A new arrival can cause problems.
A new arrival can cause problems.

Budget to beat those baby blues

WITH Australia in the midst of the biggest baby boom in its history, Suncorp Bank has provided tips to soon-to-be parents on how to be financially prepared and avoid the baby blues.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates babies are being born at a rate of one every 107 seconds.

Suncorp Bank Regional general manager for the Sunshine Coast James McLellan said first-time parents often underestimated the expense of a new baby.

"The cost of medical bills, food, clothes, change tables, nappies and prams can add up to a small fortune," Mr McLellan said.

"It's especially important in the current financial climate for couples to be well prepared but as with most of life's milestone events, preparation is the key."

Suncorp Bank has developed five top tips for expectant parents:

Cut the baby fat from your budget

Work through your statements for the past three months and review how you're spending your money. Set up a separate account for bills, remembering to allocate funds towards yearly and quarterly bills as well as monthly bills.

Create a baby buffer

Establish a savings fund that will cushion the blow of unexpected expenses. It's a good idea to save six to 12 months in rent or mortgage repayments, depending on how long you plan to take leave.

Do your homework

Consider hospital and medical costs and check what you're covered for and what you're not. Do you have private health insurance? Under the Federal Government's new scheme eligible working parents can receive 18 weeks of government funded Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage ($589.40 a week before tax). You may also be eligible for some family tax benefits.

Block out the baby sales babble

Do your research and ask other parents what was useful and what they rarely used. Look for second-hand items and remember babies quickly grow out of new clothes.

Look to the future

Baby expenses don't end when babies grow up. It's wise to start saving for future expenses such as school fees as soon as possible. Consider setting up a high interest online savings account or put some money aside in a term deposit to make your money work harder.