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Advice needed on how much extra we will need a month to support a child

(38 Posts)
funkyzebra Thu 14-Dec-17 21:45:00

My dh and I would like to have our first baby at some point in the near future.

I am wondering if some of you lovely people could give me a rough idea of how much money I would need on top of what we are already spending a month to cover the costs of a child.
I wouldn't need to pay for childcare as I have lots of family close by who are happy to do this. I am already saving up so that I will have the same amount on maternity leave as I would do if I was still at work. We wouldn't need to move house or anything like that and I'm guessing that household bills will stay pretty much the same. We're also not planning on paying school fees as there are great schools locally.

So I suppose I'm asking how much we will need a month to pay for the other associated costs of having a child such as for their food, clothes, toys, days out that kind of thing! Or other suggestions? I know we will need baby things initially (pram, car seats etc) but thinking more long term here.

I literally have no idea how much extra we will need a month for those things. I'm hoping it's in the hundreds and not the thousands! I don't want to try for a baby and then realise that we don't have enough and for it to become difficult to manage.

Any advice or tips would be great! Thank you

Changednamejustincase Thu 14-Dec-17 22:40:31

Babies and young children don't have to cost much unless you have big childcare costs or loss of earnings through dropping hours or one parent staying at home to look after the child.

They don't add much to the food bill and you can dress them well cheaply especially if you don't mind second hand clothes. Days out cost as much as you want them to. You can do expensive things or free things. Activities can add up but you can also get cheap ones.

If you are sure you will have no childcare costs or loss of earnings then it'll definitely be in the hundreds. If your relatives suddenly realise they are busy when they remember how much work a toddler is then it will be more like a thousand a month.

Appuskidu Thu 14-Dec-17 22:44:09

Babies aren’t particularly expensive. Nappies, milk and some toys-you can get lots of stuff cheaply or second hand. They are also free to take everywhere to begin with.

Be aware though-this doesn’t last and they will soon cost shedloads in clothes, toys, after school clubs, plane tickets, food and mobile phones grin!!

funkyzebra Thu 14-Dec-17 22:51:18

That's good to hear that it should hopefully be affordable for us. I'm definitely fine with getting second hand things and I know you can get great bargains on clothes etc. My Dh said he doesn't want to get second hand things but I think he is mad and would just be throwing money away that can be spent on other things!

BackforGood Thu 14-Dec-17 22:52:10

Agree with other posters.
Babies are pretty cost neutral if you aren't loosing a salary or paying childcare - they are the big hits in the first years.
IF you are able to breast feed, then you are only really paying out for nappies and a few wipes. People will give you lots of clothes and useful presents when they are born. Yes, you'll need car seat, cot, pram, but they are one off purchases. If you bottle feed then you'll need a steriliser and the bottles to begin with but the cost isn't great for the formula.

Don't forget you'll have Child benefit which seemed to cover nappies + formula for us in the first months.

Food doesn't get to be a cost until they hit puberty. Then it rockets! grin
However, it never hits 'thousands' - not even whilst we have 3 in their teenage years! Lots of things when they get older are optional too. What some people think they 'need' they don't necessarily, they just 'want' and cope perfectly well without.

funkyzebra Thu 14-Dec-17 22:59:01

Wow that's amazing to hear that they can be pretty cost neutral (for a little bit anyway). Hopefully if all goes well increase in salary in future would be able to cover increasing costs by when he/she gets to be a teenager! Sounds like I just need to keep saving for Mat leave (really want this time at home with baby) and initial costs and we should be ok! grinexciting...

funkyzebra Thu 14-Dec-17 23:01:30

Would like to breastfeed but I know it's not always possible so will need to budget for formula too just incase

Viviennemary Thu 14-Dec-17 23:25:50

I don't think babies and young children cost that much. However, even if you say you won't need childcare as your family will step in. Sometimes in reality this doesn't go as smoothly as you might wish. People's circumstances change and even if they have promised to help they might not be in a position to do so when the time comes.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 14-Dec-17 23:40:04

I agree 're childcare. Don't bank on never having childcare costs. If you have people to look after your baby that's amazing but will they still do it in 5 yrs time when (if grandparents) they have to be at school every day at 3pm or whatever and what they have 12 (or is it 14) weeks off every year and you're asking, for example, a 75yr old to look after a very active 7 or 8 yr old.

I'd also think carefully about whether you'll have a drop in salary. FT hours with a young baby, possibly with a commute, is hard. You might want to go 4 days or even less.

Also household bills might change slightly particularly if you're on mat leave during winter and need daytime heating / electricity.

And just a word of warning, number 1 here turned out to be 1 and 2 so it's useful to have a contingency smile

funkyzebra Thu 14-Dec-17 23:46:01

Ahh such good points I hadn't even thought about so thank you! Twins also run in the family so it is always a possibility shock

AnnaT45 Fri 15-Dec-17 07:40:01

I think they cost more than you think! Clothes, shoes, nappies, food (my two eat loads and are only 1&2) but what balances this out is your lifestyle changes so you don't spend so much on socialising etc.

Childcare is more than my mortgage for us by a lot. If you have help with that then that's amazing! Good luck

Evelynismyspyname Fri 15-Dec-17 07:53:04

Yep don't assume you as a couple won't end up dropping hours and/ or paying for childcare. I've known lots of people who've had family promise childcare and then back out or prove unreliable because it's "too much" for them (i.e. an inconvenience that ties them down and stops them pleasing themselves when they'd assumed childcare would just slit in around their current life and be a bit of fun and make them look good, or they truly didn't realise that it would feel so much harder to look after a baby/ toddler in their 60s than 20s...).

