Every parent-to-be knows bringing up a baby is an expensive business – so we spoke to mummy bloggers and experts to work out what those costs could look like in real terms, and how to tackle them.
‘There’s not much that needs to be new when you’re factoring in the costs of bringing up a child,’ explains Emma. ‘However, a car seat and cot mattress should be new – sharing a cot mattress increases the risks of sudden infant death syndrome.
‘Car seats should be bought new as you need to be 100% sure that they have not been comprised in an accident. Everything else can be bought second hand if needed.’
The average cost of a car seat starts at around £100, but they can cost as much as £400. Overall, NatWest’s child cost calculator estimates the national average cost of nursery furniture to be around £500, while their ‘other equipment’ estimation is around £300.
The cost of nappies also creeps up quickly. Budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl now do cheaper packs, including Aldi’s well-reviewed Mamia range, which costs £2.89 for 48 at the time of writing, compared to £6 for a premium brand.
Or you could try reusable nappies via the Go Real usable nappies scheme. A few local authorities across the country have signed up to the scheme and even give vouchers or free samples to try. However, on average, parents still spend around £260 a year on nappies.
Nursery furniture: £500
Emma says her best money-saving tip is to sign up to freebies and giveaways: ‘You can get rewarded with loyalty cards for Mothercare, Tesco and Boots. These all help beat the cost of raising a family. Also, read mummy blogs for parenting tips rather than buying magazines. Many of these blogs review products and host giveaways which can help you make sure you’re buying the right products for your needs.’
The cost of childcare for parents with a one-year-old has risen four times faster than wages in England over the last decade. On average, for parents with a child under two, nursery costs are £116.25 for 25 hours, while childminder costs are about the same. The average cost of childcare for a whole year is at least £6,000, based on 25 hours per week.
This will, of course, depend on your parental leave. If at least one parent is off work for the majority of baby’s first year, childcare costs can be cut significantly – or even completely.
Under the Shared Parental Leave regulations, parents are able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them. By maximising the amount of leave you take, you will reduce costs significantly.
‘Make sure that you apply for child benefit as soon as you’re back at home,’ recommends Emma. ‘It can be backdated three months, but it is better to be receiving it sooner rather than later. Mums need to make sure that they are looking after themselves too, and all new mums are entitled to free prescription and dental care for up to a year after baby is born. Now is the time to get your teeth checked!’
Check the government website to see if you’re eligible for Tax-Free Childcare too. Many parents don’t know about this benefit, which could save up to 20% of the total child care costs. Also, remember that when your baby reaches two, childcare fees go down slightly (on average a few pounds per day), while by aged three they are eligible for up to 30 hours free childcare a week.
In their calculator, NatWest estimate that, on average, parents will spend £9,364.85 on the first year of their child’s life.
Grand total: £9,364.85 for the first year
Of course, though, that depends enormously on what’s available to the parents and the choices they make.