Wednesday 19th September 2018

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Budgeting

The impending arrival of a baby is a wonderful time but it can also be something of a financial shock. The cost of kitting out a nursery, buying toys, a buggy and a car seat all adds up and that’s before the baby has even been born. So it’s a good idea to plan a budget, particularly if you are going to be reliant on a single salary instead of the usual two.

There are many online household budget calculators available that could help: your bank might offer one, or you could try the one at Money Advice Service. You may find the curtailment of your social life actually helps you to save some money!

Beware of spending large sums on items your baby will only use for a few weeks or months; you may find friends can lend you things like baby baths and Moses baskets, leaving you with more to spend on essentials such as nappies. National Childbirth Trust (NCT) nearly new sales can also be a way of picking up expensive items at a reduced price.

Also, don’t forget you can spread your purchases: you don’t need a high chair on day one, for instance.

Get what you’re entitled to...

For new mums who have been working prior to the birth (subject to some conditions), Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is available for up to 39 weeks. This starts off at a quite generous level of 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, then drops to £139.58 (if this is lower than 90% of your average weekly earnings) for the remainder of the time. You can find out more about SMP at www.direct.gov.uk.
 
Being pregnant comes with other financial benefits too; you qualify for free NHS prescriptions and dental treatment, and these entitlements continue for a year after the birth. You will need to ask your GP or health visitor for form FW8.
 
If one parent is earning less than £50,000 per year, you can apply for Child Benefit. This is a tax-free payment that allows you to claim £20.70 a week for an eldest or only child and £13.70 for each subsequent child.
 
You may also qualify for Child Tax Credit if your household income is below a certain level. Again, www.direct.gov.uk is a good central resource for finding out about benefits. When your baby arrives you may want to consider setting up a nest egg for their future.
 
View other relevant articles here, on Junior ISAs and How to open a Junior ISA

 

More Information on F&C or F&C Website