Planning for a new-born can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. The first year is full of expenses, and it can be difficult to figure out where to start when it comes to setting up a baby budget.
Before you panic, let us assure you that you don’t need to spend a fortune to be an amazing parent. The most important things for a baby to have are; love, care and attention. And these things are free of charge!
This baby budget guide will help you determine what you really need, what you can skip, and how to save money so that you can get through the first year with your sanity (mostly) intact.
Why budget for a baby?
Budgeting for a baby is a must. You’re about to welcome one of the largest financial responsibilities of your life into the world, and it’s important to plan for it.
The bills can add up quickly, and the number of things you need to buy before your little one arrives can feel overwhelming. But if you start preparing early, it’s a lot easier to get your finances in order before baby comes along—and you’ll feel less stressed and more ready for what’s ahead.
You won’t have any surprises when it comes time to work through your list, because everything has already been accounted for in your budget! You’ll also know how much money you have left over after putting aside money for each essential item.
Why create a list of things you need?
Creating a list will help ensure that nothing gets forgotten or lost in all of the excitement around purchasing items for your new arrival. Having an organised list will also help prevent overspending on unnecessary items.
And when you have everything ready to go before the big day? You’ll have more time and energy left over to enjoy pregnancy and bond with your little one!
Baby Budget: Step 1
Before you start making a baby budget, go through a few months worth of bank statements and tally up your household expenses to get a snapshot of your current financial situation.
Revisit any savings that you or your partner have put aside for this purpose. Or any other funds that could be reallocated to help with childcare costs in the early stages of parenthood.
Also, make sure you know about any benefits you’re entitled to. You might be surprised at how much money is available for new mums and dads! To check what you may be entitled to visit GOV.UK.
Next up: If you’re employed, find out how much maternity pay or pay during shared parental leave you’ll receive from your employer – or if there is any benefit available at all.
When all the relevant information is taken into account, it will be easier for you to decide your budget and what might need to change in order to accommodate having a child.
Baby Budget: Step 2
Work out the initial cost before birth
It’s time to take out a sheet of paper and get ready to write down the essentials. You’ll want to make a list of everything you’ll need for your baby.
We have included the average price of each item, so that you can work out exactly how much your initial cost will be.
Now, this is only an estimate—and it’s just a starting point. Your final cost will depend on where you live and what kind of deals you can find!
This will be something you’re likely to use daily once your baby is born, so it’s worth thinking about which one is right for you before you start shopping. Pushchairs come in all different shapes and sizes, so make sure to pick one that fits with your lifestyle and budget.
The cheapest end of the scale is around £100, but you can pay over £1000 for a top-of-the-line model. We recommend Bugaboo as a higher end choice.
You’ll need this to get home from the hospital with your new-born in tow, so make sure you have one on hand before the big day!
Prices vary widely depending on quality and brand, but expect to pay around £150 for a good quality car seat.
Cot Bed & Mattress
Cot beds are an investment that will serve your baby from infancy through to toddlerhood and beyond. They come in all shapes, sizes and prices, try and find something that fits your budget without compromising on quality—it’s worth spending more on something that’s built to last! If you opt for a cheaper option, don’t skimp on the mattress—it’s important to get one that’s safe and comfortable for your little one! We recommend Silentnight Safe Nights Airflow Cot / Toddler Bed Mattress.
Prices can range from £130 to £800 for a new cot bed and mattress set.
This is an absolute must-have when it comes to keeping your little one safe. The price varies depending on what kind of monitor you buy—you can get a simple audio monitor for under £30 or go all out with a camera-equipped device that will set you back around £200 or more!
Moses Basket or Side Sleeper
It is recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months. So, although this is a personal choice, we are sticking these smaller sleeping options on our essential list. You can expect to pay around £30 for a basic moses basket, but if you want a high quality co-sleeping crib, you’ll have to pay up to £600. We Highly Recommend the Snuzpod!!
If you’re planning on formula-feeding, you’ll need to buy a few things:
A bottle steriliser, enough bottles for daily use (between 6-8) and a bottle brush. The average cost for a starter set is £50. Do your research here, because babies have preferences when it comes to bottles. You might want to try a couple of different brands before settling on one.
You’ll also need to decide on a formula brand: on average, you can expect to pay between £10 and £14 for an 800g tub.
If breastfeeding is something you want to do, congratulations! It will save you money—you need only invest in:
Breastfeeding Bras – Average cost: £15-£35
If you’re on a budget, look for multi-packs; they’ll cost less per bra than if you bought them individually.
Breast pads – Average cost: £5-£10 a pack depending on the brand.
These are a must-have if you’re breastfeeding; they will help protect your clothes from leaking milk and keep you feeling fresh throughout the day!
Now for some less expensive necessities that are still needed to care for a new baby, and on average what you can expect to spend:
Bedding – £15 – £30
Blankets/sleeping bag – £20 – £30 each
Clothing – £60 – £200
Muslin cloths – £10 to £30 (multipack)
Bibs – £8 – £15 (Multipack)
Changing bag – £30 – £100
Nail clippers and hairbrush – £5 – £20
Thermometer – £3 – £150 depending on type
Baby towel – £5 – £15
Wash essentials – £5 – £20
Changing mat – £5 – £30
Disposable – £20 – £25
Reusable sets – £60 – £30
Disposable – £1 – £3 a pack
Toys – £35 – £100
Highchair – £20 – £200 – We Highly recommend this Scandi Sensation. It’s expensive, however it is fully adjustable, has multiple attachments, and will see your Child comfortably through the first 6 years!
