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What is the cost of having a baby you ask? As if the thought of sleepless nights, crazy days and a tiny, adorable baby to look after weren’t enough, it’s been widely reported that the cost of raising a child to adulthood is an eye-watering £230,000. That’s enough to buy a house! But that figure covers going from being cutest thing you’ve ever seen until they’ve become an adult in the blink of an eye.
So what is the real cost of having a baby? Are there things you can save money on? And are there things you definitely can’t scrimp on?
The cost of having a baby: what the research says
According to a study by MyVoucherCodes, new parents spend an average of £503.27 on their babies in the first month alone. Those figures break down as: £23.52 on nappies, £53.51 on feeding equipment, £243 on clothing and £183.51 on other purchases like toys and furniture. And that’s not even taking into account the purchases made before the birth, such as the pram, the moses basket, the car seat, etc. On top of that, the survey asked new parents if they thought they were ready for the expense, and a whopping 64% said that they’d been surprised by how expensive it was.
So, if that’s the first month, how much does it cost to have a baby for the first year?
The Money Advice service points out that the first year costs an eye-watering £11,498. That’s almost half the average salary spent on having a baby for one year. As always, we’ve got a few tried-and-tested tricks up our sleeves to keep the costs of having a baby down (without having to go without).
Cutting the cost of having a baby: working out what you can do without
When it comes to having a baby, there are things that you can definitely do without and some things that you absolutely, definitely cannot do without. However, when you’re a new parent, it’s all too easy to fall into the ‘I’ll just buy everything’ trap because you’re not quite sure what parenthood is going to throw at you (and because mum guilt is a real thing).
Luckily, we’ve been there before – and we definitely fell into ‘buy everything!’ mode – so we thought we’d break everything down for you. Of course, if you want to be pedantic, you could do without all of them. Humanity survived thousands of years before the advent of the pram, after all.
The average cost of having a baby
Cutting back on buying some non-essential items can save you hundreds of pounds (on items you would hardly use anyway) but according to the Money Advice Service, even if you only buy the essential items, it’s still not cheap.
- Cot: a new cot can be anywhere from £70 to £700 but according to Baby Child’s study the average is £129.50.
- Pram: the cheapest end of the scale is £100 but prices can soar to over £2000.
- Car seat: average price is around the £100-£150 bracket, although these can go up to around £400 at the top end.
- Moses basket: average price found by BabyChild.org.uk is £43.82
- Baby monitors: prices start at around £30 for audio monitors but the average cost is £49.61, video monitors start around the £70 mark.
According to those figures, the average amount you’ll have to spend on the essentials (on top of that first week’s £500) is between £400 and £1300 depending on how much you spend on your pram. And if you’re formula feeding, then you can expect to spend around £10 a week on tins of formula, costing an extra £520 a year.
Those things can all add up very quickly, but there are a few things you can do to keep the ‘How much does it cost to have a baby?’ expenses down.
Look on eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for prams, cots, etc.
While we wouldn’t recommend buying a second-hand car seat for safety reasons, you can pick up cots, prams and other baby essentials in almost as-good-as-new condition for a bargain if you look around on second-hand sites. As you’ll find out, babies outgrow things very quickly, and if you don’t sell things on or give them away, you’re soon up to your eyeballs in equipment that you don’t use anymore. Because of that, there’s a wealth of barely-used baby items available at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for them new. And on the flip-side, once your baby has outgrown any equipment, you can sell them and make some of your money back. If they don’t have too much sentimental value, of course! Lots of parents are reluctant to do this – especially if it’s their first baby – but it really is the quickest way to slash your costs.
A particularly great way to save money is to look for slightly older models of the pram or pushchair you want (which are usually cheaper) and to order new covers and footmuffs. The pushchair looks brand new, but you’ve saved a packet on the frame.
Shop around for bargains to bring the cost of having a baby down
When you’ve had a baby, the days of doing your weekly shop in one place are, unfortunately, over. If you want to save a fair bit of money, anyway. Aldi and Lidl, for instance, have award-winning nappies that are a fraction of the price of the branded nappies and are far better quality than the other store brands. But (speaking from experience), Sainsbury’s wipes are cheaper (and as good as) than Pampers wipes and are better than Lidl or Aldi wipes, which means you need to pop to another shop to save money without compromising on quality. As you can see, it’s not uncommon to be driving all around town grabbing the best deals or the best products (but it’s normally more than worth the effort when you see how much you’ve saved).
To save even more money, sign up to the parent clubs offered by supermarkets and shops for mega-savings. These two are must-haves:
Boots: The Boots Parenting Club offers discounts and offers tailored to your child’s age and you get 10 Advantage points for every £1 spent on baby stuff (rather than the usual four points) which you can use to spend on anything you like. Sometimes you also get sent free gifts and you can get a free changing bag when you sign up.
Emma’s Diary When you sign up for Emma’s Diary, you get sent a lot of Argos money-off vouchers and coupons that can add up to around £200 off of baby equipment. Martin Lewis has a comprehensive breakdown of all the new parent clubs to join, if you’re committed to the bargains!
Ultimately you decide on your personal cost of having a baby
While we applaud new parents who are thrifty and smart when it comes to saving money (especially during a time when you’re likely to have less money than usual because of maternity leave, etc.), we’ve got to say this: you can’t put a price on peace of mind.
As good as audio monitors are, if you get up every ten seconds to check your baby is still OK once they’ve gone down for a nap, then perhaps the expense of a video monitor is worth it. And if you’re getting sore arms from always carrying your baby everywhere, then perhaps a baby carrier is worth it too. Likewise, if a bottle steriliser is going to save you 15 minutes when your baby is down for a nap that lets you catch up on some TV (or some sleep), then you’ll probably decide that’s worth it too. It’s the same with cute baby clothes, accessories or anything else at all, if you want it and it’s going to make you happier, less stressed or just make your life plain easier, you decide.
With all the worrying about the cost to have a baby, it’s easy to forget that having a new baby is a stressful, crazy, once-in-a-lifetime whirlwind that you should enjoy every minute of. So if you find yourself wanting to buy that new gadget but not sure you can justify the expense, think of it like this: Can you afford it? Will it make you happier/more relaxed? Will being more relaxed help you be a better parent? If your honest answer is yes to all three, you can buy it and not regret it!
So there you have it: a fairly comprehensive answer to ‘How much does it cost to have a baby?’ and a few tried-and-tested tips to help keep the cost down. We’ve also put together a guide to saving money on decorating your baby’s room too, if you’re looking to be extra thrifty!
- Author The Bamboo Team
- Posted 25 September 2018