Expecting a baby is so exciting!
Expecting a baby is exciting, but it can also be an expensive time. Follow these steps to make sure you’re prepared for your new arrival.
Avoid expensive borrowing on store cards and catalogues when shopping from home
Step 1 – Take stock of your money situation
You can save on unnecessary purchases by asking other mums what baby items they actually needed and used, and also what purchases could wait.
It’s never too early to work out your budget. Don’t put it off until after the baby is born.
Knowing exactly what’s coming in and going out each month is essential to help you figure out what you can afford.
To get a clear idea of how you spend your money and how much you have left over use the Money Advice Service Budget planner
Knowing how much everything costs will help you prepare for your new arrival and avoid any unexpected expenses.
Work out what your baby will need and how much it will cost with the Money Advice Service Baby costs calculator
Step 2 – Cut back on your expenses
Pay your utility bills automatically using Direct Debits and standing orders as you’ll often get a discount for doing so by your provider.
If your income is likely to change (for example, if you stop work), you may need to look at cutting back.
A good starting point is to divide your outgoings into essential and non-essential items.
First, see if you can save on essentials like household bills and groceries by shopping around.
Next, look at non-essentials. Are there things you could do without, like a gym membership or magazine subscriptions?
Step 3 – Reduce your debts
If you can’t pay off all your debts straight away, prioritise your debts and pay off the most important ones first.
It’s important not to ignore debts and only pay the minimum each month. If you take time to deal with debts now, it will save you money in the long run.
If you have credit card debts, see if you can switch lenders to get the best rates. There are lots of 0% credit cards available (although you’ll need a good credit rating, and, also, there may be a minimum salary level).
Other debts with fixed repayments, like personal loans, might charge for early repayment if you decide to pay them off more quickly, so bear this in mind.
Step 4 – Open a savings account
The sooner you start putting money aside, the better. Build up savings to cover your baby costs and see you through any period of lower income.
It may be better for you to go for an account that you can dip into if you need to, rather than one that will lock your money away.
But, Iif you think you’ll be tempted to spend your savings, make it a little harder to access cash. For example, try choosing a savings account that doesn’t have a cash machine card.
Step 5 – Boost your income
Claim all your entitlements
You could be entitled to benefits and other help, like tax credits and Child Benefit, to help towards the cost of raising a family.
To see what is available to you use the benefits calculators on the GOV.UK website.
You can search for benefits and grants on the Turn2us website.
Don’t put this step off, as some benefits and tax credits are being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit. What you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.
Other money-making ideas
There are other ways to boost your income, such as doing some work from home. You could also think about raising cash by selling unwanted possessions or recycling old mobile phones, laptops, etc.
There are dozens of money-making ideas to help get you started on the Money Saving Expert website.
Keep track of important dates
You have lots of things to do, and dates to remember, when you’re expecting a baby.
Use Baby money timeline on the Money Advice Service website. It gives you a full personalised list of all the money-related dates having to do with your pregnancy and new baby. Everything - from arranging your maternity leave… to going shopping for baby things… to claiming your Child Benefit.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.