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During their first years, the costs associated with having a new baby in the house are visible, but there are wider and longer term financial commitments that should be considered.
When babies are new, it seems they need lots of equipment and expensive stuff around the house. The cot, the car seat, the chair, clothes, nappies, shoes. Something you may get as gifts, other things you may have to save for. One building Society estimated that the average family spends £132 a week on children. Over an 18 year period, that is a staggering £123,500! It's practically a house!
One survey said that the value of a Mum was... wait for it... £32,800 a year! If only someone would pay that for our services!
But, there are ways of reducing the cost of a baby - it just takes a bit of planning and careful thinking.
- Borrow or swap toys so you only have to buy one lot and your friend buys something else to share every few weeks.
- Find out what is worth getting - speak to parents and discover which toys their kids like best.
- Check out nearly new sales and boot sales for second hand toys. You may be surprised at some of the bargains on offer.
- Look at own brand vests, baby grows, nappies and wipes etc.
- Breastfeed rather than buy formula - no waste and its fabulously free!
- Get family and friends to buy practical presents.
- Draw up a list of what you need and try not veer from that list.
- Make sure you get all the benefits, maternity pay and awards that you are entitled to. Remember to register for child benefit, tax credits and working tax credits. A little research could make a real difference to what you are paid.
- Claim your Child Trust Fund money and invest carefully.