As a mother of a one-year-old, there’s one thing that I can say for sure: between diapers, baby care, vaccinations, and paediatrician visits, the mountain of expenses is quick to rise in early parenthood. Relatable? Then you’d do well to read on.
If you have in place smart financial plans, at least money won’t be something that keeps you up at night 🙂
Rather, you will truly appreciate the special moments with your bundle of joy with some much-needed peace of mind!
Here are 12 smart ways new parents can save money.
1. Don’t go overboard at the supermarket
Be frugal when it comes to shopping for your newborn and accept gifts with open arms!
Suggested read: 5 Important Things You Will Need as New Parents
2. Try hand-me-downs
For big-ticket purchases like strollers, car seats, walkers, and high chairs, you could check out second-hand stores such as secondhand.my, carousell, mudah.my, and even Facebook groups. Here’s also a list of 6 best places to buy pre-loved goodies in Klang Valley.
3. Skip the shoes
Babies learn to walk faster if they’re barefoot. Use soft booties or socks to keep the little feet warm when you’re outside. And these are way cheaper than shoes!
4. Go bulk
Lug home one of those huge count cartons from the wholesale, it’ll be worth it!
5. Keep an emergency baby-care bag in your car
Put three diapers, a tube of ointment, a travel pack of wipes, and an extra outfit. If you happen to forget your diaper bag on an outing (and you will, trust me) it will save you from buying these items on an expensive, a-la-carte basis.
6. Go for convertibles
You can find gear that grows with your baby. For example, cribs that turn into toddler beds. This will reduce the number of items you purchase.
7. Go DIY
You will be surprised to find so many interesting ideas on YouTube and elsewhere that you can execute on your own (making baby quilts, for example) and skip the bills while setting up your baby’s room. Also, it would be more personalised for you both.
As the realities of your newfound responsibilities sink in, things are bound to get busier by the day. Hence, it can be an easy path to financial chaos. To get things in order, your budget could serve as a checklist (to pay your bills on time and save on penalties) and also give you an overview of your expenses.
Prioritising of expenses, smart spends and a mix of short and long-term financial goals should be the core considerations of your budget. And if will power is not your strength, you can take the help of these budgeting apps to keep you afloat.
9. Choose the right health insurance plan
While universal health care in Malaysia is an advanced system with no real difference in facilities and equipment between public and private hospitals, the rising cost of health care has been a headache for many in the recent years. So you may feel the need to go for a private health insurance plan to save on medical costs.
If you’ve indeed decided to go for a health insurance plan for your kid, you’ll be well-advised to read the fine print before choosing a policy that’s best aligned with your requirement and budget. Having complete clarity on your health insurance plan will also prevent you from getting your kid over-insured and unnecessarily paying hefty premiums every year.
Here are some options you can consider:
- A-Life SuperJunior by AIA
- Junior Protector by Great Eastern Life
- Child Guard by Allianz
- Smart Kidz by Hong Leong Bank
- PRUmy child plus by Prudential
11. Be smart when it comes to savings
According to an HSBC Group survey in 2017, Malaysians spend roughly RM110,000 on their child’s overall education. Thus, it is important to start saving up for your kid’s education early.
To help you take the first step, our government is crediting an initial savings of RM200 worth of unit trust into the Amanah Saham Bumiputera (here’s an FAQ) account for Bumiputera babies or the Amanah Saham 1Malaysia (AS1M) account for non-Bumiputera babies, as long as they are born between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2022.
Likewise, many banks offer special high-interest savings account for children (and some of them offer a minimum deposit starting at only RM1!). You could look at:
- Maybank Yippie Savings Account
- Hong Leong Bank 3- in-1 Junior Account
- RHB Easy Junior Savings Account
- Public Bank Wise Saving Account
Check out our blog How to Build and Grow a Fund for Your Child’s Higher Education to know the right path to save for your child’s education.
12. Take advantage of numerous tax incentives
As a new mother, you could avail tax incentives up to RM1,000 on breastfeeding equipment (which includes breast pump kit and ice pack, breast milk collection and storage equipment, and a cooler set or bag). However, this is for only once every two years.
Also, these items must also be intended for your own use to breastfeed your own child aged 2 years and below. If you have more than one child, you can still only claim a maximum of RM1,000 for that year. However, this facility does not apply for a joint tax assessment (it is for women taxpayers only).
Also read: 6 Ways Women Can Save More on Taxes
Similarly, as parents, you can claim a deductible amount of up to RM1,000 for childcare and kindergarten fees for a kid aged 6 years and below. The limit remains the same even if you have more than one kid who meets the norms.
Here’s a glimpse of other tax incentives new parents can take advantage of:
|Tax incentive||Amount (in RM)|
|Complete medical examination for self, spouse or child||500|
|Purchase of books, magazines, (except banned reading material), personal computer, smartphones, tablets, gym membership and internet subscriptions for self, spouse or child||2,500|
|Ordinary child relief||2,000|
|Insurance premium for education or medical benefits (including not through salary deduction)||3,000|
Parenting never really ends. But smart strategies and hacks like these will go a long way to ensure your new journey becomes a memorable one and not something riddled with financial challenges. So be smart with money management and also help your kids inculcate healthy financial habits as they grow up.
Wish you all the best!
You may also like: