From buying a bigger car to nappies, starting a family is an expensive business. Here's our best money saving tips for families.
Starting a family is a huge milestone for many couples and is one of the most exciting and rewarding times of our lives. But in amongst all the nerves and impatience to meet your new arrival, it’s important to consider the financial impact too.
Did you know that the overall cost of a child (including housing and childcare) is £150,753 for a couple, according to the 2018 Cost of a Child Report by Child Poverty Action Group? This works out at a whopping £8,375 per year.
If you’re planning on starting a family, don’t panic. We’ve put together some easy ways of spotting all those sneaky hidden costs and some of our best money saving tips for families so you can get ahead before your new baby arrives.
Budget for the baby basics
In most cases, there will suddenly be a whole new level of expenses coming out of your bank account. With formula, bottles and enough laundry detergent to sink a ship, budgeting for these essentials will become part of your life. Some of your daily treats, such as those lattes from your favourite coffee shop and meal deals from the supermarket will have to take a back seat. Scour the internet for the best prices on baby furniture. Can you find any of your dream items on second-hand sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace? This is a great way to cut some of those big baby costs down; although, when looking to buy blankets and mattresses, it’s recommended that you buy brand new.
What’s your maternity/paternity package?
It’s important to understand from your employer what your maternity and paternity packages are. This often isn’t discussed when you first start work, so sit down with your HR representative as soon as possible so you can start planning your finances.
If you’re unsure what you’re entitled to, including what your statutory maternity/paternity leave and pay rights are, you can find out more information online.
What are you entitled to?
Regardless of whether you work full or part-time, are a single parent or in a couple, everyone could do with a bit of help during this exciting but expensive time.
There are many ways the government can help you, from child tax credit to child benefit and childcare vouchers. Also depending on your employer, you may be entitled to take paid time off for any scans and antenatal appointments, so it really does pay to check!
Upgrading your car
Have you been rolling around in a two-seater sports car for the last few years? It may surprise you that your baby’s car seat, pushchair and essentials really aren’t going to fit in! Upgrading the family car is often an expense which is overlooked and can be costly if you don’t shop around.
When it comes to choosing your new wheels, think about if you really need to go brand new. Could you opt for a second-hand version of your favourite make and model? You’ll find the cost is significantly less, plus you can expect bits of soggy rusk biscuits and baby sick to be staining your upholstery for a while, so maybe a second-hand option is best!
Shift your financial plan
If you have a savings plan in place, you may have to rethink this in the run-up to your little one’s arrival. You’ll have plenty of furniture, nappies, food and clothing to pick up before their due date.
Sit down and make a strict budget. It may mean that other things have to be sacrificed, like expensive date nights, brunch trips or weekends away together, but it’s worth it to get ahead. Have you thought about potentially taking out a personal loan to spread the cost of your baby purchases?
This could be a cost-effective way of getting everything you need all at once, from kitting out your nursery when you’ve found the best baby furniture prices, to stocking up on babygrows and towels, to helping put a deposit down on a new family car, car seat and pram. Once you feel secure in your baby finances, you can sit back, put your feet up while you can and look forward to their arrival.
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