While the country awaits the arrival of a new Royal baby, thousands of expectant parents will also be looking forward to their own new additions to the family. Unfortunately the rest of us don’t have a royal budget to go with the baby bump! Rose St Louis shares top tips!
How does one go from living a single responsibility lifestyle to one where every cent has to account for the safety and needs for the life that will soon take over your household? Rose St Louis , Saving expert at Zurich Finacials has noticed that many expectant moms struggle with figuring out a healthy financial position after they discover their pregnancies, and put a list together on how to manage finances before, during and after maternity leave.
- Take advantage of what you’re entitled to
There is plenty of help at hand for expectant mothers aimed at alleviating some of the money stresses that come with growing a family, so it’s worth checking what you can take advantage of. For example, the UK Government offers a Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 to help towards the cost of having a child, while the NHS offers free prescriptions and dental care while you’re pregnant and for a year after the baby is born.
2. Protect your pension funds
A pension may not be top of the priority list when looking after a baby, but it’s important not to put it to one side entirely – particularly as the contribution level is likely to fall during maternity leave. Make the most of your full-time salary when you are in work and consider increasing your workplace pension contributions. You could also ‘top up’ your pension if you decide to return to work. If you’re not working, your partner can also pay up to £3,600 per year into your pension, ensuring savings remain topped up and you don’t lose out.
3. Keep paying your National Insurance
Make sure to keep contributing to your own National Insurance while you are out of work as this will ensure you receive the full State Pension you are entitled to. For self-employed mothers, it will provide extra security throughout pregnancy – to qualify for Maternity Allowance of up to £148.68 a week for 39 weeks, you will need to have paid NI contributions for at least 33 weeks of the 66 weeks before the baby’s due.
4. Join the club(s)!
Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda have their own baby clubs with competitions, discounts and deals available to members. There are also parents’ clubs such as Emma’s Diary which can get you £100 Argos vouchers, Mothercare club with 20% off toys for your child’s birthday, and Boots parenting club which will increase the amount of points you get on your advantage card.
5. Create a baby budget
Babies change everything, from your sleep pattern to the way you spend your time, but they’re also a new expense in your life. On average, the cost of raising a child starts at £75,0001, so it’s worthwhile thinking about how you can budget your new bundle of joy into your life without denting your wallet. Make sure you budget for all the baby gear you need, from clothes to food, furniture to buggies. Once you have an idea of your incomings and outgoings, you’ll have a better idea of what you can afford, keeping you stress free and meaning you can focus your attention fully on the new addition to your family.