Mommy Bloggers share their money saving tips for new parents

When you're a new mom, suddenly your expenses sky-rocket. Instead of spending the weekends shopping for shoes you find yourself making lists of things you need for the baby, and that list is never-ending. I knew having a baby would be expensive but I didn't realise just how expensive it would be. Now that I'm a parent, I've had to readjust my lifestyle to be more accommodating to these new expenses. Here are five ways I've learnt to save money as a mom.

Jonelle du Pont - Blogger at Tyranny of Pink.

Plan in advance. Plan everything in advance, from your day trips to your meals. If you know you're going to be out past lunch time then pack a meal instead of having to buy a restaurant meal for your child. Kiddies meals are often over priced for what you get so take them a snack, a drink and even a larger meal so that you don't have to buy anything while out. The same goes with other items like clothing in the event of a weather change. I live in Cape Town and the weather is so unpredictable here that even on the sunniest day, I pack warm clothing for my son which means there will be no emergency stops to buy warmer clothing.

Always buy in bulk. It's so easy to just pop down to the supermarket and buy ingredients on the day but you'd be surprised how much money you save if you plan your meals out and buy ingredients for the month all at once. Wholesale prices are definitely worth the time it takes to plan your meals in advance and do one big shopping trip a month instead of several a week. An added bonus is saving on stress levels as you avoid the weekly supermarket queues.

Shop around before making large purchases. When you're buying the larger necessities for the baby, the pram or bedroom furniture or even nappies, it really makes a difference to do a price check online and look out for the best deals. Sometimes you get extra lucky and find that the particular item you're buying is on sale somewhere and you score extra savings. I've also found that shopping online can save you a lot of money and it gets delivered right to your house.

Save money for the unexpected expenses. Luckily we have medical aid, it was something that I knew I needed before having a baby but if we didn't, we'd struggle with the costs associated with vaccinations and clinic visits. A visit to the pediatrician can cost around R1000. If you don't plan for these costs, you will constantly be spending money that you don't have. I'd highly recommend opening a savings account and putting money away for these kinds of expenses. If you don't use it, that's great and it can go towards your childs' education costs one day but better safe than sorry.

Don't only buy name brand clothing, they won't fit into them in a few weeks anyway! So many moms spend a lot of money on brand name clothing for their babies. While it's definitely worth having a few cute outfits for going out in, it's not worth paying label prices when you can get amazing chain store clothing that they look just as good in. My son outgrows his clothing on almost a weekly basis. I refuse to spend money on something that he may not even get to wear before it doesn't fit him anymore. Rather put the money you would spend towards a fun day out with your family.

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Thando Msomi is Blogger at  Modern Zulu Mom

Opt to breastfeed over formula. Not only is breast milk the absolute best nutrition for your baby; it is also always ready, at the right temperature and it’s free . It gets slightly harder when your maternity leave ends, but breastfeeding during the first 3 months will save you a lot of money. Once you’re back at work, continue to express milk for your baby.

Take advantage of store specials. This makes me feel like a freak at times, but saving on specials really helps your money go a long way. During my pregnancy and over the last 7 months, I haven’t bought diapers at the normal price. I’ve saved at least R50 per packet at every purchase because I buy 3 to 4 packets at a time when I spot a special.

Don’t be manipulated. My older child will ALWAYS ask for a new toy when we are out; this is a habit I always used to fall for because I feel guilty that “the new baby always gets stuff”. I’ve learnt to manage this by explaining how I earn my money and or by buying him a smaller treat instead. E.g. a Kinderjoy

Babies don’t need designer clothes. I know it’s tough not to spoil your baby as a first time mom. You’re so excited that you buy all these cute, but expensive items. With my second baby, I’m making much smarter choices and buying at the standard retail stores e.g. Ackerman’s. An infant is in a new size of clothes every 3 months, splurging is just not worth it… YET

Make your own baby food. Once your baby starts eating solids, opt to make your own food over buying pre-packaged food. It’s healthier and cheaper, since you will be buying fruits and vegetables for the rest of your family anyway.  Here is my guide to making your own baby food.

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Tanya Kovarsky is a Blogger at Rattle and Mum

Think like an early bird, get the worm(s). Think ahead and capitalise now at a sale, or a site that offers deals. It’s not about buying all the shoes for yourself at the Woolies sale, but rather, about buying for a definite occasion or purpose in mind – a Christmas, birthday, or teacher’s gift for example, or someone’s who’s a few months’ pregnant but whose baby shower you will likely land up at.

Get more for less.  Once those moments, seasons or holidays are at the middle of your mind, it’s time to harness the opportunities around you. End-of-season or mid-season sales are the best, and generally I won’t buy anything for myself or for others at the start of a season – rather, I’ll wait until I think they might be on sale. Also look for daily deals on sites like Takealot (they often have great nappy specials) and One Day Only, and even group buying sites. Try not to see it as an opportunity to spend more on yourself, but rather to buy the things you need.

Do online grocery shopping. Even with the R50 or so delivery fee, I still save on my monthly groceries by buying them online. I scour all the specials, compare prices and end up buying only what I need, not the chocolates nor the nail polishes that I WANT.

Loyalty cards. Yes, they can be a pain to haul out, but these days it’s easier to use them as there are instant rewards at Woolworths for example, and the likes of Exclusive Books and Clicks have done away with vouchers, so you can get cash back at the till, without the admin. Last week I got R130 off my Clicks trolley for having swiped my card for the last few months there. It all adds up, and it’s really something concrete back for not much effort.

Ask yourself all the time: “Do I need this or even want it?”. I find as a new mom again, I’m often looking for things to perk myself up, whether it’s a chai latte, or a new gloss. While they make me feel better, I might be better off saving the money, and treating myself in other ways - a walk in the park, a bath when the baby is sleeping, or a cup of Milo with a marshmallow at home. I’m not saying don’t treat yourself - I’m just saying ask yourself what’s better for your pocket, and maybe balance out the bought treats with the self-generated ones.

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Shan Vijendranath is a Blogger from You Baby and I

Invest in neutral colours for big products like strollers, car seats and linen so that it can be used for the next child.
Get loyalty cards. Get the Dischem baby card - it will give you great discounts and preggy moms get a dischem nappy bag filled with goodies! Also sign up for a Clicks card - the points can help you buy something for free when you have a limited budget.
Shop smart by comparing prices and brands in big chain stores. Look for big sales - always buy sale clothes in bigger sizes that can be used for the next season. Buy nappies, bum cream and wet wipes in bulk when on sale.
Collect sample size items from baby expos and seminars. These are great to keep in the nappy bag and use when travelling.

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Thanks to Jonelle for providing the introduction.