It’s never cheap to raise a child, especially since the cost of raising a child has risen due to benefit cuts and inflation. According to a study conducted by the Child Poverty Action Group, couples and lone parents had to spend around £160,000 and £193,000, respectively, to raise a child in 2021. There are also many ways parents can cut down on their expenses.
Whether you’re expecting or already have a child, it’s important that you have a budget in place to ensure that you can afford the various expenses that come with raising a family. Having a plan helps you manage your finances and ensure that you can meet your goals.
Before you start planning, it’s important that you first identify the amount of money that’s coming in and going out each month. You can also look for areas where you can cut back. Having a budget helps keep a tight rein on expenses.
As easy as it is to get carried away with online shopping when you or your partner are awake with pregnancy insomnia at 3am, resist the temptation – your house will end up cluttered before the baby has even arrived.
Instead, make a shortlist of essential baby products and think about when you will actually use them. Here are the key things to think about buying before your baby arrives:
- Baby car seat: You won’t be able to drive your newborn home from the hospital or birth centre without one, so this is an essential pre-birth purchase. Find out which option would be best for you and your baby with Which? advice on choosing the right car seat.
- Pushchair or pram: To be suitable from birth, a pushchair must recline completely flat or come with a carrycot – see what else you should consider when buying a pushchair. A sling or baby carrier can also be a relatively cheap alternative or complement to a pushchair for getting out and about with your baby.
- Cot bed, Moses basket or baby crib: To help you decide what’s best for you, we have separate tips on each of these sleeping options – read about choosing the best cot bed, Moses basket and baby crib to find one that suits your home and budget. If you’re often on the move, a travel cot might also be worth the investment.
- Nappies: You’ll need to change your newborn’s nappy up to 12 times a day. Buying in bulk can often work out cheaper, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve stocked up for the first few weeks. But don’t go overboard, as the type of nappy your baby needs can change quite quickly.
- Feeding essentials: Depending on how you’re planning to feed your baby, there are also breastfeeding essentials you may want to have ready, while a breast pumpcan help you to express and store milk. Meanwhile, baby bottles and sterilising equipment are needed for expressed milk and formula feeding.