There is much speculation about how much it costs to raise a child. Some surveys have calculated the cost through to University, some to the age of 18, whilst others concentrate on the first year alone. The latest annual report from the UK’s largest friendly society, LV= suggests that parents on average spend £9,610 a year to feed, clothe and educate each new member of the family. This includes childcare, but does not take into account loss of earnings if a parent opts to stay at home, or reduces working hours. The report also reveals that the first year alone will cost a parent around £1000. So where does this money go and what can we do to reduce it?
The second hand market is becoming big business as people who have had babies try to recoup costs, whilst those starting on their parenthood journey are budget saving and aiming to slash costs. Our Little Pickles Markets are ideal for both markets, with families being able to hire tables to sell their good quality pre-loved baby items and buyers paying a minimal £1 per adult entrance fee. There are other organisations who run similar events, so look around to see what is on in your area. These places are ideal for picking up second hand cots, moses baskets, prams, pushchairs, baby monitors – all the things you need to see you through your first year.
You could also try eBay, Freegle, Gumtree, Freecycle and Facebook selling pages to pick up second hand items, although obviously in some cases, you have not actually seen the item before you agree to buy it, and sometimes saying “no” is not as easy as it sounds when you have arranged to meet someone at their house!
There are some items that you will inevitably want to buy new and in this instance, I would suggest trying your local Poundland, or waiting for the Asda Baby Event (other supermarkets also run similar promotions). Toiletries and some basic items are available very cheaply here. Another tip would be to join all the baby clubs that major retailers have. Most supermarkets have them, as do other high street names. Many of them offer freebies as an incentive to join and can be quite useful.
If you have a Surestart Centre in your neighbourhood, then pop along to see what they have on offer. Our local one offers baby massage, toddler groups, baby groups, coffee mornings and messy play, to name just a few! Some classes are free, others will charge a nominal amount, but it can be a lot cheaper than other baby groups. They may also offer a toy library, which will give you a chance to sample toys on offer to see what is suitable for your child. Once you have seen what catches their eye, you know what to look for when buying for them.
There are other costs you will encounter, such as nappies (reusable are obviously cheaper than disposable, but that is a whole other topic!). You will also increase electricity usage as you are home more and no doubt washing a lot more than you would have previously! However it is clear to see where it is possible to make some savings that will help to offset the other costs that you cannot avoid.