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Counting the cost
Counting the cost
Blogs » Mummy Blogger

Counting the cost

The cost of having children soon escalates. Here’s a look at what’s involved in first year – a continuing look into the costs involved and what we can all do to keep them down.

You’ve made it through the trials of pregnancy, coped with the monumental physical and mental challenges that Mother Nature has thrown at you, and somehow the powers that be have allowed you to leave hospital clutching your tiny precious bundle(s). As you head home to your perfectly finished nursery you’re probably more focussed on whether your stomach will ever recover (it won’t) than how much expense you’re going to face.

Assuming you’ve already shelled out for a moses basket or crib, a cot and a pram the next thing you might be considering is trading up to a ‘family car’. Hardly a thrilling prospect but there’s only so many times your back will cope with all the bending and twisting required to get baby in and out of the latest in high-tech car seats. It’s possible that this change might actually save you something on your insurance payments, and you’re almost definitely going to save on fuel costs as you develop a whole new driving style to protect your little one.

Babies actually want for very little in their first year. There are the obvious costs like nappies and you’ll have your own opinions on disposal versus reusable but you’ll spend around £10 a week on nappies for a least 2-3 years, reusables can be bought for about £100 and resold after potty training. Of course you still need to factor in cleaning costs to that one but it’s well worth considering. Clothes are another massive sliding scale but really and truly your baby doesn’t care as long as he’s warm and dry so don’t turn it into a fashion show!

Having had three of my own I’m a little jaded but really it’s just not necessary to have all of the latest gadgets. Most of them don’t really help or save time, and they certainly don’t save money!

If you’re breast-feeding then you’ve got the first 6 months tied up with no more outlay than a few breast pads and muslin cloths. Bottle-feeding has more obvious costs involved – up to around £900 a year without accounting for sterilising equipment and trialling every make of bottle on the market (yes I speak from experience). When you’re opening every cupboard and ducking to avoid 20 different styles of anti-colic moulded plastic you know you’ve gone too far…

If you’ve been working for at least 26 weeks before the birth you’ll be entitled to the same length of Statutory Maternity Pay. This is equal to 90% of your wages for the first 6 weeks and then the lower of £124.88 or 90% of your gross wage per week. You’ll also receive child benefit of £16.50 per week for your first child. If you decide to return to work then childcare costs will need to be factored in and this can get very costly, a full time nanny for example will bump up your annual costs by approximately £20k and even day care could be as much as £375 per week.

When you start to break it all down it can get a bit stomach clenching – handy for trying to get those tummy muscles back in shape but really serves no other useful purpose. Try to save money as and where you can, don’t buy things unnecessarily and do your best to put something away – bring up children is hard work and having the means to treat yourselves now and again can make all the difference.

Monday, 4th April 2011

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