New baby costs a third of salary as parents pay £184 a week

More than two-thirds of parents worry about how they can save for costs which might occur. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Caring for a new baby costs more than £9,500 in first year of parenthood – a third of the average annual salary – research has revealed.
A report has found that new parents will spend £184 a week on necessities such as food, clothing, nappies and childcare for their baby, equating to £9,568 in the first year of parenthood. The figure is a third of the UK average salary of £28,000.

Meanwhile, the government’s statutory maternity pay of £139.58 leaves parents with a weekly shortfall of £44.42 – or more than £2,300 a year – even without accounting for other costs such as housing costs or food for adults.

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Ahead of their baby’s arrival, living in a suitable home and having adequate savings in the bank to cover expenses ranked as the most important factor for 80 per cent and 59 per cent respectively of the respondents to the survey by Comparethemarket.

Jody Coughlan, head of life insurance atcomparethe­, said: “The cost of living is increasing for many, but new parents are at the sharp end of this. When a baby arrives, parents have to buy items they have never budgeted for before, such as nappies, baby clothes and childcare – a challenge when parents will already be living off a reduced income.”

He added: “However, parents shouldn’t panic; there are many ways of keeping costs down. For example, switching to a cheaper supermarket while on maternity leave and using fewer branded items, or simply cutting down on the amount of petrol used, taking your new baby out for some long walks in the fresh air instead. All of these things can save vital pounds.”

Although 72 per cent of people expecting a baby planned to take their full maternity or paternity leave, nearly two-thirds of parents and parents to be questioned said they are concerned that their maternity or paternity pay is not enough to cover the additional expense of having a baby.

The survey also found that the cost of having a baby is also preventing parents from planning for their children’s future. More than two-thirds of parents worry about how they can save for costs which may incur as their offspring gets older, and one in ten do not think they will be able to put aside any money at all towards their child’s future.

Food for the baby was ranked as the most expensive outlay at £62, followed by the cost of childcare at £46 a week for a baby aged 12 months or under.

Clothing and nappies cost £28 and £20 respectively, parents said.