If you’ve had the happy, but unexpected news, that you are going to have a baby then your thoughts might quickly turn from joy towards how you are going to afford a baby.
Raising a child is expensive, with 2016 figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) revealing that it costs an average of £231,843 to support them until they’re 21.
Luckily, you’re not expected to have saved the money upfront but you will need to cover the initial expense of providing for your new baby.
Here CashLady looks at four ways to afford a baby you weren’t expecting.
The costs of pregnancy and raising a child in the early years
Initially, you’ll need to cover the cost of supplements for when you’re pregnant, plus prepare for your new arrival by preparing the nursery and purchasing the clothes, nappies and various pieces of equipment that babies need.
Once you start making a list of what your new baby requires, the costs quickly add up.
Like most items, however, car seats, prams, changing mats, diaper bags, nappies etc. come in at a huge variety of price points, from high-end luxury to basic and good value, and so it pays to shop around and do your research first.
#1 High street discounts can help you afford a baby
The Mothercare Rewards Club offers £100 of vouchers plus a 20% discount on maternity clothes.
Boots, Asda baby & toddler club, Toys R Us, Pamper, SMA nutrition and Caring Everyday all offer discounts and offers on the various baby-related products that you need to sign up to make savings.
#2 Afford a baby by shopping second hand for new baby items
You don’t have to buy everything brand new for your new baby and can make some good savings by picking up certain items second hand.
It’s generally not advisable to purchase a car seat second hand as the instructions might be missing and you won’t know whether it’s been subject to rigorous use or damage.
Read more about child car seats and safety advice here.
Auction sites like eBay offer a plentiful source of cheap baby clothes and other accessories.
Pop them through the washing machine before you use them, and they’ll be good as new.
Also look for local sellers on Facebook and Gumtree and ask friends and family if they have any baby items stored away that they no longer require.
#3 Free prescriptions and dental treatment
You’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions and dental treatment from now until your baby is one.
You need to apply for the Maternity Exemption Certificate, which you can get after completing the application forms from your midwife (or GP/health visitor) that they will need to sign.
Check out the NHS website for more information.
#4 Financial help from the government
Sure Start Maternity Grant
You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards you being able to afford a baby. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant.
You usually qualify for the grant if both of the following apply:
- You’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting multiple births (such as twins) and have children already
- You or your partner already get certain benefits
You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 3 months after the baby’s birth.
You don’t have to pay the grant back and it won’t affect your other benefits or tax credits.
Read about your eligibility and how to claim on the Government website here.
Child benefit is paid to parents (or guardians) of children up to the age of 16.
If you or your partner has an income of more than £50,000 then you will have to pay a tax charge.
The sum is usually paid every four weeks and the amount paid depends on the number of children that you have.
The rates are currently:
|Who the allowance is for||Rate (weekly)|
|Eldest or only child||£20.70|
|Additional children||£13.70 per child|
Read more about what you will get and how to claim here.