If you pay for childcare or one or both of you goes part time that is where the cost of having a child runs into thousands.

Yes your bills will go up on maternity leave - heating and electricity and maybe you'll feel restricted if you've no budget for cafés/ lunches with others from antenatal classes for mutual support and to get out of the house. It's easy to spend little bits here and there to get out of the house, and it adds up. Not having that bit of spending money can be isolating, and it may be money you don't spend now as you're at work during the day!

LIZS Fri 15-Dec-17 07:56:49

Childcare, potential loss of earnings due to ml and perhaps returning on fewer hours or lower paid work if at all. Best idea is to save hard now and get other large expenses out of the way before ttc. There are so many variables in raising a child that it is not possible to generalise on a day to day basis.

grasspigeons Fri 15-Dec-17 08:02:12

I'm slightly out of kilter here - we found the shopping bill went up by about 20% per child - but they do wear a lot of super market clothes so I guess some of that is in there. we do a lot more washing for instance so there is more washing powder which is expensive.

They don't cost much as a baby for sure, but they are a baby for a year and then you still have to fund them for the rest of their lives so calculating it on the first few months seems a bit short sighted to me.

titchy Fri 15-Dec-17 08:10:50

Budget for childcare!!!!! The number of threads on here along the lines of 'DM looks after dc while I work but feeds them sweets and burgers and I can't tell her not too as she looks after them for free...' And the unilateral advice is pay for childcare.

Also bear in mind you might not want to go back to work full time, or at all!

SuburbanRhonda Fri 15-Dec-17 08:11:05

Your DH doesn’t want you to buy secondhand? That might be a conversation you’ll want to have beforehand. It may seem a minor thing but becoming a parent does tend to throw differences into stark relief.

Evelynismyspyname Fri 15-Dec-17 08:13:09

You might also find yourself wanting to change your car - I found it such a hassle to have to take the wheels off a pram to fit it into my tiny boot every time that I changed car soon after having my first baby. I'd assumed while pregnant that it would be fine, but underestimated the stress of dealing with juggling a screaming baby who was sweetness and happy light in my arms or whilst walking in the pram but a hysterical purple faced howling demon when strapped into a car seat in an unmoving car... Also had forgotten to take into account that the pram filled the whole boot even with wheels off, so couldn't fit shopping or luggage of any kind in too...

Holidays, if you take them, are obviously more expensive and become increasingly so. Not essential of course but either a higher cost or a lifestyle change.

JoJoSM2 Fri 15-Dec-17 08:37:39

I think it's a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' sort of question. However, if you've got a house and savings, I'm sure you'll be fine.

funkyzebra Fri 15-Dec-17 10:55:33

Thank you all for the suggestions it's really helping to give a clearer picture of things. I am just a bit worried that I don't think we would have enough to pay for childcare at all. At the moment we would have about 5/600 extra a month which would be just to cover the extra costs of having child. After looking at nursery costs online I am feeling a bit faint shock.... about 1000 a month for a full time place. Wow... think we will have to wait for a few more years then! We are thinking about just having one child and I think this confirms it (unless of course we are blessed with twins!)

JoJoSM2 Fri 15-Dec-17 12:05:04

Funky, depending on your income, one of you could go part time - you then pay for childcare for say 2-3 days and might have more money left at the end of the month than if you work full time and pay for full time childcare. From age 3, you're likely to be eligible for 30h free.

Some of he couples I know, just make sure they have savings and forgo many treats and holidays whilst they're footing a massive childcare bill. Others work around each other, e.g. if one person works 9-5 Mon-Fri, the other does evenings or weekends to make ends meet. I'd just make sure that your mortgage is fixed for quite a few years so there aren't any surprises on that front.

BackforGood Fri 15-Dec-17 15:46:48

Also remember your expenses go down - if you take a year off, you've no commute... I don't know if you buy coffees and/or lunches out? Then, as a couple you don't just drop everything and go out on a whim, so all your personal expenses are lower.

funkyzebra Fri 15-Dec-17 16:35:51

I don't think part time would be possible for us with the jobs we have unfortunately, otherwise that would be a good idea. That's true I will 'save' loads on not doing my commute so won't have to save up for that extra.

LIZS Fri 15-Dec-17 16:45:05

You also have to bear in mind that nurseries may only offer 8-6, or 7:30am to 6:30pm and whether that would work with your commute. If not a nanny or some childminders may be more flexible. Or you move nearer work to shorten the commute but will probably find property and nursery costs increase.

funkyzebra Fri 15-Dec-17 18:17:58

At the moment I'm still hoping that our families will do the majority of the childcare when we are at work between the age of 1 and 4/5 (until they go to school). They have said that they will when the time comes but I also appreciate what everyone is saying and that this can change for various reasons. So we will work this into the budget somehow. Still don't think we would be able to afford full time child care though! Not sure how anyone can to be honest.

bakingcupcakes Fri 15-Dec-17 18:36:47

I had 'free' family childcare until he started walking and they couldn't cope! He went to nursery for mornings then. I came on to say my bills went up on mat leave due to being at home all the time in autumn/winter and the heating etc being on. To be honest though it kind of balanced out because I didn't go out socialising as much, no commute etc. He's not as expensive as I was expecting but he's only 3 and sometimes his food portions are as big as mine so I'm expecting my food bill to sky rocket in the teenage years!

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