New baby? 5 ways to avoid debt
There's no need to max out your credit card when baby arrives. Just follow these steps for a financially healthy future for your family.
piggy bank (iStock)

A new and exciting journey begins for you and your partner with the arrival of your first child. But with this new addition come the additional costs of raising a child.

Newborns are expensive, with the initial costs of setting up a nursery, purchasing new clothing and the ongoing cost of nappies. This mounting list of baby paraphernalia can easily lead parents to enter into credit deals. For those who are trying to lay a stable financial foundation for their family, getting into debt is a step backwards.

Here are 5 tips to help you avoid falling into the debt trap when having your first child. 

1. Be wary of your spending

The announcement of a new child often signals a mad dash to the shops for parents. Before you start to swipe that card, rather take some time to think about your upcoming purchases. Make a list with your partner of the items that you need, and stick to it.

This self-monitoring of your spending should also be applied to your current expenses. Create a simple budget of items purchased for the household over the period of a month. After you’ve been able to compile a simple ledger, you’ll be able to gauge where you could cut back.

2. Make cutbacks

Once you’ve identified your main expenses, you can aim to curb spending in certain areas and look for alternatives. Newborn clothing is barely used so an option might be to ask friends and family for their children’s old clothes, or purchasing second hand can help reduce costs. Every cent saved is an extra one you can spend in the future. 

3. Start saving

After you’ve been able to get your spending under control, you’ll start to save. It is vital that you build an emergency fund for unexpected costs, such as a surprise visit to the hospital. Being able to pay for services and items upfront, limits the potential need for borrowing.

4. Babies come with celebrations

A baby shower that is planned properly, can save you a bundle. If friends or family are doing this for you, set up a gift registry at a retail outlet to guide people who would like to help you. If you plan a list well, you can eliminate a wide range of items you thought you would need to purchase yourself.

Ask for the baby shower to happen a while in advance, so you have time to identify what you will still need to shop for.

5. Is renting an option?

Even the best-laid plans will include making some large purchases. But before biting the bullet you could consider renting these items. Prams, cots and car seats are expensive and costs can add up quickly, but with Rent-To-Own (RTO) contracts you can work the costs into your budget and benefit from the flexibility it offers.

RTO, done through companies such as Teljoy, enables consumers to have fixed repayments for the duration of the contract, with repairs and maintenance included. They also offer a replacement item/s should the repairs need to happen off-site.

There is the option to take ownership after the contract period, but should you need to cancel (or even upgrade to a more current product) you have the freedom to do so.

This is helpful if your financial circumstance change or you find yourself no longer needing a pram or cot – but if a second child is on the way, you may own that pram before he or she arrives. This way, you won’t be stuck paying for an item long after you stop using it.

A solid foundation

At the end of the day, you want to be able to provide your child with the best foundation for the future. This is achievable if your family is financially sound from day one.  

Were you able to avoid debt after your baby arrived? Share your tips and tricks by emailing chatback@parent24.com.

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