Column: Babies can be expensive but I’ve been finding ways to make savings

Can you afford the latest luxury item? In the past that was a handbag, some shoes or a fancy watch. Now having children has been described as a luxury, says comedian and writer Steve N Allen.
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As someone who recently welcomed their second child just over a month ago, it doesn’t feel like I am living the life of luxury right now.

I have a son who’s under two and now a daughter who’s a newborn. My life is filled with crying all night. One day soon I’ll stop doing that.

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The reason kids are now considered a luxury item is a report that examined the falling birthrate in the UK.

Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.
Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the ‘total fertility’ rate fell to 1.49 children per woman in 2022. That’s well below the 2.1 rate needed to maintain a steady population.

I’ve been responsible for 2.0 babies per wife but I don’t know how to get 0.1. I’ll leave that to someone else.

One of the reasons for a drop in the number of babies we’re churning out is thought to be the cost. Yes, babies can be expensive but I’ve been finding ways to make savings. My second child has a lot of hand-me-downs from her older brother.

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It’s a smart move because she’s wearing things with rockets, cars and trains on them. They suited her brother and now it looks like I’m a progressive dad who’s helping his daughter get into STEM subjects early.

"It takes money to raise a child but there’s nothing top-end about spending half an hour trying to get a baby to drink from a bottle only for her to spit it all up down your jumper", says Steve N Allen."It takes money to raise a child but there’s nothing top-end about spending half an hour trying to get a baby to drink from a bottle only for her to spit it all up down your jumper", says Steve N Allen.
"It takes money to raise a child but there’s nothing top-end about spending half an hour trying to get a baby to drink from a bottle only for her to spit it all up down your jumper", says Steve N Allen.

Paradoxically, it’s not the cost of the child that’s pricing some potential parents out, it’s the housing market. People can’t afford to buy a house or to buy one with the required average of 2.1 rooms for the kids.

If you can’t get the house you put off having the family.

We solved this by moving my home office out to the shed. Now we have two children and I get to write my newspaper columns surrounded by spiders.

Joeli Brearley, chief executive of Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “Procreation has become a luxury item in the UK.”

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This confuses expensive with luxury. It’s expensive to have a child but there’s nothing luxurious about changing nappies by the light of your phone’s torch app.

It takes money to raise a child but there’s nothing top-end about spending half an hour trying to get a baby to drink from a bottle only for her to spit it all up down your jumper.

Babies don’t even look that stylish. Paris Hilton had a little dog in a handbag. You try that with a child and you get some funny looks.

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