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Take Baby Steps: save on nappies and toys

We included this article because it includes a recent review of the cost of disposable nappies.

This week we traverse the serious topic of babies. Let's get to the bottom of the issue regarding nappies and see how the prices of disposable nappies compare.

At the time of our survey, the house- branded product worked out at 36c a nappy. Branded nappies were normally 80c each, but were on special at 55c.

We then had a look at a specialist online nappy retailer to see how they compared and found they had the branded product at 50c each (but for a bulk purchase).

Many frugal parents use cloth nappies or a combination of both. Here are some ways to save money: Instead of buying wipes, use a soft damp cloth when at home.

Our online shopping excursion showed branded wipes cost up to 8c each. A young mum suggests looking out for baby week in supermarkets when all baby goods are reduced. She also recommends visiting

Look out for your local Plunket market. They arrange days for people to set up a table and sell their no-longer-needed baby goods. They also organise PIN (Plunket in the Neighbourhood) groups to give parents an opportunity to get together and exchange stories and useful tips, while the littlies socialise.

Don't forget local libraries often have special activities for children - as well as their wonderful book collections. And there are toy libraries, too. One family says the weekly visit to their local Toy Library is like an adventure. You can locate your local toy library by going to

Instead of buying expensive baby food, buy fruit and vegetables and puree them. Favourite combinations include kumara and pumpkin, pears and apple, avocado and banana. With baby food usually costing between $1.50 and $2 for 120g, you can imagine how much that adds up to, and how much you could save if you made your own.

Plingie from Christchurch says: "Making your own baby food can save hundreds. There are a couple of ways of doing it. Easy but not the cheapest is to buy tinned fruit and puree it, then freeze in ice cube trays for use later. Cheapest, but a bit more labour intensive, is to boil your own vege and puree and freeze as above. When it's frozen in ice trays you can simply pop them out and use one or two at a time. Perfect for little baby-sized portions."

K.H. says, "I am a maternal child health nurse and am always looking for ways to make it easier for mums to introduce solid food to their babies. An elderly lady I once spoke to told me that when she was introducing meat into her babies' diets she would freeze it then simply grate it in with the vegetables and so on when it was time for cooking. It's ready in a matter of minutes."

L.M. says frozen banana chunks are a great teether for babies, and cost next to nothing. "We buy discounted bananas, cut them into small pieces, skewer them with plastic icy pole holders, then freeze. The end result is a tasty teether which my 3-year-old can help me make and enjoy as a special icecream treat.

This article was published by: The Star Canterbury, Muriel and Frank Newman | Sunday, May 1, 2011 4:00