Part 2 of ‘The baby business is big business’

So your pregnancy test came back positive. You jumped up and down with excitement. Told your partner. And once you got over the shock and excitement that YOU’RE HAVING A BABY, you obviously took care of the most important things first.

Excellent. Now for the fun stuff, right? Because babies need onesies, and cots and prams and play gyms and books and bottles and nappy bags. I could go on. And yes, some of those items are necessary and helpful. But can I tell you what babies need most of all? They need love. And parents who love them and one another.

So if I could ask you to prioritise your baby budget spending around anything, I’d ask you to look at this part first. If there is anything you can do to strengthen or support your relationship before your child arrives I’d highly recommend you do so. You might wonder what any of this has to do with your personal finances. Quite frankly – a lot. Because divorce is one of the most expensive, and traumatic financial setbacks that affect more than 20,000 families a year in this country. And according to Lipco, a legal insurance company that processes more than 10,000 of these divorces annually, the number one reason cited by couples getting divorced is yes – you guessed it – money.

Now that you’ve spent a bit of time baby-proofing your relationship, it’s time to start kitting out the nursery, no? As you set out to equip your home to welcome your baby you will quickly realise that the moment retailers add the word ‘baby’ before any product – it’s price will go up. A compactum for example, can cost you thousands of rands. A table with a changing mat on it – far less! In fact that’s exactly what I did in my nursery. I bought a beautiful Biggie Best table on sale for R600, and placed an old fashioned leather suitcase (another R600 from an antique store in Kensington) on top of it to house all the nappies and other changing paraphernalia. The best part? Both will be re-used as the kids grow older. In fact I’m convinced the suitcase will be the perfect place to store train sets or Lego.

The point is – not everything you’re led to believe by gorgeous baby expos and magazines is a ‘necessity’. Sure you’ll need somewhere safe to change your baby’s nappies. Does it need to be on an expensive compactum? Absolutely not. I’ve got a friend who placed her changing mat on top of a gorgeous old drinks cabinet she had lying around in her home (and the drinks got replaced by nappies luckily!) and another who chose to put a single bed in her nursery instead and changed her baby on that. The point is – you can have a gorgeous nursery for your baby with a bit of creativity – and if you have it, put the money you would have spent on a big ticket item like a compactum towards kicking off your child’s education fund. If you’d like to know how much it would cost you to send your child to a private school, and how much that means you should be saving per month, this article will go a long way to helping you define your spending priorities for your child.

Author: Hayley Parry – Money Coach, The Money School