Tags: baby equipment
In line with everything else in life, the cost of having a baby is only going in one direction, and that's upwards. It's estimated that the cost of preparing for your baby is approaching £2,000 - that's the total for all your baby equipment such as cots and car seats, as well as your initital stock of nappies and clothes etc. Of course there are ongoing costs too, with the lowest estimates for caring for a baby coming in at £1,000 a year. These costs may be very conservative for parents who want to treat their baby to high end equipment - the upper costs associated with raising a baby can virtually be limitless!
All of this comes at a time when your earnings are likely to fall because of maternity leave. It's so important that you plan for this lifestyle change. Luckily we get good notice of a new baby arriving - typically nine months! Start putting aside a little bit of money as soon as you know that you are expecting, or start to spread the cost by buying pieces of equipment as you go along. Prepare your new baby's bedroom in this time and start kitting it out with the furniture that you'll need.
There are ways that you can save money - look out for secondhand equipment at boot sales, on eBay or at NCT sales. Look for good value alternatives such as supermarket branded goods. Don't feel that you have to buy one of everything that is available - make pragmatic decisions about what equipment you may be able to survive without.
There's no arguing that having a baby doesn't come cheaply, but hopefully you'll find the joy of having a new member of the family more than reward enough to see you through these early years. Costs don't necessarily decrease with time, but hopefully your budgeting will be more used to a larger family in time...
As your baby grows, you'll soon find that you have lots of clothes and equipment that are barely used but that you no longer need - eBay provides the perfect market place to sell these on and make back a bit of money to put towards new purchases. eBay can be pretty daunting if you haven't used it before, but it's not difficult to use once you get the hang of it.
eBay has two key selling mechanisms. Auctions allow you to post items with a reserve price, if bids don't reach your reserve then you don't have to sell. You can auction without a reserve too. Auctions stay open for a period of time that you can determine. The alternative is a more traditional 'Buy Now' mechanism which is more like a regular shop. You can nominate a single price and someone can buy at a fixed price.
As well as the purchase price, you must establish a shipping cost. You may sell really big items such as cots, stair gates or high chairs and state that they are for 'collection only', in which case people must pick them up from your home.
The cost of selling is low. There is an insertion fee based on the price and if you sell your item, an auction fee on top. The fees vary slightly depending on what you are selling with the auction fee generally being 10% of the sale price. You can also pay extra fees for more prominent listings and other added value services.
As a seller, everyone who buys from you is encouraged to review you in terms of how well you communicated with the buyer, how accurately you described the product, how efficiently you ship etc. The better your ratings, the more people will buy from you.
When it comes to selling, here are a few tips:-
- Describe the products accurately, pay particular attention to the condition for used items - don't describe used items as new otherwise you will disappoint your buyers and will get bad reviews
- Photograph your products to give a good idea of what items look like, this is particularly important for clothes
- Add a realistic shipping amount - don't underprice your product and add a very high shipping fee, you will annoy buyers!
- Check shipping costs at the Post Office so that you aren't in for a shock when you send your parcels
- Bundle clothes together rather than selling individually, this way you will be able to move items that may not sell alone, but that still offer value as part of a collection of items
- Look at similar items already on eBay to work out what a sensible price will be
- Try to sell clothes for the coming season, sell summer clothes in late spring and winter clothes as autumn arrives
- Don't sell items in a poor condition (clothes that have gone 'bobbly' with washing or that have deep seated stains) as no one will appreciate these!
There are few limits to what you can sell on eBay so make sure you read their terms just to make sure that you don't fall foul of any policies. After a few sales, you may even become addicted to selling online!