Having a baby can be expensive. Depending on your lifestyle and financial commitments, finding the money to cover everything can be a challenge, so this is why it’s wise to start squirrelling a little bit of money away if you know one day you want to have children. The cost of having a baby varies – here’s what you need to budget for.
$1000 – 2000 At a minimum you’ll need a cot with a clean mattress, this will set you back anywhere between $100 and $750, depending on what style and brand you go with. You’ll also need several sets of linen for the cot so add around $150 for that. You’ll need a change table, which will cost somewhere between $70 and $600. A set of draws for you baby’s clothes – these range between $90 and $600; and it’s worthwhile getting some sort of comfortable chair to sit in to feed your baby, which can range between $90-$500.
You’ll also need a car seat, so you should expect to pay up to $500, and a pram which will vary in price. Prams range between $500 and $1000 for a new one, depending on the brand and the style.
Breastfeeding costs nothing so from a financial perspective it is definitely worth persevering with it. You may want to invest in a breast pump, which will cost anywhere between $150 – $300. If breast feeding is not an option, the cost of formula is around $30 a tin (depending on the brand), and you’ll go through at least one tin a week, if not more.
Once your baby begins solids, around five dollars a day should cover it, if you are using ready-made baby food. It’s cheaper to make your own, so you can reduce this cost if you are planning to cook from scratch for your baby.
In the early weeks babies go though eight to ten nappy changes a day. As they get older this amount reduces, so by the time they are a toddler it’s about four changes a day. But the nappies get bigger (because so do their poos and wees) so the price doesn’t change much. You should budget for $40 – $50 a week on disposable nappies.
Cloth nappies are a significant outlay to start with (expect around $1000 to buy all you need), but cloth nappies save money in the long run, even considering the ongoing laundering costs. Research has proven that across the ‘nappy’ years, using cloth nappies will save around $2000.
You’ll need new clothes to accommodate your growing belly so allocate at least $250 for some basic pieces – jeans, t-shirts – long and short sleeve, a dress for an occasion, cardigan / wraps to keep you warm.
Babies grow fast, so you’ll need to buy them clothes frequently. You’ll need several sets of clothes from 0 – 3 months, the same again for 3 – 6 month, 6 – 9 months and 9 – 12 months. They grow a little slower after 12 months so things last a little longer. A minimum budget of $500 for the first year for clothes, should cover the basics.
Depending on what model of care you opt for, your expenses could be anywhere between $200 and $10,000.
Private care means paying for a private obstetrician (between $4000 – $8000), insurance premiums for the 12 months prior to your baby’s arrival (around $350/month), hospital excess fees are between $250 and $500. If you have an epidural, possible out of pocket expense for the anaesthetist may be between $300 – $1000.
Giving birth in a public hospital is significantly cheaper, and should be covered by medicare for the most part.
If you are returning to work after your maternity leave payments finish, you’ll need to consider a potentially reduced income (if not returning full time) and child care expenses, which are between $110 and $150 per day.
It’s also a good idea to start thinking ahead about the cost of your child’s education. It’s worthwhile starting to stash the cash soon rather than later so you have some sort of nest egg to draw on to cover these expenses. The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) offer education funds with flexible payment and benefit options that will help you plan for these expenses. You can read more about saving for your child’s education here.