We all know having a family can be expensive. Before your little one arrives, there seems to be a mountain of stuff you need (or think you need) to buy. And once they’re here, the spending goes into overdrive.
Nappies, food and clothes are the obvious essentials. Less obvious are the baby gifts you seem to be constantly buying for friends – old and new – who join the baby club.
New friends, new babies
It’s amazing how many mummy friends you end up with once you’re a mum yourself.
Some you might have known long before you had your little one. But there are many others you’ll have met at antenatal classes or one of those crazy baby and toddler groups you attend to get you out of the house and stave off cabin fever.
Either way, thank heavens for those mummies! Parenting a little one can be pretty lonely sometimes. Your fellow mums are hopefully the non-judgemental, funny, lovely, generous, understanding friends that every mum needs.
But, oh! The number of baby gifts you have to buy! Because the luckier you are in the more mums you know, the more presents you find yourself buying each time they issue a new little bundle of joy.
It’s easy to panic-buy and overspend on new baby gifts. When the first of my antenatal mates gave birth I did it all wrong (but then I was hardly in the best frame of mind – about to pop any day myself).
Rushing to see my friend and her little girl, I only thought about buying a present en route to her home. The result was me stumbling in shock out of the local baby boutique, having bought an extortionately expensive babygro that seemed lovely in my heavily pregnant, panic-buying state of mind, but wasn’t at all to the taste of my mummy friend.
The result? A big, fat waste of money as I’ve never seen the little girl it was bought for wearing it – and I see her a lot.
Once Little Man had arrived, popping to the shops to buy a quick pressie was all of a sudden Mission Impossible, so online shopping was (and still is) often the easiest and cheapest option.
Now that all our babies are about to have their first birthdays (so soon!) there’s a new round of baby gifts to buy. AND some brave souls in our group are on course to do it all again so that’s even more gifts in the pipeline.
With all this in mind, it’s worth preparing yourself by finding some lovely baby gifts that won’t break the bank
Clothes are an obvious choice – we all know you can never have too many – but try to make sure they’re easy to wash and to the taste of the parents (or they’ll never be worn).
Dotcomgiftshop I Love London boxed baby gift set, £12.95 (was £29.95)
Equally affordable and usable are things for the nursery – cushions, bunting, pictures – and you can’t go wrong with a soft toy.
You don’t need to go nuts and spend a fortune. Remember, there will be lots and lots of these gifts to buy for quite a few years to come. The trick is to be prepared so you don’t fall into the panic-buying trap and spend more than you can afford.
Be clever and find some good retailers (whether online or on the high street) you know can go back to time and again. That way you can be confident you’ll make a statement with your presents without breaking the bank.
Suzy Darke is mummy to a 10-month old little boy and writes for the Dotcomgiftshop blog.