How much is baby going to cost?
Once the initial euphoria of finding out you’re pregnant has worn off, reality will start to kick in and you might start to worry about what baby is going to cost. We hear every day how expensive having a baby can be, and if you are going to have to lose or reduce one income for a while this can be really concerning.
Sitting down and putting together a baby budget as soon as possible is a great idea. The unknown is always frightening, but once you know how much you will need to spend on baby you can start working out how you are going to afford it.
Your plan should be split into two parts. The first will look at what you will need to buy for baby in the first year, and the second will look at longer term issues such as whether you will have more than one child, whether you will continue working, and how much you can cave towards baby’s future.
Listing your first year costs
Shopping for baby equipment can be unbelievably expensive if you want top of the range designer goods. However, remember that your baby will only use a lot of the equipment for a short time, they will no doubt dribble milk all over most of it, and they really won’t care whether it is colour coordinated or not. Of course you will want to buy some things new, but do check charity shops, online forums, and friends and relatives with young children, to see if you can get any second hand bargains.
A lot of your friends and relatives will want to buy you presents for the baby so make use of this and write a list of things you will need for them to choose from. This might seem cheeky but most people would rather get you something useful than yet another fluffy teddy bear.
Here are items you may need for baby in the first year:
Changing table and mat
Bedding and accessories
Comfy chair for feeding
Storage for baby clothes and equipment
Weaning spoons, bowls etc.
Food processor for baby food
High chair Bibs
Baby gym Play pen
Pram or pushchair
Rear facing car seat
Baby bath or bath chair for big bath
Baby towels with hood
Top and Tail bowl
Baby nail scissors
Baby gates for stairs or doorways
Table corner covers
Cupboard door locks
Toilet seat lock
You will also have ongoing monthly expenses which will include:
Toys and books
A little research online or at your local baby store can give you an idea what the above will cost. Once you have put a budget together keep a track of what you actually spend to see whether you are sticking to your budget.
You can be sure your utility bills such as electricity and gas will increase when you have a baby. You will undoubtedly be doing more laundry, and heating up baby bottles or cooking baby food all uses energy. You may also have the heating on more often to keep the nursery warm for your little one. Factor these costs into your budget, but don’t forget you will be eating out and socializing less when you have a young baby so you may be able to offset costs in this way.
Discussing your long term costs
The long term costs of having a baby are more difficult to put a figure on. Here are ten questions you should ask yourselves about the future to give you an idea how expensive baby will be in the long term:
If you are working how much maternity leave will you get?
How much will you get paid during your maternity leave?
Will you take some unpaid maternity leave or stop work altogether?
If you stop work can you afford to live on your partner’s salary?
If you are planning to go back to work how much will child care cost?
Will you be entitled to benefits to contribute to childcare costs?
Will you need to move to a bigger house when you have a baby?
Will you need an extra car if you partner takes the family car to work?
Will you start a baby savings account to build up money for their future?
How much can you afford to save each month?
Finally you might want to discuss whether you eventually plan to have more than one child as this can make a big difference to long term costs. It might make financial sense to carry on working if you just have one child in childcare, but paying for full time nursery for two children might cost more than you can earn.
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