Tesco Baby Club member, Anna Szyszkiewicz, from North London talks about the costs she has encountered since having her son Bruno, 8 months old
Were you able to prepare financially for having your baby before you got pregnant?
We saved a little, but we also made sure we enjoyed my pregnancy as it was the last time we would be childfree. So we went on holiday, for example, and on several small trips. I don’t regret not saving more – it was important to think about our wellbeing too.
Before you got pregnant, what did you think would be the biggest expense?
I knew from talking to my friends that the pram and travel system would be a big expense, and childcare is pricey too. I was also worried about the cost of nappies – you get through so many I could see it adding up quickly!
Did you do anything different during your pregnancy to prepare for having your baby?
I started looking at ways to cut down extra expenses and outgoings during my maternity leave – for example, I stopped paying for a storage locker, and cut down on spending on my credit card too.
How did you pay for all the costs of setting up your nursery?
To spread the cost, we bought everything really gradually, starting when I was three months pregnant. My friends gave us a few items, which was a big help, and luckily we had family that wanted to buy presents for us too! We also sold a few things on eBay like a bicycle and sewing machine to get a little extra in the pot, and make space at home.
What sort of items did you borrow or buy second-hand?
I got some clothes and toys second-hand – you go through them so quickly as the baby grows that it didn’t make sense to spend too much on them. I borrowed a baby bath and bouncer from friends too. We were really lucky with our two prams – we got one second-hand, and the other was a customer return so we were given a discount of almost £100 off.
Financially, what was the biggest surprise when you were preparing to have your baby?
There were definitely a few surprises! I didn’t realise how much the pram and travel system would cost once you add in all the accessories like a rain cover, foot muff and toys. I also found pregnancy classes surprisingly expensive. You can do some for free, but some I wanted to try, like hypnobirthing, just didn’t end up being affordable.
How did you get financially ready for maternity leave?
Luckily, I had some savings. Selling things online was helpful too, and being on maternity leave meant I had the time to do this. My parents helped cover some costs, and I relied on my partner too – a bit of everything, really!
How has the way you spend your money changed since having a baby? Are you spending less on certain items, and more on others?
I now spend very little on material things – instead I tend to buy experiences for Bruno and I to do together. So for example, my money goes on baby classes and meet-ups with friends and other mums. One activity we like to do is go to baby cinema screenings once a week – it’s a great chance to catch up with friends, and I get to watch a film too.
I also find you have to spend quite a bit working out which products – like baby food brands – suit your baby. You end up trialling several brands.
Have you decided to set up a separate savings account for your baby?
I have a savings account in my name at the moment that we use to save money for Bruno. But we’ll open his own account one day – probably when he’s about 4 years old. It’s important to teach children how to be responsible with money.
Have you got life insurance now you’re a parent?
Neither of us have it, but my partner talks a lot about it now! We have started thinking about who would be responsible for Bruno if the worst happened, so we’ll definitely consider life insurance in the near future too.
What have been the most surprising costs for you since having your baby?
Going on holiday! Even though your baby’s stay is cheaper or sometimes even free, not all hotels are fully equipped for little ones, so you often need to bring kit like a travel cot and bath seat.