We all know having kids can be expensive. But if you’re financially prepared it doesn’t have to be as expensive or stressful as you might think. Here are my top tips on how to financially prepare for a new baby:
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES
Take some time to go through your income and outgoings and give yourself a money makeover. Check how much maternity pay you’re entitled to and use this to work out a budget. Factor in new regular purchases such as nappies, milk and baby food.
Do you have credit cards or loans? Will you be able to pay these on a lower income? If you can, try to pay as much debt off as possible before the baby arrives – the last thing you’ll want to do afterwards is worry about your finances.
CHECK YOUR BENEFITS ENTITLEMENT
If you’re on a low income you may be entitled to benefits. You can check your eligibility online, and if you do qualify, you may also be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500. https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators
SAVE FOR MATERNITY LEAVE
One for the best ways to financially prepare for a baby is to start a savings account. When I discovered I was pregnant was set up a Direct Debit to save a bit of my wages up before I left work. I was paid weekly and found out very early on that I was pregnant so I saved £20 a week and had around £500 saved by the time I went on maternity leave. It made me feel a lot more secure knowing we had a bit of cash put by to fall back on in case of emergencies. You could save all the spare change you have at the end of the day or set your own penny challenge.
JOIN BABY CLUBS
Baby clubs are a great way to get free products and discounts. Most of the big supermarkets and kid’s shops have one. They regularly send money off vouchers, discounts and details of sales and promotions. You can join them while you’re pregnant and receive freebies and discounts to use on baby essentials.
ONLY BUY THINGS YOU NEED
It’s easy to get carried away and buy loads of adorable baby clothes, toys and fill your house with things you don’t actually need. Write a list of all the things you think you need – then go through it again and see if you can cut out any non essentials (nappy bin springs to mind). More often than not friends and family will buy you more baby clothes and toys than you could ever use anyway!
If you’re happy to buy second hand, Facebook, eBay and nearly new sales are all fab for bargains. Even if you want brand new things, there are still ways to save. Make sure you shop around for the best price, always use a cashback site like Quidco or TopCashback when shopping online, check for online voucher codes and make use of your Baby Club discounts. I picked the travel system I wanted pretty early on in my pregnancy. Then I kept my eye on it for 4 months until it went on sale at Mothercare. I used a £10 off voucher from their baby club, and got cashback from Quidco – I ended up saving a massive £261! Follow my Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest bargains and discounts.
DECIDE WHERE YOU’LL LIVE
Do you have enough space in your home for a new baby? If you’re going to move it’s worth doing before the baby comes along. Not only is moving stressful and will be much more tricky with a newborn in tow, but if you’re buying a home, having a new baby could actually decrease the amount you can borrow on a mortgage.
PAY OFF DEBT
If you’ve got existing debt, see if you can pay some or all of it off before the baby is born. If you can’t, make sure you’re getting the best interest rate you can. A lot of people use 0% interest credit cards and switch to a new one when the interest free period ends. If you do this, just be aware that if you decide not to return to work, you may find it difficult to apply for credit – as you’ll have no income.
MAKE A WILL (OR UPDATE IT)
It’s something a lot of people put off because they just don’t want to think about it, or think it’s too morbid. But if the worst was to happen, wouldn’t you want to know your child was taken care of? Wills aren’t just about what happens to your assets – they can also explain who should take care of your child if you’re not around anymore.