32 ways to save money when you have a baby

We spoke to mums and dads who gave their best money-saving tips when you have, or are about to have, a new baby.

From when you start trying for a baby, try to live on one income. Save the rest into an account for during your maternity leave.

Ditch the debt. Try to pay off any consumer debt (personal loans, hire purchase, credit cards) before your baby arrives. You can do without the stress at this time.

Do the maths. Calculate what you’ll be paid over your maternity or paternity leave, and divide that by the time you plan on having off. This gives you an idea how much you can spend. 

Buy extra items or vouchers. In the lead up to the baby’s birth, buy an extra cleaning item or similar every grocery shop.

Annual leave. Save your annual leave and use it before you start your maternity leave.

Prepare your bills. Put extra money into your bills bank accounts in the lead-up to your parental leave. 

Cook meals in bulk. Before your baby is due, freeze dinners and lunch portions.

Invest in cloth nappies. It’s hard work and costly to set up, but you make your money back in no time, especially if you have another baby. If you’re having a baby shower, ask everyone to bring one cloth nappy to build your collection. It’s better for the planet, too.

Buy everything second-hand, if you can. Accept all offers of hand-me-downs from friends and family. Babies grow so fast!

Look for low-cost play options. Use the library and toy library to borrow items. Playgroups and playcentres can be cheap and still social.

Avoid buying things you don’t need. New parents are a marketer’s dream. Only buy the essentials and see how you go. Avoid trendy gadgets.

Contribute to KiwiSaver. While you’re not working, see if your partner can contribute $1,043 every year into your KiwiSaver account, so you’ll still get the $500 government contribution every year.

Stay sensible. Avoid trendy clothes and expensive items that look cute. 

Make your own baby food. Cook up fruit and vegetables in bulk, mash, and freeze into ice cubes or other containers. Then, reheat as needed. Avoid expensive ‘pouch’ foods.

Make a wish-list. Often people ask what you’d like for Christmas and birthdays, and even a baby shower, if you have one. Keep a list of practical items you’d like more of.

Be smart about car seats. Invest in a car seat your child can use for a long time. Just rent a capsule for new-borns.

Make your own cloths and wipes. Rip up old sheets and towels to make your own wipes. Use small flannels too. It’s much cheaper, and supermarket wipes are bad for the environment. 

Do you need a change table? Don’t immediately buy the most expensive change table. You may be able to use a bed with a plastic pad on it, or the top of a cabinet you already have.

Create a clothes system. Have containers of clothes based on size. Once the baby’s grown out of them, sell or give away the container full of clothes that are too small.

Accept offers of help. People who don’t have kids sometimes aren’t sure what to do or bring. Be honest, suggest that a frozen lasagne is better than more toys you don’t need.

Start walking. Once you’re up to it, a walk and a coffee every day is a good way to get out of the house and get some exercise for free. Take your coffee from home in a cup, or stop and get a treat one on the way.

Favourite meals. Print out or write down a list of five easy meals you can make without too much effort, and store what ingredients you can (for example, canned tomatoes). Keep these recipes on hand.

Online grocery shopping. This helps save money as you know what the cost will be before you purchase, and you won’t be tempted by unnecessary treats at the checkout, or sale items. It’s easy to remove items from your cart too - and no screaming baby in the supermarket! ‘Click and Collect’ is good too. 

Money for school expenses. Transfer $5 or $10 every pay into an account to help with school expenses. This money can be used for things like uniforms, school fees, stationery – all those set-up costs.

Know your entitlements. Make sure you’re getting all the benefits and extra contributions you’re entitled to. 

Save on water. Try showering with your baby instead of running a bath. You’ll save water and it may be more soothing for them too.

Childcare costs. Know in advance how much this will cost, so you won’t be shocked when you start paying it. It’s often far more expensive than you’d expect. And look at all options.

For coffee-lovers. If you’re a takeaway coffee addict, look at investing in a machine. But if you need an excuse to escape the house, don’t buy an expensive machine you won’t end up using. 

Have a ‘town day’. Have one day every week or two where you go into town and stock up on everything. This avoids that extra spending that comes from heading to the supermarket every day!

Catch up at friend’s houses. This will save you money and it’s much easier.

Breastfeeding. If you’re able to, breastfeeding is a great way to save money.

Control the number of toys. Avoid buying lots of plastic things that will break easily. Young children get lots of fun from playing with things like pinecones, pots and pans, and simple things around the house.

Information correct as at March 2020. Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer and manager of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. Click here for our Product Disclosure Statement. Any advice is given by Pie Funds Management Limited, and is general only. It relates only to the specific financial products mentioned and does not account for personal circumstances or financial goals. Please see a financial adviser for tailored advice. You may have to pay product or other fees if you act on any advice. As manager of the Scheme we receive monthly fees that are determined by your balance and whether you are 13 years or over. We will benefit financially if you invest in our products. We manage any conflicts of interest via an internal compliance framework designed to ensure we meet our duties to you. For information about the advice we can provide, our duties and complaint process and how disputes can be resolved, visit www.junofunds.co.nz. All content is correct at time of publication date, unless otherwise indicated. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Returns can be negative as well as positive and returns over different periods may vary. Please let us know if you would like a hard copy of this disclosure information.