Need an excuse to flake on dinner with the in-laws? A new Canstar Blue survey revealed that one in five Aussie parents (20%) use their baby to get out of social plans. The same portion of mums and dads also use their little ones as a reason to call off work or avoid doing housework.
But while a baby can make for a good excuse to get out of pesky obligations, Canstar Blue’s latest parenting survey of more than 1,200 new parents who’ve bought or used a baby product in the last three years, suggests Aussies are also feeling the financial pinch and social pressures of parenting.
Babies impact household budgets & lifestyle
More than a third (36%) of new parents reported underestimating how much it would cost to have and care for a baby, and a whopping 40% said they had to cut back on discretionary spending or seek extra income to cover the cost of a new bub.
When asked to choose the single biggest lifestyle impact of parenthood, here’s how the survey participants responded:
- Financial situation: 20%
- ‘Me’ time (i.e. gym, relaxation, etc.): 20%
- Social life: 16%
- Time management or routine: 14%
- Career: 13%
- Relationship: 11%
Canstar Blue Home & Lifestyle Editor, Megan Birot, said: “As most parents would know, having a baby impacts most, if not all, areas of life, whether that’s work-life balance, household budgets, or our relationships with others.
“One in three (33%) said they felt worried or pressured when reading parenting articles that told them how they should be caring for their baby. Plus, a lot of parents surveyed said they’ve received unwanted or unnecessary advice on baby care from family and friends, which can add another level of stress.”
Are Aussies buying into parent guilt?
Canstar Blue’s latest research found that 40% of parents felt that the way they dressed their baby and the baby products they used were a reflection of themselves and their lifestyle. And a quarter of parents surveyed (25%) said they felt judged by other parents for how they dressed their baby and which baby products they bought and used.
“Our research shows that some parents feel like they need to keep up with the Joneses when shopping for baby products – and that can get very costly for households,” Ms Birot said. “That said, nearly a third of parents (29%) said they believed that buying expensive baby products paid off in terms of quality and durability too.”
Not all help parents received with the costs of parenting were welcome, however. Canstar Blue’s research also found that 27% of respondents asked family and/or friends not to buy clothing and/or toys as gifts for their baby, 17% said their baby received inappropriate gifts from friends and/or family members and 18% returned to the store or didn’t let their baby use some of the items they received as gifts.
How much do Aussies spend on baby products?
Here’s how much parents included in our survey spent on average on the following baby products.
Our survey found that prams and strollers were the biggest expense for new parents (36%), followed by the ongoing cost of nappies (35%) and baby car seats (31%).“Consumers should remember that dearer doesn’t always mean better and cheaper doesn’t always mean good value,” Ms Birot said. “That’s why it’s important to compare and research products before making a purchase decision.”
|Baby products||Average spend|
|Pram or stroller||$582|
|Baby car seat||$351|
|Baby cot or crib||$312|
|Baby high chair||$137|
|Baby food||$91 (monthly)|
|Disposable nappies||$70 (monthly)|
|Baby wipes||$29 (monthly)|
|Baby bottles and teats||$15 (monthly)|
|Baby dummies||$13 (most recent purchase)|