Our baby blogger has some exciting news.
She is expecting another baby, in December, so it is going to be an even more exciting festive season.
So when you have told everyone the good news and you’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of your baby, it is easy to let money worries cloud your joy but by taking a few simple steps to think about your baby budget – before baby arrives and during that first year – can really help to ease the pressure.
Crucially, talk about your budget and plan together – a new baby and financial challenges can place pressure on a relationship. Having a shared understanding of exactly where you stand can make you feel more in control, visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk for loads of useful information on budgeting for baby.
Getting ready for baby
It can be tempting to buy the best of everything for your impending arrival – but babies often use equipment for such a short time, that good quality second hand furniture and accessories can do the job just as well. Look on eBay or local selling sites, and even let family and friends know you’re on the lookout for good quality pre-loved baby goods – you’ll probably be amazed at what people have lying around waiting for a good home! The National Childbirth Trust holds regular local sales of good as new equipment, clothes and toys. To find your local group and sale visit www.nct.org.uk.
Also, take this time to fully understand the maternity and paternity benefits available to you from your employer. All Mums are entitled to time off for antenatal appointments and free NHS prescriptions and dental care will kick in.
A good way to start planning your new budget is to use the free, online baby costs calculator which is available from the Money Advice Service.
The first year
It’s likely that one of you will be taking time off during the first year and, unless you’re very lucky and your company has an amazing occupational maternity programme, you’re likely to notice a dip in salary. From April 2015, the government is introducing a more flexible approach to parental leave, in which mum and dad can share the entitlement. With more than 40% of women in the UK now the major breadwinner in the household, this new arrangement could help you flex the leave and make the most of your money.
If you do go back to work, you’ll need to access childcare. In a survey carried out by the charity Family Action this was the biggest unexpected cost facing parents. With part-time care now costing more than the average mortgage, make sure you factor this in to your budget. You may be entitled to help with the costs of childcare, through childcare vouchers or tax credits. Find information on your entitlements at www.gov.uk.
Sorting your baby budget may not stop the sleepless nights, or help you know exactly what to do with your new little person, but at least it’s one less thing to worry about.
This is a collaborative post.