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Budgeting for a baby: What to expect to buy when you’re expecting

The various expenses of budgeting for a baby you can expect when you’re expecting can certainly amount to high costs. Whether you’re a first-time parent or adding to your growing family, having a clear understanding of what to expect financially can help alleviate some of the stress and allow you to focus on the joy of welcoming a new addition to your family.

They say the only thing a baby needs is love and cuddles. And nappies. And perhaps a cot, pram, change table, baby wipes, clothes and toys. Lots of toys. Did we mention a car seat? Budgeting for a baby can quickly add up, so to help newly expecting families plan their finances, we are pleased to estimate the first-year costs of having a baby for first-time parents and we share our tips for keeping costs down.

(Our estimates do not include costs associated with prenatal, post-natal or paediatric medical care. For those costs, please talk with your care providers and/or health insurer.)

How much should I save for a baby?

When it comes to preparing for a baby, one of the most important things to consider is how much to save. According to the 2023 Choosi Cost of Kids Report, it is recommended that Australians save around $31,000 before the arrival of their child. This will help cover the various expenses that come with raising a baby. Additionally, it is estimated that parents will spend an average of $12,823 per year ($1,069 worth of monthly costs) on their children. By having a savings plan in place, you can ensure that you are financially prepared for the out of pocket costs associated with having a baby. 

Common expenses for budgeting for a baby

When it comes to budgeting for a baby, there are several common expenses that you should be prepared for. These include upfront costs such as nursery furniture, baby gear, and clothing. Additionally, there are ongoing costs like disposable diapers or cloth nappies, formula or baby food, healthcare expenses, private health insurance and any unexpected expenses. Childcare is another major expense to consider, as well as the potential loss of income if one parent decides to stay at home or reduce their working hours to care for the baby. By understanding and planning for these expenses, you can better prepare for the financial responsibilities that come with having a baby.

Upfront costs

To start off, let’s have a look at the little one-time costs that may seem inexpensive at first, but can quickly add up to a four-digit checkout cart.

These average costs are built off estimates provided by a mum (and expert Money Coach) at MyBudget:

  • Car seat: $250 – $1000
  • Toys & books: $100 – $1000
  • Baby clothes (which they’ll quickly grow out of): $200/quarter
  • Pram: $250 – $600
  • Cot, mattress & bedding: $300 – $500
  • High chair: $100 – $300
  • Baby seat / bouncer: $100 – $300
  • Breast pump: $20 – $300
  • Baby monitors: $100 – $250
  • Bottles & teats: $100 – $250
  • Change table: $100 – $250
  • Nappy bag: $50 – $150
  • Swaddling blankets: $50 – $100
  • Plastic tableware: $10 – $60
  • Changing pad: $10
  • Sippy cups: $10/each
  • Dummies: $10/each (expect to lose a few in your first year)

However, it’s important to remember that all of these item’s prices are based upon “if bought brand new”, and this is where you can save (a lot). Items like baby clothes and the like don’t get used much because babies will grow out of them quickly. A new pram can set you back a few hundred dollars but a used one can cut that number down significantly.

Family and friends would tend to have a lot of these items lying around after their children have grown up and if they don’t plan on having anymore, they’d likely be more than willing to part with a lot of them. There are thousands of baby products on the market. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement but you can keep extra costs (and clutter) under control by keeping it simple. You could save money by borrowing equipment, accepting hand-me-downs or finding other thrifty methods.

Ongoing costs

When you consider how much you should be budgeting for a baby, you must also factor in the ongoing expenses. These may include increasing the grocery budget, nappies, wipes, creams, medical costs, formula (if using) and even an increase in utilities (electricity and water for example).

Going online to do your grocery shopping can help you to become a lot more mindful of what you actually need and being more conscious of your utility usage can save you a lot on your next bills.

Child Care

Child care is certainly a critical part of many people’s return to work plan but it’s also another important expense to factor in. The annual cost of child care can vary depending on multiple factors, so doing some research on local centres will help you with understanding your options.

Are you able to ask family members for help? Babysit? If your parents are retired, they may be able to care for your baby while you return to work; even if it’s just a couple days per week, it still allows you to reduce the amount of days child care is required. As an added bonus, your baby will get to spend time with loved ones, and that time is priceless.

However if your options are limited, you may be eligible for the Child Care Rebate and/or Child Care Subsidy. To learn more, contact the Australian Government Department of Human Services ( for information.

If all of this seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. MyBudget has been helping families transform their money and their lives for over 20 years. For a free appointment, don’t hesitate to call us on 1300 300 922 or contact us via:

Reduced income

When a parent takes time off work once the baby is born, this can put a huge strain on your current budget. Accounting for this is an essential part of budgeting for a baby and should be considered months in advance.

You may be eligible for one or more government subsidies and government benefits, such as the Paid Parental Leave scheme, the Newborn Upfront Payment & Newborn Supplement and Family Tax Benefit payments. To learn more, contact the Australian Government Department of Human Services ( for information.

Baby groups on Marketplace

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take solace in the fact that you are not alone. Some MyBudget mums have suggested joining baby groups on Facebook Marketplace to source hand-me-downs and/or sell items that their little ones have grown out of.

Babies only use clothes and other items for a short period of time, and so will yours. Buying second-hand prams, books, toys and more can save you hundreds of dollars.

Budgeting for a baby tip: Have a baby shower

A baby shower is a fantastic way to get friends and family together to pitch in for your soon-to-arrive bundle of joy.

To avoid doubling-up, you can host the shower before you go shopping. Creating a baby registry is the perfect way to ensure you are gifted the items you need the most.

How can MyBudget help me to budget for a baby?

MyBudget has helped over 130,000 Australians live their lives free from money worries, and we’ve helped countless families and single parents feel the relief of financial security. No matter what stage you’re in with building your family, whether you’re expecting your first and don’t know where to start with your first baby budget or you have some kids already and want help managing your household income while not having to rely on credit cards, MyBudget can help.

To get started, be sure to call MyBudget on 1300 300 922 or enquire online today.

Ready to find out more?

Call 1300 300 922 or get started today

This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.