True financial cost could put you off

Our Mumblings columnist Sally Haslewood.
Our Mumblings columnist Sally Haslewood.

I genuinely think that when planning a family, if you actually wrote down the true financial cost of bringing up children, very few of us would actually feel like we could afford it.

Never mind the projected costs of getting a child up to and though university (a recent Guardian article put the figure at over £218,000 to get a child to age 21!) those first few years are bad enough.

A nearly new sale is taking place at the hall of Harrogate's St Wilfrid's Church, above, on Sunday.

A nearly new sale is taking place at the hall of Harrogate's St Wilfrid's Church, above, on Sunday.

When you fall pregnant, a whole new world of spending opens up to you. There is so much stuff that you “need” to buy. I say “need” loosely as most of the baby equipment out there you don’t actually need. It’s either alluring, irresistible or (the killer sales pitch) it is sold with the promise that it’ll help your little one sleep.

For me, the spending went something like this; tentative early purchases (the big ones, best purchased when I was still at work and earning!) Changing unit, pushchair, car seat, and cot.

As much as these were big ticket items, they do get plenty of use so I didn’t begrudge (or rather my husband didn’t begrudge) spending a bit on these items.

Next came the other bits of kit that I was assured from mummy friends “in the know” that I would need. Steriliser, breast pump and bottles, Moses basket, change mat, baby bath, top and tail bowl, changing bag, bouncy chair, bumbo. The list was endless.

Then there were the clothes and the ensuing perils of baby sizes. Would he/she be a chunk or scrawny? How many of each size would I need? What colours should I choose?

I was extremely fortunate in that my brother and sister-in-law had just come through the baby phase having had a little girl 12 months earlier. They had very kindly said that I could have all of their hand-me-downs on the proviso that I was not allowed to pick and choose. If I signed up to the deal I had to take the lot.

And my goodness what a lot there was! As my brother reversed up my drive that day and opened up the boot of his full-to-bursting people carrier, I nearly passed out. Surely the little scrap couldn’t possibly need half this much “stuff”.

Well I was right and I was wrong. It is amazing how many clothes you go through with a newborn but I was also surprised to see that some of the items had barely been warn and some still even had tags on.

As my daughter grew I realised that in that first year particularly, they grow so quickly that she also didn’t get to wear all the lovely outfits and a lot of it went back to my brother in perfect condition when his second daughter made her appearance a year later.

It’s the same with toys, we have an obscene amount. Post Christmas is the worst when our house resembles a ransacked Toys R Us. I’m ashamed to admit that although some books and toys are well loved and regularly played with, others remain untouched.

The thing is, you can’t second guess which ones will be a hit and why.

So what’s the solution? The Harrogate MUMbler Baby and Child Nearly New Sale of course! This is a fantastic local event where you can grab a real bargain. From maternity wear, safety equipment, prams, clothes, toys and books, there is something for everyone. The event is on Sunday, July 22 from 2-3.15pm at St Wilfrid’s Church Hall on Duchy Road. Admission for buyers is £1.