If you’re expecting a baby, congratulations. Get ready for the rollercoaster ride of your life. We all know that new additions to the family are expensive and many people worry about how they’re going to meet their bills and enjoy their time with their new child.
In this article, we’ll look at how to budget for baby before and after birth.
There’s going to be a baby-led demand on the money you bring into your house for some time to come so the best thing you can do, if you can’t get a pay rise from your boss while you’re pregnant, is to look to reduce your outgoings as much as you can.
How much of your outgoings on a month are to service loans and credit cards? Particularly with credit cards, make a conscious effort to pay as much as you can off them every month. It’s better than the money that’s coming into your household goes to you rather than to your credit card provider to pay off a balance that seems to creep down every time you get the bill.
You can reduce your monthly outgoings dramatically by switching the companies which provide you with gas, electric, telecoms, broadband, and insurance. There’s a lot of healthy competition for your business and you can switch quickly and painlessly to cheaper providers using one of the many price comparison sites available.
By switching to the best-priced provider, you can save over £1,000 a year which means £20 extra a week as a minimum you’ll be hanging on to.
There are other places to look for savings too. You can shop for food and clothing at discount stores – if you haven’t been to one for a while, you’ll be genuinely surprised by the quality of what they have on offer. Many culinary critics believe that the food you can buy from a cheap supermarket tastes just as good as the food you can get from the high-end supermarkets. Plus, newspaper websites are full of cheaper alternatives of the clothes worn by celebrities and other people in public life.
Shopping smart could save you another £40 a week. Cooking your own meals instead of getting a couple of takeaways in a week will see savings of another £30-£40.
Babies take up a lot of room meaning that space may be at a premium for years to come. Is there a lot of unwanted clutter around your home? Can you identify items that you no longer want?
What may be no longer useful or valuable to you might be exactly what someone else is looking for and they’ll pay you money for you. You can sell your unwanted goods on eBay, Amazon, or mobile apps like Shpock.
Get your friends and family to buy things for your new arrival by holding a baby shower. They can buy practical things or fun things. You can even make a list directing baby shower attendees to encourage them to buy just the products you need for your new arrival.
You don’t need to buy the very latest equipment for your baby to be safe and comfortable. If you buy a pram brand new, the chances are that you’ll pay something close to what you paid for your first car after you passed your driving test. Many parents express a mixture of surprise, bewilderment, and a worry for the direction humanity is headed in when they see the prices at Mamas and Papas for prams, baby seats, cots, and more.
Freecycle is a locally-based UK network for people who want to reduce their waste by giving away what they own to new homes. The amount of baby items, goods, and equipment on the platform varies but it’s always worth checking to see what’s available.
Sites where you can source second-hand baby items, goods, and equipment local to you include Preloved, Gumtree, Ad Trader, eBay, Ebid, and Friday Ads.
You have now reduced the amount of debt you’re in bringing down your monthly repayments. You’re saving £20 a week on your essential bills, £40 by shopping for food and clothing in cheaper locations, and by cooking your own meals using fresh ingredients, that’s another £30-£40 a week you’re not spending.
Make a list of everything you’ll need before baby arrives – including cots, furniture, clothing for the baby, maternity clothing for you, nappies, clothing, feeding aids, linens, baby monitor, changing bag, changing table, car seat, and more. If this is your first time having a baby, your friends and family can help you with your list.
Add up what everything’s going to cost you and when you have accumulated the money quicker because of your now reduced outgoings, buy each item as you can afford it.
Nappies, formula milk, bibs, washing powder – they’re just a few of the things you’ll need to use on a daily basis when your baby arrives. If you’re a first-time parent, it’s amazing just how much having a very small person in your house requires you to buy and to do.
Look for bargains and 2-for-1’s in the shops on all of the items you use regularly. You may want to think about joining a warehouse club like Costco and buying the items in bulk to achieve the biggest overall savings.
If this is not your first child, you’ll be able to recycle many of the items and equipment that you bought the first time around.
You’re entitled to either Statutory Maternity Pay (paid via your employer) or Maternity Allowance (paid via the government). For low income families, the Sure Start Maternity Grant is available for all of the costs associated with welcoming a new baby to the world.
When your child is born, you’re entitled to child benefit – that’s worth £20.70 a week for your first child and £13.70 for each additional child. Child benefit is available to households in which no-one earns more than £50,000 as an individual. It’s paid every four weeks.
Child tax credit may also be available to you – unlike child benefit, this is means-tested.
When you’re pregnant and for the first 12 months after your child is born, you receive free NHS prescriptions and dental treatment. You’ll need to ask your doctor for a maternity exemption certificate application form.
The first few weeks a new baby comes into your life are like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. We encourage you to extract as much fun and enjoyment out of your new baby boy or girl by making sure that money is something you’re not worrying about because you’ve budgeted properly.