In January 2019 the husb and I completed on our first house purchase and moved in on 18th. The month prior we found out we would be expecting our first baby. 2019 was an expensive (and very exciting) year!
The house was in desperate need of a deep clean and a redecoration. It hadn’t been decorated in a long time, and everything was filthy and nicotine stained. Thankfully we had bought paint and carpets before moving in and we already had all the furniture we needed from when we were renting, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be able to start buying things in preparation for the baby arrival.
We chose to keep the gender a surprise, so throughout my pregnancy we referred to our little one as Spark.
Preparing frugally for baby
- Sleep Arrangements
There is no end of sleeping places you can buy for a baby. Moses baskets, cots, space saver cots, cotbeds, next2me cribs, sleepy heads, travel cots… and a whole host of bed accessories you can splash the cash on from a multitude of cot bumpers (studies suggest to avoid cot bumpers to reduce the chance of SIDS) to canopies and nests.
Before you buy any beds/cots for baby consider where baby will be sleeping. I knew I wanted Spark in our room with us for the first 6 months, before being transferred into his own room. I also thought that for the first couple months I’d probably want him to have his daytime naps in the living room.
Therefore I decided to buy a next2me cot and a cotbed. Instead of forking out on a moses basket for the downstairs daytime naps, I decided I would just use the bassinet from the pushchair. Babies grow out of moses baskets very quickly, so much so most parents I know who bought one say that in hindsight they wouldn’t have bothered getting one.
Cots, cotbeds and next2me cots are easily bought second hand in very good condition. I bought a Chicco next2me cot secondhand off Facebook Marketplace for £80 and a secondhand Mamas&Papas cotbed for £50 off Facebook Marketplace. A cotbed is a better investment than a cot, as cots are small and only last a year or two at most, whereas a cotbed has various heights for the base of the bed and the sides can be removed to turn it into a toddler bed, meaning your cotbed will take you from newborn to about 4 years old.
- Baby Monitor
With hindsight I wouldn’t buy a baby monitor at all. Unless you live in a big house, or your little on will be sleeping on a different floor of the house to you, a baby monitor may be unnecessary. I live in a two bed semi. Irrelevant of where I am in the house, or where my son is, I can hear him when he stirs/cries. Even now he is sleeping in his cotbed in his own room, I wake up to the sound of him stirring/crying. If you do choose to buy a baby monitor, definitely consider purchasing a second hand one, or alternatively, look for a dog monitor. We bought a dog/pet monitor. It does what most baby monitors do, but was quite a bit cheaper!
- Nearly New Baby Sales
Scope out your local nearly new baby sales to find everything from clothes and toys, to baby monitors, carriers/slings and highchairs. Little Pickles Markets happen every month across the south of England. I went to two Little Pickles Markets whilst pregnant where I picked up a baby carrier, some newborn clothes and a play mat (for £4) among others things.
As well as everything above, the quick tips I would give are to write a list and stick to it. It is easy to get suckered in to buying a lot of stuff you do not need when browsing online and walking around the shops. Buy what you think you will definitely need in preparation for your babies arrival. Other things can be bought once baby is born. Wait for baby events, such as the Asda baby event when lots of essential items are reduced to stock up on things like wetwipes.
All your baby really needs is you and to be warm, dry and fed. Everything else is a bonus.