Saving for a Baby
When you find out you are going to be a Dad I can guarantee one of the first thoughts you will have is Money. Money rules the way we live, there is no denying that. When a baby is introduced to the mix in undoubtedly will strain your finances to breaking point. This is why is so important to start saving for a baby as soon as you find out.
Maternity, Paternity and Shared Parental Leave
In the UK there are a multitude of rules regarding Maternity Pay. The UK also has paternity Pay and Shared Parental Leave. This is a lot of information to consume when you have all the excitement and worry of expecting a new one but it is something you will need to do. Make sure you check out our article on this.
Be Open with your Partner
Being open with your partner is the key thing when saving for a Baby. You need to have that conversation about how all of your money is going to be used. You will need to lead by example in this conversation and remove any emotional attachments to your money. It is still more likely that your partner will be the one who has the reduced income as very few men take paternity leave or even shared parental leave in the UK. Both of you are in this together and it may be better to treat your money the same as your partner’s money but both of you need to agree how it will be spent and saved.
Get your Money Organised
For now, there are a few easy methods that will really breakdown your finances that I swear by. First, make a spreadsheet. This does not have to be complex and it simply needs to detail the following: your total income and your total outgoings.
Total income means the money that you make from work. So, if you earned £1200 a month after deductions, you would add this in.
Deductions are income tax, national insurance, pension, student loan and that sort of thing. These will appear on your pay slip or if you are self employed they will be deducted whenever you have/chose to make such payments.
Most households have two incomes, so you would add these in. So, if you add £1200 with £1100 this would give you a total income of £2300 before the baby arrived. This will usually go down depending on how much you receive for Maternity, Paternity or Shared Parental Leave. That issue is for another time though.
Then you need to detail all of your outgoings. To help you, these are the outgoings that I take into account and they cover everything:
- Council Tax
- Gas & Electric
- TV (including TV Licence) & Broadband
- Mobile Phone
- Life Insurance (you should probably think about getting this)
- Buildings and Contents Insurance
- Pet Costs – Insurance, Food, Vet bills (only if you have a Pet)
- Car/Motorbike/Van – Finance Costs, Petrol, Insurance, Road Tax, Petrol/Diesel/Electric.
- Travel (if you don’t use a car or in addition to the Car).
- Food & Toiletries
- Additional Spend (should be kept at a minimum).
Realistically, with all of the above I would assume your outgoings are anywhere between £1500-£2000 (of course they can be more than this). If it is lower well done, but make sure that you are capturing everything.
You will have noticed that I have excluded spending money, leisure and entertainment. The reason why is that these things are non-essential and can be cut if need be from your finances. So, depending on how much money you have left after you deduct your outgoings from you income, it is now for you to decide what to do with it.
Remaining Money – how to use it?
Your remaining money, however much or little it is needs to be utilised. Realistically, to get all the baby stuff you need is going to cost in the region of £1000-£1500. It could easily be a load more money than this too. So, if we use the above example of £2300 income minus £1800 outgoings this will leave you with £500 a month before the baby arrives. Now, most people aren’t going to find out they are pregnant until they are 2-3 months. So, lets assume you are saving from the 12 week/ 3 month mark.
£500 can be split like this and this is similar to how I am doing it. You and your partner get £100 spending money each. Yes, this may be a massive reduction but you have a baby on the way and it cannot buy stuff for itself can it?!
Now if you take the £500 and minus the £200 (£100 each spending money each) you have £300 each month to spend on baby stuff. Pregnancy lasts 40 weeks or 9-10 months. Lets say it will be a 9 month pregnancy this gives you six months of saving. If you approach your finances like this and start saving for a baby, you will have £1800 (6 months X £300) and also have £600 each to spend on yourselves. £1800 should give you enough money for all your baby gear if you budget properly in the first place and it might give you some leftover money that will be vital for when your income inevitably drops when one or both of you take off some maternity/paternity leave.
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