Budgeting for baby - we have some tips Featured

Finding out that you are pregnant, is one of the most exciting and scary events of your life. 

The magical image of a new life being brought into the world is pitted against the massive responsibility that the tiny bundle will bring with it.  Whilst women tend to spend more time in the euphoric period, men tend to fixate on the financial implications that this tiny bundle will bring. Planning is important but it need not be too stressful.

Lerato (24) from Germiston was a college student when she found out that she was expecting. She was suddenly faced with being a single parent, with little financial support from her carefree boyfriend.  Without medical aid, Lerato gave birth in a government hospital and her daughter had very few new clothes.  Fortunately a neighbour had had a baby a few months before, so she could benefit from the hand-me-downs and her family were very supportive. Due to financial constraints she was forced to use towelling nappies which is a lot of hard work. Lerato felt sad that she couldn’t give her baby more luxuries and she had to drop out of college in order to support her child, relying on her parents to care for her baby during the day to avoid childcare costs.

The bills add up quickly

Tania (21) from Florida was thrown out of home when she told her mother that she was pregnant.  She was terrified. With only a part-time job, Tania realised that she would not be able to give her baby all the niceties that she had hoped to.  She was forced to move in with her boyfriend’s family and although she was spoilt at her baby shower, the outlay for the cot, compactum, baby bath and feeding chair, were more expensive than she had anticipated. Tania says she remembers the shock of pricing the practical items such as the pram, car seat, clothes and consumables (nappies, wet wipes and bathing accessories) and she felt overwhelmed by all the new costs that she would have to factor in to her already tight budget. She started buying no-name nappies every month leading up to the birth and says her most expensive consumables are milk and nappies for her baby. Her baby is 15 months old and she says that although it’s been tough, it has all worked out for them.

Hidden costs

Doctor’s bills, gynae check-ups and baby scans can mount up quickly and once the baby is born, regular check-ups with your clinic sister for weight and height measurements, vaccinations and the odd ear infection need to be taken care of together with the prescribed medication. Working moms need to factor in the reduction or loss of salary during their maternity leave and then childcare costs when returning to work. It is also important to assess whether your house is able to accommodate a baby or whether you need to look for alternative accommodation.

Careful Planning is Key

Bringing a new baby into your family will obviously bring extra costs, however it does not mean that the financial burden should be all-consuming.  As new parents we want to give our babies the best we can, but realistically, many of the material things we think are important, the baby does not need. Baby items are used for a very short period of time, so research is critical.  Fortunately the internet has numerous sites to assist you with good value choices, essential versus non-essential items and second-hand stores.

There is no exact cost to budget for a baby, but for a middle-class family, a good estimate would be approximately R3 000 per month.  This amount would vary depending on the baby’s age and health and whether a mother is breastfeeding or using formula, nappy choices as well as the childcare chosen.

Additional Resources

http://financialplan.about.com/cs/familyfinances/a/CanYouAffordKid.htm; http://www.pregnancymagazine.com

About the writer:

Lisa Walker is an entrepreneur with a strong background in marketing and a special interest in babies and young children. She left her position at a multinational pharmaceutical company, where she headed up the Nutrition Division, to become an independent marketing and business consultant.  This move allowed her the flexibility to take on a range of different projects and also to be a more hands-on mom to her 3 young children aged 7, 5 and 2 years.

Lisa also lectures marketing and entrepreneurship at the AAA School of Advertising and is a freelance writer.

Blog address: athomewithmyblt.blogspot.com

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