As you’re getting ready to welcome your little bundle of joy into the world, finances may not be the first thing on your mind. But it is definitely important to prepare for the cost of having a baby well in advance.

Considering how small babies are, they tend to need an awful lot of stuff. Of course, you need to buy the bulky, expensive items, such as cots, prams and pushchairs. But you also need to budget for the day to day stuff, like nappies, wipes, and teething gel. All of this can quickly add up.

Then there are all the little items that you have forgotten to buy and suddenly realise you can’t live without. When we first brought our son home from the hospital, we panicked about whether he was too hot or too cold. Should his blanket be on or off? Did he need a hat on? So, I sent my husband off on an ‘emergency’ errand to get a digital thermometer to take my son’s temperature. Needless to say, he was absolutely fine.

Research suggests that the average cost of having a baby for just the first month is around £500. For the first year, the average cost rises to over £11000. So, it certainly helps to start saving for your baby as early as possible.

Saving up for the cost of having a baby

Setting some money aside to help you buy the essentials is helpful. It is also a good idea to spread the cost of buying more expensive items. For example, you could buy the pram one month and then buy the car seat the next month. This avoids you having to make one big outlay all at once.

Savings can also be helpful whilst you are on maternity leave. For most people, taking time off work for maternity leave means having to manage on a lower income. Saving money beforehand can help to bridge that gap.

Shared Parental Leave is an alternative option to maternity leave. Have a read of ‘Shared Parental Leave and Pay Explained’ to see if this could be for you.

Try and cut down on your monthly expenditure. Consider whether you really need to get that new top or whether you could do without that takeaway this week. Anything that you can save on now will be extra money to spend when your baby arrives.

Consider whether you will want to set up a savings account for your baby. Starting a savings account when your baby is born can be a great way to save up a nice amount for them by the time they turn 18. Even just putting a small amount away each month will soon add up.

Selling on before you have the baby

There is no getting away from the fact that babies need a lot of stuff and they grow out of it all so quickly. My son is only a year old and already the nursery is pretty full of things that he can’t use anymore because he’s too big.

Clothes are definitely something that babies get through at an alarming pace. In the first year, a change of wardrobe is needed about every 3 months or so. You will probably get lots of newborn clothes as gifts from family and friends. So, if you are buying clothes for your baby, try and get larger sizes that they will grow into.

Nearly new sales and second-hand shops can be great for picking up baby bargains, including clothes and toys. Nearly new sales are also fantastic places to gain a little extra cash by selling on the things your baby has grown out of. These can range from clothes to bouncy chairs to Moses baskets.

Trust me, all of these things will end up taking up huge amounts of space in your house. If you can bear to part with your little one’s newborn clothes and items, these can easily be converted into cash.

Paying off

Re-evaluate your credit cards and debts before your baby arrives. If you have a credit card balance that needs paying off, make sure that you are not paying huge amounts of interest each month. Explore options for transferring the balance to a 0% interest-free credit card. Some credit cards can offer a balance transfer with 0% interest for 3 years or more. This could potentially save you hundreds of pounds in interest payments. Signing up for a free Credibble account allows you to see your likelihood of being accepted for credit before you apply- you can view your eligibility and apply directly through the website, saving you both time and money! Check it out here.

Securing the baby’s future

You may want to consider taking out life insurance now that you’re responsible for a whole new person. While this is not a very glamorous thing to be considering, it is important to make sure that your child will have a financially secure future, whatever happens.

First-year cost of having a baby

The first year with your new baby will fly by. If you are thinking of not going back to work full time after maternity leave, you should work out whether this is financially feasible before you make a final decision. Working out a monthly budget, including your potential income and essential outgoings, will help you to consider if this is a possibility. Check out our 11 handy money saving tips for ‘Family Budgeting’.

Childcare costs are a big consideration. Find out whether you can get any help with childcare costs as this can bring the expense down considerably. Make sure that you factor this in when you are working out your budget and deciding about whether to go back to work.

A regular cost of having a baby that is likely to rise is your weekly grocery shop. At first, you will need to add nappies, wipes, and nappy cream. Not to mention formula milk if you’re bottle feeding. Then as your baby starts to wean, there is a panoply of different baby foods and snacks to choose from. Even if you decide to cook your baby’s food from scratch, this will mean buying in extra ingredients during your weekly shop.

It is often possible to get free samples of baby products, such as nappies, creams, and food. These can be accessed by signing up to various websites and store newsletters. The freebies certainly come in handy and give you the opportunity to try out different brands. There are also usually discount vouchers included in the freebie packs, which then save you even more money when you buy more of the same product.

Prepare for changes

Having a baby is one of the biggest lifestyle changes you will ever go through. Once your baby arrives, your priorities will change overnight as they become the most important part of your life. Your spending habits will probably change too. This is a hidden cost of having a baby.

You are likely to find that you prefer to spend your money on your little one rather than a treat for yourself. Be prepared to spend far less on going out for evening meals at nice restaurants. But far more on noisy plastic toys that sing annoying songs at a ridiculously high volume!

But most importantly, enjoy your time with your new baby. They grow up so quickly. Being prepared financially can help you to support them and yourself as you navigate through the early years of parenthood.

Last updated by Robert Edwards, June 2022

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