Go online to get best budget and baby tips
It offers reasonable advice such as buying stationery in bulk with other parents and putting a small amount of money aside each week in anticipation of the new school year.
One way to use the internet to save on your new arrival is undoubtedly to shop for used baby goods online. Sites such as adverts.ie, gumtree.ie, donedeal.ieand ebay.ieoffer incredible bargains to price-conscious parents who can purchase top-quality items at about a third of their original prices.
Many parents want to buy everything new for their precious bundle, which means that many items are used only for a short period and are in great condition. I recently bought a wooden playpen for €70 on adverts.iefor a fraction of the price new (approximately £151 (€187) ex-delivery). The playpen was in perfect condition as it was virtually unused by the original owner, whose baby had refused to sit in it!
Offers of baby items on sale on adverts.ieat the time of writing include a Quinny Buzz travel system complete with buggy, carrycot, footmuff, car seat, Isofix car base and all the accessories for €400. Such a set new could set you back anything between €800 and €1,100. Over at donedeal.ieyou can get a brand new high chair still in the box for a third of its original value; or a Mamas and Papas cotbed, changing table/dresser and wall shelf for €375 – less than half the original cost new.
In the colder months it can be a challenge to keep kids occupied without spending money on indoor pursuits such as the cinema, bowling or play centres. The internet again comes up trumps with a myriad of cheap and free resources for parents, providing lots of ideas for art and craft activities, downloadable printouts and ideas for indoor play.
There are a huge number of crafty parents running inspiring blogs on creative activities to do with children. Many of the ideas involve minimum cost as they employ found objects, natural materials, basic art supplies or household items.
Learn how to make homemade play dough on instructables.com: it only takes some flour, oil, salt, cream of tartar and food colouring, and in minutes you can make stuff that is much cheaper than the shop-bought variety. It’s also less brittle and more pliable and can last for months in an airtight container.
Websites such as creativewithkids.comand kinderart.comhave some great ideas for cheap and cheerful crafty activities to do with your kids. Sites like these also offer suggestions for indoor play, help parents frame an activity and keep the play going for longer. Activity Village (activityvillage. co.uk) is another great resource for parents with lots of printable colouring sheets, word searches, calendars and craft lessons.
It might take a bit more parental involvement than a trip to the activity centre, but using these resources can save you money while giving you valuable time with your kids.