ways to save on groceries

Hopefully these tips to starting your budget are helpful.  Start your budget as soon as you can, the sooner the better to reach your goal.  If you need to physically restrain your self from spending money, cut up your credit card or freeze them in a block of water (you will need to defrost it to spend – stopping any impulse buys).  But make sure your goal is visible and achievable so you can keep setting your own personal goals higher and higher.  The first step can be the hardest but remember that having a budget (and sticking to it) is a great feeling knowing that you can pay your bills!  Good Luck!

 

love budget mum blog - frugal and budget living blog

budget series - developing your budget
Developing your budget

How to save on groceries -before you get to the store

Cutting down the cost of your grocery bill does not always just in the supermarket – here are some tips to cut the cost of your grocery bill before you even step into the supermarket!  Implementing a couple of tricks here and there will save you big money at the checkout.  Think about things that your mother and grandmother use to do to stretch meals that little further to help save on groceries.

saving on groceries

Saving money on groceries
  1. Meat Free Monday, it’s not hard to make a filling vegetarian meal once a week.  But the simple sway could see your grocery bill drop by $10 by making it meat-free.  Consider making this a regular thing and enjoy the savings! Meat free pasta is always a hit – like this spinach cannelloni.
  2. Smaller meat portions, by buying in bulk and dividing up your meat into smaller pieces yourself saves you by getting more portions from the same amounts.  Consider buying mince and instead of 500g portions make it 400g portions it stretches it out further and only a small difference to each persons portion.
  3. Cheaper meat cuts.  Embrace the slow cooker and use cheaper cuts of meats to make delicious meals that cost less.
  4. Embracing pasta and rice to stretch meals.  Growing up every meal was served with either pasta or rice – I thought it was normal.  But it was just my mums way of stretching meals for the six of us.  It doesn’t need to be a large serving but a large spoonful of pasta or rice to fill up the troops is a great way of stretching out a meal.
  5. Embracing vegetables – another thing that I thought was normal growing up but it was just one of my mums tricks was grated vegetables.  Grated vegetables in EVERYTHING, grated carrots and zucchini are great because they are cheap.  My favourite vegetable is choko.  A choko doesn’t have much flavour and takes on the flavour of other items in the dish and best of all it’s is whitish/clear colour so not easily detectable!
  6. Growing your own vegetables and fruits.  So many things can now be grown in pots it is easy to have a small vegetable garden anywhere.  Even in an apartment you can grow herbs easily – a great way to save money.
  7. Making your own cleaning products is better for your budget and better for the environment.  A couple of ingredients and an afternoon and you will have enough cleaning product for 6 months.  Check out my pinterest board board for more ideas
  8. Meal Planning & Shopping your pantry a great tip to stay organised and use all ingredients you already have without over shopping Check this out to help out the pantry
  9. Fishing.  In days gone by fishing was a very popular way of supplementing your grocery bill.  It shouldn’t be discounted as a cost effective way even now.

Good Luck saving money before you even go to the shops! If you have any tips or hints you use before you even get to the supermarket please leave it in the comments below!

 

love budget mum blog - frugal and budget living blog

how to save money on your grocery bill by saving cash before you leave home
how to save money before you even get to the shops

Saving money on hair and beauty

Have you heard of the saying – you can’t fill others cups if your cup is empty.  YOU need to take time for YOU – but it can be done on a budget.  So don’t completely ditch your ‘you’ time in order to save money, if you enjoy getting your hair done then think about ways you can still enjoy it while fitting into your budget.  Here are some tips to help saving money on hair and beauty.

easy changes to save on hair and beauty
easy changes to save on hair and beauty

Before I was a mum, and my husband and I were DINKS (Double income no kids) I was on a fortnightly rotation, one Thursday I got an my nails done the next week a massage and then repeat.  Eyebrows waxed and eye lashes and brows tinted every 6 weeks, hair every 6 -8 weeks. I just thought it was necessary. I enjoyed it, and I wouldn’t even class myself as a girly girl, I mean I wear my hair in bun evvvvveryday.   But once I was in that cycle it was hard to consider not ‘needing’ these things every week.

Now that we are on one income and have a baby – things are very different.  I rate my days on if I have had a shower or not.  So as much as I enjoy getting these things done, it doesn’t fit into the budget. But I like to get these things done because I feel better within myself if my eyebrows are not caterpillars and my hair isn’t all split ends.  So here are my ideas for budget friendly ways to keeping your self looking good and feeling good!

