Parenting's not the most well paid of jobs is it? I did ask my children for a pay rise, but they said I could only have one if I kept my bedroom tidy. In the meantime, it's back to fishing down the back of the sofa for treasure.
Here are some top tips from Sue Hayward, author of How to Get the Best Deal on how parents can make the most of their money and make it stretch just that little bit further. Sue's a TV and radio presenter specialising in money, property and consumer issues. She presents a daily TV property show Women In The Property Market on Sky TV, is a regular money expert on BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel and also a panelist on Ask The Property Experts on Sky TV.
Buy with selling in mind
Shopping for baby can be expensive but you can often recoup the bulk of your costs by selling on expensive equipment like high chairs and buggies when you've finished with them. A Tripp Trapp high chair sells for £135 which may be beyond your budget, but you can often get back around £100 selling second hand. And don't just think eBay, there's lots of specialist baby sites like www.beansprog.com.
Join Baby Clubs to save money
Sign up to baby clubs like the Boots Parenting Club or Tesco Baby & Toddler Club to get discount vouchers and advice. You can join free online and this way you'll be the first to know about the latest offers and get freebies, magazines and money saving vouchers.
Save money for your kids while you spend
Bringing up baby to age 21 can cost a staggering £193,000; the price of a house! So if your bank account's being stretched to breaking point why not add to baby's savings the easy way? Sign up to www.kidstart.co.uk to earn up to 20% cashback while you shop at over 200 online stores including M&S, Tesco, Bhs and John Lewis. And cashback savings can be whisked straight into your baby's savings account.
Take it back if you can
Been given two identical baby monitors? Don't stick one in the loft - take it back! Most shops have generous returns policies and it's relatively easy to exchange unwanted presents at many of the high street stores. If you've got the receipt you may even be able to get the cash back; otherwise it's usually vouchers, providing you can prove it was bought in the store.
Make the most of any free cash
Whether it's a Child Trust Fund voucher to kick start a savings account, applying for child benefit or Child Tax Credit make sure you get every penny you're entitled too. And if you're returning to work ask your employer about Childcare vouchers to get more for your money.
How to Get the Best Deal: The Savvy Consumer's Guide to Spending Less and Getting More by Sue Hayward is out now and available here from Amazon.
More handy hints here in the Tip of the Day section
- Pregnant? How much are you owed?
- More money for mums
- What to do with your Child Trust Fund
- Free cash for parents