This parenting thing is hard.
I just need to wipe the snot from my jeans & finish my cold cup of tea.
Ok, where was I? Oh yes. This parenting thing is hard.
We’ve got two children already & have got another on the way. Time moves quickly when you have kids. I only recently got around to opening new bank accounts for the first two so the money they have can be working for them. This got me thinking, what do we need to do to financially plan for the next baby?
The first is to figure out maternity & paternity. We’re both self employed so we’ve gone through the joke of a system for maternity allowance and as there is no paternity leave for self employed people, I have worked extra hours each week to be ahead on my work. Fortunately my work is able to be scheduled so it is released when I want it to but that’s not the case for everyone. Others might have to plan ahead to book time off in order to have a few days with their newborn, which is perhaps unpaid. In that case, saving some cash for a few months to cover those couple of weeks is important.
Make sure you get what you are entitled to. We’re fortunate in this country to have a system which looks after us. Check your benefits. Ladies, you are entitled to free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment when you are pregnant and for a year after giving birth. You’re also entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments which includes doctor-recommended appointments such as relaxation or parenting classes. You’ll also be able to claim Child Benefit (£20.70 per week for the eldest or only child & £13.70 per week for each additional child) & you might be able to claim for Healthy Start Food Vouchers too. Whilst they are shaking up the benefits system, you might be entitled to something else under the title of Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit. Do your research & ensure you are getting what you are entitled to. We’ve been through the list and are pretty certain we’re sorted.
Life insurance is worth thinking about, even though you perhaps aren’t planning on pushing up the daisies anytime soon. We have life insurance which covers our mortgage in case one of us heads to the pearly gates. With children in the house, make sure your home is as financially secure as it can be.
Whilst on the subject of death, consider making a will. We actually need to change ours as we never got around to it when we had baby number 2 so definitely need to when baby 3 arrives. If we were to both to get hit by a double decker, we’d pass on knowing who our kids were going to be raised by and knowing that those all important material possessions will be passed on through the generations. You can also detail who you’d like to be in control of any money for your children until they are 18 or 21. Will writing doesn’t have to cost you a lot, there are schemes in place like Free Will Month where you simply donate to a charity in return for having your Will professionally organised.
The household budget is something which is about to get kicked into next week. We’ll be buying more nappies, wipes, the washing machine will be on more, the heating will probably be cranked up a little higher to ensure baby is comfortable. We’ll be living on more coffee than ever before & if you’ve read any of my previous posts, I’m a bit of a coffee snob. Making sure budgets are in order and the financial pressure the baby brings with it is a small as possible is key. We want to enjoy these early years, not worry about cold hard cash, as difficult as that may be.
Kids can be expensive. We’ve been saving for ours for some time, for when they are older. We don’t have a lot, but I came up with an idea which should eventually give them just shy of a grand when they are 18. 10p a week when they are one, 20p a week when they are two, and onwards. It’s not enough to be noticeable but it adds up. We also save for Christmas by putting £10 a week into a separate fund and also keep any ‘family’ money in a different bank account for days out & memberships like the zoo. We have plenty of bank accounts for different things and it works for us.
One of these accounts is our emergency fun. The experts say that if you are able to, you should have an emergency fund to cover you for 6 months if the worst should happen. Whilst the monthly mortgage payments will remain the same, there will be an extra person in the house to pay for so this fund might need adjusting slightly.
Children are priceless, but they certainly affect your bank account. Plan ahead, be wise but most of all, enjoy them & make amazing memories. They grow up far too quickly!