Hair –
  1. If you are blonde you may want to consider going another colour.  Unless you are a natural blonde, blonde is a lot of upkeep and maintenance, resulting in a lot more trips to the salon than other colours such as brown.
  2. Swap to semi permanent hair dyes or foils, instead of leaving you with noticeable regrowth it will wash out.  That way making it easier for you to stretch out your appointments.
  3. Dye your own hair, I dyed my own hair for about 15 years until one of my friends became a hair dresser.  It is easy to do, I found that I could do a great job with a little practice and the ‘right’ tools.  By tools I used an (clean) chinese takeaway container that I mixed my dye in and a bought a dye brush.  Just like the budget salon I was at home, these $3 purchases made my life easier, the only thing I couldn’t do (well) was the back of my head, and so I trained my husband (and previously my brother) to do that for me.
  4. Hair cuts – although I have cut my own hair all through high school and some of university (I used my mum’s sewing scissors if your interested).  Getting a low maintenance hair style and a professional cut is the way to go to keep your look polished.
  5. Hair Salon – I still use the hair salon but now go four times a year, I have a low maintenance hair style – layered long and ombre in the bottom so very low maintenance dye job.  Some people just can’t/won’t do their own hair and that  understand but discuss with your hairdresser low maintenance styles.  Also consider going to your local tafe or hairdressing training school for budget cuts and colours.  They are supported by professionals so you won’t leave with green hair!

saving money on hair and beauty when you have budget cuts

Beauty –
  1. Training schools all the way! Just like a hair dressers, beauty therapists need to train on someone – why not you?  We even have a massage school near us – $30 for an hour massage!
  2. Consider things like nail wraps instead of manicures, cute nails you can do at home!
  3. Pluck your own eyebrows – honestly one good eyebrow wax can last me 6 months at least and I just pluck in between. Easy and free!
  4. Tinting your own eyebrows, you can buy eyebrow tint from places like Priceline or even Woolworths.  It really is super easy and lasts about a month.  For $18 you get about 10 applications.
  5. Make your own scrubs and lotions, a lot cheaper and also a lot better for you and the environment! Check out my pinterest board for ideas.

I hope this helps you think about how you can save money on beauty while still looking after yourself!  My favourite thing is to invite over the girls and have a spa night together, paint each others nails, do each other hair – make it a girls night in- you will love it! Hope you find some ways to keep within your budget while keeping yourself beautiful!

Budget Mum Blog

How to pay off $10,000 in a year

When I was younger I would see something I liked and I would buy it.  It really was that simple – I had a lovely lifestyle and a huge amount of debt. I had great friends, we would do breakfast, go shopping, go clubbing . Whatever we wanted and then occasionally I would go to Uni. But that lovely lifestyle costed a lot of money that I wasn’t making.  I worked part-time at Coles but that wasn’t enough for my champagne lifestyle so I got myself a credit card, and then another one.  You can see a pattern – I don’t need to go on!  But fast forward to when I met my now husband and things were not looking great for my finances.  So I had to pay off $10000 in a year.

I was roughly in about $23, 000 debt. A couple of credit cards, a car loan and a loan from my sister (I had a lovely 6 week European holiday!) and I was tapped out! My now husband (My Minister of Finance) was mortified! So I needed to clean up my act quickly! We bought a house after dating for 8 months, and we were in tough times because I was finishing uni and had to drop back my hours at work.  So after I graduated it was time to as my father would say “tighten the belt” and sort out my finances. So I focused on paying off as much as I could as fast as I could – I paid off just over $12,000 in the first year after graduation.  Here is how I paid $10000 of debt off.

paying off debt quickly
paying off debt quickly

How to pay off debt

  1. Set a goal and stick with it.  Don’t stick your head in the sand and think that it will go away or you will win lotto.  Chances are you won’t and you will have wasted precious time.
  2. Live within your means! – no more credit cards!!! Cut them up – that’s it. If your serious you need to stop over spending ASAP.
  3. Start and use your budget ASAP. (You will need roughly $200 per week just for debt)
  4. I combined my credit cards into one – massive help.  Although it’s annoying I also shopped around for rates.  I was a stickler for interest free and then a month before it ran out I would apply for another interest free and transfer over.  Is it a hassle? YES Is it worth the hassle? YES YES YES. By not paying any interest you are paying off your debt quicker and you can pay off more.  So you are saving money on interest but you are also saving money on fees by only having one card.
  5. Combine other debts if you can or have to, but only if you are going to be able to pay them out and not be penalised or have huge account fees.
  6. prioritise your debt – you will need current balances and the interest rates they are attracting. Also keep in mind any interest free periods that may be close to expiring (the interest rate after the interest free period is often extremely high).  Organise from highest interest down to lowest interest.  If you have two or more debts with the same interest rate organise them from smallest amount to largest amount.
  7. Make a list of the order and amounts to pay off.  Put it up somewhere, in your study, next to your fridge, beside the bed so you have a visual.  I would cross each one off when paid off, so I could see how close I was getting to my goal.
  8. Start paying them off, you will need to have these built into your budget. But by starting with the highest interest rate you are saving future interest, by paying off the smallest amount first is to inspire you to keep going by getting results sooner.
  9. Once you have paid off one, roll that amount into the next debt on your list to keep up momentum.
  10. At the end of your pay week pay week I would always use any extra in my allowance account. (my own spending account – I get $50 per week) To pay off a credit card up to an even $10.  So say my balance was $657.56 on my credit card -over and above anything else I had paid that week I would pay off the $7.56.  Not a massive amount but that was the point.  Out of my little spending account I hardly noticed but it could add up to nearly $500 extra every year that you have paid off!  And if you are paying interest long-term it is even more!
  11. Any extra money goes into the debt – your tax return, overtime, pay rise, side jobs every little bit helps! Check out some side jobs here. I got myself a second job, packing boxes in a factory.  Not the most interesting job in the world but it was flexible hours so 2 afternoons a week I would work after my ‘real job’ for 3 hours. I bought in just under $100 and that went straight on my debt.

