The Cost of the First Twelve Months

In the school that I work in we have had a wave of new babies being born over the past couple of years, such is the way when the staff is made up of mostly women under the age of 40. It's an absolute joy to see my colleagues realise the wonder of having their own little bundles of joy to enrich their lives, and of course I am able to have an excuse to crochet and use up some of my infinite supply of yarn (it's over-running our house!).

I've had quite a few discussions since having my son about the cost of having children, they are pricey little monkeys! And of course the first year seems to be the most expensive, especially as most of the money seems to be spent on 'consumable' or 'disposable' items; it makes juggling finances in the initial twelve months really hard, especially when parents having a limited income due to parental leave. Most of the time when someone says to me that they are waiting to have enough money to be able to afford the cost of having a baby I tell them that you'll never have enough and you make the pennies work. I became very resourceful making pasties, shopping at nearly new sales and generally being as frugal as possible.

When the shock of those first few years have passed, it's actually quite interesting to see the breakdown of the cost of having a child. The obvious comparison of the cost of feeding is obvious; breastmilk is free and if mums choose to breastfeed then they could save £1,500 during the first year! The interesting discovery for me was that reusable nappies aren't that much cheaper than disposables, only saving £100.

I was quite fortunate in not needing to use a private nursery or paid childcare as my mother was able to look after my son when I returned to work when he was 11 months old. He didn't attend a state nursery either as I felt he was too young to cope with it every day, but he did have a few sessions a week in a private preschool which my husband's boss paid for. We saved a lot on childcare during those first four years, thanks to extended family, but I was interested to see that the cost of childcare wasn't as much as I'd thought. This infographic produced by Busybees preschool in Leeds is intriguing and definitely worth looking at for new parents.



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