Parenthood is both tiring and thrilling. As a soon-to-be parent it is easy to get carried away on this cloud of delight and angst, but amidst all the excitement, do not forget to budget for the new addition to your family.
There are serious financial implications when it comes to raising a child and it helps to start planning and budgeting as soon as you can. Removing as much financial pressure as your circumstances allow will give you the freedom to focus on the more important aspects of parenthood.
Counting Coins got tips from the experts at Zeeva about budgeting for soon-to-be parents.
According to Zeeva’s experts, a once-off amount or set-up costs (before your baby is born) can add up to R10 000, or in some cases R15 000. And as soon as your little pink foot has arrived, the estimated costs per month can vary between R5 000 and R8 000.
Here are a few things to take into account for your baby’s budget (before your due date and during your baby’s first and second year).
Equipment and accessories
The essential items you need to look at buying before baby arrives are a few things for the nursery like a cot, mattress, changing station/table, bath, curtains and bedding/linen. Other equipment include a carry cot, pram, baby bag, a car seat and a high chair (for eating purposes).
If there is room for accessories in the budget, these are considered optional. You should therefore shop around if you really have a need for a baby monitor, educational toys for stimulation, a bath thermometer, and/or humidifier, for example. Zeeva also encourages soon-to-be parents to save some bucks by considering second-hand items such as a stroller, changing station and high seat.
Kids grow up way too fast and that’s why your baby’s clothes need to be part of your monthly baby budget. You can save up to 50% by keeping your eyes open for discounts and end-of-season sales to buy your baby’s outfits in advance. Hand-me-downs from friends and family are always a welcome budget relief.
Food and formula
First of all, if you are considering breastfeeding, there are some costs involved, like a breast pump, breast pads, a feeding pillow and nipple cream. Total breastfeeding costs can amount to R3 000 to R5 000.
Your baby is also going to need baby formula and the price usually varies between R600 and R900 a month. When your baby is about six months old and you need to start giving him or her solid foods, consider steaming vegetables in the steamer instead of buying bottled baby food. It is not only a potentially healthier option (no added sugar), but it can also save you some money.
Nappies and toiletries
Your baby’s nappies and toiletries can be quite expensive. It is therefore essential that you include these in your baby budget. Your baby will start off with 4 to 12 nappies a day, going down to 6 to 8 a day in the first year. You’ll need a lot of size 3 and 4 nappies for your baby.
Toiletries are always welcome at baby showers (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) and include items like shampoo, oil, wipes, powder, bum cream, body lotion and nappy bags.
Medical aid (including check-ups and vaccinations)
Make sure that you have the necessary arrangements in place with your medical aid to include your baby-to-be as a dependent. You can make use of a state or private hospital, or a birth centre. Government hospitals are much cheaper, but soon-to-be parents tend to prefer private hospitals.
These days many women consider using a midwife to assist with childbirth at a birthing centre. Do your homework to find the best suitable solution for you, as well as for your budget. A normal birth is cheaper than a caesarean or emergency caesarean birth. Be sure to have an emergency fund tucked away, as your medical aid covers most costs, but not all costs. Potential costs you need to also take into account are medicine costs and professional fees charged by your gynaecologist, anaesthetist, obstetrician and/or paediatrician.
Note: government health clinics are free of charge when it comes to your baby’s immunisation, but private clinics have expenses involved.
Childcare and daycare
Childcare is a hot topic these days. Whether your baby is taken care of at home or at a crèche, parents want their babies to be in a safe, happy, educational and healthy environment, and they will spend a lot of money to make sure that their baby is taken care of in the best way possible. According to Zeeva’s Smart Women, Smart Money 2017 survey that was completed by over 3000 women, mothers spend more than 10% of their nett salary on their children. Zeeva therefore encourages mothers to do their homework to find a suitable, yet affordable option, like a family member’s help, a nanny or a daycare. Daycare costs, for example, can vary between R2000 and R4000 depending on the area.
Expecting a baby is a blessing and an exciting time for soon-to-be parents. Don’t let baby budgeting unnerve you and let you miss out on a wonderful new chapter in your life. Take the tips above into account and adjust your budget accordingly.