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How to have a family and save money

In today's world having a child can mean signing up to a lifetime of expense. But what if I told you you could be a money-saving Mum or a debt-free Dad whilst also making memories as a parent? Bargains are everywhere… You just need to know where to look.

I've always loved a find. As a child of money saving parents myself, I've grown up knowing that pennies equal pounds and soon add up enabling you to buy something special - every day bargain hunting meant we were lucky enough to enjoy a Summer holiday each year. This is something I hope to achieve with my own family of three.

Rooting around charity shops, rummaging at jumble sales, scrolling through eBay and finding gems on Gumtree are just some of the ways I've been able to save money whilst being pregnant and subsequently as a Mum on maternity leave.

A primary example is our pram. Shying away from the £1000+ models, I looked closer to home for our new wheels by searching the charity shops. It's second hand from Barnardos, lime green and cost just £20. Yes, £20! Complete with apron, rain cover, shopping bag and foot muff, I've used it countless times and if it gets scratched, it doesn't matter. Even the tyres were easily pumped up at home using a car tyre pressure gauge.

It's never too late to start being money savvy. Here are my top tips:

As Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert says, every time you buy something ask yourself two questions: Do I need it? Can I afford it? If the answer to either of these is no then put down your purchase.

Use what you already have. My slow cooker, bread machine and freezer have all been priceless since having a baby. Stick with cheap, nutritious meals that save you money and time!

If you don't use it, sell it. Ebay and Gumtree are brilliant for making extra money with hardly any effort. Look through your wardrobe, sell unsentimental baby items and MusicMagpie those cds, dvds and books that are gathering dust - choose any box and send them for free!

Check the charity shops first. If there is something you want, the chances are you'll be able to find it in a charity shop. A snoozeshade, new MAM bottles, tommee tippee food warmer and bumbo are just some of the items I've bought for bargain prices whilst supporting charitable causes.

Switch supermarkets to save. Lidl and Aldi often have baby changing facilities, are family friendly and sell food at bargain basement prices. Switching to an own brand product rather than branded items can see big reductions in your food bill. Aldi’s Mamia range of nappies, wipes and baby food has won countless parenting awards too - win, win!

Parent friends for life. Our cot bed, changing table, nursing chair, baby carrier, baby bath and high chair were all gifted from friends who are parents and wanted rid of baby paraphernalia while their toddlers took over.

Decide what you will and won't compromise on. As a first time Mum I knew I wanted a SnuzPod and a Sleepyhead for my precious bundle, both of which are luxury items rather than necessities. I got both on Gumtree, good as new, at reduced prices and I've used them countless times.

Second hand doesn't mean worn out. My baby has worn preloved Joules, Jojo Maman Bebe, Frugi, Baby Boden and Mamas and Papas (to name a few!) all of which have been much cheaper to buy than their original price tags - they have plenty of wear left in them as well as retaining a high resale value. I've even found items with the original shop ticket label on them that are still available on the shop website at a fraction of the cost. Ka-ching!

However you decide to save, be sure to enjoy it and remember that the most important thing your baby needs is something money can't buy. Love; It's free and always will be.

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