Having and raising a child is expensive, but even single parents with a low income can manage. How is that possible? Let’s review.
Average UK costs of having a baby
Thanks to the NHS, the cost of having a baby in a hospital can be free, including all antenatal, birth and post-natal care. That being said, the average out of pocket costs of a baby in the UK in its first month is over £500, and about £11,500 in the first year according to some studies. Most of this is spent on things like toys, furniture, baby clothes and nappies. Most new parents are not prepared for this.
In addition, about half of what parents spend on their child goes towards childcare. The average UK cost to send a child under two years old to nursery is £122.46 per week part time and £232.84 per week full time. Age three and four are free in the UK.
Tips on how to mitigate costs
Babies don’t need to break the bank. Here are some ideas to build savings for a baby and keep the cost of a baby down.
Buy what you can afford. On average, parents spend £1,000 preparing for their first child. This includes costs of a cot, pram, baby monitors, car seats and other essentials. Prices span significantly and can be quite costly at the high end. But cost isn’t necessarily indicative of quality or safety – all products must pass the same inspections to retail in the UK. So shop affordably.
Tip: The Money Advice Service has a baby costs calculator that can help you visualise your budget. Many of the line items may not be on your radar in early the baby-planning stages.
Use the second hand market. Often, the items you are looking for can be bought second hand at significant discounts. Babies grow quickly, after all, and toys, cots, clothes and more may have little to no wear and tear. And when your child outgrows something, sell it on eBay to reclaim some of the costs.
Use government support. Government support such as a Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Childcare Tax Credits are available for each of your children up to the age of 16. There are also extra benefits for working and non-working parents to lessen the financial blow and encourage healthy lifestyles for parents and baby. Many can be claimed before the baby is due. See more about those parental benefits here.