So after a tight year I paid off $12,000 from my debt.  I still had a little way to go (ok half) but I beat my goal and I was happy with that.  After that I continued to pay off my debt by using interest free credit cards.  Then I prioritising them and using any extra money to pay them off.  I no longer worked my extra job but instead looked for other ways to make money at home and continued to pay off as much as possible.

I hope this inspires you to start paying off your debts so you can start saving and living! Once you have paid off your debt it is a wonderful feeling to be able to buy something knowing that it is all yours!

Do you have any other tips on paying off your debt quickly? Happy saving! I hope this helps you pay off $10000 in a year.

Budget Mum Blog

5 things you should ALWAYS buy from ALDI

Aldi, you either love it or hate it.  I am firmly on the love it side but not for everything!  I love the prices for most things but sometimes I get carried away on their weekly specials! (story of my life!)  So this is a list of things you should always buy from Aldi.

The cheapest and best value things to buy from ALDI
Best things to buy from ALDI

Top 5 things to buy from Aldi

  1. Feta Cheese 200g Greek or Danish Style Feta 200 gram = $2.59 in other major supermarkets $4.74 or $3.00 for generic for 200 grams. SAVE $2.15
  2. Bocconcini Cheese $3.49 200 grams or $5 20o grams. SAVE $1.51
  3. Steak Scotch Fillet Grass Fed = $30.99kg or $40.00kg SAVE $9.01
  4. Steak Rump Grass Fed = $21.99kg or $27.00 SAVE $5.01
  5. Nuts Silvered Almonds 125 grams = $3.99 or $6.11 for 110 grams SAVE $2.12

TOTAL SAVINGS = $19.80

This comparison was done on 29 Feburary 2016 in Queensland, my opinion is in comparison to other major supermarkets.  As always double check with your local suppliers especially if you can buy in bulk.

As much as I love Aldi there are still some things you should avoid such as brand named items that they stock.  EG coke – you will nearly always pay more because it doesn’t go on special in Aldi.  It is important even in Aldi to use your price book (start one here), some items I know are cheaper in major supermarkets if you buy generics.  Grated cheese was one of these items that surprised me considering most of there other cheeses are cheaper, grated tasty was still slightly cheaper if you buy generic at a major supermarket.

I rotate where I shop from week to week to get the best out of the 3 major supermarkets.  As much as I love Aldi I do not shop there every week, in the coming weeks I will share how and why I rotate my supermarkets.  What do you buy from Aldi and love the savings of?

Budget Mum Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$60 weekly vegetarian menu plan

A couple of weeks ago I made a budget weekly menu plan for a family of four for $60 It’s here.  A basic meal plan for those weeks when it seems like you won’t make it through because it’s bill city.  It’s a very basic food plan but it will get through! So this week is it a vegetarian option – as requested -for those weeks when there isn’t much cash left for the groceries!

$60 budget grocery list and vegetarian menu plan
$60 budget grocery list and menu plan

7 Budget DINNERS

  • Corn and zucchini fritters with poached eggs (eggs, corn, zucchini, eggs, relish)
  • Fried rice (rice, 500 g veg, soy sauce)
  • Tomato pasta (pasta, 500g veg, tomato pasta sauce)
  • Tofu Pad thai (rice noodles, 500g veg, pad thai sauce, tofu)
  • Pesto Pasta salad (500g pasta, pesto sauce)
  • Nachos (corn chips, salsa, cheese, beans, sour cream)
  • Bean wraps (beans, salsa, cheese, wraps, sour cream)

Budget BREAKFAST

  • Porridge (oats & milk)

Budget LUNCH

  • Sandwiches (bread & jam or relish)
  • Carrot sticks
  • Hommus

As always this is very carbohydrate loaded which is because of the budget restraints.   But I think you can understand in the circumstance, this was done on Coles Online so if you shop in store prices could be cheaper, but also check out stores such as Aldi and local green grocers for cheaper options. And always “shop your pantry first” to see if there is anything you could there first. If you have any left over money, I recommend lunchtime food.

