Budgeting for baby - tips for new parents


We recently launched the BNZ Baby Budget Calculator, which helps parents get a realistic idea of the overall cost of raising a baby or toddler.

Given that March is Plunket appeal month, I’d be interested to hear tried and true budgeting tips for those expecting a little bundle of joy, and, on the flip side, some of the hidden costs that come with having a new addition to the family.

So, what are your best baby budgeting tips? Were there any unexpected costs that you encountered as a new parent?

If you are a parent visiting this thread you may be a bit concerned in light of recent news regarding infant formula - we’re proud to support Plunket and recommend that if you have any questions about what to feed your baby, you call Plunketline on 0800 93 39 22 


My tip would be that if you will be going down to one income for a period of time after baby is born, to practice living on one income so you get an idea of what to expect. This also means you can save money from the second income during this time. You’ll be able to see where you might need to tighten the reigns in terms of expenses, and it’s better to know sooner rather than later!


Borrow items where you can. Moses baskets are overrated for the limited 3-4months you might get out of them. Consider joining a toy library for bigger items, that way you get regular, stimulating items that don’t take up huge amounts of space. Buy nappies in bulk; there are plenty of facebook communities for mums that often highlight where the best baby deals are. Shop up a storm ahead of seasons at 50% off farmers sale etc for the basics. Make your own baby food- otherwise your looking at at least $1.50 a jar…


My advice is… you don’t need nearly as much ‘stuff’ as you think you will. Don’t buy many things before the baby arrives; have the basics (somewhere to sleep, something to transport bub, nappies, lots of face cloths and some basic cotton outfits), and the rest you can pick up as needed. You may find yourself showered with gifts, and you’ll end up with way too much of everything. Even if you get given nothing, just buy stuff as you need it - and really NEED it - and don’t get carried away.

The one thing you will always underestimate though, is nappies. You will use FAR more nappies than you ever imagined.


My advice is to stock up on larger size nappies (they grow really fast) i was left with too many new born nappies because my boy was never even in them.  Also, you dont really need as much stuff as you think, a few cotton onesies, car seat, cot, nappies and lots of face cloths.  You dont necessarily need a changing table or bassinet, save that money for other purchases.  :)   If your also afraid of being given too many things of the same at your baby shower give a list of what you really need and don’t be afraid to ask for specific things.  :) 


My tip would be, don’t spend all your money on all the fashionable clothes 2nd hand and hand me downs from family/friends helps a lot. Also such a good money saver.


My main tip would be to stock up on nappies of all sizes. Also a good nappy cream is absolute gold. Investing in a couple of pottles of cream will mean that in the future switching to cheaper nappies is easier on babies skin - and therefore easy on the budget! The old cheap nappies in the day time and Huggies at night works a treat and saves some money. Also resist the urge to spend oodles of money on baby items. Having a baby shower is the best way to stock up on the little things like cloths and outfits and toys without spending money. Babies actually don’t need as much stuff as you think. Stick to the necessities ie a bed, car seat, singlets, and let others give their old gear to you or buy presents for the baby to fill in the gaps. Save your money for the bills. Prior to having baby I began to save a chunk of my pay each week so that I had some money behind me to put towards bills after she was born. An unexpected cost wasthe power bill being higher than usual - lights on in the night, more heating for the baby, and just being home in the day time every day using appliances meant that the power bill was considerably higher in the first few months. Save money for any unexpected high power bills that may come.


Invest in a blender and make your own baby food - it’s a lot cheaper than buying pots!


Start a savings account for each child when born. Even $10 a week is enough to pay for braces and/or a car when they move out of home


I would buy clothing at clearance prices at next years sizes, start before my child was born so i hardly ever paid full price for clothes. Also sundays roast dinner was blended up for the next weeks baby dinners.
Bnz were the best bank to open an account with for my babys savings, none of the other banks would let me open an account without internet access, i just wanted an account i could set up an AP to and never be able to access unless i went to a branch.


When I was pregnant I labeled 4 plastic baskets: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months and 12 months+. I looked out for multi-buy deals and good sales on all ages of clothing and gradually acquired a few key items that were good quality, for example at least one warm zip up jumper in each size. Any other clothes that were gifted to us or from 2nd hand bulk lots (I used these for onesies, socks-which can be surprisingly pricey and hats) were also sorted into these baskets. We never had the problem of missing the chance to wear clothes as bubs had outgrown them and it saved us time when we needed to get the next clothes size ready. I still use them now with my second bubs, as I deliberately bought some basics (like onesies) in unisex colours.


Newborns grow out of their newborn clothes within 3-4 weeks, if you can, borrow these from friends or family or don’t go overboard with purchasing new clothes.  Same applies for nappies, you only need one box.  Always purchase the following years clothes at end of season sales, sometimes you can get things for under $5.  Sign up for newsletters from kids/baby clothing stores to find out when sales are happening.  Put $10-15 aside each week to take advantage of sales.


My tip would be to save as much as possible while still earning with 2 incomes, by everything during sales -baby furniture packages online, baby clothes and accessories on sale like farmers half price sales, use modern cloth nappies they save you a fortune & are affordable to buy one a week or hire.
Only thing we didnt do cheap were the carseat, pram & cot & mattress as safer to buy new but still got good specials on them


Great tips so far.  I would also add…

Cooking extra meals before bubs is born and freezing meals. Whether it’s saving leftovers or making lasagnas, quiches etc, it’s cheaper and healthier to put something out of the freezer when tired than takeaways.

Reusable nappies can seem expensive,  but I purchased mine second hand for a fraction of the cost than they are new. Probably the biggest saving we are making at the moment!


If someone has recently had a baby in your family see if they will give or sell you for a small price the baby clothes. It saves time and effort of buying them. Join community groups that will be free and support babies development. Go to restaurants where kids dine for free or there is some sort of discount. If you didn’t start saving before baby try saving minimal amounts with baby.


* dont buiy lots of “cute” newborn outfits they grow incredibly quick. Same with nappies-its good to stockup but your better investing in bigger sizes rather than newborn
* buy a decent solid long lasting pram, snap and goes maybe convient but can only use for 6mths then? ??, a baby spends alot of time in a pram so worth investing in one tgat’ll last from birth to 3-4yrs old.
*buy online-so many cheap good deals and websites
*make your own baby food it saves a fortune and better for baby and the environment
*dont buy into the fads of jumperois/moses baskets/the latest whatever the baby needs love, food and warmth ut doesnt care about the cool toy or stunning outfit :slight_smile:
*join community facebook/blog pages that have tips/tricks and ideas for babies and alot if facebook groups gift baby items rather than buying-it takes a village to raise a baby and so often grow up too quickly that barely use items
Biggest one if all is stick to the basic needs of a baby not wants…if our parents and g.parents could rause us and our parents without all these extras then we can too. I think saving a little each week for later like school uniforms etc more important than saving to buy the latest trend for a small baby :slight_smile: xx


Join Bounty - they have useful information in the form of books and timely emails, and the books contain coupons for discounts on useful items such as nappies.


Some things can be ‘recycled’ eg we now use the changing table as a shelving unit in our daughter’s wardrobe.


Look out for sales eg Farmers, The Warehouse, Countdown, The Baby Factory - that way you can buy what you need, at a cheaper price. Signing up for email newsletters can assist with this.
Mavis T