When you’re starting a family, the extra expenses can really mount up. But if you know where to look, you could unearth all sorts of items and services that come as freebies for pregnant women and some families.
Here’s our round-up of some of the best family freebies on offer.
Free early learning care
Don’t pay for childcare or education for your toddler when you don’t have to. All three and four year-olds are legally entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year.
This care is available at nursery schools, day nurseries, play groups, children’s centres and childminders all over the UK.
To find out more – and find a place for your child – visit the Directgov website.
Free health and dental care
If you’re pregnant, you’re entitled to free medicine prescriptions from the NHS and one of the best freebies for pregnant women is free dental care. This also applies if you’ve had a baby within the last 12 months.
To claim your free prescriptions, you’ll need to present a valid maternity exemption certificate or card (Matex). You can apply for this certificate using an FW8 form, available from your GP, health visitor or midwife.
Free food vouchers
The Healthy Start programme is a means-tested NHS initiative to provide healthy, nutritious food for young children.
If you qualify for the scheme, you’ll be given vouchers to swap for milk, fruit and vegetables, formula milk and Healthy Start Vitamins.
Children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers every week, while pregnant women – and children aged between one and four – can get one.
Free anti-virus software
You don’t necessarily need to spend money on anti-virus software for your family computer.
Some banks now offer a free protection package when you start online banking with them. And certain types of anti-virus software are free for anyone to use.
For example, customers who bank online with Barclays can bag a free 12-month subscription to Kaspersky Internet Security software. Just click on the ‘Kaspersky offer’ link once you’ve logged in.
Alternatively, take a look at the types of free software download now available. Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG Free and Avira Antivir (for the PC) and PC Tools iAnti-Virus (for the Mac) are all worth considering.
Freebies to order
The best way to keep up with all the latest freebies is to sign up to our newsletter (which is free of course!). Lots of freebies are only around for a few days - our newsletter will tell you which ones are worth looking out for. Sign up here (you can unsubscribe at any time).
There are also several community freebie sites which help you to find everything from free bicycles and baby clothes to free gardening equipment and furniture.
ILoveFreegle.org and Snaffleup.co.uk both allow you to search for items you need within your local area. When you find someone giving that item away, you can ask for it. Alternatively, you can post a ‘wanted’ message and see who responds.
These sites rely on a constant stream of items being offered; so try to give something back when you can.
Streetbank.com is slightly different, because it also helps you to borrow or lend items, as well as claim or give away items permanently.
First you sign up, adding one thing you’d be prepared to help with, lend or give away. You’ll then be able to view all the giving or lending offers within one mile of your postcode.
Know of any other freebies? Share the love by commenting below!