With the Duchess of Cambridge’s due date just a matter of days away on 13th July, mothers around the nation will sympathise with what she’s about to go through, no matter what their background.
Indeed, research from Experian CreditExpert reveals that – like Kate – more than half of mothers-to-be (53 per cent) are planning to work until the last minute before giving birth, while one in 10 (11 per cent) will then return to work as soon as they can.
However, this is where the similarities are likely to end, with the majority of UK parents starting financial preparations for a new baby an average of 12.3 months before the birth and two fifths (43 per cent) starting to save before even trying for a baby.
In addition, figures also show that two-fifths of prospective UK parents (38 per cent) have delayed having a baby for financial reasons.
Planning ahead is certainly prudent. According to the Experian CreditExpert research, it costs an average of £1,800 for a new arrival, with 13 per cent of parents-to-be expecting to spend more than £2,000, and eight per cent more than £4,000.
Yet despite this, one in 10 prospective parents (nine per cent) made no financial preparations until they knew they were pregnant – and one in 20 (six per cent) not until six months before the birth. And with 14 per cent looking to spread the cost with a credit card and six per cent with a loan, the research also shows the importance of parents getting their credit rating in good shape.
In order to make ends meet many parents choose to:
• Only shop during sales (33 per cent)
• Acquire baby items second hand from sites such as eBay or Freecycle (13 per cent) – rising to one in four (26 per cent) among parents looking for toys.
• Rely on presents from friends and family (14 per cent) – clothes (25 per cent of parents) and toys (25 per cent), in particular
• Use Hand-me-downs (18 per cent)
A new arrival is an exciting time – but it can be an expensive one. The key is to think carefully, and honestly, about how much a baby will cost. Start planning sooner rather than later, spread the cost over the course of your entire pregnancy, and try to make sure your credit score is in the best possible shape, so you can spread the cost of large one-off payments.
Remember that taking care of your finances is a key factor in how you may get credit now and in the future.
Get into the habit of reviewing your Experian credit report on a regular basis, as the more you know about how your credit report works, and how lenders use it, the easier it is to take control of your credit status – and increase your chances of being offered the best credit rates when you need it. Make sure everything is accurate and up to date, and query anything that isn’t.
Your little bundle of joy can come with a large price tag, but there are ways to give your child the very best start in life without breaking the bank.