One of the biggest changes that you can make to your life is to have a baby. However, it is important to note that the costs of raising a child have increased and are still going up. This is why it is important that you plan ahead and managing all of your finances will play a major role in the preparation of parenthood.
The most stable of household budgets can be severely impacted by the costs of a new-born. There are a number of tips that you should consider that will help with your planning. These basics will minimize the worry of having a baby on a budget.
The Basics Of Planning A Baby On A Budget
Plan Your Finances
For many people, being pregnant will come as a surprise. Whatever your situation, you need to start planning your finances as soon as possible. You need to take the time to sit down and work through your budget and where the changes are likely to be.
You should focus on reducing any spending on non-essentials. You should also consider any methods of increasing your income. Switching your utility provider can help you reduce your expenses as well.
Look At Your Debts
Having debt can be manageable right now, but the debt will generally become less manageable when you have a reduction in your income. You should not leave looking at your debts until the baby has arrived. It is important that you get some impartial debt advice for free as early as possible to help you plan for the future.
Do You Have A Maternity Package?
When you find out you are pregnant, you need to find out what your company policy is for maternity leave. This information will be in your contract, but if you are unsure about the policy you can talk to the people in your HR department in confidence. When looking at the policy, you need to determine how much you are going to be getting and for how long.
This information will help you determine how long you can take off work. If you feel that the policy does not treat you fairly, you should consider speaking to Acas.
Check Your Entitlements
Many people do not realize that there are a variety of benefits for new parents. It is important that you find out what these benefits are. One of the benefits is paid time off for antenatal care. This benefit ensures that you get paid time off from work for any medical appointments related to your pregnancy and parenting classes which have been recommended to you by your doctor or midwife.
You are also entitled to up to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave. You do not have to take all of the time, but you are required to take 2 weeks after the baby has been born. The first 26 weeks of your maternity leave is considered ordinary maternity leave with the additional weeks being classed as additional maternity leave.
You are also entitled to statutory maternity pay for up to 39 weeks. During the first 6 weeks, you will receive 90% of your salary before tax. For the remaining 33 weeks, you are entitled to 90% of your salary or £139.58, whichever is lower. This will be paid directly into your bank account and national insurance and tax will be deducted. There is a government maternity calculator that you can use to determine your leave and pay entitlements.
For expectant fathers, you are entitled to up to 2 weeks of leave from work. You will generally have to notify your employer around 15 weeks before the baby is due. You will have to provide the due date, when you want to take your leave and how long you are going to take.
Fathers are also provided statutory paternity pay of £139.58 or 90% of their weekly earnings. This will also be paid directly into your bank account with any deductions made. It is important to note that the payment will be whichever option is lower.
Once you have had your baby, you will be entitled to claim child benefits. This will be £20.70 per week for your first child or your only child. This amount will be reduced to £13.70 for any other children that you have.
There are some other benefits that you should be aware of. These including child tax credits and other non-child related benefits. You should take a look at council tax and housing benefits. There is also the benefit of free prescriptions and dental care to the age of 1 for all children.
Monitor All Your Spending
It can be difficult to curb any spending you make when everyone you know is asking how you are preparing for the baby and your hormones have started to kick in. To help monitor your spending you should plan when you buy the bigger items and spread this across your pregnancy. You should also not get caught up in trying to get everything for the baby before it arrives.
You also need to take the time to carefully consider your options before you spend any money. You should also look at online auction sites for nearly new sales. You should also remember that you can always ask someone to get something for you if you urgently need it after the baby is born.
Use Free Stuff And Coupon Sites
Everyone loves getting a freebie and using coupons at the supermarket and there are lots of people who use this method to save money. We really like the Johnsons baby coupons you can get here. Also sites like WOWFreeStuff who offer lots of different baby free stuff.
Understand That Knowledge Is Power
There are a lot of online forums and free apps that you can use to help you prepare for parenthood. These forums will also provide you with support and help you save money during your pregnancy and beyond. You should also try finding any local parenting groups that can provide you with additional emotional support.
Think About Returning To Work
The last thing people think about if returning to work after their baby is born. It is important that you look at this before the baby is born as ask yourself some questions. You need to ask if your employer has a family friendly policy. You also need to find out how much childcare will cost and if you have any family who can help you.
You should also consider if there is the option of returning part-time. If there is, you should consider if this is a good financial option.
Having a baby is a happy time for everyone and it is important that you look after your health. You need to remember that there is very little that a baby actually needs. A happy and healthy upbringing is better than the newest and most expensive gadgets which will increase your debt.