Big bucks: how much does having a baby really cost?

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images 

It's no secret that having children costs money, but do you know just how much you need to put aside when preparing to have a baby?

A report by Picodi has broken down the expenses that come with having a child; looking into items such as food, clothes, and nappies, bedding, changing table and transport for the first year of a child's life.

The baby "kit" consists of items from a shopping list is divided into seven different categories, made up by basic needs as well as some non-essential items. The "standard kit" came to around $AU5000 which, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is just a little less than the average net monthly wage in Australia in November 2019.  Meaning it costs around one month's pay when preparing for a new baby. The "expanded kit" containing a wider range of baby items added up to just over $AU9,000.

The report was released by Picodi

The report was released by Picodi Photo: Picodi

The study compared how much the standard "child preparation kit" costs in comparison to countries all around the world. While Australia and the USA were at the top of the list, having to pay equivalent of one month's salary, the items in the UK are worth 1.9 of the average monthly wage. The worst off were Mexicans and Filipinos, needing to pay 6.3 and 7 of their monthly salaries.

Financial Adviser Canna Campbell says having a plan in place to save for a baby can help relieve the financial stress.

"Scrap those lists," Campbell urges, saying don't go to Google to research what you should buy. "Only buy what you need. You don't need half or even three quarters of the things on those lists."

Campbell suggests keeping an eye on items you like until they go on sale

Campbell suggests keeping an eye on items you like until they go on sale. Photo: Getty Images

Instead, she suggests talking to other parents to see what they have needed with their kids or what they would recommend.

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Other tips include buying secondhand items, buying a "belly band" to wear over the top pants and skirts instead of buying maternity clothes, buying things slowly when they're on special and purchasing multi-purpose items.

Campbell also recommends sitting down and working out a budget.

Campbell advises buying some items second hand if possible to save money

Campbell advises buying some items second hand if possible to save money. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

"Sit down with your credit card statement and your bank statements so you can see what all your individual living expenses for both you and your partner and all your other family members are," she explains, "once you have done this you then need to go and do a new budget or an updated budget factoring in all the costs and expenses of having this new family member".

She says it's important to do this with your partner so you're both on the same page, encouraging talking about maternity leave and childcare costs early on.

The mother of two also encouraged mothers-to-be to do some research for any government entitlements you may be eligible for, such a family tax benefits.

"Find out the types of government support and how much they might be and of course what are the limits and thresholds and the process to apply for it," she said. "Even if it's just a small amount it can help make a big difference".

There are government websites also available to help budget for a baby, including moneysmart.gov.au, that provides a baby budget calculator, information about private and public healthcare and information about government benefits, paid leave and superannuation.