With 2020 well on its way, the financial New Year of most businesses kicking in and only 42 weeks left until Christmas, we decided to make the theme for our Baby Steps blog for March, “Money, and making the most of it”.
I had always been extremely conservative when it came to spending money; conservative until I found out I was expecting my little Chick; because he “NEEDS” everything. Yes, most things he did need because we were starting from scratch changing our household from a childless dream into a safety nest fit for the most fragile Moas bird’s egg (Moas: A giant extinct flightless bird; cousin to the emu & ostrich families). Some things I do however question, like the floating bath pillow, which was fun, but not a necessity. The more I think about it, the bigger the list of my questionable purchases grows.
The biggest lesson I have learned through all of this spending, is how to maximise the money I have available to buy “everything” that my Chick “NEEDS”.
Here are 8 tips on making the most of your money
(Be sure to first ask yourself if you can afford to splurge over and above the necessity items):
- Shop around online before you seal the deal
Browsing in actual shops is a waste of time and fuel. In this digital era, we have access to pricing at the tips of our fingers. Use trustworthy online shopping sites to help you compare pricing. Fill your wish lists with the items you “need”, monitor them over time for discounted deals and buy your goods when you feel they have reached their lowest prices.
(My go-to sites are takealot.com, onedayonly.co.za, mrphome.com and woolworths.co.za)
- Join all the loyalty programs that you can, and make use of them
To avoid email spam, create an email address (Gmail as an example) specifically for all of your sign-ups. Monitor your cash backs and see which shops give you the best rewards, and then reward them with your money.
(My favourites are Woolworths, Vitality, V-Power, Cotton On, Dischem and Pick n Pay)
- Take advantage of sign up or first time order deals
Most online stores send you a voucher for signing up for their newsletter or placing your first order online. Some stores offer free delivery on your first order. When comparing the travel time and fuel spend, this can be a big saving. Be smart about it though (do the math to see if you are, in fact, saving).
(Some sign-ups that I have used and have proved beneficial are Zando, Sweep South, Yuppiechef and Woolworths).
- Buy second hand
As a first-time mom I wanted everything to be new, but things really don’t need to be. Most baby items get used for a couple of months, and up to three years max. Search your Social Media platforms for second-hand items such as baby clothing, and furniture (I would, however, buy a cot mattress new). You will be sure to find bargains, and you will be saving the environment from the ever piling landfills too.
(Facebook has loads of second-hand baby items available in their market.)
- Use your Sisterhood of Motherhood for advice on what is actually needed
When entering the world of motherhood you will quickly discover the sisterhood that comes along with it. Other moms are always willing to share their advice and experiences on useful products. Don’t be afraid to ask, you can always filter through this advice and buy what makes sense to you.
- Shop seasonally in advance
If possible, shop the end of season sales now for next year’s needs. Most outlets have massive sales at the end of summer and winter. Save up for these sales and buy clothing that will fit your little Chick next year (swimming costumes, tracksuit pants, shorts, Jackets etc…). Even blankets (summer and winter fabrics) sell at bargain prices. I would avoid buying shoes though; you just can’t be sure how quickly those feet are going to grow.
(I have found great seasonal deals at Woolworths, Cotton On, and H&M.)
- Visit baby expo’s
Make an effort to go to a baby expo or market. By planning properly before you go; accessing the exhibitor’s expo guide, and researching online pricing of items you need at in-store rates; you can definitely walk away with massive saving on things you need, such as furniture, car seats, and prams (if you are looking to buy new), wet wipes, nappies, and vitamins. For me, it makes sense to take one day to browse all the items you may need, at discounted rates, in one venue, thus saving you the time and fuel of going to individual shops.
- Always asses the value that the item will bring you
Some items may be more expensive than others, but they might last you a lot longer or be of better quality. Ask yourself if the benefit of that item justifies the extra spend compared to a competing product? You may find that spending the extra money is, in fact, a waste.
To close off, it is so important to teach your child about the value of money and budgeting. You can start teaching them from as young as three years old.
I am pretty sure each of you reading this has a box of stashed toys that you are keeping for future use. Get your child to “buy” these stashed toys from you with a monthly allowance or reward for doing chores. You can guide them through budgeting and saving for the items they want. Who knows, maybe you will learn a thing or two.
Our Baby Steps monthly conversation kick starter for March is:
“Money doesn’t grow on trees, but did you know there is a money plant?”
Cheers to making the most of our money in March 2020!
Planner, Seeker of happiness, Cat & Human mom (proud Baby Steps mom), Creative, OCD maybe, baby blogger