First Rule for New Parents: Never Pay Full Price

I’ve discovered something, and I think it’s an important lesson to anyone having a baby. When you buy things for your baby, never, ever pay full price.

Here’s the thing: the baby goods market is competitive. Way more competitive than your average supermarket or high street electrical store. That’s because it’s big business, but still pretty niche. The percentage of the population having babies at any one time is still relatively low and so the baby manufacturers want to do everything they can to get YOUR business during a small window of opportunity.

This much should be obvious from the “Bounty Pack” in which many women receive their maternity notes. Stuffed in with this important medical document that you’ll be schlepping around for 7 or 8 months are a magazine full of adverts, free samples and hundreds of coupons for everything from nappies and wipes to baby food and bras. The ethics of advertising to women in this way may be questionable, but it’s so easy to save money with these kind of coupons, so I’ll live with it.

It’s worth remembering that discounts are available without coupons too – a lot of items are on what I regard as “perma-offer”. The advertised prices for baby wipes, for example, are very rarely charged. Huggies Pure wipes appear to retail at £2-something per pack, but in reality, at least one retailer somewhere will have them on “offer” for £1 per pack at any given time. It pays to shop around before purchasing as you’re bound to find a deal somewhere.

Most of the major retailers also have “Parenting Clubs” that you can join – Boots, Mothercare and Babies ‘R’ Us, to name a few. Signing up will mean you have to tolerate a deluge of junk mail and frequent e-mails trying to score extra business, but when you do spend there are all sorts of benefits. The Boots Parenting Club, for example sends you vouchers that can score you 20% off your pushchair and a free changing bag when you buy a pack of Pampers. Again, this aggressive promotion is not to everyone’s taste, but there are more subtle benefits such as the fact that you can gain extra points in their regular Advantage Card loyalty scheme. Instead of 4 points per pound (worth 4p, so equivalent to a 4% saving across the store) you can earn 10 points per pound spent on baby goods. That’s essentially a 10% discount!

Many of these schemes offer further bonus events. For examle Babies ‘R’ Us offer weekend promotional codes for 20% off everything bought online over that weekend. One such code arrived in my inbox earlier this week for this coming weekend. So tomorrow we’ll be ordering a bunch of stuff we’ve yet to purchase, including the baby monitor and the cot bed. The cot bed (so named because it’s a cot that later turns in to a bed) we’ve chosen is actually pretty much the first one we looked at, and we’ve come back to it over and over in the last couple of weeks. We liked it even more when we looked at it in person. I’d been toying with ordering soon, as it was already discounted by about £20, but held off in order to check out other options and so that we could get the nursery in a state nearer to completion. I’m so glad now that we waited.

Nothing beats the feeling of shopping for the baby, but getting a hefty discount makes it even more exciting!


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