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No matter whether you’re expecting your first baby, or if you’re growing your family, getting everything ready for your newborn can cost a lot of money. Seeing the number of products in a baby shop for the first time can be very overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what to expect from being a parent. Try not to worry, you don’t need every baby item to have a happy newborn and there are simple ways you save your money.

Here we have some of our best tried and tested tips to help you save a bit of money before your baby arrives.  

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Top money saving tips for parents-to-be

Tip #1: Make the most of your Baby Box

Scotland's Baby Box full of everything your baby needs

In Scotland, every newborn baby is offered their own Baby Box. It is packed full of clothes, blankets and lots of other useful things to help give your baby the best possible start in life. The box itself acts like a Moses basket and it comes with a mattress and bedding that fits perfectly.

Before you go out to buy everything for your newborn, it’s worth seeing what's included in the Baby Box to make sure you don’t buy any items that you will already get in the box.

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Tip #2: Find out about parent and child benefits

When you find out you’re going to be a parent, it’s normal to worry about money. This is especially true if you already find it tough to make ends meet, or if you or your partner are planning to take a break from work when your baby arrives.

There are lots of benefit and grant options open to parents and you could be entitled to more than you think. Our page on benefits and grants has more information. You can also get advice from the Money Talk Team.

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Tip #3: Find your local library

It might have been years since you last visited your local library, but it can be really useful to find out where it is. It’s really easy to sign up and get your free library card and it means you can borrow lots of books for your baby, without having to spend a penny.

Libraries across Scotland have lots of free baby groups that you can drop in on, including Book Bug – a 30 minute nursery rhythm time. Lots of parents and babies attend these sessions and it can be a nice way of meeting people and an excuse to get out of the house.

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Tip #4: Do all baby items need to be brand new?

It can be expensive to buy brand new baby items. There are plenty of charity shops, websites and social media groups that offer good quality second-hand items and they’re often much cheaper than you would pay in the shops.

Look out for the Revolve logo when you’re out shopping. Revolve is Scotland’s national re-use quality standard for shops who sell second hand goods in Scotland. This means any products sold there have been checked for quality, safety and cleanliness.

You can find out more about shopping second-hand here.

If you do want to buy brand new items (like a cot mattress) it might be worth asking the shop assistants if they have any special sale discount days coming up. Often baby shops have special event days when you can get discounts.

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Tip #5: Think about whether you really need that item

When you start shopping around for all the things you need for your newborn, you will see hundreds of different products that you can buy. Think to yourself - do you really need this? Is this something you can do without?

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Tip #6: Look out for free baby groups and classes

Photo of a breastfeeding support group

It can be really nice to join a couple of baby classes or playgroups. Meeting other parents with children the same age as yours can offer some really good advice and tips! Some classes can be quite expensive, but there are free classes as well to look out for.

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Tip #7: Batch cook to save on takeaways

Photo of lentil soup

Before your baby arrives, it is a good idea to freeze some home cooked meals - you can make lots of chilli, soups and curries and freeze individual portions. When your baby arrives, it means you don’t have to worry about cooking or ordering expensive takeaways.

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Tip #8: Do your research on nappies

Even if you have done a good job of keeping the costs down when getting ready for your newborn, you’ll still have to spend money on buying nappies – and lots of them! It’s a good idea to have a look around when you need nappies to see where you can get good deals.

You can also save money (and the planet!) with reusable nappies. Use the voucher in your Baby Box to get started for free and check Facebook to see if there's a reusable nappy group near you offering advice and support.

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Tip #9: Looking for prams

Brand new prams can be very expensive. The good news is you don’t need a brand new pram. There are lots of places you can look for a second hand pram.

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Tip #10: Using items around the house

It can be very tempting to buy lots of baby toys, but there are lots of things you can use around the house that will keep them entertained. You can make a drum from an upside saucepan and a wooden spoon!

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More information

Bringing a new baby into the world will always mean spending money. Make sure you are aware of all the child benefits and grants to see if you're entitled to some extra support. The Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment helps eligible parents cover some of the costs of a newborn child. 

In addition, the Money Talk Team are here to help you find out about what benefits you may be entitled to, how to save money on household bills, advise on debt and other financial support available to families in Scotland. As well as providing online advice on the Money Talk Team website, you can also contact them via their chatbot by phone on 0800 028 1456. Or you can visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau for in person support.

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