Money advice from the experts
Money is tight for many people these days, and if you are starting a family or adding to your brood, keeping on top of your finances is essential to give you peace of mind.
Bounty and The Money Advice Service (an organisation set up by the government) have teamed up to bring you all the information and advice you need to plan for the future as a parent and to make your cash go further. So, whether you've just found out you're pregnant and want more information about your maternity rights, need some help with budgeting, feel baffled about benefits or confused about childcare costs, we've got it covered.
At a glance
- Countdown to becoming a parent
- Budget for your new arrival
- Cut-back calculator
- Childcare cost calculator
- Dealing with money worries
Countdown to becoming a parent
Congratulations! You're pregnant. This is such an exciting time and if you plan your finances carefully it will help you feel relaxed about the wonderful changes on the horizon. Checking what you're entitled to early on will help you make the most of what's on offer.
Things to remember include:
Mums are entitled to paid time off work for antenatal care.
- If you're on a low income you're entitled to claim a lump sum – the Sure Start Maternity Grant – of £500 for your first child.
Mums are also entitled to free prescriptions and NHS dental care. To apply fill out the maternity exemption form - available from your doctor or midwife. They'll send it off for you and you'll get your certificate in the post.
You can take up to a year off for maternity leave.
Most dads can take two weeks' paternity leave.
Budget for your new arrival
A new baby can be expensive – although we're sure you'll agree they're worth every penny. Getting to grips with your money before your newest family member arrives will help ensure you're free of money worries, especially if you decide not to return to work after your maternity leave.
Things you should know:
You are entitled to 39 paid weeks of maternity leave. Many families can get Child Tax Credit.
You can build a £260 emergency fund by saving just £5 a week for a year.
Working Tax Credits can cover £122.50 a week of childcare costs.
You may get help with childcare costs while you study or retrain.
- Get a grip on your budget with the Money Advice Service Budget Planner
Can you make savings?
This quick and easy calculator will help you see where you can make savings on things that you buy regularly - remember all those coffees can really add up.
There are a number of changes happening to the benefits system. Here’s how you might be affected.
- Between April 2013 and October 2017, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit are being gradually phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.
- Find out when and how you will be affected using this key date timeline to see when Universal Credit and other benefit changes come in.
- You are entitled to extra cash help if you or your child has a disability.
Work and childcare costs
Going back to work is a must for some mums, but before you get those stilettoed feet back under the office desk, here are some things you should know.
- While on maternity leave you can be paid for up to 10 days' work.
- You have the right to return to your same job within the first six months, or after six months to a similar job on terms and conditions at least as good.
- If you're self-employed you can usually claim Maternity Allowance.
- If you have a child under 17, you have the right to ask for flexible working.
- Your child may qualify for a free part-time (term-time only) nursery place.
- Many employers help with childcare costs, offering Childcare Voucher salary sacrifice schemes.
- Your State Pension is protected if you care for a child.
- Dads can pay into a pension for their partner.
- You may also be entitled to redundancy pay if you’re on maternity leave.
How much might childcare cost?
This calculator helps you estimate how much you might have to spend on childcare.
Dealing with money worries
Talking to your partner about money isn't always easy