The costs of having a baby can quickly add up, so it’s important to start budgeting as soon as you start planning a family or know you’re pregnant. Upfront costs can include:
- Maternity clothes
- Baby clothes and nappies
- Bottles and formula
- Cot (including a mattress, sheets and blankets)
- Other equipment such as a change table, pram and car seat
To keep costs under control, think about buying second-hand goods. Check garage sales and charity shops or join groups on social media where parents are selling or giving away items. Find out the retail price of new items so that you get a good deal and make sure the items are safe before you buy them.
Family and friends might also have items they can lend you or hand-me-downs they can give you.
Costs of having a baby in a public hospital
Get an estimate of all the costs from your health care professionals so you have a clear idea of the expenses. Also talk to people who have children to find out what it cost them and how they managed the costs.
The medical costs of having a baby usually include:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Ultrasounds and special medical tests
- Birthing classes
If you have your baby in a public hospital or birthing centre as a public patient, all the basic costs are covered by Medicare. Medicare will also cover medical expenses such as routine ultrasounds, however some expenses, for example ‘3D’ scans, are not covered.
If you use a private hospital with your own obstetrician, Medicare will only cover some of the costs. If you have private health insurance, call your fund to see what medical expenses they will cover and the evidence you’ll need to provide when you lodge a claim.
Taking time off work
There are also ongoing costs that you’ll have to factor into your budget. These include time off work and the impact that will have on your super balance.
Working part-time or taking time off paid work to have a baby can also affect your super.
Work out ways to improve your super balance for your retirement while taking time off paid work.
Budgeting for a baby
Start your budget with your current income and expenses. If you don’t know where your money goes, try tracking your spending for 2 weeks, then put the details in our budget planner. Add the extra expenses you’ll have once the baby arrives (nappies, baby food, nursery equipment etc) and make adjustments for any changes to your income if you or your partner take time off work.
Ask your employer about your paid leave entitlements like maternity leave, recreation or annual leave, long service leave or unpaid leave.
Try to keep your bank balance healthy by sticking to your budget.