Can I even afford a baby?

My husband and I have been married for just over two years at this point and have slipped into that phase where we are discussing whether, and if so then when, we would like to start trying for a family.

Becoming parents is something we had always agreed on, even though if the particulars such as having our own vs adoption haven’t always been clear (and still aren’t really), but the important thing is that we are talking about the options and trying to be as prepared as we possibly can be. This includes trying to delve into as much preparatory literature as we can, no matter how futile an effort our friends who already are parents seem to believe that to be, and to think about the very real monetary cost that comes with raising even one, not to mention multiple children.

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 10.36.00 PM

Tesco Direct

For instance, as I was meandering around town today I popped into a specialist store to nosey at the prices of cots, prams, highchairs and nappy tables and was stunned at what I saw… there wasn’t a single price tag under £150… Of course I am aware that I could get certain things second hand, or as hand me downs, but just for the sake of relative scientific accuracy and my own rare narcissistic tendencies, let’s presume that I am going to need to buy everything new.

The best way I could think of was to create a list of items and equipment that we would need to bring a new baby home for the first time. I am convinced that this will not be a comprehensive list due to my severe lack of maternal experiences, and I know that many of these items also quickly become obsolete as a child grows and certain pieces need to be replaced, however let’s just consider this my (current) version of the “new parents starter kit”.

(Just as reference, I will calculate these prices based on the best deals a quick online search of my local retailers can find me, but I’m perfectly aware that these can cost quite a bit more or a little less, depending on taste and where you shop.)

Car Seat £44.99
Nappy Bag £24.99
Nappies & wipes & creams £40.00
Bottles + Bottle Sterilizer £69.99
Dummy/Pacifier/Binky £7.30
Dummy/Pacifier/Binky sterilizer £11.98
Clothes (including socks, shoes, hats, pj’s & bibs) £100.00
Cot/Bassinette £25.75
Bed (includes bumpers) £159.00
travel cot £49.00
blankets and sheets £30.00
baby toys (cuddlies, rattles etc) £50.00
Teething soother toys (the cold ones) £15.00
“Rucksack” style carrier £59.79
face cloths/ towels £20.00
Nappy Table with Mat £85.00
Nappy disposal £14.99
Learning toys (walker, bouncer, rattle centres) £100.00
Music Mobile £22.99
All in one pram/buggy £269.94
High Chair £39.99
Baby Bath & accessories £29.99
Baby bathrobe/towel £12.99
Healthcare & Grooming Kit £12.00
Baby Safety Gate £20.00
Bouncer £22.50
Entertainment Jungle £39.99
Total £1,378.17

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 10.38.28 PMExcuse me – what?? £1,378.17?? Factor in my major Disney addiction and the fact that I will probably want to swaddle my babies in all things original Disney and all of a sudden the study that shows that new parents need to have at least £5,500 in the bank before having a baby, looks realistic! I think I might take a trip to some financial advice pages after all…

Add to that the official estimate of £230,000 as being the cost to raise a child from birth to 21 years of age in the UK, and you can start to see why so many millennials are opting to not have children at all.

As a matter of fact, it is causing a great deal of fret internationally, that the cost of raising children is ever rising. Not only are the materialistic things expensive, but children of course have to eat, be sheltered (which often times means needing a bigger/more expensive home), educated and loved. All of which parents can only do if they work and earn money; but who minds the children while parents work? It is estimated that part time (such as after school) childcare for just one child can cost an average of £7549 per year, which is already not that far from the almost devastating £11,700, that full time child care for children between the ages of 2 and 5, tends to cost.

This is leading a lot of young people to either only have one child, or even have no children at all. Of course these are very personal choices, but when we consider that we are having less and less children every year, it is inevitable that the population, especially in “developed” countries which are most afflicted by low birth rates, will have an increasingly aged population. To quote the UK parliament website: “10 million people in the UK are over 65 years old.  The latest projections are for 5½ million more elderly people in 20 years time and the number will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050.” This means we will have less eligible tax payers than people who need feeding and supporting. It might mean that taxes go up, but even scarier, if raising taxes isn’t enough, then it might mean that the average pension age could be hiked up (again) as well… it’s already at 65… what if it got hiked to 70? Or 75? Even with the currently average life expectancy that we have (81.50 year in the UK), how many people have each of us really met who have been lucky enough to live that long?

I don’t want to make this about fear mongering, or statistical speculations, I’ll leave that to the experts… all I know for now is this: my husband and I have made a personal choice to have a family, it will be expensive and will require a lot of clever planning, budgeting and balancing to make sure we all stay as happy and healthy as we can possibly have control over; however it’s interesting to see that if we do decide to only have one or two children, rather than the traditional/old fashioned four to six, that even though it is our choice, it is a choice that many many other people our age are making and it’s taking us down a very particular (and precarious) societal path.

Now… on a lighter note…  are there Disney themed nappy bags?? Of course there are … Ooooohhhh

As always, thanks for reading and take care. xoxo

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Can I even afford a baby?

  1. I’m not sure about how it is across the pond, but here in Edmonton, I don’t know a soul who has kids who hasn’t had a TON of hand-me-downs or gently used things, as well as gifts from friends and family. I know it makes up a large majority of both my kids stuff, and I’m incredibly thankful that it turned out that way because for the small amount of time they use these things, it’s not usually worth the rediculous prices on new things. That’s not to say I don’t like to buy new things for them, but having most of their things second hand gives me the extra money to be able to spoil them when I can. I also kept the cycle going, and have donated or passed along literally everything that I haven’t had to throw away. A good many others get to benefit from the things me and my kids used and loved and found very useful. ^_^ so yeah, even though the things are a bit used and not shiny new, I just feel like knowing you get to make more good memories with things others have already held dear, as well the sense of community that sharing these things with other families brings is completely worth the extra we save, especially during a time when the insurmountable amount of amazing little moments during this short part of their lives is always worth much more than their physical possessions. I hope when you guys do have kids that you also end up getting some amazing precious and surprisingly useful things from friends, family and others. I know I just can’t wait to get to spoil your kids the way you do mine! ^_^

    Like

    • I know that sweety but that depends on one crucial factor – having friends/family who can give you hand me downs and lend a hand in the first place.

