This article was originally on GET.com at: 6 things new parents waste money on in Singapore
Being a new parent is one of the most fulfilling and exciting things that can happen to a person. Your baby will no doubt become the most important priority in your life and you'll want to give him/her the very best within your ability.
We all know that having a child in Singapore is not the cheapest thing in the world, and while you may be tempted to spend indulgently on your kid, it may not be sustainable, since you probably have at least two decades to go before your child can become truly financially-independent of you.
Here's a list of 6 things new Singaporean parents spend too much on and GET.com's tips to help you save for a more sustainable parenting experience.
1. Newborn Celebrations
In Singapore, celebrating the birth of a baby usually happens after the baby turns one month old.
This is due to an age-old tradition which dates back to the time where infant mortality rates were high.
The one month period also coincides with the period where the mother would have completed her confinement period.
Newborn celebrations typically involve holding a small party and gifting "auspicious" treats like red-coloured dyed eggs and traditional cakes.
However, as proud parents in Singapore, the tradition seems to be moving towards a more lavish affair including themed parties, catered buffets, party favours and photo booths.
Although it is a joyous occasion, the question is, does your baby even know what's happening at the "ripe, old age" of one month old? It's a bit of an extravagance, especially if parents are spending few thousands of dollars for it.
Our Tip: Save that money in your baby's Child Development Account (CDA) as the government will match the savings dollar-for-dollar up to the $6,000 limit.
2. Baby Clothes
Ask any parents and they'll tell you it's an absolute waste of money to spend too much on baby clothes.
They grow at a phenomenal speed and in no time the clothes can't be used anymore. Say yes to "hand-me-downs" and keep the clothes that your baby has outgrown for your next kid (if you are planning to have another child!) or sell it on Carousell.
3. Baby Spa
A popular trend that's been catching up in recent years is that of a baby spa.
Essentially, you can bring your baby (as young as 1-month-old) to a baby spa where there will be specialised bathtubs for babies to float in using a neck flotation device.
It also comes with a massage service for some and stretching exercises for the baby.
Costs of such "water training" sessions usually start at about $40 per session and most merchants recommend a session per week, coming up to slightly more than $2,000 a year.
I'm not sure about the benefits but it may make more sense to have your baby play with some water in a baby tub under your own guidance or bring him/her to a real pool at an older age.
4. Diaper Changing Station
Diaper changing stations are one of those little extras that are not actually essential but end up costing a lot of money. To save money, don't even bother buying one. You can change your baby's diapers in so many places (sofa, bed, etc.) as long as you put a clean changing mat underneath!
Our Tip: Simply put a changing mat on your bed to change your baby's diapers. This way you avoid spending money on a fancy diaper changing station and you don't take up any extra space with it either.
5. Milk Powder
Baby milk formulas are usually considered to be essential for newborns - unless you're feeding your child with breast milk. I'm sure you already know about the benefits of breastfeeding and there's really no dispute for that.
Breast milk is full of benefits for your baby. It comes with all the nutrients your child needs, being rich in antibodies and helping to build up your baby's immune system.
And for the mother? You won't have to make temperature checks, sterilise milk bottles, spend money on milk formula and it will help you get back to your pre-pregnancy size at a faster rate.
Other than the tangible benefits, breastfeeding is also known to enhance the emotional bond between mother and baby. Just 6 months of breastfeeding can help you save more than a thousand dollars, not to mention its countless benefits.
Some people do recommend having some milk powder around at home, just in case. Instead of buying online for fear of quality issues, you can always stock up on baby milk formulas across the causeway in Johor Bahru. With the weak exchange rate, you can easily buy 2 to 3 tins of the same formula for the price of 1 in Singapore.
6. Vaccination Packages
We understand that healthcare is of top concern for every parent and the cost of specialised care and vaccinations for your baby do not come cheap.
If you choose to get your baby vaccinated with a private pediatrician, be prepared to pay for expensive consultation fees on top of the vaccines.
Are expensive vaccinations superior in quality? Not really. So why waste thousands of dollars signing up for private vaccination packages?
Our Tip: Singapore's polyclinics offer a number of childhood immunisations for free if your child is a Singapore citizen, and you can even use Medisave to pay for them.
Having a new baby at home is indeed happy news for everyone but there's no need to splurge all your money on the first year.
There are better ways to make use of the money you have for the child's long term future. Parenthood is a process, not an event so make it a fulfilling and sustainable one!
To save even more money, be sure to check out our 4 money-saving tips for parents with young children in Singapore.
Lynette Tan is a contributing writer at GET.com, a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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