If you’re wondering whether you can afford to have a baby, then you’re not alone. Many modern parents just like you find themselves in the same boat, trying to figure out how they could possibly support a newborn with their monthly income.
The truth is, having a child is an expensive business, often setting parents back several thousand pounds each year – and that’s without the extra bonus treats you might want to give your child. The good news is that there are ways to cut the costs of having a baby. The following easy budgeting tips will help to keep you on the right track.
1. Sign Up for Money-Saving Schemes
Parents are one of the biggest consumer markets for today’s retailers, so there are plenty of companies out there that will be keen to earn your loyalty. When you find out that you’re pregnant, take some time to look around and check for deals available from local retailers.
Remember, Amazon offers deals and freebies when you set up a wish list for your baby, and Boots has a parenting club that hands out free points and vouchers when you sign up. There’s even a scheme available from Mothercare to get you cash off your maternity clothes and other expensive products.
2. Connect with Other Parents
When it comes to saving money as a parent, there’s no-one out there with better tips and advice than other parents just like you. Countless parents have been in the same situation as you before, struggling to find the cash for their most important items.
Before you rush out and take on credit for your new cot and pram, make sure that you seek the assistance of mums and dads like you. There are plenty of forums and groups on social media that are packed full of parents willing to offer discount codes, guidance, and help.
3. Get Government Assistance
In the UK, parents have access to various forms of help to ensure that they can afford all the varied expenses that come with looking after a child. For instance, there are child tax credits to help you with making ends meet each month, and you can even get cash off your council tax bills.
While you can’t apply for childcare vouchers anymore, according to the new scheme laid out by the government, you can benefit from the tax-free childcare scheme if that helps. Consider speaking to a professional in your local area for more tips on how to take advantage of the help available to you.
4. Make Sure You Claim Your Full Maternity Allowance
If you’ve been working for a company for longer than 6 months when you’re having a baby, you’ll be entitled to statutory maternity pay, which means that you get up to £145.18 per week for a period of up to 39 weeks. Make sure that you get all of that cash, because you are entitled to it. However, there are some companies that also offer an enhanced maternity allowance for a short period of time after you have your baby, and this can account to your full level of full-time pay.
Before you jump into your maternity leave, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your HR team or your boss to find out what you’re eligible for, and what you can do to keep in touch with the team. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve made enough national insurance contributions to get maternity pay.
5. Buy Secondhand Whenever You Can
Finally, it’s easy to get emotional when you’re buying for your baby and decide that your bundle of joy needs the best of everything – no matter how much its going to cost. While all parents want the perfect things for their new baby, it’s important not to let your emotions get the better of you. Remember that a lot of items, like prams and cots can be purchased for a steal of a price if you’re willing to get them second hand.
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Many of these developmental products are only used by a baby for a few months before they’re no good anymore, so you can find a lot of deals on gently-loved possessions. Look in charity shops and checkout groups on Facebook to see if you can find a saving. Remember that there are also items that you can avoid buying entirely, like baby shoes that your child is probably never going to wear or use.