      Remember that Derek and I have my family here but no real circle of friends, not the way we had back home, not the way you have.

      The importance of this blog for me what to show myself, and others, the associated costs if you are not fortunate enough to have other people to help you out. You know my parents, I know for a fact that they would (as they always have my entire life) do their very best to help Derek and I with anything ever, but I also can’t jump head first into this parenthood adventure just assuming that I will get most of the things I need for a cheaper price or even for free by buying second hand and getting hand me downs. Worst case scenario simply is that we need to be able to procure all of these items at their real prices… and that’s just the items on that silly list!

      The other part of the blog was my shock at the total estimated cost… £230,000 … that includes (but is of course never limited to) health insurance, school fees, field trips, holidays, Christmases, Birthdays, transportation, rent/mortgage for a bigger home, child care/after school care, any lessons or clubs they want to join… and those won’t be obtainable any other way. And it’s okay… I am not saying that I am unwilling to do it, on the contrary, as shocked as I am at the prices involved, unlike others in our generation that does not deter me, however, I am also grateful that I am now aware of it. I have time to make preparations (mentally and physically) for those changes….

      I didn’t mean to say that everything has to be new all the time… but that, if there was no other way, this is what the first bills look like and they are part of the lifelong commitment parents willingly make to their children.

      Does that make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It does. I definitely understand your situation, and am very happy that it doesn’t deter you. 🙂 It’s actually kind of funny. I know that kids cost an insurmountable amount in the long run. But in the end it’s just that, the long run. Once the first bump of getting everything for the first time goes by, at least for me, I didn’t so much notice the continuous cost, because they keep me so busy and so happy that it’s just life, and living, and totally worth it. 🙂 but I am really really happy that you’re trying to be as prepared as possible and understand and research the cost and such, as it really is a life changer, and far too many people don’t realize that you can’t just go back to your old life after becoming a parent.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! Wow this is a really good topic and you are right to research and make a list.
    From my own experience and from experiences from friends and family I can tell you, that you don’t need a half of your pre-list!
    You don’t need this expensive sterilizer for the bottles or dummies! Take a pot and boil all for ca. 5 min in 100 degrees water – same effect and much cheaper!
    Try to use clothes from friends and familie for the first year. That helps and you don’t need to buy the f** expensive todler robes..They are growing too fast. You need a high chair later (earliest 6 month when you start feeding with mush and the baby can sit solid alone)
    Buy the pram second hand. Sometimes they have an all in one incl. the baby seat. You don’t need too much toys the first 1/2 year. Enough is a pack of tissues to make noise and feel soft or a little box filled with unboiled rice and sealed. That is your rattle. Sometimes you don’t need any music toy – you have a wonderful voice and should start singing during the pregnancy – I did that too ans Sophie is always asking to sing “Guten Abend Gute Nacht” to fall asleep – I sang that during the pregnancy and she could here of course.
    The learning toys make sense from the first year to learn how to stack things on each other or learn how to put things in a bowl …. (for this you don’t need toys! You have all materials at home!)
    For the baby bath – use natural honey or olive oil. No need to buy the expensive one.I hadn’t a baby safte gate the hole time. No need for all we have steps. But show your baby how to use it and let the baby learn to stick around. (make sense when you have high steps) Nappy Table? Why? You don’t need it after the baby don’t need nappies! Did you see the board in Sophies room where I keep all here clothes? We just put it in the corner and fixed a triangle board at the wall to make the area longer. put a map on it and *Tata* you habe a nappy table 🙂 usable after this time as a usual board or cupboard. Try to not buying a travel cot. Every hotel has one. And your mummy has one too I think (from Sophie) That is enough.
    Try to have a bed which you can rearrange the first 2 years. First Baby bed and then take away the saftey thing. Diaper Bag? No need! I always used a backpack I had at home or just put a pair in my handbag.
    So… now you can calculate again, what you really don’t need and make a summarize.
    Ps: No need of shows as long it starts walking. I have all clothes from Sophie from Beginning on going around to all babies… if you need – just let me know! (That is for free and no need to buy as long they are well to wear)

    Hope I could help!

    See you
    Jana

    Like

    • Thanks for all the tips I really appreciate it… I know that there are plenty of creative ways to do things without buying new things, but those are just the earliest costs. My “list” was just a sample.. the total £230,000 cost of raising a child also includes the rent of the bigger home, the food, the clothes, the education (every book, pencil, paint, field trip, poster board, ingredients for special projects, theatre costumes etc), not to mention the family holidays, health insurance, transportation costs etc… they are all things that parents very lovingly and caringly provide for their children, but the point is that choosing to have a child is incredibly expensive and there are many members of my generation who find that too daunting, too scary and simply too much.

      I really hope that I will be able to figure it all out, together with Derek, but we have to keep in mind that it’s more than toys and nappy tables, it’s a lifetime commitment and I believe that it will be better for us, and any children we may be lucky enough to have, that we are aware and prepared for that and mentally ready to handle the challenges. 🙂

      I will remember these tips though. Thank you so much!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s