Starting a Family on a Budget
Life is full of expenses, from the everyday grocery shop and monthly energy bills through to those one-off but incredibly expensive events such as getting married and getting a mortgage. It can often feel like more time is spent trying to make ends meet than anything else, especially in a financial climate like the one we are in right now. And yet the cost of so many things seems to be rising right when household incomes are being stretched to their absolute limit.
So it is perhaps unsurprising when articles regularly appear in the media about the sheer expense of having a baby. The British newspaper The Express published an article this week suggesting that the cost of starting a family had risen to £10,500 ($16,750) and showed no sign of slowing down. Such a figure seems staggeringly high, and yet when you look at the cost of prams, nursery furniture and other essential equipment it is no wonder such an amount is reached.
When my husband and I first decided to start a family this figure worried us. We are living on a single income and there was no way we could afford thousands of pounds so early in our child’s life. And yet, having managed to plan and enjoy a beautiful wedding for the mere cost of £1700 ($2710) in 2010, an amount far below the average cost of £20,000 ($31,910) that many wedding magazines cite, we knew that we should be able to manage it within our own budget.
I gave birth to our son in September and the cost of equipping ourselves for his arrival has so far been well below £1000 ($1,595). It isn’t always easy seeing a cute outfit or super smart pram system, but we have shopped around and managed to find some real bargains. Our pram, for instance, cost a mere £150 ($240) from Amazon and is a fantastic three-wheeler. Our cot was second-hand, as were things like a swing seat and the highchair. All of his clothes have been gifts, including several sets in larger sizes. And despite being a larger expense to begin with, the cloth nappies we have bought will make a huge difference to our outlay later on.Continued on the next page