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What is the average cost to have a baby?

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You may have read all the how-to books and picked out a name, but when it comes to budgeting for your baby do you really know how much it's likely to cost? How much are baby products? And what are you likely to spend in year one compared to years two to four?

The most recent Cost of a Child report from Child Poverty Action Group reveals that the basic cost of raising a child until the age of 18 (including rent and childcare) is £71,611 for a couple and £97,862 for a lone-parent family. And if you throw childcare into the mix then these costs rise to £152,747 and £185,413!

Average cost of a baby in the first month

Just in the first month of your baby’s life, a study from MyVoucherCodes states that you’re more than likely going to end up spending over £500. That’s on average:

  • £23.52 on nappies
  • £243 on clothing
  • £53.51 on feeding equipment
  • £183.51 on things like toys and furniture

64% of those 1,104 asked also said that they weren’t prepared for these costs. Use our baby costs calculator to help you budget before the big day and prepare for the costs to come.

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Average cost of baby products

If you don’t know anyone who’s getting rid of the essentials like a cot, bath or a pram then unfortunately these are costs that you can’t avoid.

  • Average cost of a cot – a new cot can be anywhere from £70 to £700
  • Average cost of a pram – the cheapest end of the scale is £100 but prices can soar to over £2000. Consumer group Which? (Opens in a new window) suggests parents spend on average £340.32 on a new pushchair
  • Average cost of a car seat – average spend is £119.67 (Which? (Opens in a new window)) although these can go up to around £400 at the top end
  • Average cost of a moses basket – average price is around £100
  • Average cost of baby monitors – prices start at around £30 for audio monitors (average cost £49.61), with video monitors starting around the £70 mark

With any of these costs it’s about what you can comfortably afford. The cheaper range of prams and car seats will have gone through the same safety tests as the top end items, so don’t feel that you need to spend over a grand, as cost doesn’t always necessarily correlate to quality.

It’s always worth checking the safety though, for example on a car seat look for a capital E in a circle on the label. This shows it’s been EU-approved and should appear alongside ‘R129 for a height-based seat and ‘ECE R44’ for a weight-based seat.

Average cost of a baby in year one

You’re already £500 down in the first month but add in the costs from the other eleven months and it brings the total for year one of having a baby to a whopping £11,498, according to LV.

With many having taken maternity leave and therefore a cut in their pay it’s likely to be putting a strain on your budget. It’s estimated that in years one to four parents are typically spending on average £63,224 in childcare fees.

Average cost of childcare

In the UK the cost to send a child under the age of two to nursery is:

  • £138 a week part-time (part time)
  • £263 a week full-time (full time).

Source: Family and Childcare Trust 2020

Costs do vary however depending on the option you choose, for example a childminder or a day nursery.

There is also free early childcare for all three and four-year-olds in the UK. In England there’s 570 hours free every year, which most use as 15 hours free each week for 38 weeks.

A further 15 hours are available bringing the total to 30 hours each week, for families where:

  • both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone-parent family), and
  • each parent earns at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage, and earns less than £100,000 a year.

How to help cut the costs

There are a number of ways to help lower all these costs. The figures are based on buying everything new and at full price and doesn’t take into account these few money-saving ways to help bring the prices down:

Second hand

A cot, pram and changing table doesn’t need to be bought brand new, as babies grow out of these pretty quickly there’s going to be a good supply of second-hand ones that you can pick up locally, on auction sites, or on local listings.

Sales

Make use of the baby event sales on toiletries in drugstores and the half-price sales in baby-specific shops.

Also, don’t just stick to the baby stores, look in supermarkets and online too.

Shop around

Using price comparison sites can help you save, Bumdeal for example finds the cheapest price for nappies online.

Compare prices online versus instore and look for any discount codes to further lower the costs.

Gifting or vouchers from friends and family

There’s always the temptation when buying for a relative’s or friend’s baby to get a cute outfit along with a soft teddy but as babies grow up so quick that little sleepsuit with a lion on isn’t going to last long.

Instead suggest to friends and family that they go down the practical route and help with the cost of nappies, toiletries or vouchers towards getting that larger item.

Ask around too if anyone is getting rid of their toys or clothes that were hardly worn. Or ask if you can borrow any items and give back if needs be at a later date.

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Re-sell

Not only is re-selling good for clawing back some money, it’s also good for regaining some space. If your toy collection is taking up most of the room then sell on the toys your baby doesn’t use anymore (if you’re able to keep the original boxes then this will help you get a better price).

Car boot sales, social media groups, local centres will all have avenues to help sell what you don’t need.

There’s also help available when you have a baby, including benefits and grants from the government and your employer. Find out what you can claim

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