I guess this is a topic we’ve visited quite a lot recently but here’s another angle. A few weeks ago I blogged on the soaring costs of child care but a new study by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, has exposed the amount of debt that parents get in to just by simply planning and then having a baby. I can really relate to this as my son’s father stopped working just a couple of months into my maternity leave which meant we were forced to get a loan and then live off credit cards – a battle I am still fighting now (alone)! It definitely played a part in me cutting my maternity leave shorter than planned and would without a doubt be a greater consideration if I were to have another child in the future.
I guess before you have a baby you just think you’ll have them and afford it somehow. I lost count of the people who would say ‘There is no ‘good’ time to have a baby’ or ‘you can never ‘afford’ a baby – you just have to do it!’. I now look back and wonder if I was irresponsible in my planning (or lack of) for a baby. However, it is true I was in a much better position than my mum was when she had me and my sister age 19!!
The study did again make me see just how difficult society makes it for us to have children these days though. These are the main findings of the study and I have to say the figures are staggering:
• Nearly three in ten new mums (28%) end up in the red because of maternity leave, racking up an average of almost £2,500 of debt – just a quarter (25%) feel financially prepared
• While one in ten (10%) resort to borrowing money from their family, 14% of new mums are forced to rely on credit cards, loans or overdrafts to make ends meet
• Almost a quarter (23%) delay having their first child because they can’t afford it and four in ten (39%) of those who don’t want any more children are put off by the cost
• New mums see their monthly household income nearly halve from almost £3,000 (£2,866) to just £1,654 when they go on maternity leave but more than four in ten (43%) don’t save any money to cover their time off
• More than one in ten mums (11%) cut short their maternity leave because of financial pressures, while 9% re-think their plans about not returning to work.
It is the fall in income for mums-to-be during maternity leave that could really push many over the edge. It’s astounding that those going on maternity leave see their monthly household income nearly halve from almost £3,000 (£2,866) to just £1,654. Yet more than four in ten (43%) don’t save any money to cover their time off. I’d hazard a guess that this is probably because many of us either don’t earn enough to save or underestimated the cost of having a baby.
To make things worse, at the same time as experiencing a drop in income, first-time mums are spending money preparing for their new arrival. They are splashing out more than £1,400 on average during their maternity leave, but more than one in ten (13%) spend at least £2,500 feathering their nest. This is on top of an average spend of over £1,500 before going on maternity leave.
Now this part of the study really interested me as I know this side of motherhood how many gadgets and gimmicks I totally fell for however, there were a few products I was so glad I discovered and recommend to every new mum I know. So here are my top baby essentials I was really glad I purchased and also my top waste of money gimmicks I fell for. Why not add your own list and tag someone to do the same – we may just help some mums-to-be save a few pennies and unneccesary purchases!
Top baby essentials:
1. Lansinoh cream
2. Baby Bjorn carrier or sling
3. Proper breast feeding pillow – didn’t have one of these but would’ve saved backache
4. Burts Bee’s nappy cream
5. Muslins – you can NEVER have too many of these!
6. Travel change mat
Top wastes of space and money:
1. Fancy changing bags
2. Expensive baby bounce chairs
3. Strap on portable highchair – never worked and used once!
4. Moses basket/crib – only lasted 6-8 weeks! (Borrow one instead)
5. Carry-cot pram – only used for a few months better to get a from birth pushchair
We tag @realmummydiary @theempressmama @mammasaurusblog and @multiplemummy