It’s been a beautiful July Saturday and I’ve spent it in the garden finishing a wonderful book- “Babynomics – Money saving tips for smart parents”, by Madeline Thomas, and writing a review. I don’t do reviews very often but this book really caught my eye and I thought it could really be of interest to other mums so here goes!
In summary, the book covers many aspects of the costs involved in raising a child and gives hints and tips on ways to save money. With the estimated cost for one child now being over £200,000 (!) it’s certainly worth taking the time to think about where that money is going, plan for the future and save money whenever you can. Although the title suggests it maybe just about preparing yourself financially for a new baby, there are chapters about all stages of your child’s life right the way through to university. It is useful for both parents-to-be and new parents in preparing them for what they will encounter financially in the forthcoming years.
The book covers everything from preparing for your new arrival and which items are necessities and which ones will probably end up staying in the box, to weighing up the cost of childcare, calculating the cost of birthday parties, Christmas and holidays and even ways to save money as a household. It features money-saving tips such as how to feed a family of four for under £50 a week and how to organise a child’s birthday party for under £30.
I can really relate to some of the topics, although I am yet to experience many stages of my little one growing up. One thing that really struck a chord was getting caught up in the excitement of preparing for a new baby – and with that excitement buying lots of things that to this day haven’t been used! Or buying things on impulse (can I blame the pregnancy hormones?) when I could have probably found it cheaper elsewhere or should have even considered buying second hand. I wish someone had given me a book like this whilst I was pregnant to help me to prepare and to gain a little perspective!
The book really encourages you to ‘shop around’ and gives many recommendations as to which retailers you could compare for price when looking at a particular item, plus ideas as to other places where you may just find a bargain that you may not have thought about. There are top tips and ideas all the way through the book and it draws on other people’s experiences as well as giving facts and figures.
Besides saving money on your purchases, bills and weekly shopping, the book also outlines financial considerations such as maternity and paternity leave, going back to work and childcare, tax issues; and one that is often over looked (as we don’t really like to think about it): making provisions for your children such as a will or life insurance, should the unthinkable happen.
Another really insightful and helpful chapter (still a long way off for me thank goodness) is about children feeling the pressure from their peers and wanting to fit in by having the latest gadgets or labels and suggestions of ways to overcome such pressures. It covers various possibilities from goody bags at children’s birthday parties to toys, gadgets and – the one I’m dreading – mobile phones! The book doesn’t give a view whether children should have these things or not, rather it gives you some facts and things to take into consideration so you can make up your own mind.
In fact, that’s what I find appealing about the book: it’s not telling you ‘you must do this’ or ‘you must do that’, it simply gives you ideas and suggestions and introduces topics and prepares you for situations you may not have thought about but could very well encounter.
After reading the book I feel encouraged to take stock of my financial situation and make any necessary changes to my spending and provisions for the future. And not only educate myself about financial issues but also teach my son about managing money and placing a value on things as he gets older.
The book is not about how to live a miserly existence, but how to achieve a balance between what you want and what you can afford and enjoy a good quality of life. It is extremely easy to read and the author’s conversational style and sense of humour are apparent throughout which makes it enjoyable as well as interesting and useful. I even had a giggle in places!
I’m sure this will be one guide that I will be referring back to as my little one gets older and it won’t be long before I’m re-reading the chapter on childcare and nursery as that is the next stage for me!
Babynomics – Money saving tips for smart parents, by Madeline Thomas. Crimson Publishing 2010.
RRP £9.99, available at all good book shops.
Review by Jill Westhead, morethanmummies.com
Disclosure: More Than Mummies was sent a complimentary copy of this book to review. All views expressed are that of the reviewer.
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