You've given birth to a £10,000 baby

How to meet the costs of bringing up kids

Babies are so small that you wouldn't think they would cost much money. But anyone who has had one knows that the moment one arrives, your finances are hit hard.

Babies are so small that you wouldn't think they would cost much money. But anyone who has had one knows that the moment one arrives, your finances are hit hard.

Whatever your income, it's wise to think through the financial implications as early as possible. "The most important thing is to [make] a budget plan early on," says Debbie Musselwight, editor of Practical Parenting magazine. "Sit down with your partner and look at all your outgoings. If you can, save 10 per cent of your joint salaries every month so that you've got a little nest egg saved up."

That nest egg will ideally need to be around £9,500 if you are to cover the average costs of a child's first five years. The cost for the first year will probably be around £3,000 to £4,000. If you are really organised you could start saving a few years in advance and keep the money in an individual savings account (ISA).

From the birth onwards, you can find yourself spending a lot of money, particularly if you are not happy with having the baby on the NHS.

A private hospital, such as the Portland Hospital in central London, charges around £1,573 for the first 24 hours after the birth and £633 per day after that, for a straightforward delivery.

Some mothers employ a maternity nurse to get them through the first month or so of sleepless nights and to set a routine for the baby. Maternity nurses work 24 hours a day, six days a week and charge between £450 and £900 a week depending on experience and the number of babies to be cared for. After that you might want a nanny. Part-time nannies charge about £5 to £6 an hour but a full-time one will cost upwards of £13,000 a year, including their tax and national insurance.

A cheaper option is to employ a childminder. Costs vary wildly, depending on where you live. According to the latest survey conducted by the National Childminding Association, the average childminder charges £2.07 an hour. But some charge up to £3.55. Full-time nurseries will set you back £150 a week for council or community nurseries, or £80 to £180 a week for private ones.

When it comes to baby equipment, you can spend more than £1,000 in the first few months on a first child, according to Legal & General research. Typical costs include: cot and mattress £200; car seat £70; buggy £200; high chair £75; plus £600 on bottles, toiletries, bedding, safety equipment and toys.

Kathy Richards, a first-time mother living in west London, says there are several expensive gadgets on the market that look great but are not necessary. "One such example is a changing station, which isn't needed at all," she says. "You just need a changing mat on the floor and that's it. You don't even need a baby bath really. When they're really tiny you can just bathe them in the sink."

Other costs in the first year include up to £1,100 for disposable nappies. If you choose a greener option you can spend £900 on a cotton-nappy washing service, although you can cut that down to £260 if you wash them yourself.

Clothes for the little one will set you back around £220 in his or her first year, although that can be cut back drastically by taking hand-me-downs from friends and family, and through the gifts that new babies tend to attract.

Mrs Richards says friends warned her against buying too many clothes. "We were told to buy little and wash a lot," she says. "And it's so true. You do get better value from clothing then. Second-hand clothes are very good for babies because they grow so fast, the clothes are practically new anyway."

Juliet Leigh, author of The Best Baby Buys Guide (published by Headline), says many new parents buy too soon. "Don't buy things ahead," she warns. "You'll just end up with a zoo of baby equipment which you're tripping over. Only buy things once the baby has arrived and you know you can't live without them.

"That's also true with clothes. It's no good buying baby grows before you give birth and then finding you have a 10-pound baby who doesn't fit into any of them."

If these costs make you want to grab the Yellow Pages and find your nearest vasectomy clinic, there is help available in the form of child benefit, maternity pay and, in some cases, family credit.

It is also worth checking up on your employer's maternity provisions while you're pregnant so that you can budget properly.

If you can spare the child benefit money, and are planning to send your child to a fee-paying school, this money can reap great rewards if you invest it from the first month onwards. Most unit trusts will allow a minimum investment of £50 or less, so if you invest £65 a month (roughly the amount you will get for your first child) in a unit trust growing at an average of 9 per cent per annum, you will see a return of £4,858 after five years or £12,332 after 10 years. This would be a big help with school or university fees.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

    £43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all