Family in kitchen

Baby bump in the road as money worries top reasons Brits delay starting a family

06 October 2021
  • Not feeling financially prepared is the top reason people are delaying starting a family – with half of expectant parents more worried about budgeting than giving birth
  • Other reasons include not wanting to give up weekend lie-ins, a vibrant social life and wanting to have a bigger house first
  • Barclays have partnered with Blossom Antenatal to provide Baby Budgeting sessions, educating and empowering expectant parents with money management

Money worries are causing people to delay having a baby, a new study by Barclays has found. Almost half of would-be parents (46 per cent) say feeling financially unprepared is the main reason they are choosing to postpone having a baby.

Whilst concerns over money was the most common cause for delay, others said that they wanted to focus on their career (39 per cent), didn’t feel emotionally prepared (30 per cent) or planned to buy a bigger home first (30 per cent).

A desire to continue with their current way of life was a recurring theme, with 17 per cent not ready to give up their social diary, 10 per cent wanting to still have their weekend lie-ins, and a handful not yet prepare to forego non-pregnancy friendly foods, such as soft cheeses (six per cent) or alcohol (five per cent).

The expected costs

When digging into the detail, the findings revealed the vast majority (95 per cent) want to have more money put aside before they feel ready to have a baby, expecting it to take on average three years before they feel financially prepared to add to their clan.

How soon-to-be parents have prepared

Barclays also surveyed those who are currently expecting a new arrival and found that two thirds (66 per cent) of soon-to-be parents delayed the decision until they had built a ‘baby buffer’ fund and had more money in their savings to cover the extra expenses. For the majority (56 per cent), this took them less than two years.

To help parents plan for a family and the future, Barclays has partnered with Blossom Antenatal to host two educational Baby Budgeting Money Mentors sessions. The free, open-to-all sessions will be taking place virtually on the 12th and 19th October, and will provide guidance to educate and empower expectant parents with their money management - whatever their budget**.

Top 10 reasons Brits are choosing to delay having a child

I don't feel financially prepared/need to save up more money


I want to focus on my career first


I don't feel emotionally prepared


I want to buy a bigger home first


The pandemic has caused so many uncertainties with jobs and income


I want to be fitter/healthier before falling pregnant


I want to make up for lost time due to the pandemic and enjoy a few more years of freedom


I am not ready to give up my social life/nights out


I am not ready to give up travel plans


I can't face the lack of sleep


Alice Jones, Head of Barclays Money Mentors said: “Making the decision to start a family is massive and sometimes there is truly nothing that can prepare you for parenthood! When it comes to your finances, it’s understandable that people want to ensure they feel prepared enough to accommodate the extra costs, whether that’s buying essentials for the baby, buying additional food or looking further ahead and saving for their future. Setting yourself a goal to save more money before you decide to start a family is a great way to helping feel more prepared and there are now so many tools that can help you to budget and create a plan to reach that goal.”

Clare Castell, founder of Blossom Antenatal, said: “Having worked with soon-to-be parents for a long time, we know how many questions and concerns people have about budgeting for a new arrival. Often, it’s the fact that there are so many unknowns that make people worry even more, particularly about how much things will truly cost. So that’s why we were so excited to work with Barclays on these bespoke sessions, that can really help address those questions and give guidance on how expectant parents can best prepare for both the immediate and long-term needs of their new family.”

Alice shares her expert tips on the steps you can take to feel more financially prepared when welcoming a new addition to the family:

1. Adjust your current spending and create a baby budget: When you’re expecting, the last thing you want are unexpected surprises, particularly when it comes to your finances. Our findings found that the top financial concerns around starting a family are the ability to save money to put towards the child’s future (45 per cent), the cost of childcare (44 per cent) and the cost of replacing baby clothes as they grow (31 per cent). So to try and ease those concerns, the first step to creating your baby budget is to understand your income and expenses, and how these might be impacted by maternity leave or changes to your income. Tools like the Barclays Budget Planner help you to calculate your monthly commitments, such as repayments and expenses, and work out your approximate disposable income. Remember that everyone’s financial situation is different, so make a budget that’s realistic and right for you and your family.

2. Try not to go ‘gaga’ over baby accessories: While it’s important to equip yourself with baby basics such as a pram and a new car seat, money spent on other items like the latest baby clothes or a newly furnished nursery can be minimised if you’re on a budget. Try not to feel pressured by those around you or adverts in magazines to invest in expensive brands – and don’t think you have to buy everything before the baby arrives. Buying the ‘must-haves’ and holding off on the ‘nice-to-haves’ will help you save a bundle of money, which can then be spent on something more essential later down the line.

3. Become a savvy shopper: Being clued up on where to bag a bargain and how to shop around for the best deal will help you save money to spend on the must-haves. We all know that babies grow fast, so buying clothes second-hand - whether that’s from a charity shop or hand-me-downs from friends - can help you save a small fortune, while also being kind to the planet. This also goes for baby equipment - no one is going to know that your pram hasn’t come straight from the box. There are lots of parenting groups online that can act as a marketplace for each other’s baby things – equally, bulk-buying, joining parental clubs offering discounted items, opting for reusable nappies and wipes, and digging out those voucher codes to help cut the costs.

4. Talk about it: We found that half of parents expecting a baby (50 per cent) say they’re still more nervous thinking about the extra expenses of having a child compared to actually giving birth. It can be easy to think you’re alone in worrying about how much having a baby will cost but, chances are, your partner, friends or family have had similar thoughts and perhaps have also been through it. It can be really beneficial to talk to someone about your current situation to get advice or support on how you can make savings where you can. Whether that is with your partner over dinner, a friend over coffee or a third party, discussing it out loud and discussing your options can really help you gain clarity on how to make your money work as hard as possible for you and your family. Barclays has a free and impartial service called Money Mentors where you can speak to someone and receive guidance on things such as budgeting and planning your finances for a baby.

5. Save for the future, a little can go a long way over time: Setting up your baby for financial success is important and something that can often slip down people’s priority list when they first have a new-born. Thinking beyond the day-to-day spending and considering the bigger picture can help you sufficiently prepare for expenses that will come later down the line. It’s amazing how saving little and often can pay off in the long run, for example, if you put aside £50 each month for your child, then you can have £10.8k saved by the time they’re 18 years old*.

To find out more about Barclay’s Money Mentors ®, a free service available to anyone looking for help on budgeting, saving and general money management, visit: www.barclays.co.uk/money-mentors

To find out more about Blossom Antenatal, visit:www.blossomantenatal.com