There will be many ups and downs throughout your journey of raising a child, but there are many things you can prepare for making those bumps in the road a little easier to get over.
By making a clear plan that you can stick to and finding out what you can afford, it will make things a lot simpler so you can then have fun buying all the essentials knowing that you can afford everything!
Plans and spending habits
Whether you are expecting a baby or you are planning for one, it’s a good idea to find out your monthly incomings and outgoings. Collect receipts and total up what you are spending every month that could be reduced or banished altogether.
To save money stick to buying necessities, you don’t need that weekly night out where you are spending up to £50 a night, because by cutting that out alone you could be saving up to £2,600 a year- money which could be spent on your little one instead. However, don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time, everyone needs a little ‘me’ time.
Become aware of maternity policies as when you are on maternity leave maternity pay is for only 39 weeks of your statutory maternity leave. Make sure you carry out lots of research on maternity leave as there are many money saving avenues in which you can pursue, one being you are able to take your holiday leave straight after you finish your maternity leave so you are supplied with a few more weeks of settling your baby into a daily routine.
Once you have managed your own finances investigate how much you are likely to be spending on your baby every month, use of the baby cost calculator will give you an average of how much people are spending over the first three years of a child’s life.
Save money when shopping
The key here is to reuse… ask your friends and your family whether they have any old items such as furniture, clothing and toys that can be passed down to you.
Many people sell their unused items online via Facebook pages, Ebay and Freecycle sites, often in bulk at really low prices, this is an excellent way to save money especially considering how quickly babies grow.
If you prefer to buy new items that you know are fresh then make sure you are checking for online deals, checking newspapers and magazines for money saving vouchers and are all over the sales.
Items like push chairs and car seats are always best brought brand new from a reputable retailer to ensure they still provide full protection and haven’t been in previous accidents.
If you plan on having children again make sure you keep all your items so you can reuse it for them, that way you know exactly what condition they are in and where they have been.
Prepare and reduce your childcare bill
One of the biggest financial strains you will face is the childcare nightmare. With averages prices around the £10,000 a year mark it’s time we brought that down.
There are many schemes available that will help reduce your bill, such as the salary sacrifice scheme. This allows parents to sacrifice a proportion of their salary for it to be converted into pre-tax child care vouchers. In effect parents are able to gain money from this scheme, as your employer will deduct a certain amount from your wage and give it back to you in the form of a voucher before tax. For example if you chose to ‘give up’ £1,000 of your wage which only works out at around £700 after tax and national insurance you are in fact being given £300 more in vouchers. This scheme alongside the government’s free childcare plan allows children of working families to receive up to 15 hours of free childcare per week which annually saves £425 a year, combing these two schemes could save you big money. The governments is also set to increase these to 30 hours per week in 2016 so there are even more savings to be had.