Starting a family is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. When inviting your first little one into the world, you’re paving the way for a lifetime of love and fulfillment.
That said, with the joy comes a number of considerations. Growing your family can be emotionally challenging, and isn’t always cheap. Raising a child can cost between $140 and $170 per week, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, on top of the additional expenses that come with preparing to start your family.
Careful planning gives you the peace of mind to focus on the joy of your new family.
Prepare for upfront expenses
One of the easiest expenses to overlook when you’re expecting is the upfront costs shouldered in preparing for the child. Between nursery furniture, strollers, car seats, toys and antenatal classes, some of your biggest expenses can crop up before the baby is even born. It’s a great idea to ensure you have enough saved up to cover these costs if you’re planning to start a family.
Otherwise, look to make savings where you can. Friends or family members who have recently had children may have perfectly good pieces they no longer need, or you might save considerably by turning to second-hand items from Gumtree or charity op-shops. Try to resist spending too much on items that will quickly become irrelevant – children grow faster than you’d expect, so you might find yourself having to update clothes often.
Other costs you might need to consider when starting a family include:
- Maternity clothes.
- Health insurance policies with obstetrics and childbirth cover.
- Nursing equipment.
- Pregnancy supplements.
- Breast pump, milk storage bags and/or baby formula.
- Doctor and allied health fees for the mother and child.
Even when adopting or growing your family via a surrogate, some of these may still apply. There are a lot of expenses to be accounted for when planning to start a family, but there are structures in place to help you manage your costs and ensure beginning your family is as rewarding as it should be.
Baby clothes are just the start – there’s lots that needs to be accounted for when growing your family.
Budget for the baby
Budgeting is about more than just your costs – you need to consider the money coming in, too.
Your income is likely to change when your child is born. It’s probable that you’ll take time off to care for your newborn or adopted baby. Currently, government-support parental leave is provided for a maximum of 18 weeks at the national minimum wage. This may be considerably less than what you’re already earning, and you might feel you need to take additional unpaid leave. Be sure to look at your legal leave entitlements, as well as any employer-provided parental support, in planning for your family.
With some foresight to your income and expenses, you can start to build a budget. Our Budget Planner tool will help you do this with ease.
Armed with your budget, you’ll have a better idea of where your biggest costs are – and this can really put into perspective just how much supposedly fixed costs are setting you back. Before the baby arrives, it’s a great idea to:
- Negotiate a better plan with your service providers: Mobile, internet, electricity, gas, insurance.
- Optimise your mortgage repayment plan or evaluate your rental costs.
- Settle smaller debts like outstanding credit cards, personal or car loans.
Are you saving enough for your child’s future?
Take every chance to save up
Balancing your budget is a huge victory when growing your family – having cash left at the end of the month to put under your mattress is a set above.
You might find yourself unable to save money when your first child arrives – don’t be disheartened by this! Remember that growing your family gets cheaper with each child, as you’ll already have many of the supplies you need. You’ll have more opportunities to accrue savings down the line, so be kind to yourself about your finances.
In the meantime, think about putting some money in a high-interest savings account before having a child. This way, even when your finances don’t allow for active savings you’re able to make some passive returns and benefit from compound interest.
Think about what you need to save up for. Depending on your values and expectations of your child’s education, you might prefer to save up more money to support a private high-school education.
Little in life comes easily – but loving your family is one exception. While you’re focusing on caring for your family, let the compassionate financial planners at Invest Blue care for your finances. Reach out today to learn more.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.