8 ways to banish financial worries when you’re expecting a baby
When you discover you’re pregnant or about to become a dad, it’s totally normal to feel a bit nervous – especially about your finances. Here are our top saving tips to help you through this exciting time.
1. Make sure you apply for child benefit, free prescriptions and free dental treatment
Unless you’re earning over £50,000, you can get child benefit of £20.70 a week. Once your child is born, simply complete this child benefit form and send it off alongside their birth certificate. Don’t delay applying as you can only backdate this benefit for up to three months.
Make sure you also ask your health visitor about a maternity exemption card which entitles all pregnant women to get free prescriptions and dental treatment.
2. Find out about all the other benefits you could get
If you’re on a low income you may be entitled to help with your rent, as well as other types of benefits for parents. For example, if you’re not working you may be able to get maternity allowance. It can be hard to go through all the forms when you’re tired –so use this benefits checker to work out whether it’s worth the hassle first.
3. Sign up for child care vouchers from work
Leaving your child to return to work can be hard at the best of times, let alone when you have to account for expensive nursery fees. Consider child care vouchers (if your work is part of a child care voucher scheme). You’ll save money on the tax you pay because the vouchers are deducted from your wage before you’re taxed, a bit like a pension.
4. Schedule a money chat with family and share your worries
Talking about money worries with family can be hard – especially if you feel like you should be responsible now you’re about to start your own family. Approach the conversation in a way that shows you’ve already thought about your finances. Make it clear that you’re not begging for money, but that you are worried and you’d appreciate some help thinking things through. Once your family understand the problem and see that you’re approaching it in a responsible manner they may be more willing to help.
5. Hold financial ‘meetings’ with your partner to avoid fights
Financial worries are often the biggest relationship stress for anyone who’s having a baby. Make time to talk to your partner when you’re not tired or stressed. Map your income and outgoings in a spreadsheet to help with budgeting and make a list of actions for the week ahead, e.g ‘check how much my pension is each month’ ‘find out if work offers childcare vouchers’.
6. Make a list of necessary stuff vs cute stuff
The list of baby buys is overwhelming but take a deep breath – there are actually very few things you need to purchase brand new (as opposed to second hand or from friends). These include a new mattress to avoid your little one coming into contact with bacteria from an old one, nappies and… well, that’s basically it. Everything else can be borrowed or bought cheaply online or in charity shops. That gorgeous £20 hat with furry bunny ears? Ask for it as a present!
7. Prime those loyalty cards
Next time the cashier asks if you have a loyalty card, grab one because you’ll be repeat buying – a lot (many loyalty card systems work out what you buy most and offer you a discount.) Nappies. Wet wipes. Nappy cream. Baby food. Baby shampoo. The list is endless.
8. And finally – save something to treat yourself, just a little
What about all that cash you’re saving because you’re too shattered to go out as much? Sure you should be saving for babygrows and swimming lessons but don’t forget to put aside something for yourself. It’s the little things, like a coffee with a friend or a slice of cake that will help you stay positive while you’re adjusting to life as a new family.