**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kijiji. All opinions are my own.
This past weekend, my daughter Scarlett turned one. It’s been a crazy year adjusting as new parents with many ups and downs. As a personal finance expert, I wish I could tell you that we had all our finances under control, but we made some mistakes that could have easily been avoided.
Okay, things weren’t that bad, but despite how hard we tried to keep expenses in check, we ended up spending more than we really should have. The good thing is, the “mistakes” we made can be learning points for you! Honestly. Here’s a real-life look at some of the things I wish I knew when it came to budgeting for a baby.
Preparing for the birth of our baby
Before Scarlett was born, we focused on the typical things that we felt needed to be new. We bought a crib, stroller, car seat, toys, clothes, and countless other items. We reasoned that we could afford to buy these things so we might as well buy them new?
The thing is, it was easy to have that mentality when we were on a dual income. As soon as Scarlett was born, we were down to a single income, and it seemed like we had many more expenses. Had we purchased a few of those items in the second-hand economy via Kijiji, we could have easily saved around $825 (according to their latest Report).
It’s not like we didn’t try to save money. We purchased cloth diapers at the cost of $130 thinking they would be good for the environment and we would save on diaper costs. Once we realized how often babies poop, we decided to abandon the idea of using cloth diapers. Had we bought those diapers second-hand, we could have got them for about $30. We’re now about to put them up on Kijiji at a $100 loss, but at least we’ll be getting some money back.
Baby-related items are one of the most exchanged items in the second-hand economy and in 2016, purchasing baby-related goods saw an increase of more than 30% according to Kijiji’s 2018 Second-Hand Economy Report. Had we just purchased more things second-hand from the start, we could have used the money saved for other expenses while on a single income.
Also, there was just so much stuff that we received as gifts. Scarlett had multiple outfits that she didn’t even wear because she outgrew them. We also received quite a few duplicate or similar toys which we gave away or donated.
Managing our expenses once she arrived
Let me tell you right now, once our baby arrived, all logic went out the window. We were so caught up with a lack of sleep and trying to figure out her needs, that we were spending money like crazy. At other times, we just weren’t prepared, so we made quick purchases because we felt we needed specific items right away.
Looking back now, I can tell you that there are three stages where you can keep your expenses relatively reasonable as long as you plan in advance.
Sleep – Every parent will tell you that rest is limited during the first three months. But what they don’t tell you is what crazy things you’ll do to get more sleep. We tried sleep sacks, miracle blankets, and swaddling blankets to help our baby sleep which easily cost us about $150 new. Had we purchased the blankets second-hand, we probably could have saved $75. We did end up buying a Mamaroo and humidifier on Kijiji which saved us about $200.
Developmental – As your baby grows, they’ll go through different developmental stages. They’ll start understanding colours, sounds, and textures. Of course, there are tons of toys you can purchase during these stages. We didn’t think about this in advance, so we ended up buying developmental toys as needed. It’s not a big deal when they cost $10 – $30 each, but then we ended up buying 15 different items. This is the one stage where we didn’t think about buying items second-hand but had we did; we could have easily saved a few hundred dollars.
Hobbies – This is more for parents, but it’s something to keep in mind. My wife and I love to travel, so we needed a travel crib and stroller. We ended up saving $200 by buying these items second-hand. Think about what you like to do now, e.g. camping or going to the cottage and think about what baby accessories you may need to enjoy those hobbies with your little one. By planning in advance, you can take your time and purchase what you need used.
Why go to all this effort?
Many people wonder why I even bother going to the effort of buying things used when we can afford to buy them new? Well, the answer isn’t that simple. But it comes down to two things: I don’t like spending more money than I have to, and I honestly believe that any money saved can be put towards experiences or more important things.
Think about it. According to Kijiji’s 2018 Index Report, you could put nearly $2,000 back in your pocket by buying and selling second-hand; that’s no small amount.
Our flights to Rome and Amsterdam were just under $2,000. Heck, before Scarlett was born, we went to Portugal for less than $2,000. Way too often I come across people who say they don’t have the funds to travel. I’m telling you right now that buying and selling things used can help you build up your travel fund.
Want something a little more practical to do with that money saved? A $2,000 deposit into your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) would get you another $400 thanks to the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). That’s an incredible way to save for your child’s future without making any sacrifices now.
85% of Canadians participated in the second-hand economy last year, and if you didn’t take part, what’s stopping you? If you’re a new parent and you want to save, check out Kijiji, which is consistently the #1 channel for buying and selling second-hand items.