8 ways to banish financial worries when you’re expecting a baby
When you discover youâre pregnant or about to become a dad, itâs totally normal to feel a bit nervous â 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 treatmentÂ
Unless youâre earning over Â£50,000, you can get child benefit of Â£20.70 a week. Once your child is born, simply complete this child benefit form and send it off alongside their birth certificate. Donât 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 getÂ Â
If youâre 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 youâre not working you may be able to get maternity allowance. It can be hard to go through all the forms when youâre tired âso use this benefits checker to work out whether itâs worth the hassle first.
3. Sign up for child care vouchers from workÂ Â
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.Â Consider child care vouchers (if your work is part of a child care voucher scheme). Youâll save money on the tax you pay because the vouchers are deducted from your wage before youâre taxed, a bit like a pension.
4. Schedule a money chat with family and share your worriesÂ
Talking about money worries with family can be hard â especially if you feel like you should be responsible now youâre about to start your own family. Approach the conversation in a way that shows youâve already thought about your finances. Make it clear that youâre not begging for money, but that you are worried and youâd appreciate some help thinking things through. Once your family understand the problem and see that youâre approaching it in a responsible manner they may be more willing to help.
5. Hold financial âmeetingsâ with your partner to avoid fightsÂ
Financial worries are often the biggest relationship stress for anyone whoâs having a baby. Make time to talk to your partner when youâre 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 âcheck how much my pension is each monthâ âfind out if work offers childcare vouchersâ.
6. Make a list of necessary stuff vs cute stuffÂ Â
The list of baby buys is overwhelming but take a deep breath â 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 andâ¦ well, thatâs basically it. Everything else can be borrowed or bought cheaply online or in charity shops. That gorgeous Â£20 hat with furry bunny ears? Ask for it as a present!
7. Prime those loyalty cardsÂ Â
Next time the cashier asks if you have a loyalty card, grab one because youâll be repeat buying â 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 â save something to treat yourself, just a littleÂ Â
What about all that cash youâre saving because youâre too shattered to go out as much? Sure you should be saving for babygrows and swimming lessons but donât forget to put aside something for yourself. Itâs the little things, like a coffee with a friend or a slice of cake that will help you stay positive while youâre adjusting to life as a new family.