Weaning essentials – £5 – £30
While there are certain things that every parent needs, there are also some non-essential baby items that can just make life with your little one easier! If you have the budget for these extras, then consider adding them to your baby budget list, otherwise skip these items.
A carrier is a great way to keep your baby close while you’re out and about, but it’s not necessary. And, your baby might even hate being worn, so it might end up being a waste of money. Prices range from £40 – £200. The Infantino Flip is a great purchase which will not cost you an arm and a leg!
A swing/rocker is a good tool for helping your newborn sleep, but you can also use cheaper methods like swaddling or white noise machines. Prices range from £65-£200. We recommend this Electric Swinger to see you through the first 6 Months, as it comes with several Swing options to suit your beloved baby!
A changing table is a great way to save your back when you’re changing nappies, but they are bulky and also expensive. The average cost of a changing table in the UK is £100. So, if you’re on a budget or don’t have space for one, a changing mat will do just fine! If you do decide to make a purchase, then we highly recommend this option, as it comes with an array or storage solutions, and can be wheeled around. It also comes in Pink and Blue!
A good size sink works just as well as a baby bathtub, so if you’re on a budget, skip this item! Prices vary depending on the style, but you can find one for as little as £10. One benefit of a Baby Bath is the Bum support, and as your Baby grows, it will support them as they develop the muscles and strength to sit in the upright position. This Model is a high performing and economical option.
A breast pump is great if you plan to be away from your baby for long periods of time. However, it’s not necessary if you plan to nurse exclusively. The price of a manual pump can start at around £12, whereas the price of a double electric pump can be as steep as £250-300. If you are looking for comfort, then we recommend Lansinoh – Comfort Model
A bowl of hot water works just fine for warming up bottles! If you’d rather pay for convenience, bottle warmers can cost between £10 and £70, depending on their features. We recommend this one if you are looking for an option which balances Economy with features!
Bottle Prep Machine
This product is genius and makes prepping bottles so quick, it’s not essential but it sure is handy! Our favourite is the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Day & Night: You can prepare a fresh baby bottle, at the correct temperature in only 2 minutes! Plus it comes with sleep-friendly volume control and a really useful night-time glow.
Cost? Between £75 and £250
A nightlight can be useful when you need to do things like…change nappies or feed your baby in the night. But like the others listed above, nightlights aren’t necessary if you don’t have space in your baby budget. If your child is struggling to sleep, then you may wish to purchase the Hugely Successful Ewan the Sheep – Ewan will act as a Nightlight, and play white Noise to help your Baby sleep. An all in one Sleeping aid!
Prices typically range from £10 – £40.
Baby Budget: Step 3
This is where it gets real. You need to figure out how much you’re going to spend on your baby per month in the first year; including food, nappies and everything else that comes with having a newborn in your life.
Nappies: £25 – £70
Wipes: £7 – £45
Formula (if using): £40 – £70 (prices are higher for ready-to-drink options)
Baby Food (from 6 months): The cost of baby food varies greatly, depending on whether you buy pre-made purees or steam and mash your own foods. If you go with the store-bought variety, plan to spend from £40 – £100 per month. On the other hand, if you prepare meals at home using foods from your own diet and then puree them for your baby, the cost will be minimal.
Clothes: As with most baby-related expenses, this one depends on where you shop and also how many outfits you deem necessary. Expect to have to get a new wardrobe for your baby every few months as he or she grows. If you shop smart though, this doesn’t have to be a huge cost, you could spend as little as £5 – £10 a month. On average, parents in the UK spend £243 on clothing for the first month.
Obviously, your baby budget will go up significantly if you require childcare. The cost of childcare differs based on where you live, what type of service you need (full-time or part-time), and how many hours per week you need someone to look after your child.
These are average costs in the UK for part-time and full-time nursery or childminder care:
Childcare costs for children under two
In the UK, a part-time (25 hours) nursery place for a child under two costs on average £7,212 per year.
Per week, the cost of a part-time nursery place is £138.70
The cost of 25 hours per week of childcare for a child under two by a childminder is on average £6,469 per year in the UK.
Per week, the price of a childminder is £124.41
A full-time (50 hours) nursery place for a child under two costs on average a little over £14,000 in the UK.
Per week, a full-time nursery place is £269.86, meaning that per day nursery prices are around £54
The average price of 50 hours of care per week for a child under two years old by a childminder is £12,339 per year.
Per week, a full-time childminder costs £237.28
Baby Budget: Step 4
Congratulations, you’ve made it! You’ve figured out how much you need to save before the baby comes and how much they’re going to cost in their first year of life. Now it’s time to get down to business and make a baby budget for yourself.
When you’re creating a budget, you’ll want to include enough money to cover your basic costs, but also include a little wiggle room because things will always come up that aren’t included in your budget.
And, make sure you stick to your budget. When it comes time to spend money on something, don’t go over the allotted amount, stick to what you’ve budgeted for that item!
After all that number crunching and tweaking, it’s time for some serious fun: enjoy your new journey into parenthood!
Baby Budgeting: Money Saving Tips
Baby budgeting can be tough, but we hope this information has helped you plan for what’s to come. Before you leave, here are our top tips for keeping your spending in check:
-Buy what you need, not what you want
-Buy second-hand items from charity shops or online marketplaces
-Borrow items from family and friends
-Ask for essentials as gifts
-Shop around and take advantage of sales
-Re-sell items you no longer need
-Check if you are entitled to a Sure Start maternity grant or any help with your childcare costs
-Keep costs down by getting free prescriptions and NHS dental care with a maternity exemption certificate
If you feel like you’re struggling to stay afloat financially, remember what we opened with: The most important things your baby needs are free
Good luck, and happy budgeting!