Keeping up with the Cambridges is making babies an expensive business

We're all familiar with the term 'keeping up with the Joneses', but it now appears as though there's a new phenomenon sweeping the cou…

We're all familiar with the term 'keeping up with the Joneses', but it now appears as though there's a new phenomenon sweeping the country – keeping up with the Cambridges.

This refers to the ambition of new parents to emulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when it comes to raising their babies. Of course, there's nothing wrong in comparing your parenting habits with other new mums and dads, but trying to copy the royal family and little Prince George could result in more than a little disappointment.

Unfortunately, it might be resulting in debt too, as new figures from insurer Churchill have found that some Britons are splashing out on the same items they have seen William and Kate using for George, even though they may cost hundreds and sometimes even thousands of pounds.

Indeed, 43 per cent of the new mums and dads surveyed admitted they have been influenced by Prince George when buying items for their baby, with 57 per cent feeling under pressure to own a designer pushchair in particular – Silver Cross was among the most coveted brands thanks to that royal seal of approval.

More than half revealed they buy these expensive items because they don't want to look bad in front of their peers.

Similarly, baby clothes are also eating up more of the budget because 41 per cent of parents are seeking out styles they have seen Prince George wearing. This has resulted in sell-outs of a number of designer outfits.

It's no wonder that recent figures suggested it could cost £9,000 to kit out an infant for the first year of their life.

Churchill's Chloe French said: "Prince George has so much influence and after all, children will always be little princes and princesses in their parents' eyes. Most parents will appreciate just how costly having a child and all of the associated equipment can be."

And that's not all, as a previous survey by NetMums.com for Guardian Money also discovered the average mum and dad spend £1,000 on baby items before their new arrival is even born.

It's important to remember that babies won't realise that the items they are using are designer, nor will an expensive price tag prevent children from growing out of them in just a few short months. All that really matters is safety and functionality.

When buying items for a new baby, here are a few tips on how you could stay savvy with your budget:

1.    Remember there will be gifts

New mums and dads are always inundated with presents from friends and relatives, so factor this in when buying things like romper suits and newborn outfits. Perhaps some of your money may be better spent on essentials such as nappies and things for when the baby is a bit bigger.

2.    Don't underestimate hand-me-down clothes

It is nice to have new things for a baby – but remember that other people's purchases are probably just as good. Apart from a few things that get a lot of wear, many baby clothes only get worn for a matter of weeks and so are nearly new. You could get a whole wardrobe for the price of a few brand new costumes.

3.    Look for pre-loved larger items

Pushchairs, prams and high chairs can all be bought inexpensively from pre-loved baby boutiques or websites like Gumtree, so have a look around and challenge yourself to spend less. The only thing you shouldn't compromise on is car seats, as you won't know if they have been in accidents or not.

It is tempting to splash out amid the excitement of a new baby – but remember not to stretch your budget too much and get caught up in the hype of emulating royalty.

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