First time parents driven into debt preparing for new baby
Yet when it comes to funding that spending spree, most families have less than £1,000 in savings, (£928 to be precise), according to research from insurance company Aviva.
And while it's easy to get swept up into making a list of all those "must have" items featured in glossy baby magazines, how much of the stuff we buy do we really truly need or even use?
Six out of ten of us admit to splashing out on stuff that we didn't need or even use. And such is the growing financial pressure on new parents that it's hardly surprising we're spending beyond our means.
This can mean a debt ridden start to family life, but it's not just pushchairs, cots, clothes, car seats and nappies we're spending on. Over one in four parents-to-be change their car in the run up to the birth, clocking up an average cost of £2,658, and one in four families move house to make more room for their new baby. This knocks up an average bill of £20,813.
So how can you protect your finances?
Five ways to avoid baby debt:
1. Watch your bank balance
Slipping into the red can cost £10 a day with some banks. Always apply for an overdraft, even if you don't plan to use it, as charges will be much cheaper if you do go overdrawn.
2. Don't take out loans
If you've got short term cash flow problems, get a credit card with a 0 per cent rate on new purchases. Deals with Tesco and M&S Money last up to fifteen months, but make sure you clear your card before the deal ends.
3. Make a list of what you think you need
Make sure you ask the advice of other parents before buying and check if there's things you can borrow first. Aviva say baby slings, special toiletries and bouncy baby chairs were high on the "'unused" list.
4. Buy on eBay
While some items like car seats should always be bought new, you can get great bargains on baby monitors or high chairs. Always resell anything you no longer use.
5. Claim every penny you can
This includes tax credits, child benefit and tax rebates if you've stopped working. Go to Hmrc.gov.uk for details.
More on Parentdish: Our guide to shopping for second hand baby gear
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