The one income challenge
Claire and Enrico are a Plunket family who we followed in the lead-up to their first baby's birth. Read on for the final part in their exciting journey to becoming parents.
Counting down to B-day was an exciting time for Claire and Enrico. They moved into their new house and completed the fourth challenge before baby arrived - decorating the baby’s room on a budget.
Sticking to budget
Claire says it was a fun challenge and they even managed to stick to the budget and keep their costs down by borrowing some of the bigger ticket items. However, she admits, they found the DIY a little challenging! Claire and Enrico didn’t have a specific budget for their nursery, but used the BNZ Baby Budget Calculator which lists the things you will most likely need for your baby’s first year.
At first Claire and Enrico says they thought they’d buy everything new, but soon realised the cost of that would be too high. Instead, they asked friends and family if they could borrow some of the more expensive things, such as a cot and a bassinet. They also received some items from Claire’s baby shower, which really helped, and Enrico’s sister from Brazil even sent over some of her daughter’s baby clothes she had grown out of.
Getting the baby room ready
The couple says they bought everything suggested by the BNZ Baby Budget Calculator, and also invested in a few extras, such as a rocking chair for the nursery and some kitset drawers. There were some things included in the calculator that they didn't buy until needed, such as items in the feeding and nutrition section. “We figured we could get away with not having them for a few months’, as the solid food eating stage is a few months after birth”, says Claire.
A baby monitor and a baby bath were ‘essentials’ for Claire and Enrico, while the ‘luxuries’ included wall decals, and a baby mobile. “And all the little pretty pink outfits I went a bit crazy buying,” adds Claire. By borrowing a bassinet and a cot, they had money to splash out on a kitset of drawers and Claire’s favourite nursery item - the rocking chair.
Claire made sure she checked the safety tips on the Plunket website for her borrowed items to ensure they were definitely safe to use. The website recommends buying a new mattress for a second hand cot, which Claire managed to get in a half-price sale. Based on Plunket’s tips, they also bought some safety catches for the drawers so they didn't pull all the way out, and attached the drawers to the wall so they couldn't be pulled over.
Having to move house so close to the baby’s due date was a little stressful, says Claire, and meant that she had to put off setting up the baby’s room until they were settled. The couple ditched the idea of painting the nursery because of the time limit. Instead they decorated the walls with stick-on wall decals, which weren't a success at first. “We put them up one evening and by the next morning they’d all come off the walls," laughs Claire. "Turns out that you can’t stick decals to paint that has wallpaper under it. So we had to use BluTak instead!”
The couple’s other DIY challenge was to put together the kitset drawers. “Putting those drawers together late at night was a bit of a test,” laughs Claire. “I don’t think we’re DIY-ers!”
Simple saving tips
Buying baby clothes, a cot mattress and a change table in sales also helped the couple keep their costs down. Another helpful saving was the ex-rental car seat capsule from Plunket for $60, when a normal-priced one would be close to $200. Despite the DIY stress, Claire and Enrico say they really enjoyed setting up the nursery and got to finally start nesting. “We felt more prepared, it’s was so nice to see it set up rather than still packed away in boxes,” says Claire.
- Check Plunket’s website for safety tips about baby’s room, including what you should and shouldn’t buy second-hand
- Use the BNZ Baby Calculator to list everything you need to buy and then set your budget. Make the most of sales, don’t buy what isn’t on the list, even if it is really cute
- Put safety catches on drawers so they can’t be pulled all the way out and attach furniture to the wall where possible so baby can’t pull them down
- Don’t buy loads of newborn nappies because newborns will grow out of them fast
- Make sure your change table has everything you need within arm’s reach. You don’t want to have to walk across the room to get nappies and creams and leave your baby
- Wall decals are a really easy and cost effective way to decorate the walls and will be easy to change out as baby grows. But don’t forget they won’t stick to wallpaper, or walls with wallpaper underneath the paint.