Cost of having children soaring sky high
PARENTS-TO-BE have been warned that it's now more expensive than ever to bring a child into the world, and competition among parents to have the best gadgets and accessories is driving up the price.
A Sunday Mail analysis has revealed the staggering cost of a child in its first year, with parents paying up to $1500 a year for baby food, $1300 for formula, and more than $300 for a car seat.
Experts say the trend towards parenting becoming an "accessory sport" is burdening the bank balances of new parents buying sometimes unnecessary goods.
Day care in Brisbane's CBD can cost $123 a day, while a Brisbane babysitter can cost $15 to $35 an hour.
Leading demographer and social researcher Mark McCrindle said it was more expensive to raise a child now than ever before.
"No one wants a hand-me-down pram anymore, attitudes are changing," he said.
"General safety and equipment lists have enhanced and expanded - most parents now want a baby monitor."
Mr McCrindle said parenting had become an accessory sport.
"People used to focus on the baby; now there's a focus on the whole journey, through pregnancy and towards the birth," he said.
"Most expecting parents are connecting with others who have recently had kids.
"A lot of that is shared, and it does become a little bit of a social expectation."
University of Queensland financial expert David Morrison said parents needed to remember that having a child was costly.
"There is room among the joy of being a new parent to consider the child's welfare, and part of that welfare is ensuring that there will be enough money to support and educate the child and, importantly, to give the child an awareness of money," Associate Professor Morrison said.
"Saving for future events, including for children, requires a mindset, and even the smallest amounts put to one side and not touched will be useful in the longer run."
Having a child in a public hospital is free under Medicare, however costs can vary if a mother uses a GP who doesn't bulk bill, or had scans or used a pathologist outside the hospital.
According to choice.com.au, Bupa estimated that a private patient could be slapped with out-of-pocket expenses of up to $7392 for an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Katie Lavercombe, managing director of Mums of Brisbane, a website where mothers can get advice and connect with other mums, said in addition to all the accoutrements, childcare fees were a major cost.
"It's a huge shock when you have to start paying daycare fees," said Ms Lavercombe, who is expecting her fourth child.
"There are six years between my first and fourth child.
"I don't think prices have gone up too much, but I think there are more things on the market now that are a little bit cheaper."
Ms Lavercombe said the cost of having a child and time out from the workforce were deterring wannabe parents from taking the plunge.
THRIFTY MUM KEEPS COSTS DOWN
MOTHER-of-two Jessica Marsden says the key to keeping baby costs down is buying second-hand - and avoiding gimmicks.
Ms Marsden, who has two under two, said new parents should expect to spend anywhere from $5000 to $10,000 in the first year of their baby's life.
She made the decision to have their children in the public health system, which saved them money, and said she was also careful at managing family finances.
"I took all of my leave that I'd accumulated at half pay so that gave me a good nine to 10 months of paid leave," she said.
"Technically our budget didn't change for the first 10 months. I also bought everything while I was still working."
Ms Marsden said she was an avid customer on Gumtree and Facebook's Marketplace.
"My second pregnancy was less because I reused a lot," she said.
The mother bought the majority of her furniture such as a highchair and change table second hand.
"I spent about $500 (on furniture). Clothes I probably spent between $200 and $300 because they grow so fast.
"I went to baby shops, I made a list of what I wanted, pretended I wanted to buy then I went and sourced them on Gumtree."