What with the late night feedings, occasional crying (occasionally more than occasional) and the general attention that a new-born baby needs, parents don’t get much sleep – that much is part of the deal. But what they really don’t need is to have what little slumber they do get ruined by money worries. A new-born baby can cost a bundle (in this case not a bundle of joy) but with a little bit of forward planning, a healthy savings account and a lot of foresight you shouldn’t have too many worries.
So just how much do people spend on their own mini-me? According to the Daily Mail parents will fork out more than £5,000 on a baby before its first birthday, on items like nappies, clothes, nursery furniture and food. Here’s the kicker with this though, almost £1,500 of this is spent before the baby is even born. The biggest chunk of pre-baby spending goes on decorating the nursery, which costs an average of £547, while £265 goes on a pushchair.
Helpfully this was broken down into a list. If you take a look down the list there are a few items that can probably be cut back on, if you need to save a few pennies. For instance, do you really need to spend, on average, £771 on toys, games and books? Sure it’s great to read to your child but you don’t need to have read the entire works of Shakespeare (or Lemony Snickett) to them before they even start teething. When it comes to toys most babies are perfectly happy with your car keys and don’t really need a room full of gifts. Do they really need a spare crib or car seat, a deluxe baby monitor with 500 metre range or a decade’s supply of nappies? You don’t have to leave your child wanting of course, but buying unnecessary goods is just going to make your financial situation a little worse.
Of course there are some situations you can’t really do much about. For instance, babies grow quickly and buying new clothes every few weeks is something you’ll have to get used to. Clothes make up £747 of the first year spending, and the averages aren’t just made up of Hugo Boss and Ted Baker. We checked (the figure surprised us too).
Luckily most people do seem pretty prepared for this whole spending business. According to a survey on RedBookMag 76 per cent of expectant parents say they feel financially prepared for having a baby – which while admittedly a US survey, the results are probably echoed in the UK, especially given that us Brits seem to happily overspend on their baby rather than underspend (which, let’s face it, is way better).
You can probably trim a few of the costs by cutting back on a few unnecessary items but if you really can afford to spoil your baby, why not? At least until they’re old enough to realise what you’re doing, at which point you’ll have to refrain from spoiling in order to teach them things like the value of money.