Updated: Apr 15, 2020
My husband and I always knew that we wanted kids however, the amount was always where we would agree to disagree until further notice lol...
I wanted 8 kids, he wanted 3. I compromised and said 5, he said we'll see. Then I had my first.... I can now tell you the idea of 8 is a funny joke we tell!
I've always been a planner by nature and so as soon as we knew things were getting serious between us, we pretty much started savings for the things we wanted and one of those things was for our first child.
I'm good with savings. One of the first things I knew we would need is A LOT of money, especially as we did not want to have to compromise on the things we actually wanted. In order to have a figure to work towards, I looked at all the different things I knew we would want, how long I wanted to be off on maternity then added all the figures up. When I tell you I went into detail...... just have a look at some of the things that were on my list.
6 months wages Pram, cot bed & side cot Baby Clothes (up to 1 year) Baby grows short & long sleeve (30 each up to 1 year) Baby pj's (up to 1 year, 7 for each stage) Nappies up to 18 months Muslin squares (40 pack) Baby shoes up to 1 year Baby wardrobe set Rocking Chair Rug x2 Breast pump .......
The list was extensive and also included the estimated costs of everything that was on it and I was always adding to it. It really helped in getting a figure we could work towards and also meant we weren't going in blind to the cost.
We already knew where we would be living when baby was around so for us, we were quite lucky in that sense. The house was big enough for us to have 2 more kids should we have wished and it did not need a lot doing to it, just some paint and a lot of IKEA which was also part of the 'Move In' budget I also had. It's becoming very evident that I do love a budget, excel is indeed my BFF!
What I wish I had done differently...
One thing that we did not account for was childcare cost. Childcare in the UK is crazy expensive and I found this was my biggest stress and source of anxiety. Finding a nursery as a first time mom is stressful enough as it is (that will be another post) but the cost will give you a heart attack. I was the first in my friend group who was a mother and was about to become a working mother, so I didn't really have anyone to warn me about childcare and the stress. Plus my parents never experienced that as my siblings and I were raised in Zimbabwe until we were teens.
So I would definitely advise that in your 'Baby to come Budget' try and add 6 months worth of whatever you think the nursery costs would be. I say nursery because good nurseries do not come cheap and fees tend to be higher than a childminder. So if you base your amount on 6 months worth of nursery then you're chilling. By having that money set aside, you make things easier for yourselves when it's time to go back to work as you have that 6 month buffer to re-adjust and ease yourself back in
I will be honest, I do wish we had bought our house first purely because it was a lot easier to save when baby wasn't around. It's not impossible to save, it's easier when it's the two of you as you don't have the financial responsibility of another life to think about. So if you have the opportunity to purchase your house before starting your family, I would definitely suggest it!
One thing I definitely did not do that I wish I had done was therapy/counselling.
The reason I say this is because becoming a mother is a MASSIVE change that no one prepares you for. I genuinely think that even prior to trying for a baby and becoming pregnant, speaking to a therapist to just help prepare you for the journey ahead is a great idea. Even if it's not a therapist but rather someone who is impartial and can make you think about everything that may come including the challenges of getting pregnant is very important.
I went in thinking, as soon as the money is there, we'll start trying then after 2 months i'll be pregnant. I was crushed when that didn't happen. My mental health did suffer and I felt like I was defective. It wasn't until I spoke to someone that I was able to come out of that and also begin to mentally prepare for what was to come when I did get pregnant.
Given the information we had to hand, my husband and I prepared as best we could and that really did help us. If you're still in the planning stage, speak to as many mothers as you can for advice & tips because every journey to life is so different. Knowledge is power, so the more real life examples you have, the more prepared you can be!