Planning for a newborn is an exciting time, but it can be daunting for your finances.There’s the costs to prepare for their arrival – a nursery, pram, car seat and high chair to name a few; then there’s the additional ongoing costs after birth – food, milk, nappies, clothing and toys. All of this can quickly add up from the hundreds to the thousands.
Work out an estimate of how much you’re likely to spend using the Money Advice Service baby costs calculator.
Before your baby arrives
In anticipation of a baby’s arrival, new parents can feel under pressure to overspend – purchasing outfits for every occasion and keeping up with the latest gadgets and equipment.
But if you’re working to a tight budget, buy the essentials first, then treat your baby to a few added luxuries if you have any spare money left over.
- Nursery furniture – This will most likely be your biggest expense: to decorate and furnish your baby’s nursery. You may wish to purchase a cot, wardrobe, Moses basket, feeding chair and drawers for storage which could cost anything up to £3,000.
- Pram – Your next big spend will probably be your pram; ranging from £80 to £600.
- Baby car seat – If you drive, you’ll need a baby seat, with a price tag up to £220.
- Other equipment – A baby monitor, bath and other extras could add up to £660 – but think carefully about what you’ll actually need and can afford.
- Clothes for you and your baby – Maternity clothes don’t often come cheap, so don’t get too carried away with being a style icon mum-to-be. Look for comfortable clothes, with stretch, that you’ll be able to wear after the birth. Baby clothes could cost you a further £465 to £2,000.
Ways to save:
- You don’t necessarily have to buy everything brand new; shopping in charity shops and online via eBay, Gumtree and other sites selling pre-owned for less could save you money. You might be surprised to discover many items are unused and still have the tags on.
- Wait for the sales! Don’t buy full price; you have up to nine months to prepare, so wait for items on the high street and in supermarkets to go into the sale.
- Borrow, don’t buy! Have you got family and friends who have recently had a baby? Ask if they have anything they could lend you that they don’t need any more.
- Don’t stockpile! As tempting as it is to stock up on clothes, nappies and other essentials in advance, you don’t know what size you’re going to need or you may find a different brand more suitable. Buy enough for the first week and save the cash instead.
- Sign up to baby clubs or subscribe to websites; you are likely to be offered free samples and vouchers for products and services that you can take advantage of.
- Don’t overspend on baby clothes; buy the basics, then wait to see how many baby grows, outfits and accessories you are generously given at your baby shower.
After your baby arrives
Maternity pay can leave us with little spare cash, so don’t put off planning your budget until after the baby is born. Knowing exactly what’s coming in and going out each month is essential to help you work out what you can afford. Use a budget planner to see what you spend your money on and how much you have left over.
Ways to save:
- You’ll most likely be spending more time at home with your newborn, so be prepared for an increase in your water, gas and electricity bills. Set up a direct debit to avoid any unwanted charges if baby brain kicks in and you forget to pay on time.
- Write a shopping list and try to stick to it so you know what you’re buying and have an estimate of the total bill amount. Deals and discounts often tempt us to fill up our shopping trollies with goods we don’t actually need.
- If you don’t need or use it, sell it on! Try to keep hold of your original packaging for anything unused, and re-sell any used items in good condition that your baby has outgrown.