You have a new arrival to the family soon, how do you budget for them and what financial plans should you put in place to make sure you and the baby are covered?
It’s a wonderful moment in your life when you are expecting a child, you can’t wait to meet the newest member of your family and you want to make sure that you have everything you need to make yours and their life easier and more comfortable.
However, having a baby is not cheap and as you trawl the baby shops you start to realise how much you think you need to spend to get everything you want. Also, the last thing you want to do is get stressed about money, so it’s worth knowing that the average annual cost of bringing up a child has gone up to £1,085 over the last five years.
So, we thought we would help you out by giving some tips around budgeting for baby and some ideas about how to get what you need without breaking the bank:
- If you are on a low income, there are benefits available to you. Check out the money advice service to see what you could be entitled to: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/benefits-and-entitlements-to-claim-when-you-have-a-baby
- It may seem like early days, but make sure that you sort out your maternity leave, if you are employed, or your maternity allowance if you are self employed. The sooner you fill in the paperwork and get it sent off the more straightforward it will be when you have the baby. While you are doing this, make sure you know what you will be getting, so you can work out how long you can afford to take off.
- Sit down and look at your incomings and outgoings. See if you can cut back on anything to start saving some money each month. Look to see if you can fit some overtime in at work while you still have the energy, or if your partner can bring in some extra to save. Look at your energy bills and your insurances – can you switch and save?
- If you have some debt, get some advice and see if you can repay a minimum amount while you are on leave. I know one couple who managed to get a mortgage holiday for a year while she was on maternity leave. This helped them to budget while she was off, but remember it also extended the mortgage term for another year.
Shopping is the biggest budget buster there is. Do you really need all of that?
- Make a list of essentials, then halve it. You won’t need everything at the very start and remember family and friends always want to buy something for the baby, so why not write a list for them too? Check out all the Mums website forums, like MumsNet and Bounty, there are plenty of Mums out there with really helpful tips, some of which will give you an essentials list that can save you a lot of money.
- Check out the supermarkets before you go shopping, all of them do baby events throughout the year and this could save you a lot. Also Mothercare and Next have some great sales, just wait for the sales!
- It’s nice to have new things, but be sensible. Babies are hardly in their clothes before they grow out of them, so most parents have lots of virtually brand new clothes that they cannot use anymore. Get your pride out of the way and go on online shopping at Ebay or Preloved and find some good second hand clothes and baby items that will save you a packet.
- And you can give back too, once your baby has grown out of some clothes, give them a wash, parcel them up and sell them, either online or at a nearly new sale – the National Childbirth Trust have several throughout the year.
- If you fancy your chances at breastfeeding, that can save you a lot of money. It’s worth trying, even if it’s for a few weeks or months, both of you will benefit no end and you will save money at the same time – it’s a no brainer!
- Talk to your friends who already have children, if you are lucky enough to have them – they will be happy to give you tons of advice and ideas, and they may even give you some stuff from their loft at the same time!
Just remember, life is going to change in a big way, start to budget now and it won’t be as big a shock when the baby finally arrives. Get some financial advice from family, friends and professionals, it is up to you, but it is worth knowing what to expect and to be prepared as much as you can.
Have a look on our website for budgeting plans and tips: http://www.evolutionforwomen.co.uk/freebies
Here we also provide a new series of free e-letters, which answer some common questions like, “what happens if we are no longer around to look after our children?” or “who will be responsible for our children’s money if we are not around?”.