Becoming a parent really is life-changing. Whether you are in the exciting stages of preparing for your baby to arrive, or whether you are finding your feet and settling into parenthood, the family finances may well be on your mind.
With all this added responsibility comes a fair few added costs. It’s important to prepare for this financial change as much as you can. That way, you can focus on enjoying your little one grow up rather than stressing over the bills.
We’re here to guide you through our top finance tips for new parents.
Work out a family budget
Budgeting really is key. This is by far the most important of our finance tips for new parents. If you get your family budget nailed, everything else should fall into place.
To work out your budget, save up your receipts from the last few months and calculate how much money is coming in and going out. Highlight your essential expenses such as rent, utilities and food. And make sure you include the additional costs of raising your child; think about formula, nappies and wipes, childcare and nursery furniture.
After you’ve created this initial budget, you may need to review it every couple of months as you adjust to any hidden costs of becoming a new parent. If you notice that your income isn’t quite cutting it, see if there’s any spending you can slash.
Of course, we all like a treat (and parents – you definitely deserve one!) but maybe your weekly takeaway could become fortnightly. That way, you’re saving some cash and are more likely to really enjoy that treat! If you’re not willing to sacrifice your Saturday night takeaway, try to set a limit on the amount you’re willing to spend; the extra pound here and there soon adds up.
Increase your emergency fund
An emergency fund is money that you’ve set aside to cover unexpected life events such as job loss or illness. Emergency funds are important, but we understand it’s hard to find spare cash to put to one side. Although we don’t want to bring a downer on things, it’s important to try and cover the costs of these circumstances so that you are not caught out should something happen.
A general rule is to keep 3-6 months’ worth of essential living expenses available for emergencies. Having a child means that you may want to consider increasing your emergency fund, so bear this in mind as you prepare to welcome your bundle of joy into the world.
Think about saving for your child’s future
The earlier you start saving for your child’s future, the better. But you don’t need to break the bank in doing so; certainly don’t feel pressured to make big deposits, as just drip-feeding a couple of pounds a month will result in big savings in the long run.
Take some time to shop around, as you want to invest your hard-earned cash with the best provider. You can browse the top children’s savings accounts to make sure that you’re getting the best savings account to suit your circumstances.
Financial support for new parents
Don’t forget – there is a range of financial support for new parents to help with the costs of having a newborn. Check out the Sure Start Maternity Grant for example. This is a one-off £500 payment to help towards the costs of having a child.
Obtaining the Sure Start Maternity Grant could not be easier. Simply fill in the form on their website and get your doctor or midwife to complete a statement. Make sure that you don’t miss out – you can claim from 11 weeks before the week your baby is due until 6 months after your baby is born.
Register the birth in time
Out of all of our money-saving tips for parents, registering the birth can be overshadowed. New parents may not be aware that you need to register the birth within 42 days of your baby being born. You can do this with your local registry office. It costs £11 to register a birth in England and Wales; this is a small price to pay as you’ll face a whopping £200 fine if you don’t register in time.
New parent freebies
Who doesn’t love a freebie? Whether you are pregnant or a new parent, there are loads of perks to take advantage of. You should take care of your health no matter what the price, but you can take healthcare costs out of your family budget for the first year! Get free prescriptions and dental care while you’re pregnant and for 12 months after your baby’s due date. To claim the free care, ask your doctor or midwife for a maternity exemption certificate (MATEX).
If you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four and you’re on certain benefits, listen up. With the Healthy Start programme you can claim free vouchers or payments every four weeks to spend on cow’s milk, formula milk, fruit and veg, and pulses. This applies to people on Universal Credit, income support, income-based job seeker’s allowance or on Child Tax Credit with a family income of £16,190 or less per year.
And of course, we can offer the essentials you’ll need to get kitted out before your baby arrives. Explore our children and baby items – all of our items are available with fair and flexible finance with no hidden fees so you can enjoy parenthood without financial stress.
For more information about spreading the cost of your home essentials, contact us here at Fair for You. Don’t be without the things you need for you and your family.