Budget Mum BlogI hope you enjoy the $60 vegetarian menu plan for 7 days of groceries!

 

How to save money when preparing to have a baby

.Having a baby is a very exciting time – but it is also a very expensive time! So here are some tips on buying what you need and skipping what you don’t need!  People are very generous when it comes to babies. So don’t be afraid to borrow items or get given second hand.  You have 9 months to get ready so start looking early and be creative with how you go about collecting everything you need. How to save money when preparing to have a baby.

budget set up for baby
How to save money when setting up for babies

Saving money when preparing to have a baby

My first suggestion is to try to keep your buying to a minimum until your baby shower.  If you hold your baby shower around 6/7 months it still gives you plenty of time to buy other items you may not of received. Don’t be afraid to give a specific list of what you would like to receive.  So people buy you things you actually want and need. People often like to put in together to buy larger items and this can work in your favour, so don’t leave these off your list.

If you need to buy everything as you don’t have anyone to borrow anything from consider second hand for the larger items. Ebay and Gumtree can be your best friend, once babies outgrow things people are often keen to reclaim the room that they take up so will sell them for cheap.  Be sure to buy gender neutral furniture and prams so when the time comes you can also resell!  Nearly all baby items are washable so don’t be afraid of second hand – most baby seats, bassinets, swings and prams unclip for easy washing and line drying!

NECESSITIES
  1. Cot – This is a need but not necessarily straight away.  If you are getting a bassinet or borrowing one your little one will be sleeping in that for at least 6 weeks if not longer.  Sturdy wooden cots can be sanded and painted again and again. So don’t discount a second hand older cot (just double check that it still matches the safety requirements.)
  2. Car Seat – A safe car seat is obviously a must.  If the outlay is too much for a capsule you can rent them from Kidsafe or local baby stores. A capsule is the safe option for 0-6 month olds and you can remove them from the car in the capsule. So this saves money by then buying a car seat once they are older – and then only needed a car seat that will last longer.  It is illegal to sell used car seats (it may of been in an accident and no longer be safe) but you can borrow them.  Make sure you shop around, Target for example sell quality brands for less because their appearances and fabrics differ.
  3. Pram – A pram is needed to get your baby around easily.  Big departments stores like Big W and Target often have big named brands for considerable saving so take advantage and put it on lay-by.  Another option is second hand – prams such as city select are easy to clean.  All fabric can come apart and can be washed so this is another option to save money.
  4. Wraps & Clothes – a definite necessity.  I would recommend 10 outfits of 0000 to start with and 6 wraps.  You will still receive gifts once the baby is born so don’t be tempted to go crazy before the baby arrives.  Clothes and wraps generally wear really well and so do not be afraid of second hand.  It is lovely to buy new because they are so little but they grow so quickly – some outfits only fit for 3-4 weeks.  So when you buy them second hand they may of only been worn once or twice, it’s great saving.  Look around for bulk packs where people sell all their 0000 clothes together for even bigger savings.  Just wash before hand.
  5. Nappies & Wipes – long term if you are looking to save I recommend re-usable nappies (Check this out) But newborns generally fit best into newborn nappies so buy a box before the big day.  I wouldn’t buy more that 2 boxes because your baby may grow quickly and then you are left with nappies that no longer fit.  Wait for nappies to go on special – this happens regularly so check catalogues for the best buys.
Budget ways to set up for baby's arrival
Budget ways to set up for baby’s arrival
MAYBE
  1. Baby bath sling – These are reasonably cheap and make it a lot easier to bathe them.  A bath is not necessary as they will grow out in a couple of months, a bath sling will fit into a sink if necessary.
  2. Change Mat – these are the foam cut out that sits onto a change table. It can sit anywhere flat and make it easier to change the baby.  It can sit on the floor or on set of drawers.  A whole change table takes up a lot of room and doesn’t have another purpose after the baby has grown up.
  3. Swing/bouncer – it’s great to have somewhere to put your baby that isn’t their bed! Sounds obvious but its important, you can’t put a newborn on a seat! A swing that has the option to vibrate and swing is perfect for babies with wind! They are not cheap and not essential but are useful to getting things done in the first couple of months.  If you have a friend happy to lend you one before buying one if preferable babies either love or hate them!
  4. Washers – I found washers the perfect size when they are little for spit up and burping. Smaller amounts of washing and cheap to buy in baby multipacks.

Budget Mum Blog

What did you find were essentials when buying baby equipment? I hope you save money when preparing to have a baby!